A. THE GOSPEL TO THE UTTERMOST:
In the commission Jesus had said that they would be witnesses to the uttermost part of the earth. This would take in the Gentiles.
The Lord had given Peter the keys to the Kingdom (Matthew 16). He had unlocked the door of the Kingdom to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost. It was under his ministry that the Samaritans received the Holy Ghost. In Acts 10 we read the story of Peter being the minister to take the gospel to the Gentiles. Thus he uses the keys once again to unlock the door of the Kingdom.
B. WHO WAS CORNELIUS?
Cornelius was a Roman centurion. This meant that he was an officer in the Roman army and over a company of one hundred men. He was a devout man, who feared God, and gave much alms. He also was a man of prayer.
Cornelius was stationed at Caesarea; a seaport, which had been built by Herod the Great. It became the headquarters of the Roman authority in Palestine.
Although Cornelius was a man of good works he was not saved. His good works did not save him. His prayers and good works went up to God as a memorial but they did not save him.
At three o’clock in the afternoon Cornelius had a vision. He was praying because this was the hour of prayer. In the vision the Lord sent an angel with explicit instructions where he could find a preacher who would tell him what to do.
This is a clear example that angels do not preach the gospel in this dispensation. Angels have never been baptized in Jesus Name nor filled with the Holy Ghost. It takes men filled with the Holy Ghost to preach the Gospel. In this case that man was Peter who was at Joppa.
C. PETER’S VISION:
Peter was staying in the home of Simon the Tanner in the city of Joppa, a seaport some thirty miles south of Caesarea.
The next day after Cornelius had had his vision Peter was on the flat roof of Simon’s house praying. It was at noon and he was hungry. While waiting for something to eat he fell into a trance. He saw a great sheet being let down from heaven full of all kinds of ceremonially unclean animals. A voice commanded him, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” Peter recognized the order as from the Lord, but he did not acknowledge the Lord’s right to command him to do what was forbidden by the Law of Moses.