By Joseph Ametepe
GOD BLESS YOU.
• The purpose of this article is to help us explore and learn from the early Christians’ faithful life and fruitful presentation of the Gospel. Apostle Peter is one those early Christians whose exemplary life and effective presentation of the Good News made a great impact in his generation. After Peter was transformed, his passion in life became the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. His goal in life then became that of faithfully pointing people to Jesus Christ.
• Apostle Peter preached powerful messages leading to the salvation of thousands in Jerusalem. He had also performed great miracles that resulted in the salvation of countless others in Lydda, Sharon and Joppa.
• After these experiences God directed Peter to the house of Cornelius in Caesarea, the capital of the Roman province of Judea. There, Peter did not preach himself. He preached his Lord. He did not preach circumcision, but Christ. Neither did he preach Judaism, but Jesus. Peter did not preach rituals, but a Risen Living Lord, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In short, Peter preached the true Gospel.
The Definition of the Good News
• What then is the Gospel? In its simplest form, the Good News or the Gospel is the saving message of life and redemption in Jesus Christ. It is therefore always centered on the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who He is, and what He has done for the salvation of people in every nation.
• In other words, the Gospel is the presentation of the life of the Person of Jesus to show His saving significance for all people and to call them to faith in Him.
• It is the saving work of God in His Son, Jesus Christ, and a call to faith in Him. Faith is more than intellectual agreement to a theoretical truth. Faith is trust placed in a living person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Definition of Salvation
• The term salvation is familiar to most of us. Yet its true meaning is not familiar to us. It is therefore necessary to give a clear definition of salvation at this point. In its simplest form, salvation is deliverance from the punishment, penalty, power, pollution and finally from the presence of sin.
• It is an eternal gift bestowed on those who personally place their complete trust in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His sacrificial death on the cross for their sins. This wholehearted personal trust results in entering into a saving relationship with God and complete forgiveness of one’s sins against a holy, loving and righteous God who is from everlasting to everlasting.
• To state it in another way, salvation is simply an application of Christ’s victorious work over sin to the life of the individual. It pertains to the most crucial need of the human person – the need to be freed from sin, which separates us from a loving, gracious, holy and just God.
• In the Old Testament, the term “salvation” sometimes refers to deliverance from danger (see Jeremiah 15:20), deliverance of the weak from an oppressor (see Psalm 35:9-10), the healing of sickness (see Isaiah 38:20), and deliverance from blood guiltiness and its consequences (see Psalm 51:14). It may also refer to national deliverance from military threat (see Exodus 13:14) or release from captivity (see Psalm 14:7). But salvation finds its deepest meaning in the spiritual realm of life. It is this deepest meaning of salvation that I have defined above and about which I am concerned in this article. The absolute necessity of salvation, deliverance from the penalty and power of sin is indeed one of the clearest teachings of the Bible. The need for salvation is a universal need. Everyone desperately needs it, but unfortunately, not everyone desires it or seeks it.
• Before Peter presented the saving message of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles at the home of Cornelius, he shared something special and personal recorded in Acts 10:34-35. I love Peter. He was a sincere man.
• Here in the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, a centurion of what was called the Italian Cohort, Peter made a sincere confession.
• This sincere confession was about the significant spiritual lesson God had personally taught him. He made it clear in Acts 10:28 that it was God Himself who had taught him and brought him to this certain understanding that He does not show favoritism.
• May I say to you and to me! If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, God through His Spirit will from time to time teach you significant spiritual lessons as He works in you to make you all that He wants you to be - that is, to conform you into the blessed image of His Blessed and Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
• Please listen! There is no such thing as "Stagnant Christianity" where a person claims he or she is saved but remains the same without seasons of change in his or her life. When God saved us, He saved us for one purpose, and that purpose is changing us, a changing of heart, of mind, of attitude and action into Christ-likeness.
• So, what we are seeing here in Peter’s life is very important.
• It teaches us that God Himself is always at work in us to change those of us whom He has saved in order that we will become all that He wants us to be.
• Isn’t that a blessing? Yes indeed! Moreover, it is a comfort to my heart.
• So please, don’t just rush over these few verses. Pause and ponder over them. They instruct us of God’s gracious work of changing, transforming, shaping and molding the believer not only for the purpose of becoming all that He wants him to be, but also of freeing him to do what God Himself has prepared for him to do in partnership with Him and in His power.
• Peter had certainly now understood that God does not show favoritism.
• Up to now Peter had believed that God’s favor was limited to Israel.
• Now he realized that God did not respect a man’s person simply because of his nationality, but that He was more interested in an honest, sincere, submissive, contrite heart, whether in a Jew or a Gentile.
