Share This Episode
The Bible Study Hour James Boice Logo

No Favorites with God

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
August 21, 2020 8:00 am

No Favorites with God

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 586 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

August 21, 2020 8:00 am

Have you ever had your world shaken? In today's account in the Book of Acts we see Peter dream a dream that turns his world upside down. Peter also uses the second key to the kingdom to open the Gospel to gentiles. There truly are no favorites with God.

Leading the Way
Michael Youssef
Destined for Victory
Pastor Paul Sheppard
Power Point
Jack Graham
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
Truth Matters
Dr. Cheryl Davis

Have you ever had your world shaken in the Book of Acts? We see Peter Dream a dream that turns his world upside down. It's also the first step, as Peter uses the second key to the kingdom to open the gospel to the Gentiles. There truly are no favorites with God.

Welcome to the Bible study, our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. Jesus told Peter he would give him the keys to the kingdom. In previous studies in acts, we've seen him use the first key to open the gospel to the Jewish people at the day of Pentecost.

This time we see Peter use the second key to open the gospel to the Gentiles. Open your Bible now to Acts Chapter 10. And let's listen to Dr. Boyce.

One of the things the Lord Jesus Christ told Peter on the occasion of his great confession of Jesus as the Christ, the son of God, is that he was going to give him the keys of the kingdom. It's always been a puzzling statement to people what it meant for Peter to have the keys. Did it mean that he somehow had a right as the first and leader of the apostles or as he has later been called in some sectors of the church? The first pope to pronounce in an official capacity as a man, whether a man or a woman could be allowed into heaven or barred from it. Does it mean that or does it speak of a right that is given to all ministers who speak authoritatively on the basis of the word of God? To say that sin is forgiven when it's confessed, or to say that it's not forgiven when it's long confess. Generally, the first of those is the Catholic interpretation. And generally speaking, the second of those is the Protestant interpretation. I'd like to suggest I'm not sure that it's correct, but I'd like to suggest that when Jesus said that he was giving him the keys, he was giving them the keys so he might open the door of the gospel to certain bodies of people. There are two keys. At least the word is plural. And I would suggest that he opens the gospel to the Jewish people on Pentecost when he was the first to preach the Christian message and he opened the door to the Gentiles on this occasion that we have recorded for us in the 10th chapter of the Book of Acts. On one hand, Peter as the apostle to the Johs preaching to the Jews, but also Peter. He was the apostle to the Jews, first bringing the gospel in an official way to a strictly gentile audience. Now, however, you take that. It's perfectly evident that this great event, the springing of the gospel to the household of Cornelius, is very important. Certainly important to Luke, who records it. A number of things in this gospel are recorded more than once. That is, they are told once as an historical happening. And then what has occurred is repeated over again, as those who are involved in the incident tell others. That's true of the conversion of Paul. We saw when we looked at that, that great story that we have in the ninth chapter, that it's not only told there, that's the historical setting, but it's repeated twice more. Paul himself tells it once to a Jewish audience and once to a gentile audience. This isn't a terribly long book. So if Luke, the author, is repeating that incident three times, it's obviously important that we can see why it was important. Paul was the man who, humanly speaking, was most used by God in the New Testament era. And he carried the gospel into the entire gentile world. And the same thing is true here of this story. We have told it in one way or another, twice and perhaps even three times. Here we have the Lord giving this vision to Peter, a vision that is meant to tell him that the Gospel is not to be restricted to Jews, but is for Gentiles as well. Gentiles who come to Christ not as Jews, but as Gentiles. And then as the story goes on, we find Peter repeating that Cornelius, and that occurs in the same chapter. And then in Chapter eleven, when Peter appears in Jerusalem again, he explains it all once more at length to that audience. So obviously, you see Lucas saying that this is pivotal, it's pivotal in the structure of the book. Up to this point, Peter has been prominent. We've had Paul introduced, but Peter has been prominent at this point. And with this incident, Peter begins to fade out in terms of being a prominent person in the narrative. And Paul, who actually carries on the mission to the Gentiles, becomes more prominent. So what's happening, you say, is very significant from the perspective of Luke's theology, from the perspective of his repetition and from the perspective of the place this is found in the ongoing unfolding of the narrative. Now, it's a long story. We haven't anything quite as long, as a matter of fact, and so long that I am not planning on taking it all at once. I'd like to take it a couple of sections at a time. And if you outline these things, you may want to divide it up into sections because that's the most helpful way of understanding it. First of all, Section one, there is the introduction of Cornelius. You find that and verses one through eight. He's brought before us as a devout and godly man. Secondly, the second segment of the story we have the preparation of Peter that's in versus nine through 16. That was a very important part of the story. Third, we have Peter's meeting with the messengers. Find that in versus seventeen to twenty three. Fourth, you have Peter's journey to an arrival in Cicero at the household of Cornelius. That's in versus twenty four to thirty three. Fifth, you have Peter's sermon that's recorded in versus