Well good morning and Happy New Year to people so like I heard some people say Merry Christmas like after Christmas Is that weird? No. Well, Merry Christmas. Happy New Year will be in like Meet me in Acts chapter 10. That's what we're going to set up shop this morning. And while you're on your way there I just want to give a shout out to my new parents, the gray family. We've been having a lot of fun this week and I've enjoyed your your company and the conversations and just been extremely blessed by yourself. So thank you so much. Acts chapter 10 of you, with me will read from verses 34 so 43 Verses 34 to 43. And it reads like this.
So Peter opened his mouth and said, Truly I understand that God shows no partiality. But in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ, He is Lord of all. you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from not only after the baptism that john proclaimed, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth, with the Holy Spirit, and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did, both in a country at a Jews and in Jerusalem. They put them to death. by hanging them on a tree, but God raised him on the third day, and made him to appear, not to all the people, but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judged of the living in the dead. To him, all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins, through his name, amen.
I want to preach from the the topic, if you will, the message the whole world needs to hear. The message the whole world needs to hear.
Father, we thank you for your amazing grace in your mercies that are new every single morning. Lord, we are gathered here together as one body to heal What you have for us? Would you open our hearts and our minds to receive your word this morning? Use me Lord, Your servant. I am weak, but you are strong Lord, help me, O God, to preach with faithfulness and with clarity. Give us wisdom and understanding and depth of insight. In Jesus name, amen.
You may be seated.
Who am I to stand in God's way for my too high or hinder or hold back someone from experience in the blessings of God simply because of their ethnicity or culture. When I decided not to share the gospel with that African woman in her family at Walgreens, knowing that I felt nudge to do that. But I made up lame excuses like, she probably don't speak English that well. Was I not standing in God's way? Of course there are more overt in obvious ways that one might stand in God's way. Like back when Christians, slave owners would withhold baptism from their Christian slaves. That's the obvious way of standing in God's way. But what about the more subtle the not so easily seen ways that it happens? Like when I asked the question to minorities in the church, how much of your ethnic identity has been retained in your walk with Christ? And when they answer back none, zero percent, while the majority culture answers, all 100% what's behind that? who stood in God's way? What about the Asian pastor who said that our language in our culture is actually more important than reaching non Asians? Are we okay with that? Is that where we are as a church?
Unfortunately, I think we are and we are okay with that. It makes sense to us. We we get more people that way. Why not just have white churches with white strategies to reach white people and have black churches with black strategies to reach black people. That way you get bigger numbers, and at the end of the day, everyone's comfortable during worship. So maybe, maybe we're not standing in God's way. Maybe God's standing in our way, with all his talk about reconciliation and unity and peace and justice.
Acts chapter 10 confronts us in all of this. Acts chapter 10, god sovereignly in providentially, orchestrates a meeting with the Jewish man Peter, and the Gentile man Cornelius. And in verses one through eight, Cornelius has a vision. And then this vision we, we see that there's an angel, whose tells him to go and sin for the man named Peter. In verses nine through 16, Peter also has a vision. And then Peters vision. It's very interesting because he's told to kill and eat animals who are which are considered unclean according to his ethnic and religious tradition. So of course, he says, No, I won't eat that that's unclean. But God says this, what I have made clean, don't call common or unclean. But of course Peter being Peter, refuse to do this three times. And so here we are, again with God and Peter with this three times dance.
And then finally, as Peter is still wondering as he's still complex and confused as to what in the world was this vision all about? God tells him get up, go downstairs is some news I sent for you go with him. So he gets up or down stairs, you see the boss, Yo, I'm the one you looking for? What do you want? And so they tell him what they want.
