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The Scriptorium

Aha!

God is not partial. Nor should we be. Acts 10.34-41

The Gospel to the Gentiles: Acts 10 (5)

Pray Psalm 22.23.
You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!

Sing Psalm 22.23.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.

Read Acts 10.1-41; meditate on verses 34-41.

Preparation
1. What did Peter come to realize?

2. How did Peter describe himself?

Meditation
“OK, now I’ve got it.” Peter finally put it all together – Cornelius’ vision, his vision, his being sent for in Joppa. It all fell together in one sweet “Aha!” moment for the chief of the apostles. He blurted out what to him was the meaning of all this: God’s salvation is offered to people from all nations.

God, Peter explained, is not a God of partiality (v. 34). Verse 35 might be a little confusing, as it seems to indicate that God accepts us because of our works. But Peter is thinking after the fact, as it were – after believing, all who prove their faith by fearing God and doing good are accepted by Him, for being accepted by Him is the only way any of us can live this way.

Peter can’t resist a little pique in the presence of this Roman Centurion: “He is Lord of all” (v. 36). And since He is Lord, Caesar is not. That conviction will cost believers a great deal of suffering for the next two-and-a-half centuries.

The facts of Jesus’ earthly ministry would have been familiar to the people in Caesarea. They would have heard of Jesus, about the good works He did, and the power of God that was upon Him, but not about salvation or the Spirit or what any of this means. Peter emphasized the larger, spiritual backdrop for the work Christ began to do, and that was now ongoing – to overthrow and replace the dominion of the devil with good works and healing by the Spirit of the Lord (vv. 37, 38). Peter was getting revved up, and we can feel his enthusiasm growing as the lights came on in his soul and the prospects for the Gospel grew larger than ever in his mind (vv. 40, 41).

Peter was doing something quite extraordinary in sharing with this Gentile in his home. There will be ramifications. But we can see, in Luke’s account thus far, that God has been preparing for this moment. Peter did not hesitate to proclaim the Gospel, once he understood the situation for what it was. We need more of Peter’s understanding, boldness, and resolve in our own work of evangelism.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Partiality is defined as unfair bias in favor of one thing or person compared with another. Also known as favoritism.

And now we are told that God shows no partiality (Acts 10.34). To anyone.

From the very start, God has not shown preference to the rich or the poor. In Exodus we are taught that “everyone…from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the LORD. The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the LORD …” (Ex. 30.15) Seems fair.

And God does not show preference based on looks. “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORDlooks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16.7). Seems good.

And now God is not showing partiality, even toward His Own special people. The apple of His eye. (Deut. 32.10; Zech. 2.8) He is welcoming Gentiles to the Feast. (1 Cor. 5.7, 8)

Paul confirms this, saying, “God shows personal favoritism to no man.” (Gal. 2.6) “For the love of Christ compels us, because…He died for all…” (1 Cor. 5.14, 15).

God shows no partiality or favoritism. Therefore, we should do the same. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (Jms. 3.17). Seems fair.

“I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality” (1 Tim. 5.21). Seems good.

God’s inclusivity is all of grace. Love. Mercy. All are His people; all the sheep of His pasture (Ps. 100.3). And we all, are now free to pray with David, “Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand, O You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
hide me under the shadow of Your wings…” (Ps. 17.7, 8).

“Aha! Now, I’ve got it!”

For reflection

1. God is not partial when it comes to salvation. Wby should we keep this in mind as we work our Personal Mission Field?

2. Do you think the people in your Personal Mission Field have heard about Jesus? Have you asked them?

3. How should you pray for the lost people in your Personal Mission Field?

These words of Peter have one sense or meaning . . . namely, that whether they are Jews or Gentiles, circumcised or uncircumcised, the important thing is that they fear God, believe in Christ Jesus and do right. Thus they are God’s children, well pleasing to him and heirs of his kingdom, according to the promise which he gave to Abraham saying, “In your seed” (which is Christ) “shall all the heathen be blessed.” Dirk Philips (1504-1568), The Enchiridion: The New Birth and the New Creature. 6

Pray Psalm 22.24-28.
Pray for a worldwide revival of spiritual life in the churches of the Lord, and for a great awakening on a universal scale as believers renew their witness for the Lord.

Sing Psalm 22.24-28.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
For He has not despised the anguish of our King,
nor from Him hid His eyes, Who knew such suffering.
Let praise arise from all who love and serve the Ruler of the skies!

Then all the poor shall eat and praise with us the Lord.
Forever we His praise repeat and trust His Word.
Praise God above, all you who keep His vows and who His mercies love!

All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord;
all those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King!  His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!

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 the Scriptorium 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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