I. The right word at the right time
Proverbs 15:23 (NLT): Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!
Proverbs 15:23 (The Message): Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful!
Proverbs 25:11 (The Message): The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
A. Peter and Cornelius
Acts 10:1-8: In Caesarea there lived a Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. “Cornelius!” the angel said. Cornelius stared at him in terror. “What is it, sir?” he asked the angel. And the angel replied, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God as an offering! 5 Now send some men to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. He is staying with Simon, a tanner who lives near the seashore.” As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of his personal attendants. He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.
We know Cornelius was a devout, God-fearing man. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly. An angel appeared and told him that his prayers and gifts to the poor have been received as an offering to the Lord. How encouraging that would be to hear! God receives my prayers and my gifts!
He tells him to send men to Joppa and ask for Peter. Peter was to come back with them to Caesarea. Meanwhile Peter is hanging out on a roof, hungry and waiting to eat lunch. God gave Peter this crazy vision of a sheet coming down from heaven of all sorts of animals, reptiles and birds. God told him to eat. Peter objected because these animals were considered unclean by Jewish law. This vision took place three times. God always seems to speak to Peter in threes. It must have taken him a while to get things.
Peter was perplexed by the vision. The Holy Spirit spoke to Peter and told Him of the men who had come to get him and that he was to go with them without hesitation. Why does God work this way? Peter was stuck in a certain way of thinking. He would not have gone to see Cornelius if God had not worked in this situation the way that He did.
There is still an element of the unknown going on here. Peter knew that he was to go with these men, but why? Cornelius knew that Peter was to come, but why?
II. A word in season breeds confidence
Acts 10:28-29: Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. So I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. Now tell me why you sent for me.”
God gave Peter a revelation that changed the way he saw Gentiles. They were no longer considered unclean. He got past an obstacle that had been holding him back from greater fruit for the Kingdom. God gives revelation to us to break mindsets that restrict Him from moving in greater ways through our lives. What did God do in you last weekend that changed some mindsets that might have been holding you back?
Peter still did not know why He was there. Cornelius shared his story of the angel visiting him, and then Peter understood why he was there!
Acts 10:34-36: Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
God shows no favoritism! Jesus is Lord of all. God will work in any life who fears Him and who does what is right. Peter and Cornelius were confident because Cornelius received a word from the Lord at the right time. God did a work in our church last week to build confidence - confidence that we are hearing from Him! Confidence that He is going to do what He said!
III. Obedience releases God's Kingdom
Acts 10:44-48: Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. For they heard them speaking in other tongues and praising God. Then Peter asked, “Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days.
God wanted to baptize the Gentiles with the power of the Holy Spirit. He also wanted Peter and the rest of the Jews to see that He was at work in the Gentiles. When God is at work, we just have to go with it. It must be what He wills!