They were sent by Cornelius. Cornelius had a vision and told me to come get you. So days later, they end up at Cornelius house. Now what is the purpose of this meeting? Why did God go through all of this visions and all that just to set up this meeting? The purpose is told to us in verse 22, it's also told in verse 33, and then again, in verse 14, Chapter 11 and verse 22. It says this, say here, what you have to say, verse 33, to hear all that you've been commanded by the Lord. And in verse 14 of chapter 11, he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved you and your household, to hear what you have to say, to hear all that you've been commanded by the Lord, to hear you declare a message through which Cornelius in his family will be saved. What is this message? What's this message that Cornelius has to hear?
Church, it's the same message you need to hear. It's the same message I need to hear it is literally the message the whole world needs to hear. It is the good news of peace through Jesus Christ.
That is, that's basically the main idea that I'm gonna work with today. The good News of peace to Jesus Christ. And I want to talk about it in three phases, if you will. The first phase is the good news announced. And then we'll move on to that and transition into the good news accomplished. And then finally, finally, the good news. Apply the good news announced the good news accomplished and the good news apply. Let's begin with the good news announced the text began. So Peter opened his mouth and said, Truly I understand that God shows no partiality. But in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. That's what the word that he sent to Israel preaching or announcing good news of peace of Jesus Christ. He is Lord of all.
Now, I don't understand like I don't know why we don't take this as serious as we thought. But immediately right away verses 3436 we learned that the gospel the good news, by the Nature is multi ethnic. Its very nature is multi ethnic.
Peters it says that Peter open his mouth and this is an expression use a few times in the New Testament is when someone is about to say something is very serious and significant.
And my favorite time that is us is in Acts chapter eight, when Philip is preaching to the Ethiopian eunuch, and it says Philip opened his mouth and began beginning with the Scripture, he told him the good news about Jesus. It sounds simple, but we need to, we need to remember that. When we announced the gospel, we just simply need to open our mouths. It is something very serious and significant. We have the message the whole world needs to hear. Let's share it let's simply open our mouths. And that's what Peter does. But what's interesting about this is that he opens his mouth and begins to speak but he Doesn't necessarily begin preaching to the coroner's in the family. Peter begins preaching to himself. Look at it. He says, Truly, I understand that God shows no partiality. The nrv captures this a little better. It says, I now realize how true it is that God shows no favoritism. As a result of the vision that Peter had as a result of hearing about Cornelius, his vision is just now beginning to click for Peter.
He's just now starting to understand this truth about God's nature. He does not show partiality. As a Jew, he struggled with this. He couldn't quite grasp it. But he's just now starting to get it.
God does not show partiality and it makes me think of the game is like a icebreaker game. two truths and a lie. Now most of us has played this game The idea is to say three statements, and one of them is aligned so people have to guess which one is a lie.
Now I'm not that good at this game because I'm not that great of a liar. Maybe you are, I don't know. But I usually mess up because I lean on the same method. I met a lot of celebrities in my life. And so what I usually do is I'll name three celebrities and one of them is supposed to be a lie. But I always forget that I met this person that I named, it was actually not a lie. This person is Justin Bieber. I met Justin Bieber in a mall in LA one time. And so he was like walking from this way I'm walking that way and in between us is a sneaker store and we both was going to now at the sneaker store was a bunch of people in the in the store and so when the manager heard that Justin Bieber was outside the door, he cleared the store out. Everybody get out so that Justin Bieber can get in so that he can shop in peace because of his status because of his celebrity. He cleared the store out. Now, Justin Bieber and two of his friends so when they opened the door, he went in and I just slipped right in with him. Because that's how you gotta do you gotta act like you just belong, it confuses people.
So I'm in there now just me Justin Bieber in his friends. The store manager cleared the store out because of his status and his celebrity because of who he is. And when it says God does not show favoritism, or no partiality, what it's saying is God and clear enough to store for nobody. His doors are open to any and everyone who fears him.
The text says in you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Go and make disciples of all the nations you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, into the ends. of the earth as they are 49 I love this text. He says it's too light is too small, it's too easy of a thing, that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and bring back the preserved of Israel that's too easy. I will make you a light for the nation's that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth. This is where everybody any ethnicity, tribe, tongue language. God does not show partiality and I love this definition.