thirty four to forty three. And then finally at the very end of this, you have the results of this encounter which are recorded for us and versus forty four to forty eight. So that's the chapter, a chapter that has a strategic importance and place in the book and which is handled in a very careful way in these six sections. Now let's look at the one at a time. First of all, we have this introduction of Cornelius on an interesting man. He is the gentile, first of all. That's the matter of chief importance, because this is a story, as I said, that shows the expansion or the opening of the door of the gospel to the gentiles was a centurion. Centurion was a soldier. He was a Roman commander of what was called the Italian group or the Italian cohort. He was as gentile as you could be. That is the idea. It is interesting when these centurions are introduced to us and it's not the only place in the New Testament that we find them that in every instance these are men that are highly commended. One of them came into contact with the Lord Jesus Christ and his day had a great deal of faith regarding the healing, and Jesus said to those who were standing about listening to what was said. Behold, I haven't found such great faith in all of Israel and who was a gentile and yet was highly commended for his faith. Well, this is the same sort of person we have here. We're told a number of things about him in terms of his faith. First, that he was devout. Secondly, that he was a God Führer. And thirdly, that he was very active in his piety, wasn't just a personal thing, but he put it into play at what we would call good works of social action, particularly in giving to the poor. And he was known for that. Those first two ideas, the idea of his being devout and a God fear seem just to be almost the same thing. And yet they do have different meanings. Being devout is the more generic term. It simply means that this was a man who had sensitivity and spiritual things, who tried to live in a way that he thought would please God. So far as he was able sought God out, he was a man who was known for his prayer, as it says in the passage, says he was a God fear. That's something else. God fear was a term used from a certain category of gentiles who expressed a great interest in the God of Israel, attended the worship in the synagogue, but had not yet become full Jews by the right of circumcision. And they Jewish synagogues, particularly those in the gentile cities. There was a section in the back that was reserved for the God Führer's, very good thing in the eyes of Jewish people to be a God fear. And you had some knowledge of the God of Israel. You gave attention to the law. You were trying to worship him a right, but you weren't a Jew. And although they were God fears they had to sit in the back and it was improper for a Jew. Though he appreciated what God was doing in the life of these gentiles to associate with them much in any social way. This, of course, is what's basic to the problem. Peter wouldn't have had any trouble associating with Cornelius if Cornelius had come into the fold of Judaism by circumcision. Wouldn't be a question of his background, the fact that he was a Roman. If he entered into the fold of Israel and became a proselyte, he would be a Jew. That would be all right. Peter wouldn't have had any trouble with that at all. But he hadn't done that. You see, we had exposure to the God of Israel. He was nevertheless still a gentile. And that's what the problem was. So here you have a devout man who had some knowledge of the God of Israel. There was a man of prayer. And as we read on a man who was very generous with his substance and in fact, he was known for that he gave to the poor and the word of his good deeds spread. It does raise an interesting question. Sometimes I think in our studies it's worth raising questions, even though we might not be absolutely certain of the answer. And I think here is a case where a question like that is in order. The question is, was this man regenerate? Was he born again? It's a puzzling question. Not quite as easy to answer that as you might think. Here and there in the commentaries as I study them, I find the commentators raising this kind of question. One even raises it about the apostle Paul prior to his meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. And this commentator maintains that the apostle Paul was a saved man. He was obeying everything he knew from Judaism. And all he really needed was to have his eyes open to the person and work of Jesus Christ. I find that rather hard to believe since he was persecuting the church and Jesus himself, said, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It's hard to believe. The one who is regenerate, possessing the spirit of Christ is setting about to persecute Christ. You see isn't quite the same case with a man, Cornelius. This man wasn't persecuting anybody. This man, it would seem, was on the way. It would even be hard, wouldn't it? To put this man in the same category as the pagans you find in Romans one. Oh. Granted, he had nothing in his background that would commend them to God. But then neither do we. Granted, he was ignorant of Jesus Christ because that's what Peter had to come to Syria to tell him about. But he was seeking, wasn't he? Was there in the synagogue. He was giving attention to the law. He was praying. And when the angel appears, he's even. It would seem commended for these good things. I ask, is it possible to seek, really seek after godless God is, first of all, work in your heart to draw you? Is it possible to pray in a meaningful way so God hears responds without, first of all, being regenerate? Is it possible to do good deeds that God notes and recognizes without, first of all, being regenerate? I say I'm not absolutely sure of the proper answer to that. And partly the answer depends upon what we think of what theologians call the provine in Grace or the work of the Holy Spirit in preparing one to receive the Gospel. Do you have to be born again before you even begin to understand or even begin to see? Yes. Well, perhaps in one sense, yes, but perhaps in another sense. Now, when is it that one is actually born again? That's difficult to say.