• Peter says, "I’ve learned that God does not show favoritism, by that I mean, a person’s acceptance with God rested not merely on his nationality, but on the nature of his seeking and searching heart."
• God accepts, welcomes, is pleased with men from every nation who in their hearts fear Him and do what is right in His sight.
• The word ‘welcome ‘ (dektos -Acts 10:35), literally means marked by a favorable manifestation of divine presence.
• The Lord Jesus Himself had hinted at the fact that God is willing to welcome others apart from the Jews whose hearts are desiring Him when He said, "I have other sheep which are not of this fold" (John 10:16).
• Paul was later given further insight on this truth. The Holy Spirit led him to write to the church in Roman; "Is God the God of the Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the circumcised through faith is one" (Romans 3:29-30; cf. 2:11; Ephesians 6:9).
The ABCs of the Good News
• Out of this encounter with God where Peter’s vision was refined, his mind renewed, his attitude reshaped and his heart refreshed, Peter presented the Good News. There is therefore so much to learn from a man whose mind had been renewed by God Himself.
• The heart of the gospel is clearly spelt out in Peter’s presentation for us in its simplicity and purity here in Acts 10:36-43.
• Peter was led by the Holy Spirit to give a simple gospel presentation.
• In other words, the saving message of Jesus was spoken in simple terms to these seeking and hungry Gentiles.
• So what we have here in Acts 10:36-43 is the ABCs of the Good News.
• Peter knew that where God Himself had already plowed and prepared hearts, only the simple truths of the Good News message need to be presented. He discerned that Cornelius and the other Gentiles gathered in his house were divinely prepared individuals. And so, he didn’t need to deliver an indicting message like what he preached on the day of Pentecost and at Solomon’s Portico. Nor did he need to make a bold defense of the gospel as he did before the Sanhedrin twice. The situation before Peter was so different from these previous ones. This situation calls for the simple presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ, that is, the ABCs of the Good News.
• And so led by the Holy Spirit, Peter presented the Good News in its simplicity and purity to his Gentile audience.
• Please make no mistake, Peter’s message was not only simple, but it was also pure and comprehensive. It was not diluted. It was not watered down. The major truths of the Good News were not compromised as they are being compromised today in the name of man-made unity and peace. You would not see that here in Peter’s message, which is the first recorded preaching of the Good News to the Gentile world.
Now what are the ABCs of the Good News message as presented by Peter in the house of Cornelius in Acts 10:36-43?
The first truth revealed about the Gospel in this passage is simply this:
The Good News is from God Himself (v. 36a).
• In other words, the Good News started with God. It was His message.
• He, the living and true God, sent it.
• Please, never let this simple truth concerning the Good News’ origin escape your heart.
• The Good News started with the Good God Himself.
• It is His message. It is His word.
• And so Peter, preaching a simple yet a solemn and significant message at the home of Cornelius declared, "The word which He (God) sent" (v. 36a).
• The "word" of God containing the message of salvation was sent by God Himself. I am so thankful for this.
• Because the word containing the saving message is sent by the God who istruthful, trustworthy, totally reliable, One who never lies and is full of grace and truth, we have a more sure word to which we do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in our hearts (2 Peter 1:19).
• This word containing the message of salvation and life is sure, steadfast, secure and sound.
• In the original language, "the word" is ton logon. This is another form of "ho logos" in John’s Gospel (John 1:1) which refers to the Living Word that was with the Father in the beginning and later made flesh and dwelt among us.
• Later, Apostle Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to state convincingly to the believers in the Galatian churches that indeed the Good News is from God Himself.
• "I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something thatman made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11-12 - NIV).
• About three years ago in our fellowship, God led me to preach from the epistle to the Galatians verse by verse.
• When we got to Galatians 1:11-12 we lost one of our members.
• It’s a long story but let me make it short. A Hungarian young woman who was truly hungry for God’s word, was coming faithfully to our fellowship every Sunday. Her husband is not a believer but allows her to come on one condition. The condition was, she would report to him whatever she was taught in church.
• After my message, which was simply this; God Himself is the source of the Gospel, not man, the young woman reported this to her husband.
• The husband got really angry. In his anger, he said, "That’s not true. It is just some people who made up this story. You are not going to go to that church anymore because this group is teaching you the wrong thing."
• From that day on, she was never allowed to come to church. We prayed fervently for her return. But in His sovereign wisdom, God chose not to release her to us.
• Do you see how this simple truth about the Good News is being opposed in our day?
• Such opposition is one reason why we as believers in Jesus Christ must hold tightly to this simple truth; the Good News is from God Himself.
"The word or message which He sent."
The second truth about the Good News as presented in Acts 36-43 is:
The Good News is for people (v. 36b).
