Audio Worship "The Gospel" Acts 10.34-43

Princeton Presbyterian Church (EPC) Sermon # 1593

June 25, 2023

Acts 10.34-43        Click here for audio Worship

Dr. Ed Pettus


“The Gospel”


34So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”


  • What Happened - The Gospel


The main thing we are charged to do by Jesus is to be able to articulate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is part of what it means to go and make disciples. In essence this is what Peter does in this short sermon. He articulates four aspects of the Gospel. Those four are: Jesus’ baptism, His ministry, His death, and His resurrection. Peter points out that the baptism signified God anointing Jesus with the Spirit and with power. All four Gospels include this event. Mark even begins his Gospel with the baptism of Jesus. Every bit of the Gospels are important, but it seems a little bit more significant when something is included in all four testimonies. Jesus is baptized, recognized by John as the One to come after him, and this event begins Jesus’ ministry. The second point from Peter’s sermon is Jesus’ ministry. Now this certainly includes lots of stories and teachings and healing, everything between Jesus’ baptism and His death on the cross. Peter summarizes here with Jesus doing good and healing those oppressed by the devil. The reason Jesus did this ministry was because God was with Him. Peter and the other disciples were eye witnesses to all the things Jesus did. We could spend, and should spend, a lifetime studying all the things Jesus did and taught during His brief time on the earth.


The third point in Peter’s message is Jesus’ death, in his words, “by hanging Him on a tree”. This is, of course, the crucifixion. This is one of the most significant points of all the confessions, of much theology, it’s why the Apostles’ Creed notes three times that Jesus died, was dead, not just knocked out or in some semi coma, but dead. Only in death is the next point valid, that God raised Him from the dead. Four points that we as believers all have heard or read and know by heart. Baptism, ministry, death, resurrection. Jesus was anointed in baptism, healed many people along with other good things, was crucified, and raised from the dead. That’s all we need to know to have the whole story in summary. If someone were to ask us about the Gospel we can just tell them what Peter told us! This is the good news, what Jesus did in the New Testament Gospels. But there is also much more every one of us can add and every one of has uniquely to ourselves, and that is what Jesus has done in our lives – our personal testimony. God can work with just the four points to regenerate a heart and mind toward His love, grace, and mercy. God uses us simply to spread the word. We do not save anyone; we cannot save anyone; only God in Christ through the Holy Spirit.


We share a testimony with Peter and the apostles (Gospels), and we have our own unique testimony of how Jesus has touched our lives. This is what God asks of us in the Great Commission – to share what happened in the Gospels. Jesus lived, died, was raised up. Jesus was baptized, ministered, died, and lives again. How ever we want to phrase it and in whatever way we are most comfortable saying it. But the world needs to hear it from us and the more we know the story of Jesus, the more we know the Bible, the broader our story can be. Peter knew everything and yet he summarizes with just a few words the essence of the Gospel.



  • The Prophetic Witness


It is obvious that Peter is addressing a group of Gentiles, Cornelius who was a centurion, some servants, and at least one other soldier. There were probably more people there to hear Peter because the Spirit is said to have come upon all who heard what Peter said. What is interesting is Peter’s mention of the prophets in verse 43. Normally a Jew would only mention the prophets to other Jews as Gentiles would have had little if any knowledge of the prophets. But Cornelius is unique in that he was already devoted to God and prayed to God and I suspect he had some knowledge of the prophets. But there was something more that was needed and so he is told by an angel to send for Peter. Peter would reveal the Savior, Jesus Christ.


This seems critical for us to realize, that God sends believers to others to reveal Jesus Christ. God sent prophets, apostles, and now all of us to spread the Gospel of Christ as Savior and Lord. What I think is vital to our testimony is showing how the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ from beginning to end. You may recall that Luke twenty-four has Jesus revealing Himself from Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms. That is a way of saying that Jesus is all over the Bible. What a testimony to see hundreds of thousands of years of prophetic witness given and then fulfilled in Jesus Christ. This can be part of our testimony as well. One of the greatest prophetic words comes from Isaiah 53.


4Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed...the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.


