Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

The Centurion had a Teachable Attitude

Acts 10:33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God."



The centurion was a Roman soldier who either had or who was converting to Judaism.  He was sincere in his desire to worship the one true God; and, for some reason, he thought that was the God that the Jews worshiped.  God recognized his sincerity by acknowledging the things in his life that showed his reverence.  But the Jews had crucified the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.  This man needed to know that this crucified man who had been raised from the dead was the answer to his need.   


Many people ask me what happens to the people who have never heard the Truth.  It seems that those who seek the Lord do find Him as the Lord has promised.  The Lord speaks through creation, through our consciences, and through His Word.  When any one of these things causes a person to seek the Lord, He will make sure that they hear the clear message of the Gospel.  That was true with Paul on the Damascus Road who was a Jew.  That was true of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 who was from Africa.  That was also true of the this man who was a Gentile living with the Jews.   The Ethiopian came from Noah’s son Ham, Paul came from Noah’s son Shem, and this man came from Noah’s son Japheth.  So there is no partiality shown by God to those who seek Him. Whosoever will may come and drink of the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17).  Whosoever means whosoever.  Those who never hear the Gospel will have to ultimately admit that they never sincerely sought to know the Truth.


The Question

God through His angel told Cornelius to send for Peter.  By the time Cornelius’ servants had gotten to Joppa, Peter had been prepared to go with them to a man Peter would have thought was unclean by Jewish standards.  But God had told him not to call that which God had cleansed common or unclean.  Even though it must have been difficult for Peter to accept the fact that He was to preach to a Gentile, He was obedient and went.


Cornelius then tells Peter when He arrives, that, “Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God."  They didn’t want things sugar coated.  They didn’t want to hear part of the truth; they wanted to hear ALL THINGS that Peter was commanded to tell them.  Peter preached the same truth that Paul preached and that we preach today. That message is summarized in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 by Paul, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”  Paul them mentions the witnesses to the resurrection as does Peter.  Peter emphasizes that believers receive forgiveness of sins.


Application Today

Are we as open minded as Cornelius was?  I realize that the primary application to his readiness had to do with how to become a Christian and not how to act once he became a Christian.  But wouldn’t a person who has received the truth of the Gospel want to be open to all the teaching of the Bible having to do with pleasing and glorifying God?


I realize that we must rightly divide or correctly explain the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).  But if the truth is found in an epistle, wouldn’t that be a proper explanation of the truth of Scripture as it applies to New Testament believers?  I have always assumed that unless the epistles themselves indicate that the things mentioned are not for our day, then the epistles should be taught as the way we should please God today.  1 Corinthians 13 mentions gifts that will vanish or fade away or cease.  But we who are saved should be open to all the teaching found in the Bible and as explained by the epistles. 


Today, I hear about the major things that please the Lord and the minor things that should be ignored.  I personally have not found the minor things. I realize that I am perhaps obsessive—compulsive by nature. Today I also hear that we cannot carry out the principles of the epistles, either morally or ceremonially because society and culture has changed.  I really don’t want to meet the Lord and try to explain to Him why principles connected with baptism, the Lord’s supper, headship as evidenced in the local church and moral evil have all changed.  I don’t want to explain why we have arranged things in the church in such a way that the Holy Spirit no longer leads our worship and teaching.  Peter could not be considered a proper teacher today because he didn’t have a Bible degree.  Nor could John.  They were considered “uneducated and untrained (Acts 4:13).”  But I would personally like to listen to either of these men if I could today.  I read and re-read what they have written.


I would like to believe that some of us are still, “all present before God, to hear all the things commanded by God.”


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of  April 23, 2017

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