Scripture Reading: Acts 10:34-43
“And He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the One appointed 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.” (Acts 10:42,43)
We have seen the providence of God at work throughout the development of the early church. God sovereignly directed Peter to meet the Gentile Centurion Cornelius, whom God had prepared to hear and to receive the message of the gospel. Cornelius gathered a crowd of people, all of whom God had also prepared to hear: “Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord” (v. 33). Peter had a receptive audience and thus he faithfully and powerfully preached the gospel to them.
After forty plus years of preaching, I have realized more now than ever how important gospel-centered preaching is. Unfortunately, there are many preachers today who do not clearly articulate the gospel in their sermons. I am afraid some have forgotten the words of Paul: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). The message of the gospel is the power of God for salvation! We must preach it faithfully to others and to ourselves. We easily forget it and must constantly be reminded of the central message of the good news that Jesus came to save sinners like you and like me.
Peter was not ashamed of the gospel. He boldly preached it to the Gentiles who were gathered together by Cornelius. Peter made it clear that there is no partiality with God (v. 34). Jesus Christ has broken down the wall of partition and the gospel is for all who believe, Jew and Gentile. Jesus made peace with God for us (Romans 5:1) and He makes peace and reconciliation possible between believers because of His work on the cross (v. 36).
Peter preached about the death and resurrection of Jesus (vs. 39,40). He made it clear that Christ is the Judge of the living and the dead (v. 42). He showed how the prophets of the Old Testament pointed to Jesus as God’s anointed Messiah. And then Peter offered the hope of the gospel to those who believe — the forgiveness of sins.
All of Peter’s sermons were gospel-centered. Christ was at the heart of his preaching. This kind of preaching is desperately needed today. Remember that the gospel is the power of God for salvation!
Lord Jesus, it is so easy to forget the essence of the gospel. I pray that today I would preach the gospel to myself. As I prepare to preach again soon, let my preaching be gospel-centered. Let me point people to the Savior.
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