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The Scriptorium

Among Gentiles

The door cracks open. Acts 10.24-33

The Gospel to the Gentiles: Acts 10 (4)

Pray Psalm 67.1-3.
God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.

Sing Psalm 67.1-3.
(Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
O bless us, Savior, by Your grace, and shine upon us with Your face,
that we Your way may loud proclaim and tell to all the earth Your fame!
Refrain v. 3 (5)
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word!
Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

Read Acts 10.1-33; meditate on verses 24-33.

Preparation
1. How did Peter react upon entering Cornelius’ home?

2. How did Cornelius explain his summoning Peter?

Meditation
How thoughtful of Cornelius to gather a group of family and friends for the occasion (vv. 24, 27) – more of God’s sovereignty at work. We see the piety and humanity of both Cornelius and Peter as they meet, the one bowing as to worship, the other lifting him and saying that they are both men (vv. 25, 26). Peter seems to have been making some progress in understanding the Lord’s will in this situation, as we see in verses 28 and 29.

Cornelius explained what gave rise to this occasion, as Peter listened intently, doubtless reflecting on his own experience two days previous. Cornelius still didn’t know what Peter had been summoned to tell him, but he and his family and friends were all present, like some scene out of Agatha Christie, for the reveal that Peter would give. But Peter still didn’t know why he was there (v. 29). He needed more information from Cornelius, and Cornelius was happy to oblige (vv. 30-33).

The ongoing work of Christ, advancing His Kingdom against darkness and the lie, is a process. We don’t need to know the whole story of what God wants to do with us; we just need to know what’s next, what God requires of us today, in this moment. Because, as we obey every next step the Lord shows us, the drama of redemption moves forward toward some denouement in our lives or in the life of someone in our Personal Mission Field.

Peter and Cornelius are finally together, yet neither one knows why, except that God had spoken to each. Everything will become clear in just a few moments.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Cornelius and his relatives and friends were an interesting bunch of people. They were Old Testament believers, but not children of Israel. In fact, the antithesis. Gentiles.

But he was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.” (Acts 10.2) To say the least, amazing. Where did he go to church? Who accepted him into their group? How did he do all his acts of mercy? What was his training in all things religious?

But God, in His mercy and ever-watchful care, saw Cornelius, and said to him through the angel, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.” (Acts 10.4)

Whatever Cornelius already knew about God; he had no idea about salvation through Jesus or the gift of the Holy Spirit. He was merely looking for another good thing to do. “Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.” (Acts 10.33) At best, a new “To Do” list.

Cornelius and his relatives and friends are in for the best surprise of their lives! The best gift ever. It isn’t another thing for them to do, but a Savior to rescue them from themselves. The very same gift given to the Jewish people has now been given to the Gentiles. And they are the First Family! The recipients of every good gift shown to The Originals, now belong to them. Never again to be thought of as common or unclean.

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Is. 1.18). “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Ps. 51.2). “…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word…” (Eph. 5.25, 26). “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1.9).

This was a specific New Testament message sent to Old Testament Gentiles. An oxymoron? An anomaly? No. Just God at work in His Personal Mission Field drawing all people unto Himself.  “And I, if I AM lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (Jn. 12.32).

ALL.

For reflection

1. Do you think God might be preparing the hearts of some people in your Personal Mission Field, to make them open to hearing the Good News of Jesus? Explain.

2. What might be your next step in reaching out to someone with the Gospel?

3. How should you pray for the lost people in your Personal Mission Field? What do you expect God to do in them? In you?

Cornelius invites, but on the admonition of the angel; Peter goes down and meets the messengers, but instructed by a vision. On the one side was a glowing eagerness for the grace of the gospel; on the other an alacrity and promptitude on the part of one who thirsted for the salvation of all races. Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), Paraphrase of Acts 10:23. 22

Pray Psalm 67.4-7.
Pray for the nations of the world, that the Lord might send a fresh wave of Gospel witness over them all, and that multitudes might believe and be saved.

Sing Psalm 67.4-7.
(Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
Let all the nations gladly sing, and joyous praise before You bring;
You judge them by Your holy worth and guide the nations of the earth.
Refrain v. 3 (5)
Let all the peoples praise You, Lord, rejoicing in Your holy Word!
Rejoicing in Your holy Word!

The earth in full its bounty yields – the blessed harvest of the fields.
We gather blessings from Your Word that all the earth may fear You, Lord.
Refrain

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

Have you mapped out your Personal Mission Field? Watch this brief video, then download the worksheet and get started. Our monthly Personal Mission Field Workshop is chock-full of helpful suggestions for doing the ongoing work of Christ day by day.

If you find Scriptorium helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this daily ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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