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First Sunday After Epiphany/
Baptism Of Our Lord
Series C

Option #1: "God Shows No Favoritism"
Acts 10:34-38
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

1) In matters of race--Acts 17:26-28

2) In matters of nationality--text, vv34-35; Exod 23:9; Lev 19:34; Deut 10:19, 29:10-12, 31:12

3) All are offered salvation entirely by grace--Eph 2:8-9

4) Good works naturally follow--"do what is right," Eph 2:10

Notes:

Word Pictures in the New Testament, Archibald Thomas Robertson

Acts 10:34 records Peter’s speech:

I perceive (katalambanomai). aoristic present middle of katalambano˘, to take hold of, the middle noting mental action, to lay hold with the mind (Acts 4:13; 10:34; 25:25; Eph 3:18). It had been a difficult thing for Peter to grasp, but now "of a truth" (epi ale˘theias) the light has cleared away the fogs. It was not until Peter had crossed the threshold of the house of Cornelius in the new environment and standpoint that he sees this new and great truth.

Respecter of persons (proso˘pole˘mpte˘s). This compound occurs only here and in Chrysostom. It is composed of proso˘pon face or person (pros and ops, before the eye or face) and lambano˘. The abstract form proso˘pole˘mpsia occurs in James 2:1 (also Romans 2:11; Eph 6:9; Colossians 3:25) and the verb proso˘polempteo˘ in James 2:9. The separate phrase (lambanein proso˘pon) occurs in Luke 20:21; Galatians 2:6. The phrase was already in the LXX (Deuteronomy 10:17; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Ps 82:6). Luke has simply combined the two words into one compound one. The idea is to pay regard to one’s looks or circumstances rather than to his intrinsic character. The Jews had come to feel that they were the favourites of God and actually sons of the kingdom of heaven because they were descendants of Abraham. John the Baptist rebuked them for this fallacy.

Acts 10:35

Acceptable to him (dektos auto˘i). Verbal adjective from dechomai. Acceptabilis. That is to say, a Gentile would not have to become a Jew in order to become a Christian. Evidently Peter had not before perceived this fact. On the great Day of Pentecost when he spoke of the promise "to all those afar off" (2:39) Peter understood that they must first become Jews and then Christians. The new idea that now makes a revolution in Peter’s outlook is precisely this: that Christ can and will save Gentiles like this Cornelius group without their becoming Jews at all.

Acts 10:36 Preaching good tidings of peace through Jesus Christ (euaggelizomenos eire˘ne˘n dia Ie˘sou Christou). Gospelizing peace through Jesus Christ. There is no other way to have real peace between individuals and God, between races and nations, than by Jesus Christ. Almost this very language occurs in Eph 2:17 where Paul states that Jesus on the cross "preached (gospelized) peace to you who are afar off and peace to you who are near." Peter here sees what Paul will see later with great clearness.

He is Lord of all (houtos estin panto˘n kurios). A triumphant parenthesis that Peter throws in as the reason for his new truth. Jesus Christ is Lord of all, both Jews and Gentiles.

Acts 10:38

God anointed him (echrisen, auton, ho theos). First aorist active of the verb chrio˘, to anoint, from which the verbal Christos is formed (Acts 2:36).

Went about doing good (die˘lthen euergeto˘n). Beautiful description of Jesus. Summary (constative) aorist active of dierehomai, to go through (dia) or from place to place. The present active participle euergeto˘n is from the old verb euergeteo˘ (eu, well, ergon, work) and occurs only here in the N.T.

And healing (kai io˘menos). And in particular healing. Luke does not exclude other diseases (cf. Luke 13:11, 16), but he lays special emphasis on demoniacal possession (cf Mark 1:23).

That were oppressed (tous katadunasteuomenous). Present passive articular participle of katadunasteuo˘. A late verb in LXX and papyri. In the NT only here and James 2:6 (best MSS). One of the compounds of kata made transitive. The reality of the devil (the slanderer, diabolos) is recognized by Peter.

For God was with him (hoti ho theos e˘n meta autou). Surely this reason does not reveal "a low Christology" as some charge. Peter had used the same language in Acts 7:9 and earlier in Luke 1:28, 66 as Nicodemus does in John 3:2.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon:

"He went about doing good." Acts 10:38 Few words, but yet an exquisite miniature of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are not many touches, but they are the strokes of a master’s pencil. Of the Savior and only of the Savior is it true in the fullest, broadest, and most unqualified sense. "He went about doing good." From this description it is evident that he did good personally. The evangelists constantly tell us that he touched the leper with his own finger, that he anointed the eyes of the blind, and that in cases where he was asked to speak the word only at a distance, he did not usually comply, but went himself to the sick bed, and there personally wrought the cure. A lesson to us, if we would do good, to do it ourselves. Give alms with your own hand; a kind look, or word, will enhance the value of the gift. Speak to a friend about his soul; your loving appeal will have more influence than a whole library of tracts...

