Divine appointment

Look How Your ACTing  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Scripture: Acts 10:1-23
Denomination: Independent/Bible

Summary: God initiates, He is actively working. God instructs, He is constantly speaking. God empowers, His plan will be fulfilled.

GOD INITIATES… He is actively working
We have literally been SEEING GOD AT WORK THROUGH THE CHURCH. God is actively working in reaching the lost back to Himself.
• We’ve now come to the 10th chapter in Acts and it is undeniably clear that God has been initiating His moves.
• He was not at all passive, but actively involved in the lives of the people. In fact, it looks like He is more involved that we care to believe.
If His desire is to reach a lost world back to Himself, then He must be working today, as much as He has been in the times of ACTS.
• We are not called to initiative anything new. We are called to join Him at what He has been doing and is still doing today.
• If we make ourselves available, we’ll see God working out His will through us.
We see God making His moves again in Acts 10.
• He reveals His plan to both the seeker, Cornelius and the one with the answer, Peter through visions.
• Both needed help - one seeking to know God but without Christ he could not, the other, a disciple who can share Christ, but without a heart change he would not.
• God prepared them and brought them together. It was a divine appointment.
God brought these TWO together the same way He brought Philip and the Ethiopian man together, the same way He brought Ananias and Saul together – miraculously!
• God is still actively bringing TWO people together! Every encounter we have in sharing Christ is a divine appointment!
• Watch out for those whom the Lord brings near to you, because there is no coincidence with God.
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Cornelius was a military man. A centurion was an officer, perhaps equivalent to today’s rank of captain, who commanded a group of about 100 soldiers.
• He was portrayed as devout and God-fearing. And he was a generous man, who gives to the poor and needy.
• But he was not saved. Religion cannot save him. Morality cannot save him. Good works cannot save him.
• You can have all of these and still be lost. Your sin needs to be dwelt with and only Jesus can resolve that.
But Cornelius desires to seek God. Those who seek Him will surely find Him.
• It reminds me of God’s promise in Jer 29:11-14 to the people of Israel: “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.”
• God is not interested in playing ‘hide-and-seek’ with you. He wants to save you.
• So God directed Cornelius to find Peter – the one who could tell him about Jesus.
And the Lord worked to prepare Peter’s heart. He must overcome his prejudice and allows even the Gentiles to embrace his Messiah JESUS.
• God showed him a vision of unclean animals and commands him to kill and eat.
• The Jewish laws forbid them from eating “unclean” animals, specified in Lev 11. They were given during the times of the Exodus while they were in the wilderness, for hygienic purposes.
• Peter protested: “Surely not, Lord! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
• And the voice said: “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
What you considered unclean – in his mind, the Gentiles, the irreligious ones – the Lord says, I will make them clean.
• God showed this 3 times in the vision, to get it across to Peter.
• And then Cornelius’ men arrived at his house. Peter might not have fully understood the vision, but he was prepared.
• The Spirit of God said, “Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” (10:20)
GOD INSTRUCTS… He is constantly speaking
God instructed Philip, Saul, Ananias and now Cornelius and Peter.
• They may not know what to do but God knows. And He speaks and He guides.
• If this is so, then we need to be LISTENING and be TEACHABLE.
In both cases when God speaks to them, the recipients were praying.
• Cornelius was praying in his house at three in the afternoon (10:30). Peter was on the roof top praying when he saw the vision (10:10).
• According to Jewish customs, they pray 3 times a day – morning (9am), afternoon (3pm), night (9pm).
[David mentioned it in Psalm 55:18, Daniel also prayed 3 times a day (Dan 6:11); Peter and John on their way to pray at 3pm when they saw the crippled beggar by gate called Beautiful (Acts 3).]
• They made room to seek God and God came. They made time to hear God and God spoke.
Rev 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. IF anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
• It is an IF because not everyone is really listening. To do so you need to pay attention, you need to stop all that you are doing and be quiet.
• That’s your devotional time, prayer time. Focus on God and He will speak, through spontaneous thoughts and impressions that come to you.
You can only be led if you are listening. You can only obey when you are listening.
• So far in the book of Acts, we’ve been seeing God speaking and giving very clear instructions.
• It would seem that if we are not getting clear messages today, it is because we have not been making room to hear Him. We have not been spending quiet times with Him.
Peter was teachable. His understanding of God’s salvation plan was not complete but he was willing to learn, to think through and eventually embrace God’s heart for the salvation of every one.
• Cornelius too was teachable. He has been faithful and kind, but he needed to know God. There was more to just religious piety.
• He was open – open to God and what God says. He needed to know more and he sent men to look for Peter.
In fact, he was so passionate for the truth that he wanted his relatives and close friends to hear it too.
• So he gathered them in his house, in four short days of notice (cf. 10:30).
• When Peter arrived, he saw a large gathering of people (10:27).
A disciple is a learner - a learner of the truth and a desire to live the truth.
• If we are called to “make disciples” by “teaching them to obey everything that Jesus have commanded us”, then learning must be taking place all the time.
A disciple must be FAT, I told my class. As disciples of Christ we want to be FAT.
• What is FAT, remember? Faithful, Available and Teachable.
• We have nothing to lose being teachable. We have everything to gain.
Finally, Cornelius and his family became the first Gentile converts.
• The Holy Spirit came upon them, given them the miraculous sign that they have been accepted by God through their faith in Jesus Christ.
• The Gospel has gone beyond Jerusalem and the land of Judea, to Samaria, Ethiopia and now to the Gentile foreigners beyond.
It came true, just as the Lord promised in Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
[Read Acts 10:44-48]
What He says will sure some truly because GOD EMPOWERS… His plan will be fulfilled.
Even when we response to His call, it will not be US that makes it successful.
• We can only do what Peter did, share the good news. The latter half of the story has to be the work of the Holy Spirit.
• When we take the step of faith, and do what we are called to do, God will show up.
• God will ensure, by the power of His Spirit, that His plan will be done in His way, in His time, to accomplish His purpose.
All we need to say to Him is, “Lord, count me in! I want to be a part of what you are doing today!”
• All we need to do is to respond to His prompting with faith, and do the thing He has placed in our heart to do.
• And then leave the rest to Him!
God is actively working and God is constantly speaking.
Are you willing to be FAT? Faithful, Available, Teachable.
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