Peter's Vision

Text: Acts 10:1-23

I.         A Gentile army officer, stationed in Caesarea, named Cornelius is the focus of Acts 10

            A.        He was a devout man and a believer in the true God, along with his household.

                        1.         A man’s household would also include those who worked for him as well as his wife, children, and slaves.

                        2.         He gave aid to the Jewish people

                        3.         He prayed constantly

            B.        Yet, he was not saved

II.        One day, at about 3 p.m. in the afternoon, he had a vision of an angel of God

            A.        The time is important. We know it was not just a dream.

            B.        Cornelius began to tremble (this has been the typical reaction of most people when meeting an angel).

            C.        The angel told Cornelius that his prayers and good deeds have been noticed by God.

                        1.         He was instructed to send men to Joppa and request the presence of Simon Peter who was staying in Simon the Tanner’s house near the sea.

            D.        Cornelius immediately did as he was instructed after the angel left.

                        1.         He sent two trusted servants and a devote solider.

                        2.         They were told exactly what had happened. Cornelius trusted them and they, too, were faithful men.

III.       The next day at about noon, as the men were approaching Joppa, Peter was on rooftop of Simon’s house praying

            A.        Peter was hungry and food was being prepared, but he was using the spare time to pray.

            B.        While praying, he fell into a trance and had a vision.

                        1.         He saw a sheet being lowered from the heavens by its four corners

                        2.         In the sheet were all kinds of animals, crawling creatures, and birds.

                        3.         A voice from heaven told Peter to arise, kill some of the animals and eat.

                        4.         Peter was appalled.

                                    a.         The sheet contained animals that were forbidden by the Jewish law.

                                    b.         Peter had never violated God’s dietary laws for the Jews

                                    c.         He told the voice that he had never eaten anything unholy (common) and unclean.

                        5.         The voice scolded Peter for calling the things God had cleansed as unholy.

                                    a.         In other words, God is telling Peter the dietary laws have changed.

                                    b.         By implication this means the law was changed, though Peter was not aware of it.

                        6.         Three times Peter was invited to kill and eat. Three times Peter refused. Three times Peter was scolded by God.

                        7.         The sheet was then taken back up into the sky.

            C.        The presented quite a puzzle to Peter. He did not understand the meaning of the vision.

            D.        Just at this time, the men sent by Cornelius reached the gate of the house of Simon the Tanner.

                        1.         They called to those inside asking if this was where Peter was staying.

                        2.         Perhaps since these men were Gentiles and one was a solider, the members of Simon’s house might have been reluctant to acknowledge Peter’s presence. After all disciples, including Peter, had been arrested in the past.

            E.        Meanwhile, Peter, still puzzling over his dream was told by the Holy Spirit that three men were waiting for him downstairs. Peter was instructed to go with them and not to fear because the Spirit was the one who sent them.

            F.        Peter went down and greeted the men, telling them he was the one for whom they were looking.

                        1.         He asked the reason for their visit.

                        2.         They explained that Cornelius had sent them as directed by an angel to fetch Peter so he could hear a message from Peter.

                        3.         They also gave a description of Cornelius so Peter would know he was a God-fearing man and respected in the Jewish community even though he was not a Jew.

            G.        The men were invited in for the night and on the next day, Peter and some of the brethren from Joppa left for Caesarea.

IV.      Things to notice:

            A.        Cornelius’s good deeds, faith, and prayers were not able to save him.

            B.        Being visited by an angel did not save him.

            C.        The angel did not tell Cornelius what to do to be saved, other than instructing him to fetch a preacher.

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