"He hath left us an example that we should follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21)

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CHILDREN’S MESSAGE on Acts 10:34ff

In about a month from now, baseball players will be going to Florida and Arizona to begin training for the new baseball season. We played Baseball a lot when I was your age. There was one thing about it that the younger children didn’t like: each team would have a captain and he/she would choose players. The younger players and the ones who weren’t as good as some others were chosen last. We always hoped that we wouldn’t be left the last one standing.

I’m happy to tell you that God doesn’t work that way. Peter was one of the leaders of the Christian church just when it was getting started. He had to make some choices too. He had to decide how to treat the Christian people who were not Jewish. God showed him that he has no favorites and that we shouldn’t either.

God showed Peter that the Gentile Christians were not to be chosen last or treated any differently than the Jewish believers. That’s good news for you and me because we are Gentiles too. Peter said: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts people from every nation who fear him and do what is right."

It doesn’t matter at all to Jesus if you’re big or small, what you look like, or where you come from. He doesn’t care if you’re white or black or Asian. He loves us all because He died on the cross for all of us because we all needed a Savior from our sins.

So whatever you do, remember that Jesus loves that person at school who might be different from you. He accepts people from every place who fear him and do what is right. If we say we love Jesus, then we will be doing the same kind of good things that Jesus did. Jesus went out of his way to love people who weren’t so lovable.

If you know of someone who is being picked on at school, that boy/girl needs a friend. Jesus wants you to be that friend, just as he became the greatest friend you’ll ever have when he died for your sins.

God loves all of us because he created us all and because Jesus died for us all. Remember: God has no favorites! "He has left us an example that we should follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21)

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"Servantspeak"
Isaiah 42:1-7
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

A. A servant is chosen by God and ultimately supported and accepted by Him
 
B. A servant is empowered with Spirit-inspired and -produced justice
 
C. A servant does not draw attention to him/herself, is neither pushy nor deflating
 
D. A servant does not give in to failure or discouragement
 
E. A servant ministers to those who admit their blindness and imprisonment
 
Notes:
 
1. Judgment--the gospel dispensation, founded on justice, the canon of the divine rule and principle of judgment called "the law" (Isa 2:3; compare Isa 42:4 51:4 49:6). The Gospel has a discriminating judicial effect: saving to penitents; condemnatory to Satan, the enemy (Jhn 12:31 16:11), and the wilfully impenitent (Jhn 9:39). Mat 12:18 has, "He shall show," for "He shall bring forth," or "cause to go forth." Christ both produced and announced His "judgment." The Hebrew dwells most on His producing it; Matthew on His announcement of it: the two are joined in Him. (Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset & David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible [1871])
 
2. The word "righteousness" in the Old Testament means to bring a thing into conformity with a standard or a norm. In other words, they would refer to weights that were accurate as "righteous weights." They would conform to a norm, to a standard. In the Old Testament, evergreen trees are described as "trees of righteousness" because they always look as a tree ought to look. They do not drop their leaves during the winter, so they are "righteous" trees. The term basically means to bring a thing into conformity with what it ought to be, to establish it according to the right standard. In the Old Testament the standard is the character of God, so "righteousness" means bringing something into conformity with the character of God. (David Roper)
 
3. We normally think of the Lord, since he is God, as sufficient in himself. But the Lord himself tells us that his strength was derived from the Father. He was not strong in himself. He experienced all of the weaknesses and limitations of the flesh, apart from sin; therefore he understands our limitations. He himself had to depend on the Father for his strength. There was simply no other way that he could carry out the ministry that the Father had given to him. (Roper)
 
4. I saw a Peanuts strip last week in which Charlie Brown goes to Lucy for counseling. She is sitting in her booth under her banner, "Psychiatry--5 cents." Charlie Brown says, "Lucy, you know how I've tried--tell me I've tried! I've tried and I've tried and I've tried to be good!" Lucy says, "Nice try, Charlie Brown. Five cents." (Roper)
 
5. God doesn't call the qualifed but, instead, qualifies the called.

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