• The Good News from God is for the people He created.
• God did not keep the Good News to Himself. It would never be Good News if God had just kept it to Himself.
• Because the Good News if for people, speaking in the power of the Spirit Peter says, "The word which He [the true and living God] God sent [to who?] to the sons of Israel" (v. 36b).
• Peter reminded his Gentile listeners that "the Word" was originally sent by God to the children of Israel. For thousands of years God had spoken through His prophets to the sons of Israel.
• Finally as Hebrews 1:1-2 says, God sent His Son, the Living Word to Israel.
• The sons of Israel, were the first people God in His Sovereign wisdom chose to send His Good News.
• No one can take God to court for choosing the sons of Israel in His sovereign wisdom to be the first people to receive His Good News.
• If you have a problem with that, may I say to you, your life will be miserable indeed.
• I wish God had chosen the sons of Ghana to be the first people to send His Good News to.
• But I humbly submit myself to His sovereign wisdom and purpose of choosing the sons of Israel to be the first people, the number one people to send His Good News to. I gladly accept it as designed by God.
• In his second message in Jerusalem, Peter made it clear to the Jews in Jerusalem that God’s plan was that salvation should be first offered to the Jewish people. And so he declared these words to them, "For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways" (Acts 3:26)
• Again Apostle Paul was led by the Spirit of God to stress the fact that the Good News which is from God is first for the Jewish people.
• In Romans 1:16, he writes, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentiles." (NIV)
• Also in Romans 3:1-2, he writes, "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God." (NIV)
• Please take time to read Romans 9:1-5 also.
• Those who first received this Good News were the people of Israel.
• But God did not intend for the Good News to stop with the Jews.
• His loving heart desires that the Good News will reach all people, Jews and Gentiles alike.
• Because the Gospel is the power of God for everyone who believes, the Jew first, then for the Gentiles like you and me.
• Our Lord Jesus Himself made this clear when He said "God so loved the world[not just Jerusalem or Israel] that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
• Having made it clear that the Good News is for people, let me ask us these questions:
• How does this simple truth about the Good News affect your life?
• Does it make any difference at all in your life that the Good News is for people, people like you and me, sinners like us?
• I believe with all my heart that if we really, truly, wholeheartedly believe that the Good News is for people, not for angels or the principalities, or for celestial beings in the heavenly places, but for people here on earth, we will not rest, we will be deeply concerned, we will be passionate about sharing it with people.
• Please listen! If we as believers in Jesus Christ, are to be faithful to our Lord and our God and bring joy to His heart, we must be engaged in the business of bringing the Good News to all people. Why? The Good News is for people. It is for people whom we like and people whom we don’t like. It is for people who are unlike us.
• Just last week, a sister in the Lord was talking to me about her niece and nephew. She told me her niece was born again at the tender age of four in Belgium in a Sunday School. She is now seven years old.
• How I thank God for His work in the heart of this little girl and her growth in Jesus. I understand her grandmother was so refreshed and so touched to see her first grandchild growing in Jesus.
• But the part of the story which moved my heart was that this sister told me about her deep concern for her nephew, the little girl’s brother who is now six years old. She said to me with a genuine spirit of resolve, "I am praying for him to be saved by age 9. I don’t want him to be past 9 and not be saved."
• Why was I moved by this story? It is because I saw one person who really understands that the Good News is for people, young or old. And she is deeply moved in her heart for it to impact her nephew, just as it had impacted her niece.
• Folks, if we really understand that, the Good News which is from GodHimself, is for people, we will have more stories like this to tell.
• The Good News is for people.
• How is that simple truth going to shape and direct your life’s passion in this New Year?
The third truth about the Gospel message as presented in Acts 10:36-43 is this:
The Good News is a message announcing God’s peace to people (v. 36c).
• Notice the Bible says, "preaching peace." (v. 36c).
• What is this peace all about? It is peace between God and men who the Bible calls sinners and enemies of God (Romans 5:8,10).
• Peace is one of the most precious words in the word of God.
• Why is that? Because the Good News is a message that tells of God’s great longing to have peace with the people He created for Himself but who have made the choice to turn their backs on Him.
• "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him" (Isaiah 53:6).
• We desperately therefore need peace with God and the peace of God.
• Peace with God and the peace of God are blessings the Gospel brings to people.
• Actually, "peace" is synonymous for salvation in this context. It denotes not merely the absence of strife and enmity between man and God but also the positive benefits that developed in a state of reconciliation.
• In other words, the hostility between man and God ceases and man is fully welcomed to God’s heart and home. This peace enables us to live in God’s home without fear of judgment and condemnation. How wonderful this is!