Crawford said this one time he said racism is just the sin of partiality with pigmentation. Racism is just the sin of partiality with pigmentation. And look some people might feel uncomfortable with this, but I need you for those who can receive it with humble hearts lesson. Let's not be so quick to just say, I'm not a racist. Let's not be so I understand the cultural baggage, obviously the historical baggage, but we as believers who understand the depths of sin and wickedness of our hearts, let's not be so quick to just say I'm not a racist. There's no racist bone in my body. It might be a bone.
Like we got a joke or two in our back pocket. Let's not be so quick. We need to be honest and open so that God can deal with us. Peter hairs being dealt with for his ethnocentrism, his nationalism, Peter is being dealt with right now and this is the Apostle Peter. He walked in talk with Jesus seeing the risen Christ. We working in chapter 10 right there in chapter nine. He just raised the girl from the day even he had to be corrected. Even he needed a vision. Look what he said in his Verse 28, it says and he said to them, you yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or even visit any anyone of another nation. It's unlawful. I don't want to be here preaching to you Gentiles. I don't want to be around you. It's unlawful. It's against our law, which means the systemic issue is I don't want to be here. But he says, but God has shown me that I should not call any person come in or unclean. God is working on Peter. Let us let God work on us. And even after all of this, the vision all of that, years later, in Galatians, chapter two, Paul had to call out Peter in public for this very problem, because although Peter got it theologically, he struggled to live out the truth of the gospel. That's a real thing. By the way, when I say let's not be quick to say we're not racist, that goes for us minorities as well, because racism is not a white person's problem.
That's all of us. Notice that God had Peter go to Cornelius, not the other way around. Not Cornelius come to my church so I can preach the you. No, the mission is go and make disciples of all nations, all nations, verse 36. It says, As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ, He is Lord of all Ephesians chapter 217 through 18, and he came and preach peace to you who were far off in peace to those who are near for through him We both have access in one spirit to the Father, the gospel, the good news is indeed the good news of peace, peace with God and peace with one another. That we don't have a problem with. We we are in here. It's pretty safe to say, we all believe that the gospel is for all people. We don't struggle with that. Of course the gospel is for all people, but we struggle with is believing that the gospel makes all people are equal.
Yeah, they can be saved, but they not us. They don't do church right like we do. That's our issue. The gospel is the gospel of peace. Jesus is Lord of all of us.
We don't need sociological reasons to pursue racial reconciliation. We have clear theological reasons for that. Listen to what john Stott says. And it's a pretty lengthy quote, so bear with me, but he says it better than I could ever see it.
He says is simply impossible with any shred of Christian integrity to go on proclaiming that Jesus by His cross has abolish the old divisions and created a single new humanity of love. While at the same time we are contradicting our message by tolerating ratio or social or other barriers within our church fellowship. We need to get the failures of the church on our conscience to feel the offense to Christ. So we over the credibility gap between the churches talk in the churches walk, so repent of our readiness to excuse and even condone our failures and to determine to do something about it. I wonder if anything is more urgent today for the honor of Christ and the spread of the gospel than that the church should be and should be seen to be what by God's purpose in Christ achievement, it already is a single new humanity, a model of human community of family of reconciled brothers and sisters who love their father and love each other, the evident dwelling place of God by His Spirit. Only then will the world believe in Christ as Peacemaker. Only then will God receive glory do his name, amen.
The very nature of the gospel is multi ethnic, by God's purpose and what Christ achievement in already years, we just need to add like what it already is. Which brings us to phase two. The good news accomplished. You know, it's one thing to announce something that will one day at some point, be fulfilled. And that's good and right, provided what you're announcing is actually true. But it's a nother thing to announce that it is finished.