But you say whether this man was already regenerate and now just needed to be taught more fully or whether it was a case which I have to choose, I would say is probably the case that the Holy Spirit was simply at work and what we would call an external way in his life, making him dissatisfied with his paganism, bringing him by circumstances into contact with a better way. So we began to learn about the God of Israel, whatever it was.

That is most certainly the case that this man's heart was prepared for what Peter was being sent to tell him. That's very important because you say that's what anyone needs.

If they're to receive the gospel, they need to have a heart prepared and our hearts need to be prepared if we're to receive it.

But secondly, we find not only an introduction to this man, Cordelia's is really great and praiseworthy gentile man, but we find here also the preparation of Peter for the task. It, kornelius, need preparation. Yes, he was prepared. Peter made preparation, yes, Peter needed preparation, too. The problem you'll see is that Peter was a Jew and he thought as a Jew and according to Jewish way of flot, God did not work in a saving way with Gentiles.

Now, I've got it already been preparing, Peter. It's interesting to see the details of the story, we're told earlier, in fact, we've already studied it that when the gospel spread as a result of the persecutions in Jerusalem northward into some area and took root there and important things began to happen and Philip was used of God, Philip being one of the deacons. Peter went up in an official capacity, no doubt, to investigate what was going on. Now it's stro some area was not utterly gentile, but it was sort of half and half the people were mixed. They were part Jewish in background, they were part gentile in background. It was a mixed society. So it was sort of a preparatory experience for Peter and Peter because he had the germ of the thing in him in spite of his prejudices. When he got up there, said, well, yes, God really is at work here. And he was pleased. Then he went on and he traveled in other places and we saw it, pointed it out when we were studying the previous chapter, very end of Chapter nine, when he went down to Joppa and stay there. He stayed, as I pointed out, in the home of a tanner named Simon Atanas, one who works with leather. In order to work with leather, you have to have dead animals. And that meant that this man, Simon, was ceremonially unclean. Now, normally a Jew would have anything to do with that. You couldn't touch a corpse without becoming ceremonially unclean. You couldn't be with one who handled them without being ceremonially unclean. And yet Peter was there, you see, and it was another way of God beginning to break down. We call them prejudices, but it wasn't just that. It was just a way of thinking that was based upon these centuries of strong Jewish thought. Now you're out with something else. I mean, Simon the Tanner, yes, handling dead animals, but he was still a joke.

