SUBJ: The fear of God and the
working of righteousness as the evidences of acceptance and the
operations of Grace in the life of believers.
AIM: That we might ever be
confirming our acceptance with God through loving worship and praise and
through endeavoring to serve Him acceptably with reverence and Godly
INTR: We often see the working of
God from two directions in accomplishing His will and purpose. Such is
the case of a Centurion named Cornelius. First with him and then with
1. The unique case of divine preparation in the life of
Cornelius – He feared God and worked righteousness in his outward life
before Peter came to him. Regeneration before faith?
2. The strange
vision of Peter and what he learned from it.
3. The operations of God
are more than mere providence here as we see specific action.
would also note the purpose of so much attention here – It was to be to
Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and all the ends of the earth.
THESIS: The events here lead to the
declaration of the evidence (is accepted with God) of the prior approval
of God. The fear of God and the working of righteousness are not the
cause of salvation. Salvation and these things are of the Lord.
I. The fact and condition of acceptance (vv. 34-35)
status, intelligence, ability nor appearance nor any other things are
the reason of God’s grace declared. See 1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see
your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not
many mighty, not many noble, are called… Neither does the grace of God
look to the will of men.
2. But, the fear of God is manifested – what
1) It is not the slavish, craven fear of hell, fear of
retribution and so on. These are not part of salvation. Perfect love
casteth out fear.
2) Rather it is that manifestation of grace that
brings about bowing to His majesty ad the precious ability to experiece
Fatherly fear, put there in regeneration, born out of love, invoking the
practice of true religion and leads to faith and pleasing God. adapted
3. What is the working of righteousness?
refers to what he saw in Cornelius (see v. 2)
2) But it begs the
question “was it enough?” and “what of faith?” – Consider: 1 Corinthians
1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption…
we understand that the responsibility belongs to man, but the working is
of God in every way – Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in
you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
4) Such working of
righteousness is enabled by grace and motivated by the loving fear of
II. The message – what Cornelius lacked was faith in the
proper object (vv. 36 – 42)
1. The message is of peace through Jesus
Christ and invokes the Lordship of Christ (36).
2. The well-known
story (v. 37ff)
1) Published from the time of John the Baptist
Christ the anointed One – with the Holy Ghost and power
3) God was
4) We are witnesses of all things (we saw what they say) and
especially that He was crucified.
3. The fact most often denied – God
raised Him up!
4. The Apostolic witness
1) We saw what He did –
perfect life and the power of God
2) We saw what they did – crucified
3) We saw what God did – raised Him up
4) We were chosen before of
God to eat and drink with Him and thus confirm His resurrection.
The commandment to preach -- It He who reigns and judges (v. 42)
III. That which is affirmed by the prophets (v. 43)
1. Through His
2. All who believe in Him
1) Peter here connects with the
thought of what evidences true belief as in v. 35.
2) Belief cannot
be claimed where there is no working of righteousness.
3. Receive the
remission of sins (forgiveness based on the satisfaction of Christ).