Prejudging people on the basis of their income,
clothing fashion, type or age of their car, and size of their home, may not seem like such a big deal unless you are one being judged. The same is true
regarding race, religion and relationships. And yet, while we know that such is wrong, there are times in all of our lives when we probably have been guilty of
showing (or at least feeling) bias and prejudice toward others.
I. Readiness: Vs. 24-27
1. According to Verse 23, certain brethren accompanied Peter to the home of Cornelius. (There were six men
according to Acts 11:12.) These were witnesses of what was about to happen. When they arrived, Cornelius was ready and anxiously awaiting their arrival. Who had
he invited to his home to hear the words that Peter would share? Why do you think he invited these people? What do you think you would do if God told you to
send for someone who would tell you what you "ought to do" (Cf., Acts 10:6) and "words by which you and all thy house shall be saved" (Acts
11:14). Would you invite you friends and relatives?
2. What did Cornelius do when Peter entered his home? What was Peter's response to such gratitude and reverence? Did Peter desire or
expect such worship and adoration? Discuss how the words of Peter implied that he as a Jew was not racially superior but just a man like himself? Discuss how
the words of Peter implied that he as an apostle was not religiously superior but just a man like himself. What other implications might we derive from Peter's
words and response?
II. Realization: Vs. 28-29
1. The Jewish law and tradition required a "separation" from the heathen nations. They were not
to make covenants with or enter into marital relationships with the Gentiles. The purpose was two fold: (1) To maintain the purity of their race and (2) To keep
from being led into idolatry. The Jews did not always keep these laws and traditions any more so than they did many of the other laws of God. But an almost self
righteous arrogance and bias seemed to become a part of their tradition. Evidently, they would not even enter into the home of a Gentile lest they be defiled by
such contact. According to verse 28, what was Peter's new understanding (under the law of Christ) in regards to contact with and relationships with Gentiles?
2. Did Peter always live up to his understanding that we are not to show bias or prejudice toward those of different races? Cf.
Galatians 2:11ff. Do Christians today sometimes struggle with bias and prejudice?
III. Revelation: Vs.30-35
1. Cornelius reviewed why he had sent for Peter and concluded with an indication that he was ready to
"hear all things that are commanded thee of God." With that invitation to speak, Peter began his sermon with a profound truth that would shake the
foundations of many social and ethnical traditions. What was the truth that Peter now understood about God?
2. According to verse 35 what must "one and all of us" do to be acceptable to God? While it is true that one cannot by his own
merit "work" his way to heaven and one is not justified by the works of the law of Moses, there are "works of righteousness" (God's not
man's righteousness) that one must work to be pleasing to God. To refuse to do those righteous things which God commands is an affront to God. The ground is
truly level at the foot of the cross. But the conditions for all of us are the same. All of us of every race and generation "that fear God and work
righteousness (keep his commands) are accepted of him." Compare the wording of this text with Ecclesiastes 12:13.
3. What kind of prejudices are hardest to overcome in peoples lives today? In what way does the "golden rule" counteract
prejudice? As time permits, discuss the strong rebuke of James in James 2:1-6 toward brethren who did not possess the faith of Christ when it came to showing