And now here, Peter is going to be asked to go to the households, households of Cornelius.

What was the real problem, you see, the problem wasn't that God didn't ever save Gentile's. We know he did. The Old Testament has a number of examples, but when the Gentiles were saved, they were saved not by but at least through becoming Jews. You think of examples, there was rehab, Ireland and Jericho. So remarkable story. Ray Habu had absolutely nothing going for her. She didn't know the true God. She didn't have the true scriptures. She wasn't a member of God's people. But nevertheless, she had heard rumors of what this God, the God of the Jews had done, and she believed in this God. And when the Jewish spies came into Jericho, she protected them because she recognized that they were servants, not of the false gods of her people, but of the one she had come to believe was the true God. And so because she saved them, she was saved.

And as we read the sequel to the story, we find that she was incorporated into Israel. She married into one of the Jewish tribes and became eventually an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ. A very, very interesting story.

Think of another example, there's example of Ruth. Ruth was a Moabites man, she was a member of a foreign country that worshiped foreign gods, but she got to know the true God through Naomi. I only had two sons, one of the sons married Ruth. They went to live in Moab and then the two sons died. I always. Husband was already dead. And when her sons died, she determined to go back to her own land. There were two daughters in law. One of them stayed in Moab, but Ruth wouldn't stay. She said to Naomi, Don't treat me to leave you, but rather I will go with you. And then this important statement. Your God, she'll be my God. And your people shall be my people. Two went together. She had a gentile background and she was saved. And just like rehab before she became an ancestor of Jesus Christ, marrying Boaz, who had Obade and so on, to produce King David and then eventually the Lord Jesus Christ. But you see, she was saved through or an accompanying man with her incorporation and Israel. I think of the only possible exception to that, but it really isn't an exception, and that is the salvation of name in the Syrian maiman was a powerful general. He got leprosy. And, of course, he was shunned because of that. It was a very dreadful thing. But he had a little servant girl in his house that had come from Israel and she remembered the prophet there who was able to do miracle. She spoke her mistress, the mistress, spoke to a name and a name and went off to Israel. And as a result of bathing seven times in the Jordan River, he was cured. Profit wouldn't take a reward. But when Neyman went back to his homeland, he did something very interesting. He took a donkey load of dirt with dirt from the Holy Land. When he got back there, I suppose doesn't describe in great detail, but I suppose he made a little frame of wood and then he put the dirt from the land of the Jews into the little frame. And when it came time to worship that night, he bowed down to the God of Israel, kneeling upon the earth of Palestine. It was a symbolic way of saying that he was not merely saved of his leprosy, but he was saved in the soul. And he came now to the God of Israel, not as a gentile, but as a Jew. You see, the point I'm making is that it is not the case that God never saved Gentile's. God did. Many Gentiles were saved. Matter of fact, when the Jews came out of Egypt, there were many that went with them. And we suppose that they were incorporated into the Jewish nation and became safe men and women as a result. That wasn't the problem.

The problem you see was whether a gentile could be saved and remain a gentile.

And that was Cornelius's state, could Peter go and preach salvation to one who had not come to the God of Israel by the right of circumcision? Now, we know that God answered that on this occasion. That's what this great vision of the sheet was all about. But later on, problem remained. We know that even as slaters, the missionary journeys of Paul, it was a problem because although Paul had gone into gentile communities, as he did in Asia Minor preaching the gospel sometime after he was there, strong minded Jews professing to be believers came from Jerusalem and taught that it wasn't possible for the Gentile to be saved while remaining a gentile. They could have Christ, but they had that Moses too. They could be saved by grace, but they also had to be circumcised. So Paul wrote one of the great letters of our New Testament to deal with that. The letter to the Galatians saying that if you think that you have to be anything else first before you can believe in Jesus, well, then you're adding human works to God's grace and salvation. And that's a false gospel. Anybody says, Steve, you have to become a Jew before you can become saved. Well, that's a false gospel, said Paul, and he attacks that very strongly in that book. But you see, that was the issue and it was a strong one and it lingered on and on and the early history of the church.

