Gracefully Truthful

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Read His Words Before Ours!

Acts 10
Matthew 16:24-28
Romans 2:1-16
Exodus 34:4-9

Hello! I am Peter; you may know me as the impulsive disciple who is often gently yet firmly humbled by my Savior and friend, Jesus. (Mark 8:31-33; John 13:1-11) Today, I want to tell you how I learned God shows no partiality (as I often do), but instead looks for people ready to surrender their lives to His leadership. Unsurprisingly, I learned this the hard way. 

My personality is quick to speak and act as I am zealously passionate about the people I love and desire to protect. But God is teaching me He is above all things, and HE is the one Who protects His people. My role is to follow Him, teaching His followers to follow Him more closely. (John 21:15-19)

This lesson became very clear to me through divinely-appointed interactions with a fellow Christ-follower named Cornelius. (Acts 10)

Cornelius was a Roman centurion. More than his military title, I recall him as “a devout man [who] feared God along with his whole household. He did many charitable deeds for the Jewish people and always prayed to God.” (Acts 10:2

Cornelius’ Story
One afternoon, I experienced a vision of an angel of God who appeared to me, calling me by name. I was terrified! Yet I managed to stammer a few words, asking, “What is it, Lord?” (Acts 10:3-4)

The angel told me God had witnessed and remembered my prayers and acts of charity, and instructed me to send for a man named Peter, who was living in Joppa. (Acts 10:5-6)

Recognizing the absolute authority in the Lord’s command, I didn’t hesitate to send two servants and a devout soldier to Joppa, inviting Peter to my home. (Acts 10:7-8) And then I waited, curious to see how the Lord would continue to lead me.

Peter’s Story
Hunger rumbling in my stomach interrupted my midday prayers, and as I prepared a meal, I fell into a trance. In a bizarre scene, a great sheet descended from heaven, containing all kinds of unclean animals. (Leviticus 11

I was dumbfounded to hear a voice instruct, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” (Acts 10:13-14) “No, Lord!” I protested. “For I have never eaten anything impure or ritually unclean.” This interaction was repeated two more times, and then the sheet was taken up into heaven.  

I was so perplexed! While I was pondering the meaning of this strange vision, men sent by Cornelius arrived and related the equally strange tale of his vision. The messengers invited me to return with them, and, guided by the Spirit, I agreed. (Acts 10:17-23)

So, the very next day I traveled to Cornelius, who had gathered his community to meet with me, as well. Though Cornelius fell down to worship me as I entered his home, I quickly pulled him to his feet, assuring him I was simply a man, just like him.  

A Jew and a Gentile, simple men with a simple story and a great God.  

As we began to share our experiences, God’s message became clear. Cornelius, a Gentile, found favor with and glorified God! Until my vision, I would have scoffed at such an unthinkable idea, but now, God’s words reverberated through my mind:

What God has made clean, do not call impure.” (Acts 10:15)

Amazed, I replied, “Now I truly understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who [approaches him with reverential awe] and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

Do we truly understand this?  

I am Peter, a Jew, the rock upon whom Christ will build His church; 
I am fully surrendered, through faith, to Jesus Christ. (Matthew 16:18)

Cornelius, a God-fearing Gentile, is also rescued, commissioned, and surrendered, through faith, to Jesus Christ.

We are both called to eschew pride of our respective positions, instead surrendering in loving humility to Christ, just as He surrendered to the Father. (John 14:31)

Meribeth’s Story
A cardboard testimony from the author

Like Peter, I too was devout, committed to doing the right things at the right time. 

I came to truly know my sin and my Savior through another woman sharing her testimony of the mind-boggling forgiveness she experienced in God.  She was in awe, something I wanted as well. As I heard her story, the Lord revealed to me how I was trying to save myself by “doing all the right things,” rather than coming to Him in full acknowledgement of my struggles, with a heart of gratitude, awe, and worship.

I had always thought God was partial to the ones who “did all the right things”; instead, God began to teach me He shows NO partiality, but desires ALL to worship and glorify Him!

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