Isaiah is as detailed a revelation of the cross as one can get and it was written long before Christ died on the cross. Now that might not mean much to some people. But it is something we can use to plant a seed in the hearts of those willing to listen. It certainly speaks to the mind of Jews who have not made the connection between Isaiah 53 and the story of Jesus on the cross. But I think also that bringing up the prophets is a testimony that God has intended all along that all nations need to come to Christ. While God chose the Jewish nation to carry the blessing of God, God wanted that blessing to be bestowed upon all. Peter has learned from the vision he had earlier in Acts 10, that the Gentiles were also welcome in Christ. Peter had this vision of all animals previously unclean to eat as now made clean to eat. Peter learns two things from this vision: 1) Eat what you want. 2) The Gentiles are welcomed at the table as well. Acts 10.28, “God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” In one sense, this is a prophetic vision carried over from the prophetic voice of old.



  • The Forgiven


Peter says several things in this short message that begins with verse 34 and ends with verse 43.


34...“Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.


Peter affirms what we know about Cornelius, that he feared God and did what was right. God likes that! But Peter knows too that salvation is in Jesus and in Peter’s sermon he makes that connection for Cornelius and all in attendance. Fear and obedience is a good start and is even more meaningful to us when we come to know Jesus. But it is in hearing the Gospel message: Jesus baptized, ministry, death, resurrection, in this is the blessing of salvation. This is revealed at the end of the message in verse 43 - that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” It is not just about doing good and acknowledging that God exists. It is in believing in Jesus Christ. In believing our sins are forgiven in His name. Paul, in Romans, articulates it as believing with the heart and confessing with the mouth (Romans 10.9-10). Now, this line from Peter brings one more aspect into the Gospel narrative, that we need the forgiveness of sins. In a world where sin is ignored or even celebrated as a virtue, the testimony toward Jesus Christ includes that Jesus came because we needed a Savior. We are sinners. Without Jesus, we are separated from God our Creator. It is implied in places like John 3.16, that God gave His only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish. We perish due to the fact that we have sinned against God. As Isaiah 53 says it,


“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way” (53.6).


This brings to mind another way of approaching the testimony of Jesus. God created us, we sinned, Jesus came to reconcile us through His death and resurrection. Created, disobeyed, redeemed in Jesus. You see there are many ways to articulate the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You have probably heard the Romans Road – 3.23; 6.23; 10.9. Some add 5.1 for good measure!


3.23 -for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

6.23 -For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

10.9 -if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

5.1 -Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.


The Roman Road brings the same points as other Gospel presentations, sin, life in Jesus, confession and belief, justification. You set up the problem of sin, show the gift of God for forgiveness in Jesus, and ask people to believe. When this is done with sincerity, peace comes to the heart.


One of the things that is missing in much of the mainline church and is strongly discouraged these days by our society in general, is the articulation of the Gospel. I have encouraged us to make it a priority to be able to give testimony to Jesus. I would encourage again that we write down our testimony. I have been asked countless times to tell my story and so I took the time to write it out on occasion so that I could clearly see what I want to say when the time comes. I have learned various ways to talk about Jesus depending on the kind of person I to whom I am talking. Now, one might say, well you are the preacher, that’s what you are paid to do! More importantly, it is what I am commanded to do by Jesus and that commandment is given to all who believe.


We can talk endlessly about a lot of things that really do not amount to anything truly important. Does it not make sense that we should all be able to give testimony to the most important story we have to give. Take some time, if you have not done so, to write down what you believe and how you might tell someone else. Look over what you write and seek to discover what is missing or what you would like to add. Start with Peter’s message on the life of Jesus – baptism, ministry, death, resurrection. How might we articulate that in our own words. Use any number of Gospel expressions, but follow the words of Scripture that command us to make disciples and be ready to defend our faith. We have looked at Peter’s defense in Acts 10 and he also writes in 1 Peter 3.15 these words:


but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”


It may be that being prepared to make a defense of our reason for hope is a way to show that we honor Christ as holy. That is an excellent reason to present the Gospel as Peter did...and as we shall. Amen.