But it shouldn't have because here God taught Peter the true way, we're told. Peter was up on the roof of the house in the middle of the day about noontime, waiting for his noon meal.

Houses, as you know, had flat roofs and there was a staircase up the outside, not from the inside. It was a nice place to go, probably. There was a bit of an awning there where Peter fell asleep. Perhaps there was a bed with four Posten over it. There was something of a canopy. Maybe that's how this vision of the great sheet supported at the Four Corners came about. But at any rate, Peter was dozing. He had this vision. Here was his great sheet, let down from heaven. And then the sheet.

There are all kinds of animals, some that the Jews would call clean and others that the Jews would call unclean. You want to know how that division was made? It's in the 11th chapter of Leviticus. It explains very clearly what animals are clean and water unclean. Pigs are not clean, she proclaimed as the same thing with birds and all of that. And that's what Peter saw while he was watching it, wondering what it meant. He heard a voice from heaven, God's voice, and God said to Peter, Peter, rise up, kill and eat. Peter responded instinctively. Oh, no, Lord, I can't do that because I have never eaten anything that's unclean. Now, some of the commentators have pointed out that that's really an incongruous statement on Peter's part. Here is the Lord giving Peter his serve in a command. And here is Peter acknowledging that the Lord is the Lord. But at the same time contradicting him. Oh, Lord. I won't do it. Some have said that's a very strange statement. I don't think that that's actually the way Peter took it. I think Peter must have understood this is something of a test. Peter certainly approach this on the basis of his knowledge of the law. You approached on the basis of Leviticus eleven, which he knew very important in Jewish law.

And when they heard a voice from heaven saying, Peter, rise and eat, he didn't take it as a command. He must have taken it as a test to see whether he, Peter, that you would disobey the law. So he said rightly, on the basis of the understanding that he had. Oh, no, Lord, I can't do that. You know perfectly well what you wrote in Leviticus. I'm a Jew.

I can't have anything that's unclean. And at that point, the voice said what I've called clean, don't you call unclean.

And Peter must've scratched his head. You just never heard of anything quite strange is that when the world does that about. And while he was thinking about it, the same thing happened again. And I guess although it doesn't tell us explicitly that the response of Peter was to say, no, lord, I can't do that. I'm a Jew. I never eaten anything that's unclean. And the voice said what I have called clean. Don't you call unclean? And then the sheet went back up. Peter scratching his head and came back down again. Same thing happened all over again. Take it easy. Oh, Lord, I can't do that. I'm a Jew. I've never eaten anything. It's unclear what I have called clean. Don't you call unclean? Peter, I suppose at this point was beginning to get the idea that God was trying to tell him something. He didn't know exactly what it was, what God was trying to tell him something only. Right. Peter was all right. He made an awful lot of foolish mistakes in his day. But he was going to do what God told him to do. He could figure out what it was. And while he was puzzling over it. That's what the text says, while he was still puzzling over it. These men. But Cornelius had sent off arrived in Joppa. Joppa was to the south. So Syria was to the north three days journey and they arrived in the south. Hunting for the house of Simon the Tanner and Simon Peter who stayed there. Peter went down. He went down. There were three men. Now there were two servants and there was one other soldier. And perhaps Peter saw on the significance of the number. The significance of the repetition of the dream. Three times he was told to do that. Three Gentiles now have come to his door. And here you see is the third section of this. First of all, there's the introduction of Cornelius and there's the preparation of Peter that's completed. Now, there is this meeting of Peter and the messengers who come from Cicero. The significant thing about it. I hope you can see that in verse twenty three is that after he had met them and understood that they had come from Cicero, they told why they were there.

