Never call ‘unclean’ what God calls ‘clean.’
FEBRUARY 8, 2022
Never call ‘unclean’ what God calls ‘clean.’ Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your guru and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Well, I have spent far too long introducing this 10th chapter of the book of Acts. We’re going to be talking about racial prejudice. In fact prejudice that is so much a part of human nature. And what the Scripture has to say about it and this 10th chapter of Acts is informative. So, I’m going to take the time to read the entire chapter to you and then this, and then we’ll be talking about it the rest of this week and into next week, and maybe the week after. This is what Luke writes.
At Cesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people, and prayed constantly to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a Memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with Simon, the tanner, whose house is by the seaside.” When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those that waited on him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa. The next day, as they were on their journey and coming near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray about the sixth hour. And he became hungry and desired something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and he saw heaven opened up and something descending like a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him saying, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” peter said, “No, Lord”
That’s a dumb thing to say. You just don’t say “No, Lord”, they don’t go together. If he’s your Lord, you don’t say no to him. You say no, to people who aren’t your Lord, but not Peter.
“No, Lord; for I’ve never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleaned, you must not call common.” This happened three times,
That’s cause Peter is slow.
This happened three times, and the thing was taken up once again into heaven. Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men that were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood before the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you’re looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” So he called them in to be his guests. The next day he arose and went off with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Cesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his kinsmen and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too, am a man like you.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with, or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why have you sent for me.” And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright apparel saying, “Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therfore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, the tanner, by the seaside.” So I sent to you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is the Lord of all), the word which was proclaimed throughout all of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism which Jesus preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. And to how you went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, but God was with him. And we are witnesses to all that he did both in the country of the Jews and Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest and to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God. To be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word and the believers from among the circumcised, who came with Peter were amazed because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues, extolling God. And Peter declared, “Can anyone for bid water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. And they asked him to remain for some days.
Oh my. That’s the story. And that’s the key. That’s the key to how we deal with prejudice. Now, I’m running out of time, in this broadcast. So, we’ll get down to the details tomorrow, but it’s important to see that what’s happening here is amazing for a first century Jew. You talk about keeping kosher. They kept kosher, not only in what they ate, they kept kosher in the people they associated with. They had no friends who were Gentiles. Goyam were cursed. You just didn’t get involved with those people. And yet God intervened. God brought repentance and God brought healing, in an amazing and miraculous way. And frankly, he’s going to do that with us too. He’s going to start with me because I’ve been studying this chapter and then he’s going to move to you. I firmly believe that you’re going to be moved the way I was moved. And then he’s going to move from us to the people that he loves and values, strange people that we wouldn’t have chosen. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown reading all of Acts 10 for us and shining a light on racial prejudice in the first century. The cure back then is the same as it is today. And we’ll explore that in depth starting tomorrow. Well, as you hopefully know, Valentine’s day is coming up and if you’ve never looked up the story of St. Valentine, definitely worth five minutes on Wikipedia. You’ll discover it actually has very little to do with chocolate or greeting cards. It does have a lot to do with love and why not? The world really does need love. In fact, one of the biggest things we can do for our world is to simply love each other. Well, Steve spoke about this in a powerful sermon called All the World Needs is Love. It’s a tremendous sermon about what love is, how it’s expressed and the life-changing impact it has. Get that on CD for free right now, by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for that CD. If you would like to mail your request, send it to
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