For God so loved the world that He gave Hisone and onlySon, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal Life. For Goddid not sendHis Son into the world to condemn but to savethe world through Him (John 3:16,17 NIV.)
The Christian faithis God?s message for all people. Christianity is a world faith. It cannot be confined to one people, one race or one culture. It embraces the world. It speaks to the person in the great metropolis or the child dying in abject poverty in the Sudan. It is good news for the whole world. It brings light and hope in our world of pain and strife. The Christian faith is the message of Jesus Christ. Its banner is; "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him might not perish but have everlasting life.?
The first followers of Jesus were Jewish men and women. For many years the gospel was confined to the Jewish nation. If this continued the church faced the possibility of being just another Jewish sect. The command of Christ was that the gospel be taken to the gentiles - to the world at large. Yet, the barriers between Jew and gentile seemed to prevent this from happening. Then came the Cornelius' experience which forever changed the character and destiny of the church. The Gospel was brought to the Gentile World. Acts chapter ten give the account of the conversion of a Roman centurion named Cornelius. This would mark the beginning of a new day for the Christian faith. The era of world evangelization was about to begin. The story of Acts recounts how a devout gentile name Cornelius had a vision from God. He was told in the vision to summon a man name Simon who is called Peter. He would be found in the nearby city of Joppa. This man would show Cornelius how to find the way of salvation.
The record in Acts ten tells us that at the same time, Peter also received a vision. It was rather strange. He saw something like a sheet coming down from heaven. It contained all kinds of animals, even reptiles and birds. Peter was commanded to get up, kill and eat what was on the sheet. He refused. Some of these animals were considered unclean by the Jews. Peter would not violate the Jewish laws concerning unclean food. But he is told three times to arise and eat. It was at this moment that men arrive from the house of Cornelius to ask Peter to come to the home of Cornelius. Ordinarily, Peter would not do this. Jews did not enter the homes of gentiles. But the vision of the unclean food changed all this. Peter learned his lesson. God had shown him that he should call no person impure or unclean.
Peter came to the house of Cornelius and he brought with him the message of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Now for the first time the Gospel would be preached among gentiles. The Scripture would be fulfilled which declared that Christ was a light to the gentiles - the peoples of the world. The gospel had moved from being merely the faith of the people of Israel. It was for all people. It could now be said that in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor gentile. The faith of Christ removes all barriers and unites people of different races and various cultures into a new people - the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The story of the conversion of Cornelius brought the gentile world into inclusion in the church of Christ. Thank God, the Gospel cannot be confined to one group or culture. It is for all people. The message of Christ?s redemptive love is extended to all the world. You and I are included. The Gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ comes to us. No matter what our background might be. We all can know the redeeming power of the cross. We can all become a part of a new creation in Christ.
Heavenly Father thank you for loving us so much that you would send your Son to save us and give us Eternal Life. Forgive me to day of all my sin against you and make me your child .Help me to spread the message of your wonderful salvation to my neighbour. Amen
Meet the Author.
Rev. Ronald Osmond is a pastor with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Nfld.Some of theplaces he pastoredare Corner Brook and St John's, Newfoundlandas well as Vancover, British Columbia. He is a pastor and teacher as well as a radio speaker. Ronald and his wife Betty have five children all of whom are ministering with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and the Assemblies of God,U.S.A. They are now retired and live in St.John's, NL. They may be reached at Ronosmond@aol.com