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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

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November 28, 2021


SCRIPTURE: Acts 10:23-48


KEY VERSES: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10:34-35)


INTRODUCTION: Acts chapter 10 is pivotal in the Book of Acts, for it records the salvation of the Gentiles.


·        We see Peter using “the keys of the kingdom” for the third and last time. He had opened the door of faith for the Jews (Acts 2) and also for the Samaritans (Acts 8), and now he would be used of God to bring the Gentiles into the church (see Gal. 3:27-28; Eph. 2:11-22).


·        This event took place about ten years after Pentecost. Why did the Apostles wait so long before going to the lost Gentiles? After all, in His Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20), Jesus had told them to go into all the world; and it would seem logical for them to go to their Gentile neighbors as soon as possible. But God has His times as well as His plans, and the transition from the Jews to the Samaritans to the Gentiles was a gradual one.


·        The stoning of Stephen and the subsequent persecution of the church marked the climax of the Apostles’ witness to the Jews. Then the Gospel moved to the Samaritans. When God saved Saul of Tarsus, He got hold of His special envoy to the Gentiles. Now was the time to open the door of faith (Acts 14:27) to the Gentiles and bring them into the family of God.


BRAKGROUND: Lessons learned by the Jews and the Gentiles. (Acts 10:23-33).


A. The Preparation By Simon Peter. (Acts 10:23-27)


Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and he had called together his kinsmen and near friends. 25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. 26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. 27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.” (Acts 10:23-27)


The fact that Peter allowed the “unclean” Gentiles to lodge with him is another indication that the walls were coming down. Peter selected six Jewish believers to go along as witnesses (Acts 11:12), three times the official number needed. It would take at least two days to cover the thirty miles between Joppa and Caesarea. When Peter arrived, he discovered that Cornelius had gathered relatives and friends to hear the message of life. He was a witness even before he became a Christian!


How easy it would have been for Peter to accept honor and use the situation to promote himself; but Peter was a servant, not a celebrity (1 Peter 5:1-6). When he announced that he did not consider the Gentiles unclean, this must have amazed and rejoiced the hearts of his listeners. For centuries the Jews, on the basis of Old Testament Law, had declared the Gentiles to be unclean, and some Jews even referred to the Gentiles as “dogs.”


B. The Question By Simon Peter. (Acts 10:28-29)


And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?” (Acts 10:28-29)


The remarkable thing in this section is Peter’s question, “I ask, therefore, for what intent ye have sent for me?” Didn’t Peter know that he had been summoned there to preach the Gospel? Had he forgotten the Acts 1:8 commission to go to “the uttermost part of the earth”? Today, we can look back at developing events in the early church and understand what God was doing, but it might not have been that easy had we been living in the midst of those events. In fact, the Jerusalem church questioned Peter about his actions (Acts 11:1-18), and later called a conference to deal with the place of the Gentiles in the church (Acts 15).


C. The Lesson Learned By Cornelius. (see Acts 11:30-33)


And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. 33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” (Acts 10:30-33)


Cornelius rehearsed his experience with the angel and then told Peter why he had been summoned: to tell him, his family, and his friends how they could be saved. They were not interested in asking for a lecture on Jewish religion. They were lost sinners begging to be told how to be saved (see Acts 11:1-14). Here are some important truths that must be emphasized:


First, the idea that “one religion is as good as another” is completely FALSE! Those who tell us that we should worship “the God of many names” and not “change other people’s religions” are going contrary to Scripture. “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22), and there can be no salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ, who was born a Jew. Cornelius had piety and morality, but he did not have salvation. Some might say, “Leave Cornelius alone! His religion is a part of his culture, and it’s a shame to change his culture!” God does not see it that way. Apart from hearing the message of the Gospel and trusting Christ, Cornelius had no hope.


Second, the seeking Savior (Luke 19:10) will find the seeking sinner (Jer. 29:13). Wherever there is a searching heart, God responds. This is why it is essential that we as God’s children obey His will and share His Word. You never know when your witness for Christ is exactly what somebody has been waiting and praying for.


Third, Peter certainly was privileged to minister to a model congregation (Acts 10:33). They were all present, they wanted to hear the Word of God, and they listened, believed, and obeyed. What more could a preacher ask?




A. God Is No Respecter of Persons. (Acts 10:34-38)


Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10:34-38)


1. God Sent His Word To Israel (And The World).


There can be no faith apart from God’s Word (the Bible) and Peter preached God’s Word (Romans 10:17). God is no respecter of persons as far as nationality and race are concerned. When it comes to sin and salvation, “there is no difference” (Romans 2:11; 3:22-23; 10:1-13). All men have the same Creator (Acts 17:26), and all men need the same Savior (Acts 4:12). Acts 10:35 does not teach that we are saved by works, otherwise Peter would be contradicting himself (see Acts 10:43). To “fear God and work righteousness” is a description of the Christian life. To fear God is to reverence and trust Him (Micah 6:8). The evidence of this faith is a righteous walk.


INSIGHT: We need remember what the Bible says. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)


2.. God Sent His Son To Be The Savior (of the world). (Acts 10:39-43)


“And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:39-43)


Peter then summarized the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Cornelius and his friends knew about Christ’s life and death, for “this thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26). Peter made it clear that Israel was God’s instrument for accomplishing His work (Acts 10:36), but that Jesus is “Lord of all,” and not just Lord of Israel. From the very founding of the nation of Israel, God made it clear that the blessing would be from Israel to the whole world (Gen. 12:1-3).