Cornelius, the centurion, had sent them verse twenty three. Then Peter invited the men into his house to be his guests. He is learning because a Jew wouldn't do that because we're gentiles. It was improper.

Peter, the Jew would have said, well, nice to meet you all, but you stay out there in the street or you go down here a little ways. I think you find an in a place you can stay or failing that, you can camp out on the beach. Not going to be too cold tonight. I think you manage our right. But he wouldn't invite him into his house and sit down. Same table with them would have fellowship with them. And yet he was learning, you say. And so he got the message up the vision thus far, I had called these men clean. And since God it Gauld these men clean, he Peter was not to call them unclean.

And so. I came in.

And we're told. Next segment of this. That next day, Peter started out, he took some of the brothers from Joppa with him. You mean some of the juice was a smart move on Peter's part? I suppose he suspected what was coming. And he suspected also rightly that he was going to get opposition from the move from his Jewish brethren. So he thought, well, I better have some people along who can verify how this came about. So he took some of the Jewish brethren with him and they went up to Syria where they met Cordelia's. Now, that's a wonderful scene.

Would be wonderful if every preacher, when he stood up to preach, every evangelist, when he stood up to preach the gospel, every witness when he or she tried to speak to someone about Jesus Christ, find the kind of reception that Peter found when he got to the household of Cornelius.

Here was not only a man who had been prepared and that was waiting, but a man who was so influential. He had his whole household prepared and all waiting. We're all there. I guess he figured out how long it would take. He knew that that soldiery sent along wouldn't delay knew how soldiers operated. He knew how long a march it was from Ussery at a Joppa, knew how long it would take them to be there overnight and then come back. He knew exactly what they were going to arrive at. So there he was.

He had everybody assembled, say God had prepared a preacher. He had gotten Peter ready for it. And now, at the same time, God had prepared the audience, you know, in communication theory, which you often get if you're in that field or if you're involved in personal work communication in any way.

People today talk about what happens in the process of communication. It's not simply a question of saying something and automatically having it communicate to the people who hear it generally in communication theory. They talk about the idea that's in the mind of the communicator. This is then expressed in some way, often in language. The term that's used for that is in coding words or a code for what's in the mind. Sometimes it's done with visual images or some other means of communication that is then transferred to the one who is going to perceive it. And then it is decoded and passes into the mind of the one who understands. That's a big process. On the point that people make in discussing communication theory is that communication doesn't happen until that which the speaker speaks through. This process actually gets into the mind of the one who is listening. You can speak and lecture and make movies and produce visual ads and all those things. But if it's not properly perceived by the one to whom it's addressed, communication doesn't happen.

And that, you see, God was communicating here and it did happen because God not only prepared the preacher, he had prepared the audience. He does something else, too. When we talk about communication theory, we talk about an intellectual preparation to understand what's being said. But here, it wasn't merely an intellectual understanding that was involved. This was a spiritual message. It required spiritual perception. And so the preparation that God had made was a preparation of the hearts of these gentile hearers.

That's when things happen, when God prepares the messenger and God prepares the hearts to hear the message.

I speak to a lot of different audiences, and it's sometimes possible to tell when that's getting through. I'm well aware of the limitations because as it says in Scripture, bad looks on the outward appearance and only God can look upon the heart. Sometimes you think you're not getting through and you find out later that you did or sometimes you think you are. You find out later you didn't know the guy, the questions that are asked, but not always that difficult. And sometimes as you look out on a congregation or an audience or clash, you can tell very well what's happening. So I say I speak in all sorts of places. I speak to mixed groups, seminaries. This week I was in Dallas speaking to the seminarians down there. Of all the audiences I speak to, my absolute favorite are the teaching leaders of the Bible Study Fellowship. I lecture to them one week every year. I have four training sessions every summer in San Antonio, Texas. It's one of the best works I know of in the entire country. I'm on the board. That's why I'm I just don't know if anything is better than that work. I don't know anything. So go to the board and try to make contributions. Sometimes I write things for them and I had joined us immensely. And the reason is that the hearts of that audience are more prepared than any audience to whom I speak. The reason, of course, is obvious. I speak to 40, 50, 60 teaching leaders and they know that next year, beginning in September, they're going to have 32 weeks to teach the material that I'm teaching. To those who come to hear them. So they want to hear it. Our faces are alert. Their notebooks are open. They use a colloquial term, eat it up, and it's perfectly visible in their faces. I'd say that's a great thing. You want a good message? The best way to get a good message is to come with a prepared heart. And when the two go together, when God prepares the messenger and God prepares those who are to hear it, then tremendous things happen as they did here inside Syria and the household of the century.