• When Christ was born in the city of David, the angel’s message to the shepherds was one of announcing God’s peace with us.
• We read of this in Luke 2:10-14. "But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earthpeace among men with whom He is pleased."
• Have you experienced God’s peace? If so, are you eager to tell others about it?
The fourth truth revealed about the Gospel in this passage is that:
The Good News convincingly declares that peace between God and man is obtained only through the Person of Jesus Christ (v. 36d).
• Notice the Bible says "preaching peace through Jesus Christ" (v. 36d).
• The Lord Jesus had come to bring God’s great offer of peace to all.
• During the Christmas season we sang "Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the new born King: Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled…"
• How could wretched sinners like you and me be reconciled to God?
• There is only one answer; and that is, through the Person of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
• Not only is peace between God and man obtained through Jesus alone, but He Himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14).
• Further, speaking in the context of reconciliation, Paul, in Ephesians 2:17, states that Jesus came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near.
• The Bible makes it clear that we are sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23; 5:8). Furthermore, it says, we are enemies who are at war with God (Romans 5:10).
• The sacrificial death of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ ended that hostility and brought peace between man and God by paying the full price for our sin debt.
• This is what the Holy Spirit later led Paul to declare to the church in Corinth."Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely that God was in Christ the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
• Jesus, and Jesus alone made peace between God and man a reality, through the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20).
• The expression "preaching peace through Jesus Christ" therefore teaches that, Jesus and Jesus alone is God’s agent in bringing about peace between God and man.Period.
• Today, the world is starving for peace. The world is seeking for peace.
• Today, the world is searching for peace. The world is striving for peace.
• But is the world looking to Christ in its seeking and striving for peace?
• No. They are looking to the UN, to their governments and to themselves.
• The Lord Jesus is the only One through whom peace between God and man can be experienced and enjoyed both in this life and in the life soon to come.
• Our Lord Himself said, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14:27).
• Therefore the Good News teaches that peace between God and man is realizedonly through the Person of Jesus Christ.
The fifth truth presented in Acts 10:36-43 about the Gospel is that:
The Good News proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord of all (v. 36e).
• In other words, the Gospel preaches Jesus as the Supreme Lord of all.
• Peter next reminds his Gentile listeners that although the Good News was sent to the Jews first, yet Jesus Christ is Lord of all - Gentile as well as Jew.
• Actually "Lord of all" was a pagan title of deity, but it was re-baptized by the early Christians to become an appropriate title of Christ - who truly deserved it indeed.
• For a long time now Peter himself had regarded Jesus as Lord and Christ as in Acts 2:36, and for all intents and purposes had ascribed to Him a place in the Godhead (Acts 1:24).
• But always his horizons had been those of a Jew, and he had never thought of Jesus as any other than the Lord and Christ of the Jews.
• For these many years Peter’s God had been too small. He now saw his mistake.
• And so, before these Gentiles Peter proclaimed Jesus Christ as Lord of all.
• Salvation is offered to all because Jesus is Lord of all.
The sixth truth about the Good News as stated here in Peter’s message is:
The Good News teaches that Jesus Christ is all about doing good (vv. 37-38a).
• Isn’t that wonderful news to hear?
• Do you see that for yourself in the second part of verse 38?
• Jesus came only to do good for you and for me.
• When Philip found Nathaniel and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (John 1:45); Nathaniel's response was, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46). This question was more than answered in the Person of the Son of God. In a very real sense, every good thing came out of Nazareth in the Son of Man, Jesus Christ.
• Peter says in the Spirit, "Jesus of Nazareth - He, the Lord of all, went about doing good."
• He didn’t come to harm us. He didn’t come to hurt us. He didn’t come to holdus in bondage. He didn’t come to hinder us from becoming all that wants us to become. He didn’t come to harass us and make life difficult and unbearable for us. He didn’t come to hound us with the hammer of the law. Jesus didn’t come tohamper our progress in life.
• Please listen! Jesus Christ came to help us by doing good, good that will be eternally beneficial to our souls and spirits.
• And so Peter says, "He went about doing good."
• How refreshing it is to my heart to hear that the Good News solemnly testifies of a Savior whose goal it is to do good to helpless and hopeless men.
• Our Lord Himself said, "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge or condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:17).
• Isn’t this good news? Yes indeed!
• In the context of declaring that Jesus is all about doing good to people, Peter said to his hearers that they must have heard the story of Jesus of Nazareth.
• The story began in Galilee, at the time John was baptizing (v. 37).
• But he went on to say, this story of Jesus of Nazareth didn’t start and finish in Galilee. It had spread throughout all Judea..
• Caesarea was part of Judea.
• It was the capital of the Roman province of Judea.
• So, for sure, the story of Jesus of Nazareth was heard there.
• Remember also that Philip went and resided in Caesarea (Acts 8:40).
• Therefore Peter’s words, "You yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed" (v. 37).
• Testifying before King Agrippa and Governor Festus in Caesarea, Apostle Paul would later say in Acts 26:26 "For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner, i.e., in a hidden or secret place."
• Certainly, all that Jesus of Nazareth did was not done in a corner.
• But was how it done?
• Peter says "God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power" and so"He went about doing good" (v. 38a).
• In other words, Jesus of Nazareth was accredited by God. He was God’s special messenger.
• Before our Lord Jesus began His public ministry, the Bible tells us in Matthew 3:16-17 and Luke 3:21-22, that the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove at His baptism.
• Later Jesus Himself testified to the truth that He was indeed anointed with the Holy Spirit to carry out His mission and ministry.
• His own testimony in the synagogue in Nazareth is this; "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).
• This is the good the Good News proclaims to all that Jesus came to do.
• And may I say to us, we cannot measure this good in terms of money, silver or gold. It cannot be measured in material terms.
• This good can only be measured in eternal terms.
• May I and may you, be eternally grateful for the eternal good Jesus came to do on our behalf!
The seventh truth we learn about the Gospel in this passage is this:
The Good News always presents the Person of Jesus Christ as Victor over the devil (vv. 38b).
• Notice the Bible says in the last part of verse 38; "and healing or delivering all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."
• This was a good thing done by Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Lord of all.
• People were living under the oppression of Satan and He freed them.
• Jesus Christ freed people from the stranglehold of Satan in the past.
• Quoting the prophecy of Isaiah concerning Himself in the synagogue in Nazareth, our Lord spoke of setting free the oppressed. "He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18).
• Peter was an eyewitness of this gracious work of Jesus Christ. And so, here in the home of Cornelius, he spoke of it with great passion.
• But Jesus' gracious work of releasing captives didn’t end in the first century. He is still freeing men and women, boys and girls from the jaws of the thief, the devil, who has come only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10)
• The gospel stories are all about Jesus’ good work of freeing slaves to sin, slaves to Satan and slaves to self.
• In Matthew 12:28, spoke of His victorious work over the devil through the Spirit of God. "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God then the kingdom of God has come upon you."
• The woman in Luke 13:11-16 whom Jesus described as "the daughter of Abraham" was one of the many freed from the tyranny and oppression of Satan.
• In Colossians 2:15, the Lord Jesus is presented to us as One who disarmed the rulers and authorities, and made a public display of them having triumphed over them through the cross.
• There is a spiritual conflict going on, not only around us but also in peoples’ lives. This battle is real. This conflict is fierce. Satan’s determination is to devour (1 Peter 5:8). But God’s desire is to deliver us from every evil deed and bring us safely to His heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18). Jesus is the only One whose work through the power of the Person of Holy Spirit can rescue, release, deliver and free people from the oppression of the devil, the deceiver of the nations. Thanks be to God who always gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. For if the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.
• Therefore the Gospel always presents the Savior Jesus as Victor over Satan.
• Now would you please notice the word "all" in verse 38b.
• I counted twelve "all’s" in Acts 10. Half of them came from Peter’s message in verses 36-43.
• I want to emphasize the "all" in verse 38b.
• This "all" points to the fact that there was never a time when Jesus confronted Satan in a combat, a conflict or a battle and lost.
• And there will never be a time when Jesus will lose to Satan, the devil.
• In fact, when all is said and done on earth, the Bible portrays Jesus asConqueror and Victor over the serpent of old, Satan, the devil, the deceiver of the nations and the beast and the false prophet (see Revelation 19:11ff; 20:1-15).
• I have good news for you. Those of us who believe in Jesus Christ are on the side of the One who always wins His battles over the devil.
• Therefore, the Good News always and proudly presents the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ as Victor and Conqueror over the devil.
• Apostle John wrote, "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:18).
• Our Lord’s complete overpowering of Satan and his demons left no doubt in the minds of Peter and the rest of the apostles that indeed God was with Him(Acts 10:38).
• In other words, our Lord was not only anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, but also God Almighty was with Him.
• Therefore, there was no way Satan could prevail over Jesus Christ.
• For lo, the devil’s doom and defeat is sure. One little word from the mouth of Him who was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and with power shall fell him.
• We need not live in fear about the oppressive works of Satan. Why?
• The right man is on our side, a man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He, Lord Sabbaoth His name, from age to age the same, and He must win the battle- Martin Luther.
• Greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
• HALLELUIA! TO GOD BE THE GLORY GREAT THINGS HE HASDONE AND WILL DO FOR US IN GIVING US VICTORY IN JESUS!