The public at large knew about Christ’s life, ministry, and death, but only the Apostles and other believers were witnesses of His resurrection. As in his previous sermons, Peter laid the blame for the Crucifixion on the Jewish leaders (Acts 3:15; 4:10; 5:30), as did Stephen (Acts 7:52). Paul would pick up this same emphasis (1 Thess. 2:14-16).


INSIGHT: Having finished this recitation of the historical basis for the Gospel message, Christ’s death and resurrection, Peter then announced the Gospel (the good news): “Whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sin” (Acts 10:43; see Acts 2:21). His hearers laid hold of that word “whosoever,” applied it to themselves, believed on Jesus Christ, and were saved!




A. These Gentiles Received Christ As Their Savior. (Acts 10:44-46)


While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, ...” (Acts 10:44-46)


1. The Holy Spirit Fell Upon The Gentiles.


Peter was just getting started in his message when his congregation believed and the Holy Spirit interrupted the meeting (Acts 11:15). God the Father interrupted Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:4-5), and God the Son interrupted him in the matter of the temple tax (Matt. 17:24-27). Now, God the Holy Spirit interrupted him -- and Peter never was able to finish his sermon! Would that preachers today had interruptions of this kind!


2. The Gentile Believers Began To Praise God.


The Holy Spirit was giving witness to the six Jews who were present that these Gentiles were truly born again. After all, these men had not seen the vision with Peter and come to understand that the Gentiles were now on an equal footing with the Jews. This does not suggest that every new believer gives evidence of salvation by speaking in tongues, though every true believer will certainly use his or her tongue to glorify God (Rom. 10:9-10). This was an event parallel to Pentecost: the same Holy Spirit who had come on the Jewish believers had now come on the Gentiles (Acts 11:15-17; 15:7-9). No wonder the men were astonished!


INSIGHT: With this event, the period of transition in the early history of the church comes to an end. Believers among the Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles have all received the Spirit of God and are united in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27).


B. These Gentile Believers Were Obedient To The Lord. (Acts 10:47-48)


“Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” (Acts 10:47-48)


1. The Gentile Believers Were Baptized.


These Gentiles were not saved by being baptized; they were baptized because they gave evidence of being saved. To use Acts 2:38 to teach salvation by baptism, or Acts 8:14-16 to teach salvation by the laying on of hands, is to ignore the transitional character of God’s program. Sinners have always been saved by faith; that is one principle God has never changed. But God does change His methods of operation, and this is clearly seen in Acts 1-10.


2. The Door To The Gentiles Was Opened.


The experience of Cornelius and his household makes it very clear that baptism is not essential for salvation. From now on, the order will be: (1) hear the Word of God, (2) believe on Christ and receive the Holy Spirit, and (3) then be baptized and unite with other believers in the church to serve and worship God.


Peter tarried in Caesarea and helped to ground these new believers in the truth of the Word. Perhaps Philip assisted him. This entire experience is an illustration of the commission of Matthew 28:19-20. (1) Peter went where God sent him and (2) made disciples (“teach”) of the Gentiles. (3) Then he baptized them and taught them the Bible (the Word of God).


INSIGHT: That same commission applies to the church today. Are we fulfilling it as we should?


By David Jeremiah


“But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:35)


·        In 1883, American poet Emma Lazarus wrote a sonnet to raise money for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty; it was later mounted inside the Statue. The most well-known lines of the sonnet say, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Those words became prophetic as millions of immigrants from many countries entered the U.S. through the immigrant station on nearby Ellis Island between 1892 and 1934.


·        Just as America opened its doors to the world, so God through the Gospel has opened the doors of His kingdom to humanity’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Even though God worked through Israel, He always had a heart for the nations (Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 11:10; 42:1, 6). Reluctant at first, the Jews finally saw that the Gospel of Christ was for the Gentiles as well: Jew, Gentile, slave, free, male, female -- all are “one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).


·        If you are yearning to be free, embrace the Savior of all mankind. He invites all to come unto Him (Matthew 11:28-30).


 -- Adapted from David Jeremiah, Turning Point, August 21, 2015


CONCLUSION: What have we learned from out study of Acts chapter 10?


·        We learned that Peter opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. How wonderful is the providence of God! Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was being prepared for his life’s work; and Peter was about to break down the ancient barriers between Jews and Gentiles: “Known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15:18).


·        We learned that God had to prepare both Peter and Cornelius. He spoke to Cornelius while he was praying and to Peter while he was relaxing. Be alert to the voice of God; you never know when the Lord may have a word for you.


·        We learned that there are words that lead to defeat. “Not so, Lord! For I have never ….” (Acts 10:14) is the response that leads to defeat. God was about to do a new thing, and Peter wanted to hold on to the old. He calls Him Lord but refuses to obey Him! Yet God tenderly instructed Peter, and the apostle surrendered to God’s will.


·        We learned that Peter did not get to finish his sermon. When he said, “Whosoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43), they believed and were saved. What a great way to stop a sermon!


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “There is room enough in Christ for all comers!” --  Matthew Henry


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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the Moody Bible Commentary, J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible Commentary: (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, Dr. Tony Evans (https://tonyevans.org/), KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Dr. Robert Jeffress’ Pathway to Victory (https://ptv.org/), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, Radio Bible Class Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations and other references.



E-mail: Ronald Purkey



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