ACTS 10:34-43. 34 And 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 acceptable to him. The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by JesusChrist (he is Lord of all) — 37 that saying ye yourselves know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; even Jesus of Nazareth, how Godanointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom also they slew, hanging him on a tree. Him Godraised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, 41 not to all the people, but unto witnesses that were chosen before of God, even to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he charged us to preach unto the people, and to testify that this is he who is ordained of God to be the Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.
THE BLESSINGS OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION.
1. This sermon Peter preached to Cornelius, the Cesarean centurion, a gentile but a believer, and to the centurion’s assembledfriends, Peter having been summoned by Cornelius and having responded to the call in obedience to a revelation and to the Holy Spirit’s command, as related in the preceding verses of the chapter. It is an excellent sermon and bears strongtestimony to Christ’s resurrection. As should ever be the case with the sermons of apostles and preachers of the Gospel, it is not only a historical record of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, but portrays the power and blessing thereof. The entire sermon being easily understood without explanation — for it is itself an exposition of the article on Christ’s resurrection — we will go over it but briefly.
2. First, Peter begins with the inception of the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, suggesting how it was promised in the Scriptures, being declared by the prophets, that Christ should come with a new doctrine, confirming it by miracles; also that he must suffer and die and rise from the dead, establishing thus a new kingdom; and how the promise was fulfilled. For confirmation of his words Peter appeals to his hearers, reminding them of their own knowledge that such was the promise of the Scriptures, and that the message has gone forth, not being uttered secretly, in a corner, but being proclaimed throughout all Judea; and how John the Baptist had shortly before testified he was sent as Christ’s herald to prepare his way by directing and leading the people to Christ, etc.
5. Here are comprised in a few words the entire history of the Gospel, and the articles of the Christianfaith; but particularly does Peter deal with the article of the resurrection, the fact that Christ has, in his own person, completely overcome death and reignseternal King and Lord of life. In proof of the truth of this article, the apostle adduces the fact of Christ’s manifesting himself alive to his disciples, eating and drinking with them and appointing them special witnesses to these things as men to whom the doctrine had been proven, had been established by actual sight of the miracles.
7. Fourth: Our obligation concerning the message brought to us, and what it works in ourselves, is indicated in these concluding words of Peter’s sermon: “To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.”
8. This verse constitutes the principal theme of the sermon. It is one of the greatest in the writings of the apostles. It contains the vital element of the Gospel message, teaching how we may appropriate its blessing, how obtain what it offers, namely, by faith; faith lays hold of what is offered us in the Gospel. The message is preached that we may receive and retain it.
Through the Word the blessing is pronounced our own — it is offered to, or given, us; but by faith we receive it, make it our own, permit it to work in us.
10. Faith must be of such character as to apprehend and hold fast the truth Peter declares in this verse. It must say “in his name.” That is, must ascribe to Christ alone the entire agency, merit and power responsible for remission of sins; must believe we have forgiveness, not through our own worthiness, but for Christ’s sake alone; must believe that by virtue of Christ’s resurrection we obtain remission of sins, every namable element not from Christ being completely excluded, and the honor given to him alone.
12. Now we have heard what is the substance, the chiefdoctrine, of the Scriptures, the teaching to which all portions lead; namely, to teach and confirm the article of faith: we have remission of sins for Christ’s sake, through faith.
13. He who inquires, who would know exactly, what the ChristianChurch ever holds and teaches, especially concerning the all-important article of justification before God, or the forgiveness of sins, over which there has always been contention, has it here plainly and exactly in this text. Here is the unwavering testimony of the entire Church from the beginning. It is not necessary, then, to dispute about the doctrine any more. No one can name any just reason, or have any excuse, for doubts on the subject; or reasonably wait for further determinations of investigating councils.
In this text we see that the reliability of the article of faith has long ago been proven, even in ancient time, by the Church of the primitive fathers, of the prophets and the apostles. A solid foundation is established, one all men are bound to believe and maintain at the risk of their eternalsalvation, whatever councils may establish, or the world advance and determine, to the contrary. Indeed, the sentence has been declared to us; we are commanded to shun every other doctrine that may be believed, taught or ordained. Paul says ( Galatians 1:8): “But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.”
14. You see now against what the Papacy with all its adherents blusters and rages, and how they are to be regarded who refuse to hear and to tolerate the article Peter here advances and confirms by the testimony of all the prophets and of the Scriptures entire; who cease not to persecute godly and innocent ones for their acceptance of this article of faith, under the pretense of being themselves the Church and of magnifying its name to the utmost while opposing us, though at the same time their doctrine, faith and deeds openly testify against them, proclaiming their belief and teaching to be contrary to the testimony of all the prophets and of the entire Church.
15. Lastly: Peter, by way of proving conclusively to the world that this one Lord, as he names him, Jesus of Nazareth, is the true Messiahpromised of old in the Scriptures, says: “To him bear all the prophets witness.” The prophets plainly speak of such a person, one to be born of David’s flesh and blood, in the city of Bethlehem, who should suffer, die and rise again, accomplishing just what this Jesus has accomplished and even proven by miraculous signs. Therefore, truly the Jews and the non-Christians have no reason to doubt concerning Christ, no reason to await the coming of another.