THE GOSPEL OF PEACE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST BRINGS FORGIVENESS OF SINS TO ANYONE WHO BELIEVES – EVEN UNCIRCUMCISED GENTILES
(:34-35) INTRODUCTION: NO PARTIALITY IN SALVATION
“And opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him.’”
Some verses are so important that even though you are doing a verse-by-verse and paragraph-by-paragraph preaching through the text, they must be included in two sermons. These two verses are the crucial bridge – the transition in Peter’s interaction with Cornelius and his household. Last week we learned that “Jesus Christ Opens the Door of God’s Grace to All Men on an Equal Footing Without Restriction.” We continue that same theme as Peter delivers his watershed address with the emphasis on “No Partiality in Salvation.”
This was a tough pill for the proud, nationalistic Jews to swallow. Surely you can’t be talking about the uncircumcised Gentiles? Peter’s response is a great summary of the Gospel message. When it comes to witnessing and explaining the gospel to unbelievers, most of us are familiar with a few common tools: maybe we have used Evangelism Explosion; probably the Romans Road comes to mind; perhaps we have a presentation focused around John 3 and the story of Nicodemus or maybe we go to 1 Cor. 15 for a listing of the fundamental points of the gospel. I am going to suggest that we could just as easily center our witnessing around this passage which lays out the Gospel of Peace through Jesus Christ.
Bock: The phrase “in every nation” is placed forward in the Greek sentence for emphasis (Rom. 3:29).
THE GOSPEL OF PEACE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST BRINGS FORGIVENESS OF SINS TO ANYONE WHO BELIEVES – EVEN UNCIRCUMCISED GENTILES
Some people have a defeatist attitude and have resigned themselves to thinking that they are beyond the long arm of God’s grace. Somehow they are in a category of sin and depravity where God has written them off and they cannot possibly receive forgiveness of sins. This message speaks to those despondent folks and encourages believers to bring the Good News of God’s saving grace to everyone without prejudice.
Who doesn’t want Peace? Peace in their relationship with God instead of enmity and wrath and condemnation. Peace in their wrestling against the bondage of sin so that they experience victory and joy rather than defeat and despair. Peace in their relationships with others because they have learned how to humble themselves and set aside their own rights and renounce selfishness and pride in order to be a channel for the love of Jesus Christ to others.
Great message for Easter Week!!
(:36) SUMMARY: THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
A. Authoritative Message from God
“The word which He sent”
Everything starts with an understanding of divine revelation – if you don’t believe that God has spoken or you don’t think He speaks with authority – then who cares about the content of the message!
Logos = name for Jesus in John 1; John the Baptist sent to bear witness as forerunner
Word for sent is same word from which we get apostle – one who is sent to bear witness as an authoritative messenger of God
B. Dispensational Distinctives
“to the sons of Israel,” — distinct from the church
God worked through the nation of Israel in a special way in the OT – and still will complete His plan for the nation – involves many precious promises – but not there is a dispensational switch as the gospel comes on an equal footing to the Gentiles (Romans 9-11)
Message of salvation came to the Gentiles through the Jews
C. Heart of the Gospel Message
“preaching peace through Jesus Christ”
What do we all want? Peace – yet enmity exists between God and man since Adam
Who alone can give us Peace?
How do we obtain that Peace?
Is. 9:6 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” – Prophecy of the coming Messiah
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” – Song of the multitude of angels at the birth of Christ
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”
Rom. 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
Col. 1:20 “and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross”
Bock: This is the concept of shalom from the OT (Pss. 29:11; 72:7; 85:8-10; Prov. 3:17; Isa. 48:18; 54:10; Ezek. 34:25-29), a well-being of relationship between the person and God, which now seems to express itself in peace between people as well (Eph. 2:11-22). The idea of preaching peace recalls OT ideas (Isa. 52:7; Nah. 1:15).
Piper: We have peace with God only when his anger at us because of our sins is put away, and replaced by peace.
D. Lordship of Christ
“(He is Lord of all) —”
Don’t make any mistake about His dominion and rule (Rom. 10:12; Acts 2:36).
Wiersbe: not just Lord of Israel. From the very founding of the nation of Israel, God made it clear that the blessing would be from Israel to the whole world (Gen. 12:1-3).
No Peace if Jesus is not Lord – the flesh wages war against the Spirit; the kingdom of God is at enmity with the kingdom of Satan; you cannot be a friend of the world and a friend of God – you must be submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ to experience the precious peace He came to offer
Piper: He is universal Ruler. He is not a mere local prophet or a tribal deity or a Jewish teacher. He is Lord of the universe and everything in it—Lord of all.
This salvation is available to all without restriction
FOUR FUNDAMENTAL THEMES OF GOSPEL WITNESS
I. (:37-39a) WITNESSES TO THE LIFE AND MINISTRY OF JESUS OF NAZARETH
A. Geographic Focus: Judea / Galilee / land of the Jews / Jerusalem
“you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee,”
“both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem.”
