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4. The next dramatic setting for the gospel advancement is Caesarea. Caesarea on the Sea was 50 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Caesarea was the seat of the Roman government in both Palestine and Syria. (There was another Caesarea Philippi mentioned in Mark 8:27.) It had a massive harbor complex.
3. A centurion was in charge of about 80 soldiers. A cohort was a leadership position of approximately 480 soldiers, five units of infantry. This would have determined him to be a literate man with administrative skills.
4. Roman soldiers were prohibited from being married, unless you were very high ranking. Cornelius had a family. Roman soldiers were not permitted personal use of their soldiers unless they were high ranking, as well.
5. There were often troubles between the Syrian Gentiles and the Jews in the city. Whenever trouble broke out, the soldiers often sided with the Syrian Gentiles. In fact, in 66 AD a single wave of genocide happened and soldiers slaughtered 20,000 Jews.
2. Cornelius was definitely putting himself out there by believing in the one true God. Most of the soldiers believed in and worshipped many gods. For example, they feared that Mars might not grant them success in battle if they did not worship Mars.
2. God appears to Peter with a vision to free him from the barrier that existed between Jews and Gentiles. The barrier of the diet and ceremonial law of the Old Testament was now gone. No longer were food or people unclean! God gave the message three times and then sent three men to his door.
4. Peter went to the home of Cornelius and found a large gathering of people all waiting to hear his words. Peter begins to share his message of salvation to the Gentiles, but wasn't prepared for what happened next!
1. God heard the prayers of Cornelius and recognized his good works but that didn't save him. It didn't save him but it did start him on the pathway toward salvation. Good works will never save anyone! We can never add to our salvation, but they do follow salvation!
3. God appeared to Peter in a vision and prepared him for the three men who would appear at his door. God removed the racial barrier and instructed Peter to no longer see anyone as better than another. Is there prejudice in your heart or mind? God loves all men equally and we must, too!
5. Peter was now ready to break the racial barrier between Jews and Gentiles and said that he should not call anyone unclean. Let God reveal prejudice in your life and seek to allow the Holy Spirit to replace that with love.
7. God confirmed His presence by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Once again, the Holy Spirit brought unity to the early church. A direct result of the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives is the sense of unity that is built. How can you build greater unity within the body of Christ? What steps can you take to build bridges to those who are not like yourself?