Up to this time the Gospel had been preached only to the Jews, Samaritans who observed the Law of Moses, and converts to Judaism. The Apostles seemed to think that the Gentiles had to be circumcised before they could be accepted into the Church. However, God soon made it plain that the Gospel message was to all men. In this lesson we learn that, by an extraordinary series of events, an orthodox Jew is witnessing to a Roman centurion. It was God’s divine orchestration that caused this unusual occurrence.
- What spiritual attributes did Cornelius, the Roman centurion, exhibit that caused God to take note of his life (Acts 10:2)? What conclusions can be drawn about the type of person this man was?
- Peter had a vision of a sheet which was let down from Heaven. In the sheet were all kinds of animals that were considered by the Jews to be unclean, but God revealed to Peter that they had been cleansed. God used this to open his understanding that the Gentiles were to be full beneficiaries of God’s graces. Why is this revelation of such great importance to us?
- We see the moving of the Holy Spirit throughout this entire account. He moved in Cornelius’ house in Caesarea, and then at the house in which Peter was staying in Joppa—He instructed Cornelius to send for Peter, and told Peter to return with Cornelius’ servants. What is the limit to which God will go to reach a hungry soul? Relate an experience in your own life or in the life of an acquaintance wherein the Holy Spirit has worked in a special way in this regard.
- Why would it have been natural for Peter and the Jews who went with him to hesitate to go into Cornelius’ house? See Acts 10:28 and Leviticus 20:26.
- As Peter preached Jesus to Cornelius and his house, they received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Verse 34 of our text states, “God is no respecter of persons.” In the context of Peter’s statement, what is the significance of this verse? Name several souls who would have been lost if Jesus had not reached out to them, even though others thought they were not worthy.
- Paul the Apostle recognized the universality of the Gospel call, and this was reflected in his words to the Romans. He told them, “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call on him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12-13). Elaborate on the ways the Lord is “rich” to anyone who comes to Him in honest repentance.
- Read Matthew 28:19-20, and note here the phrase which ties these two verses to the theme of this lesson. Think of a story or conversion experience of someone you know about which illustrates this theme.