Paul in Acts 13 says we bring you the good news. What is that good news. That what God promised when he announced to our fathers this he has fulfilled accomplished to us their children by raising Jesus. Jesus resurrection is the accomplishment of that which was announced. Me and my mom that this thing where it will say to one another, tell me when you want your way back. And really it's a pretty because from a like a cynical place to be honest it's not a good thing. It's just when you feel like let down over and over again. You got your hopes up high and just shattered dreams and things like that. Don't announce to me that you got this big meeting coming up or tell me Yeah, this is about to happen, whatever. Just tell me when you're on your way back. That way I know it's done. Tell me when you own your way back.
And praise God, we can announce that which is already been accomplished because he's on his way back. The good news is historically anchored through the life death. resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter says, you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea. Notice that he doesn't go into super depth about all these things. It's you yourself. You already know these things, this common knowledge. He doesn't spend a whole bunch of time explaining theological stuff, he don't really feel like being there anyway. So he just laying out the facts. you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism that john proclaim, he assumes they know who john is and what he proclaimed, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth, not Jesus, the Son of God, not Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, the historical figure, with the Holy Spirit and with power, he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil for God was with him and it's like, you can almost see Cornelius like nine, you know, in agreement.
Yeah, I knew there was something more to this Jesus dude is uniquely special. And Cornelius wife was like, oh, now you believe he said, but I've been trumped nevermind anyway. Verse 39, and we are witnesses of all that he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. you yourselves know you're familiar with the life of Jesus. Also, he goes into the death of Jesus. Verse 39, they put him to death by hanging them on a tree. He didn't fall asleep. He didn't pass out. He wasn't in a coma. They put him to death he died.
Historians and New Testament scholars, both sides of the fence believers, non believers alike, they argue and fight over a bunch of things. This just saying one of them. He lived and he died. He died by Roman crucifixion. They hung him on a tree. But verse 40, God raised him on the third day and made him to appear not all the people, but to us who have been chosen by God as witnesses who ate and drank With him after he rose from the dead, this is a physical resurrection. You don't eat and drink with Casper the Friendly ghosts. Spirits don't eat and drink. This is a physical body dead man gotta a physical historical resurrection in and Peter says he ate appear to a body. But he appeared to those who were chosen as witnesses. And Paul and First Corinthians 15 he lays out a list of who Jesus appeared to in the first person on that list was Peter. Peter is a witness of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's what our faith hangs on a historical event.
In fact, if this did not take place, we are literally wasting our time here to this morning. If Jesus did not raise physically from the day, we are wasting our time. We need to pack up and leave there is a Nothing here. But he did.
And I checked it out. This was the this was the search of my life. I begin search, I wanted answers. I wanted to know what was the actual claim of Christianity? Is it that we just believe in some stuff about Jesus because it makes us feel better. He didn't physically die. I mean, physically raise it was a spiritual thing. And so that helps us make us feel better. Like, that's cool. If that's what it is just tell me.
But if you mean to tell me he physically rose from the dead, I need to check that out. Because now you're talking about something that can be verified that that you can do history and find out whether or not this took place. And so I went on a search and I was checking in you can you name the Christian apologists, I checked them out Gary Habermas, William Lane, Craig, NT Wright, Jay Warner, Wallace, whoever.
I've checked them out. I've watched their debates. I've Both sides that do rose from the dead. Yeah.
That's the only way to do it. That's the only way to deal with the evidence. But coming to that conclusion, didn't save me. come to that conclusion didn't make me born again. It didn't fill me with the Holy Spirit did not make me a child of God did not give me the peace of God. Acknowledging historical facts, acknowledging a bunch of stuff that's true, doesn't save you, Cornelius here new facts and according to verse 31, God even evidently heard and honored his prayers in some sense, but that didn't save Cornelius. So God orchestrated the meeting, so that he can hear what actually saves. He had to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ preached and have it Apply to his life through faith in Jesus Christ. That's what saves. That brings us to the third phase, the good news apply.
