Roughly 8 years had passed from the death and resurrection of Christ to the encounter between Peter and Cornelius in Acts Chapter 10. Thousands had come to Christ, the Holy Spirit was powerfully moving, and the Church was walking with power, they had a plan and a purpose. But up till now there was still a lid on the Church. God was about to take the lid off and unleash the Gospel powerfully into the world by removing barriers, and truly unleashing the Church.
THREE CHARACTERS IN THIS GOSPEL STORY
CORNELIUS- NEEDED AN ANSWER, just didn’t know it. (Acts 10:1-10)
“At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, ‘Cornelius!’ 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.’”
PETER- HAD THE ANSWER, but wouldn’t give it. (Acts 10:9-33)
“Then a voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ 14 ‘Surely not, Lord!’ Peter replied. ‘I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’ 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.”
FOUR BARRIERS GOD HAD TO SHATTER
#1. He breaks down our RESENTMENTS.
Gentile = Unclean, Unholy
Roman = Capture
Centurion = Military
#2. He breaks down our PREJUDICES.
#3. He challenges our PRECONCEIVED IDEAS of who can be a Christian.
#4. He attacks our PERSONAL areas of PRIDE. (vs. 14)
"‘Surely not, Lord!’ Peter replied. ‘I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’"
Phil. 3:7 “Whatever was to my profit…I now consider loss.”
JESUS- IS THE ANSWER and gives it FREELY to ALL. (Acts 10:34-48)
Acts 10:27-29 “Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: ‘You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.’”
Acts 10:34-38 “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right.’”
Further study: Reaction of church leaders- Acts 11:15-17
“…if God gave them the same gift as He gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?" (vs. 17)
Our Mission: Colonial Woods exists to develop fully committed disciples through CHANGED LIVES.
With that, we believe the following eight characteristics to be the evidence of a changed life: Worship, Prayer, God's Word, Transformation, Outreach, Biblical Community, Ministry and Stewardship.
In uncertain days like these, we believe our mission and these characteristics help provide that solid foundation that is so necessary in a good church home--a place where we can know we are loved and accepted just the way we are, a place committed to Biblical truth and it's application for today's challenges, a place where we can find support and family, a place where our kids can get the right moral and spiritual teaching and yet still have fun, and a place where we can walk together in the lifelong process of becoming all that God wants us to be. That is the kind of place we are committed to being at Colonial Woods Missionary Church.