The eighth truth presented in this passage about the Gospel is the most precious of all:
The Good News faithfully declares that Jesus Christ died on a cross (v. 39).
• Without Jesus’ death and resurrection, what do we have?
• We have no "Good News" to tell. Everything, absolutely everything hinges on these two events.
• Why? The heart of the Good News lies in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
• Before Peter spoke of Jesus’ death on the cross, and His resurrection, he said "we are witnesses of all the things Jesus of Nazareth did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem."
• It was in Jerusalem, the city of peace, that the Prince of Peace was put to death. It was there that the Author of Life, the One who is also the Resurrection was raised to life.
• Peter was speaking to these Gentiles as one of the faithful witnesses of all that Jesus did. In other words, his word can be trusted.
• This therefore implies that our faith does not rest on fable but on fact.
• Neither does our faith rest on feeling. It always rests on fact.
• Now would you please notice how Peter describes the death of Jesus.
• He said, "They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree."
• It was well known that the Jews killed people by stoning; hanging on a treewas a Roman form of execution. This was a clever move by Peter.
• While blaming the Jews, Peter also brought in the Gentiles for their share of guilt in the murder of the Son of the Living God.
• These Roman Gentiles knew that crucifixion was the most shameful way of death.
• One wonders what these Romans made of the Good News that the Lord of all had been nailed to a cross by their own troops. We do know they didn’t make fun of it. They believed it with all their heart.
• Although the Lord Jesus lived a perfect life, a sinless life before God overflowing in love and good works, delivering all who were oppressed by the devil, yet He died a shameful death at the hands of both Jews and Gentiles, clearly revealing how desperately wicked the heart of man, Jew and Gentile is.
• Therefore His death was clearly not for His sins. He had none at all.
• His death was for sinful men and women like us.
• His sacrifice of Himself was for your sins and my sins.
• Jesus died for our transgressions (Romans 4:25).
• The death that He died, He died to sin once for all (Romans 6:10).
• His death was a demonstration of God’s love toward us. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
• Therefore Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins is always central in the presentation of the Good News.
The ninth truth presented in Peter’s message about the Gospel is perhaps the most powerful of all.
The Good News passionately affirms that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead (vv. 40-41).
• Peter says although sinful men put Jesus to death, yet the Sovereign God of power ‘raised Jesus up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead..’
• We should not overlook the significance of Peter’s statement that Jesus became visible. Why?
• From the times of the apostles to the present, many have denied the plain truth of Jesus’ physical resurrection.
• The resurrection of Christ is central to Christianity. It is the greatest fact of all.
• Paul would later point out in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 the serious consequences of denying the resurrection.
• "If Christ has not been raised our faith is worthless; we are still in our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:17). Our preaching is vain (1 Corinthians 15:14).
• Those who deny Christ’s literal, physical, bodily resurrection do so to their own destruction. By denying His bodily resurrection, they destroy the only bridge spanning the gulf separating them from God.
• Peter says, not everyone had the privilege of witnessing the resurrected Christ. God chose only a few to see the Risen Christ.
• We know from in 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 that He appeared to more than 500 believers at one time.
• The resurrection sets Christianity apart from all other religions.
• We do not preach a religion with all the attendant rituals, regulations, and rules. We preach a Real, Risen, Righteous, Living Redeemer Jesus, with whom men and women, boys and girls can personally relate to and know intimately.
• Christianity does not say, "Come and observe rituals, rules, regulations."
• It does not say "Revere these relics or Perform these penances for your sins." Christianity says, "Come and meet the Risen Christ and Relate to Him."
• Peter, speaking as a faithful witness of all Jesus did and His death and resurrection, gives a further proof of Jesus’ tangible, bodily, material, and physical resurrection in these words, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
• Peter says, we ate and drank with the Risen Lord.
• This was one of the many convincing proofs the Lord Jesus gave His apostles that He was indeed alive (Acts 1:3)
• The apostles saw a real Risen Savior and ate and drank with Him.
• They didn’t see a ghost, but a living, visible Christ.
• The simple, normal, daily act of eating and drinking proves beyond doubt that Jesus is Risen indeed. In Jewish thinking angels and apparitions are unable to eat and drink being without digestive tracts.
• God chose the commonest human activities, eating and drinking to offer a further proof of our Lord’s bodily resurrection, which is central to Christianity. Only God could do such a thing.
• This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.
• God chose the most ordinary human activities to prove the greatest fact of all- the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
• Peter says, in our own minds, there was no doubt that Jesus had risen, for we had eaten and drunk with the Risen Lord.
• The Good News therefore always and confidently affirms the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
• In other words, we preach a Risen Savior. Jesus is alive. He is at the right hand of God. He is at work today in all who believe in Him. His resurrection life transforms. "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shallbe saved by His life" (Romans 5:10).
The tenth truth presented in this passage about the Gospel is sobering indeed.
The Good News solemnly declares that the Risen Christ is the One God had appointed as Judge of the living and the dead (v. 42).
• In other words, the Gospel portrays Jesus Christ as the Supreme Judge of all humanity.
• This truth clearly shows that man does not have the last word- Jesus, the Risen Lord does. This should humble us all.
• The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, "It is appointed (literally, laid up) for men to die once and after this comes judgment."
• Who is to judge men after life is over on earth?
• Let me say to us, it is not the supreme court of the world’s only superpower. It is not the world tribunal at the Hague.
• Jesus, the Righteous Judge, is He who will judge the world in righteousness.
• God is certainly not going to let men get away with the murder and rejection of His Son forever. And so Peter spoke of the judgment of the living and the dead by Judge Jesus appointed by God Himself.
• This agrees with many other Scriptures which teach that the Father has committed all judgment to the Son.
• In John 5:22, 27 the Lord Jesus Himself spoke of being the Judge. "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.… And He gave Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man."
• On Mars Hill, Apostle Paul was led by the Spirit to emphasize the fact that Jesus indeed had been appointed as Judge of all.
• He said in Acts 17:30-31, "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people every where should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man who He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
• Again, in 2 Timothy 4:1, Paul was directed by the Spirit to stress this fact.
• Writing his last letter to young Timothy, he said, "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and His kingdom."
• Other passages of Scripture which clearly teach that Jesus is the Judge are 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 1 Peter 4:5; and Revelation. 19:11ff.
• Please read them.
• Jesus, the Lord of all, the Judge of the living and the dead, will of course judge Jews and Gentiles alike.
• Jesus Christ will be to every person either deliverer or judge.
• Peter says, "And He ordered or commanded us to preach to the people" (v. 42).
• The "people" (Greek - laos) usually means Jews, but it was our Lord’s intention that they should also go to the Gentiles (cf. Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19).
• Today, people think of Jesus as a gentle and weak person. They think of the Christ as a crutch for weak people needing comfort. This is the thinking of the strong and self-sufficient people in our society. These have no use for such a weak Jesus. But how shocked they would be on that great Day of Judgment to discover that the "weakness" of Judge Jesus is far stronger and mightier than their strength! Jesus will indeed take His judgment seat on the Day of Judgment and will render righteous judgment.
• Therefore the Good News presents Him as the Supreme Judge of all.
• Are you prepared to meet this Judge? Will it be well with you on His Great Day of judgment?
The eleventh truth presented in the conclusion of Peter’s message is the most promising of all.
The Good News promises that everyone who believes in the name of Jesus receives forgiveness of sins (v. 43).
• This is one of the most blessed promises of the Gospel of God.
• How thankful I am personally for this promise.
• Please notice very carefully that Peter does not linger on a note of judgment in this message.
• Instead he quickly introduces a grand and glorious statement of the grace of God to whoever will accept and apply it wholeheartedly to his or her life.
• Grace, not judgment is now being offered to all.
• Instead of executing His judgment immediately upon us, God is giving people, that is you and I, a chance, an opportunity to change our ways.
• And so, in the Spirit, Peter says "Of Him, [that is, Jesus, the Lord of all, the Judge of the living and the dead] all the prophets (cf. Acts 3:18; Luke 24:47) bear witness" (v. 43).
• First of all, this verse speaks of the uniqueness of the Person of Jesus.
• Jesus Christ is the only One of whom it is written "of Him all the prophets bear witness." The uniqueness of Jesus Christ is being revealed in these words. The Supreme Lord of all, the Supreme Judge of all, is indeed Unique.
• The apostles were not the only witnesses of Jesus Christ; so also were all the prophets.
• And what was their witness bearing about?
• It was that through Jesus’ name (that is, by His power and authority)everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.
• In other words, it is through the authority of this Unique Person, Jesus the Savior of all that salvation is freely offered to every one who believes in Him.
• Isaiah 53:11, Jeremiah 31:34, and Zechariah 13:1 were among those who spoke of the forgiveness Messiah would bring.
• Everyone who believes will receive remission of sins.
• The hymn writer Thomas O. Chisholm speaks of forgiveness of sins in these words, "Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth. Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide, strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!"
• Certainly, forgiveness of our sins is one of those many blessings we receive freely from God.
• Although Jew and Gentile alike deserved to be judged for their sins against God, God in His manifold, marvelous, matchless grace provided the way for us to avoid and escape His judgment. This is truly pure grace.
• You and I deserve condemnation and judgment. But God out of His great love for us is holding back His judgment and patiently offers salvation.
• Have you received this offer of salvation? If not, why not?
• What is holding you back?
• If you have, are you moved to share it with others or are you just sitting on it? Are you keeping for yourself what you are not called to keep for yourself?
• The last recorded line of Peter’s message is essential.
• Would you please notice these four important parts of the last line.
• The first crucial part is "through His name."
• This reminds us again of Jesus’ indispensable role in our salvation.
• "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
• The second critical part is "everyone."
• This should not be overlooked. Why?
• It points to the universal offer of saving grace.
• In other words, it is not an offer to Israel alone, but takes in all the world.
• Everyone, Jew or Gentile is included in this offer.
• The third critical component is "Who believes in Him."
• This teaches that the means of receiving, partaking, experiencing, enjoying saving grace is faith alone in Christ Jesus alone.
• Saving grace is obtained by placing one’s trust in the Person of Jesus (John 3:14-17; 6:69; Acts 11:17;13:39; 14:23; 15:9; 19:4; Romans 10:11; Ephesians 2:8-9).
• Would you like to know the forgiveness of sins? Then believe in Jesus!
• Personal faith, individual trust in Jesus is emphasized here as the only means of obtaining salvation. My mother’s faith will not save me. Nor will my faith save my mother. We each must personally believe in Jesus.
• The vital thing is to personally believe in Jesus - not just to give a mentalassent to words of a sermon but to wholeheartedly trust the living Christ of God.
• The fourth and final part is "Receives forgiveness of sins."
• This speaks of the marvelous, unspeakable privilege conferred by saving grace on everyone who believes, whether Jew or Gentile.
• This is the main theme of the Good News- salvation or forgiveness of sins comes through Jesus Christ to anyone from any nation who believes in Him. "In every nation the man who fears Him … everyone who believes"
• What a wonderful message God has given us to tell in the nations!
• It is indeed a universal message. It is a message for all time and for all people.
• Revelation 5:9 throws further light on the truthfulness of what Peter preached on that day.
• There we are given a glimpse of the fruit of the sacrificial and saving work of Jesus Christ in every nation. "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation."
• The words of the blessed hymn "The Church’s One Foundation," "The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. She is His new creation by water and the word. From heaven He came and sought her, to be His holy bride and with His own blood He bought her and for her life He died. Electfrom ev’ry nation, Yet one o’er all the earth…," also agree with the main theme of the Good News.
• This was the message Peter brought to the Gentiles gathered in the house of Cornelius on that memorable day.
• Though Peter’s message was simple, it was strikingly powerful.
• The Person of the Holy Spirit manifested Himself just as He did on Pentecost. A "Gentile Pentecost" occurred in Caesarea. Those who believed received Him in all His power and majesty. Simple faith, not law-keeping, circumcision, or any other ordinance or ritual was the means by which salvation and the Spirit were received then. The same applies for today.
• Salvation and the Spirit’s presence and power are available for those who believe.
• The saving message of the Good News or the Gospel is centered on thePerson of the Lord Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done for the salvation of people from every nation.
• In other words, the Gospel is the presentation of the life of the Person of Jesus to show His saving significance for all people and to call them to faith in Him.
• It is the saving work of God in His Son Jesus Christ and a call to faith in Him. Faith is more than intellectual agreement to a theoretical truth. Faith is trust placed in a living person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So what does all this mean for you and for me?
It means everything for you and me. It means God is offering to you His best gift in the Person of Jesus Christ. This gift is called salvation from sin. This is what the Gospel is about - the joyous good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. The Bible makes it clear that we are all sinners. You are a sinner and I am a sinner. You need and I need to be saved from our sins. I have accepted this gift. And you can also. By placing your trust completely in the living Person of Jesus Christ, this gift can be yours. Simply express your full trust in Jesus by telling God from your heart that, you humbly accept the fact that you are a sinner, one who has wronged a holy, loving and righteous God. Ask Him with all sincerity of heart to forgive all your sins against Him on the basis of what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. And thank God for His love and willingness, not only to offer you this gift of salvation in Jesus Christ but also actually saving you to become His child, and a part of His family.
If you have sincerely done this, you will not be the same. God will begin a work of changing you to become more like Jesus Christ. God will give you His Spirit to live in you and to teach you His ways. He will also give you a desire to know Him more and more. He will also give you a hunger to renew your way of thinking through the reading and study of His word, the Bible. You will also want to be with others who have this gift and learn from them.
If you have any question about this gift, please write to us. We will be glad and honored to guide you in your experience of this most precious gift of all.
We Proclaim Jesus.