This is what makes the gospel eternally experientially relevant. Look at what he says he says, and he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living in a day. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name's This is the message Cornelius needed to hear. This is the reason why Peter finds himself at the Gentiles home, to preach and to testify about Jesus that's Peters duty. That's what he went to his death doing. That's the purpose of Peters life, preach and testify.
Some of us walked in here as believers in Jesus Christ. Struggling with trying to understand what's the purpose of my life. You don't have to leave wondering was the purpose of your life is to preach in to testify about Jesus. That's our duty. That's the mission of the church. So proclaim in display new life in Christ. They didn't just make that up out of nowhere. It's in the text. That's what we do as believers, we say something to people, we tell them about Jesus, and we testify what our entire lives about the truth concerning Jesus Christ. That's who we are. And that's what we do. There was a I came across it recently as a show on Youtube called the therapist. And on this show, sort, the ones that I see in any way it's a bunch of young black men look like me look like you know, they come from the neighborhoods. I come from the talk like me, just Like me as a hip hop dudes, and, and I'm like, struck by in I'm loving it because they're being vulnerable they opening up and sharing their life.
But at the same time I'm ridiculously frustrated because the therapists that they talking to can't give them real solutions. So here they are opening up, but there's nothing that he can give them. And it was one dude in particular he kept using this phrase and then what and then what? He said I want it money I got it. And then what I wanted fame, I got it and then what I want it cars and jewelry, I got that. And then what what he was looking for was peace, whether he knew it or not. What he was looking for was peace, but that only comes to those who have their sins forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ. And that therapist could not give them that but getting his job. That's our job to preach. in to testify. You can't give somebody something you ain't got. The question is, do you have him? Do you have Jesus? Do you have the gospel? What better thing to give someone than the gospel of Jesus Christ? It is about him at the end of the day is all about Jesus, the Texas and he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one and only my not appointed by God to be judged the living and the dead to him. All the profits bear witness that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. It is him. We proclaim through him we are believers in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory. He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world. First, john, two, two This is the message the whole world needs to hear that everyone in anyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
Church, if forgiveness of sins was even offered somewhere else, some other religion or philosophy, perhaps I would consider. But the fact of the matter is in a forgiveness of sins is only in Jesus Christ. I don't care what no guru got to say, I don't care what Muhammad Islam can do for you. I don't care what Buddha can do for you. I don't care what meditation can do for you. I don't need all of that. I got a court date coming up and I can't afford to walk in they're guilty of sins. I need my sins forgiven and so do you. And that only comes through believing in Jesus Christ. That's the message the text goes on.
And before Peter could even finish his sermon before he can give an altar call. The Holy Spirit fell on those who are listening. Cornelius and his family they believed in they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They start speaking in tongues and everything. And there were some Jews there with Peter checking this out. And they were amazed. Like, salvation came to even the Jen's house. They could not believe it. You mean to tell me this ain't all about us as Jews. But when the Jews back in Jerusalem heard about this, they they wasn't too excited. And they criticize Peter, bro. You, you hanging out with Gentiles. Are you crazy? you associate yourself with Gentiles. You preach them our gospel. They couldn't believe it. And so Peter in chapter 11 goes to the whole story, bro. I know. It's crazy to me too, but I had a dream. Cornelius had a dream. Dr. King had a dream. There's a bunch of dreaming going on. But he explains the whole story and check this out. I want you to see it. Verse 15, through 17. And chapter 11. He finished telling them the story this way. He says, As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on him, just as on us in the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord how he said, john baptize with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was our Becca, Stan, and God's way, may God be praised. Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word.
Lord, help us not to stand in your way, but to participate in the mission of God to go and make disciples Our nation's Lord, we thank you that we have been made co heirs that we are brothers and sisters, because of the adoption and the blessing that is in the Gospel. Lord, we love you because you have indeed loved us first essential Son Jesus, to be the propitiation for our sins. Jesus Christ.