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The Gentile Veteran Soldier

Text: Acts 10:1-6



Introduction:

The early church has seen a great move of God, and many people have been saved, but up until now there had not been a effort to reach the Gentiles.


The 3000 that were saved at Pentecost ...they were all Jews.


The 5000 that were saved a couple of chapters later …they were all Jews.


The Jews felt it was a defilement to be with, eat with, or even talk to a Gentile.


When Jews would return from a Gentile city, they would stop an take off their sandals and knock them together to get the Gentile dust off! They wouldn’t eat Gentile foods or any food that was prepared by a Gentile.


Mark 16:15 tells us, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”


THAT INCLUDED THE GENTILES!


Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”


THAT INCLUDED THE GENTILES!


Revelation 7:9-10, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.


THAT INCLUDED THE GENTILES!


So, since God in His sovereignty decided to save some from every tongue, tribe, and nation, this wall of prejudice would have to come down, and it did here in the 10th chapter of Acts.


1.  Cornelius was a DEVOUT man.


Why was he a good man, or a devout man? We know that Cornelius had turned away from paganism and idol worship, which was rampant in the Roman empire. He had not been converted to Judaism yet, but he was a step closer to it.


Cornelius was a devout man. He had turned away from the idol of money, idol of paganism, and the idols of pleasure. He was a good man, moral man, and a religious man, but he wasn’t saved.


We also need to understand that being a good and devout person doesn’t save anyone, only repentance of sin and turning to Christ can save a person.

2.  Cornelius was a GOD-FEARING man.


Cornelius lived up to the truth he had. When more truth was given, he responded to it instantly. He did not yet know Christ, but he feared God. If he did not yet know the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit certainly knew him and describes him as a devout, God-fearing man.


I also find it interesting that the Bible says, “He feared God with all his house.” This veteran soldier taught his family to also fear God, instead of worshipping the pagan gods of Greece and Rome.


Cornelius was a good person, and a God-fearing person, and a man that believed in leading his family, but he was still lost in his sin.

3.  Cornelius was a GENEROUS man.


A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people" (v. 2),


Cornelius was a very charitable man. And as believers, we ought to be charitable; but it is important to note that being a charitable person does not save you either. You can give all your money away to charity and still go to hell. Being charitable won’t save you.


You cannot buy your way to heaven. I believe a believer ought to tithe, but you should only tithe out of obedience to God’s command to do so, but never trusting in your giving to save you from hell.

4.  Cornelius was a PRAYING man.


Acts 10:3-4, “He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”


The ninth hour was three o’clock in the afternoon, the very hour Jesus had died, the time of the evening sacrifice, and the hour for public prayer in the Temple.


The appearance of the angel frightened this Roman veteran, but his alarm was immediately stilled. The angel knew his name and knew about his spiritual exercise. He told Cornelius that his prayers and alms had ascended to God like the fragrance of the Hebrew burnt offering.


God takes note of all of these things in the life of Cornelius. He was a good, devout, God-fearing, giving, praying man but none of these things could save Cornelius.


Cornelius was following the light he had but God is going to send him to a place and to a man that will show him what he lacks for salvation.


Acts 10:5-6, “And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.”


God is getting ready to use Peter to get the gospel to the Gentiles. Peter is right where God wants him in Joppa staying with Simon, a tanner, who deals with dead animals. According to Old Testament law, Simon should be considered unclean.


At the end of chapter 9 of Acts, it says, “And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

Now here is an important point. The fact that Peter was willing to dwell with a tanner reveals that he, unlike many other Jews, was already altering his views with reference to Old Testament ceremonial laws. He was therefore the ideal person through whom to convey the gospel to the Gentiles.


No doubt there’s some listening right now, and you’re seeking, and God loves you so much that He’s made sure you are hearing this at this very moment…He’s sending the truth you’re looking for, but you must choose to repent and turn to Christ.


Maybe you’ve assumed you WERE saved because of good works, good intentions, or just having a good heart, could I encourage you to repent of your sin and turn to Christ?


You have no ability of yourself to save yourself, only Jesus can save you!