And Cornelius. Well, Kornelius explains.

And Peter explains. And then it says in verse 34 that Peter began to speak. We're going to look at what it is that Peter had to say to Cordelia's next week. But I do want you to notice the way in which he began, because it really is the heart of the passage. Peter said. I now realize how true it is. You say how true it is. Before this, he might have said yes, yes, it's true. But now he realizes how true it really is. But God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

One, if we really believe that, we would say, as Peter did. Oh, yes, yes, that's true.

After all, we're gentiles got accepted us. And yes, there are Jews and God accepts them. Oh, yes, yes, yes.

But I wonder if we really can say it the way Peter said it. Yes, said Peter. Now I know how true it is. God does not show favoritism. I'm glad he used that word because of course, that's just a little bit closer to what we really do, perhaps, than prejudice. We know prejudice is wrong and we may have prejudice. We try to reject it, but. Favoritism. Well, maybe that's really closer to the way we think. After all, God showed favor to us. And aren't we the kind of people to whom God might show favor? It's only a very short step between favor and favoritism.

And yet that's a dreadful step. Does show favor. That's just a way of saying that it is of grace, but God does not have favorites. And the gospel is for everyone who will come.

Harry Ironside, in his sermonic commentary in the Book of Acts, tells a personal story. At this point, it's a story that concerns the death of his father's father was dying. And as his father was dying, his father kept muttering something. They couldn't quite understand what it was. But finally, they got an idea was from this vision, he was talking about a sheet containing animals. He said animals and beasts and beasts. And he couldn't quite finish it. And somebody finally figured out what he was saying and knew how it ended, not in the new international version, but the King James version, which has creeping things. And they said to him, it goes on says creeping things. Father.

And the man replied, Ah, yes, creeping things. That's how I gaudium even creeping things.

They say whenever you see yourself like that, not as the clean animal or the unclean animal, but the creeping thing, the thing that would be despised. That has no hope whatsoever.

But who, by the grace of God, got into that sheet and is pronounced clean by Jesus Christ. Then you see you're ready to open your arms to other people. Don't make any difference who they are. It doesn't make any difference what color they are, what nation they are from. God does not show favorites.

And if you're in the gospel, as for them as well.

Let us pray. Father NewGround, that this passage might have an important place in our thought and that these great principles might become established in our lives. Was that true understanding that with you there are no favorites, that the gospel is for all who will come and to all such Jesus the Savior is proclaimed pray in his name.

You're listening to the Bible Study Hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce, a listener supported ministry of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview, drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance Broadcasting includes the Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boyce. Every last word with Bible teacher Dr. Phillip Riken. God's Living Word with Pastor, the Reverend Richard Phillips and Dr. Barn House and the Bible featuring Donald Barkhouse. For more information on the alliance, including a free introductory package for first time callers or to make a contribution, please call toll free one 800 four eight eight. Eighteen eighty eight. Again, that's one 800.

Four. Eight eight. Eighteen. Eighty eight. You can also write the alliance at box 2000 Philadelphia P.A. one nine one oh three.

Or you can visit us online at Alliance Nets dot org for Canadian gifts. Mail those two two three seven Rouge Hills Drive, Scarborough, Ontario, M1 C two. Why not ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio commentaries, booklets, videos and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians. Thank you again for your continued support and for listening to the Bible study our.

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime