Faithlife Sermons

Accepted in Christ (2)

Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Peter’s journeys
Read Acts 10:1-29, 34-48

The problem: Division and Distinction

How can God accept the prayers and offerings of an uncircumcised foreigner?
Mosaic law (See Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 20:7; Leviticus 20:26; Leviticus 21:8)
Seperate - Ezra 10:11, Leviticus 11
Strangers, aliens, outsiders - Excluded from the full acceptance into the people of God
What if they converted to Judaism? (Torah, ceremonial laws, circumcision, Baptism)
Rules for strangers/foreigners - Exodus 12:48, Exodus 22:21, Exodus 23:12
Still, there was division and distinction - even within Judaism
Sanctity (sanctify, consecrate, sacred)
levels of sanctity: sex (male vs female), nationality (gentile vs Jew), physical (deformity, sores, injury), circumstancial (touched an unclean thing, ate an unclean thing, menstrating, given birth, etc.), tribal and professional (Levite, priest, dress and ceremonial cleansing)
Further, how could Cornelius, and uncircumcised gentile, have fellowship with the Church of Jesus Christ, who were Jewish?
Couldn’t eat together which was the epitome of fellowship.
Division and distinction from sin, from custom, culture and religion.
“wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14) - between both God and man, and man and man

God has come to those who couldn’t come to Him

God came to Cornelius (v.1-8), that He might gain a full realization of the seed faith he had demonstrated - His prayers and alms of faith had ascended to God because he had a mediator that had first descended for him
God, in His mercy, sent His son for us
Phil 2
John 3:16-17
Ephesians 2:8-10 - Grace is God doing what we could not. Him coming to us when we could never reach Him. Him mercifully granting us faith in the midst of our sinfulness and darkness. (Romans 5:8-10)
If God the Son can come from heaven to earth for us, from eternity to the time and space of earth, from divinity to humanity, from eternal life to a death on the cross for our sins - there is noone outside His reach.
Do you feel like you have gone too far? Like the love of God cannot reach you? Deliver you? Cleanse you from your sin?
Is there someone you love that seems too far for God to reach?
God can enter the darkest place. That’s what He came to do!
Even Jesus’s line included a prostitute from Jericho and a Moabite widow. (Rahab and Ruth)
He comes to those who can’t go to Him.

God has erased distinctions and divisions

They had a purpose:
To show the Holiness of God
To preserve the line of Messiah through which God would fulfill His promises
To reveal to mankind their inability to earn divine forgiveness and favor
Romans 7:13
Galatians 3:24
Now Christ has come, they have served their purpose
Peter is shown this by the divine vision, and testifies to the fact
Acts 10:9-16 - four-footed animals, creeping things, and birds of the air are now permissable to eat - dietary restrictions lifted and liberty in Christ secured
He is now, therefore permitted to invite in, to go and even eat with the Gentiles who will receive him (v.19-20, 28, 34-35)
One message, One way of salvation, One Spirit, One Baptism!
Distinctions erased! *Ephesians 2:11-20, Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11
Dividing wall of hostility torn down! Now one in Christ!
No longer seperate but unified
No longer excluded, but included
No longer strangers, aliens and outsiders but now family and citizens of the kingdom of God in Christ
No longer far off, but brought near
No longer objects of wrath, at war with God and men but at peace.
No longer without hope and without God, but filled with hope and with God!
What does this look like for us?
It didn’t mean there was no actual distinction (males still males, females still females, etc.)
What it does mean is exactly what it meant for Peter and Cornelius
Those who used to be enemies, or at least strangers, are now at peace with each other in Christ. They are unified.
They are now the same in the way that matters most - Jew and Gentile still, but more importantly they are both strangers in this sinful world, called out unto God’s Kingdom as His people and sojourners on their way home.
They have their papers, and are looking forward to the destination of Glory where they will be with God and each other in eternal paradise.
Are you weary on this journey? Remember you aren’t home yet! There is rest to come! Stop looking to the things of this world, to the works of your hands, to the temporary divisions and distinctions for peace. They will bring none! Let them instead, turn your gaze unto the God who loves you and provided for your eternal soul.
If God makes no distinction, niether should we!
What opportunity we have to show forth the power and glory of Christ! What potential for the gospel to shine!
Search deep in your heart friends, and wherever you find any divisive attitude, any prejudice, hatred, or devaluing of others that are different than you - you must repent.
Take the mind of Christ and of Stephen and seek to pray for them, that they may become brothers and sisters, family and fellow citizens in Christ Jesus - that He may receive the Glory He has purchased with His life.
God, in Christ, has erased the dividing walls of hostility and brought all who will repent and believe in Christ into everlasting union with Himself and with each other. He has replaced wrath with favor, and hostility with love.

God sanctifies the unholy and common

By the atoning blood of Christ He has sanctified, set apart, made sacred that which was unclean
Titus 3:5-7 - washing of the new birth, and renewal by the Holy Spirit!
The atoning sacrifice for sin on the cross - cleanses us from sin!
The Seal of the Spirit of God
The proclaimation and affirmation of Baptism
“What I have called clean, do not call uncommon”
On the merits of Christ, you, and they are accepted.
Divisions and distinctions
hurts often cause division don’t they
hurt by the church, by a woman, by some ethnic group or by police
all made in God’s image, all equally sinful
all, by the grace of God in Christ, potential family
None too Far
God cleanses that which is corrupted - He can cleanse you.
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