Theology rooted in History
B. Starting Point for Ministry = Ministry of John the Baptist
“after the baptism which John proclaimed.”
this passage bracketed by the baptism administered by John and then the baptism of the household of Cornelius
History has a Chronology
C. Humanity of Jesus = Jesus of Nazereth
“You know of Jesus of Nazareth,”
Nothing hidden or secretive about His life
Fulfilled OT prophecies every step of the way
D. Divine Anointing of Jesus
“how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power,”
Word for Messiah = Anointed one
Holy Spirit always associated with power in the book of Acts
Is. 61 reference – read by Jesus in the synagogue in Luke 4:18
Enablement is the focus here
Happened at baptism by John – “This is my beloved Son”
E. Ministry of Good Works and Healing and Righteousness
“and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil;”
the diabolical one
Yet look at all of the opposition and persecution – especially from religious leaders
Piper: Jesus is stronger than the devil. Jesus rescues people who are oppressed and harassed and tormented and tempted by the devil. Peter lifts up this truth. He wants Cornelius and his family—and us—to know this and believe it and experience it. When the Holy Spirit comes, he comes to make Jesus real as a deliverer from satanic oppression.
We do not think much about the power of the devil and how he presently is oppressing people
F. Key Enablement
“for God was with Him.”
Do you have the sense that God is with you and enabling your ministry?
Gen. 39:2 “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man.”
G. Apostolic Witnesses
“And we are witnesses of all the things He did”
What don’t you understand or believe about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ?
II. (:39b-41) WITNESSES TO THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD
A. Crucifixion of Jesus
“And they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.”
Bock: an allusion to Deut. 21:22-23 and the cursed death that Jesus experienced from the Jewish point of view (Acts 5:30 and Gal. 3:13 are other uses of this phrase).
B. Resurrection of Jesus
“God raised Him up on the third day”
Parallel to Jonah
C. Post Resurrection Appearances
“and granted that He should become visible,”
God did not have to provide this additional verification; could have taken His Son directly back to heaven
D. Apostolic Witnesses
“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.”
Reminds you of the detailed listing in 1 Cor. 15
Fact that God does not show partiality does not mean that God does not choose specific individuals for specific purposes – no contradiction here; everyone not chosen to be one of the apostles – only a select band of 12; wider circle than that saw Jesus in His post resurrection appearances – but only those chosen by God
What don’t you understand or believe about the death and resurrection of the Son of God?
III. (:42) WITNESSES TO THE COMING AGAIN OF THE JUDGE OF ALL MEN
“And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.”
Here comes the Judge! Standing at the door – Don’t be a man pleaser or be driven by peer pressure
Great Commission reference – “laos” – usually a reference to the Jewish people
Matt. 10:32-36 ”Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
All judgment has been entrusted to the Son – John 5:24-29
What don’t you understand or believe about the Second Coming of the Judge of all the earth?
IV. (:43) WITNESSES TO THE AVAILABILITY OF SALVATION THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST
“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
Toussaint: This message of forgiveness of sins (cf. 2:38; 5:31; 13:38; 26:18) through faith in the Messiah was spoken of by the prophets (e.g., Isa. 53:11; Jer. 31:34; Ezek. 36:25-26).
Finishes at the same point where he had started the message – God shows no partiality – no restriction regarding what type of person can be saved – only Believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins
What don’t you understand or believe about the free offer of God’s abundant grace?
What type of witnesses are we to God’s grace and power and love and salvation?
Ephes 6:15 “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” – we put on the armor of God for a purpose – that we might play our role as witnesses to the reality of Jesus Christ and His claims on the life and loyalty of every person
The Good News of the gospel is that Jesus Christ can bring Peace to you today. He came the first time – not to bring judgment but to offer salvation. God makes this offer without prejudice. He excludes no group of people and shows no partiality. Whoever will believe will be saved.
But the warning is that this same Jesus is coming again as Judge of the living and the dead. It will be too late then to take advantage of God’s gracious offer of forgiveness of sins and fellowship with Him for all eternity. The wrath of God will fall on all without prejudice or discrimination as well. There will be no excuses or special exceptions.
MacArthur: Why does a man wanna live in rebellion against God when he can have peace with God? Why does a man wanna live in rebellion with himself when he can have peace with himself? Why does a man wanna live in rebellion with his family and his friends when he can have peace? It’s all available. In fact, that’s what we’re here to tell ya. In 2 Corinthians chapter 5, listen to these verses. “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself.” In other words, He’s made peace with us. We were cut off. The gulf was there, but Jesus threw the bridge down and across it we came, and we made peace with God. He says, “He has reconciled the world to Himself by Jesus Christ. To wit, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.”…