“HE COMMANDED US TO PREACH”
1. Turn in your Bible to Matthew 16.13-20:
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
2. This is a familiar passage. I could spend weeks preaching and teaching about topics raised in this portion of Scripture that we have just read. But allow me to point out only two things:
3. First, take note that, in verse 19, the Lord Jesus Christ tells Peter that He will give him “the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” I take that to mean that it will be Peter’s assignment to unlock the entryway to the kingdom of heaven by means of the preaching of the Gospel to the human race.
4. Next, in verse 20, Jesus charged His disciples “that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” Why not? When He spoke these words He and His disciples were in Caesaria Philippi, which was Gentile country, north of Galilee. Verse 21: “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
5. As you know, Jesus did go to Jerusalem. He did suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes. He was killed on a cruel Roman cross. And He did rise again the third day. Thus, the temporary restriction to tell no one that He was the Christ was lifted. “Therefore they . . . went every where preaching the word.”
6. But in what way or manner did they go everywhere preaching the Word? Of course, they first began at Jerusalem. It is interesting to note, however, that it was Peter who preached on the day of Pentecost, in Acts chapter 2.
7. Then they went to Samaria, those mixed blood people of both Jewish and Gentile ancestry. There Philip was greatly used of God. But notice what we find in Acts 8.14-17:
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
8. So you see, Peter is back on the scene. This makes sense when you remember that the Lord Jesus Christ gave to Peter the keys to the kingdom, making him a significant figure in the advance of the Gospel, first to Jews, Acts chapter 2, and then to half-Jews, here in Acts chapter 8.
9. We now turn to Acts 10, where we will read the first 43 verses:
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;
8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,
18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
24 And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
10. Cornelius, of course, being a Roman centurion, was a Gentile. Therefore, it should not surprise us that God has once again placed Simon Peter, that man who was given the keys to the kingdom by the Lord Jesus Christ, in the midst of things.
11. Having preached the Gospel to the Jews, then having been instrumental in imparting the Holy Spirit to the Samaritan believers, and now having a role in verifying the conversion of even Gentiles by grace through faith, Peter’s charge by the Lord Jesus Christ has been fulfilled. Access to the Gospel of God’s grace is now fully accessible to every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation.
12. And this brings us to my text for today, the first phrase of Acts 10.42, a portion of what Simon Peter related to Cornelius: “he [Jesus] commanded us to preach unto the people.”
13. Before brother Isenberger comes to leads us in another hymn, allow me to relate to you several topics related to Peter’s statement:
1A. First, CHRIST’S COMMISSION REFLECTS GOD’S CONCERN
1B. The command Peter refers to in our text, of course, is the Great Commission. In Mark 16.15: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
2B. Why did Jesus issue this command?
1C. John 3.16 tells us why: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The motive, obviously, is love.
2C. But the means is preaching, the word for preaching being khrussw, which means to “proclaim aloud.” So, why preaching instead of, say, reading? Romans 10.17: “. . . faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
3C. And why preaching instead of teaching? Because you don’t get saved by learning how to become a Christian, but through faith in Christ. You don’t get saved head first, but heart first. Preaching alone conveys the urgency of your need to be saved from your sins.
3B. God saw the need. God sent His Son. His Son sent forth men to preach the good news that Jesus saves.
2A. Next, CHRIST’S COMMISSION CENTERS ON CHRIST’S CROSS
1B. It was on the cross of Calvary that Jesus suffered and bled and died an atonement for sins. It was on the cross of Calvary that Jesus became sin, He Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
2B. In Galatians 5.11, Paul makes reference to “the offence of the cross.” So, what is the offence of the cross? The cross of Jesus Christ offends people, outrages people, irritates people, because if the sinless Son of the living God must needs go to the cross to procure the salvation of sinners then it is impossible for those sinners to deserve in any way the favor of God. Thus, stripping away any and all causes for boasting, the cross is thereby an offence.
3B. Some would minimize the importance of Christ’s cross, precisely because it is so very offensive to those who think themselves good. But Christ’s commission requires that the cross be central to our preaching. As Jesus said, “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” That brass serpent was hoisted on a pole. Jesus was hoisted on a cross. Our preaching must focus on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for the sins of mankind for God to bless it.
3A. Third, CHRIST’S COMMISSION REQUIRES THE CONGREGATION’S COLLABORATION
1B. Paul very clearly points out that “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Indeed, Romans 10.9-17 emphatically delineates the progression. There is preaching, which leads to believing, which leads to calling on the name of the Lord.
2B. But in the days since Charles G. Finney we have somehow gotten off track and onto a dead end road called personal evangelism, whereby it is presumed that most people get saved by means of a one on one conversation that ends in something called a sinner’s prayer, despite the unequivocal testimony of God’s Word concerning the importance of preaching.
3B. Let me tell you what is needed. What is needed is a collaborative effort on the part of God’s people, members in a Church working together as a congregation to get sinners under the preaching of the Gospel. That’s what Christ’s commission requires and that’s what we are committed to doing here at Calvary Road Baptist Church.
4A. Fourth, CHRIST’S COMMISSION NECESSITATES THE CHRISTIAN’S GOOD CONDUCT
1B. It is rather easy to obtain a profession of faith from some guy who opens the door to a soul winner come knocking. But anyone with any experience doing that knows that rarely, if ever, does a sinner get saved by such means.
2B. Turn to First Corinthians 14.25, where we see the reaction of a sinner to the preaching of God’s Word in the assembly, accompanied by the life’s messages of the Christians bearing witness to the message that is preached: “And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.”
3B. Did not Jesus pray, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”? So, when we are of one accord, in agreement with the spirit and essence of the message which is preached, then sinners will truly come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. But so long as there is resistance, rebellion, and reluctance the Spirit of God is grieved and souls are only occasionally saved from their sins.
5A. Finally, CHRIST’S COMMISSION REVEALS THE LOST MAN’S CONDEMNATION
1B. Why did Christ call men to preach? Why not provide instructions and teach lessons on doctrine? Because sinners are hopelessly lost. Because sinners are unable to learn their way to heaven. Because sinners are so utterly depraved that they can do nothing to merit God’s forgiveness.
2B. It is only by preaching, as the means whereby faith is imparted to those spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, that souls can be saved. Only by preaching, scorned and ridiculed by the supposedly wise and sophisticated, is used by God to bring the lost to Jesus Christ.
3B. Lost man? Your condition is so hopeless, you are so far removed from any help that can be provided by any other means, that it is only the sound of my voice which can reach you, and that only when God is pleased to use the sound of my voice to convey to you the faith to trust Christ.
4B. As it stands now, you are condemned already, because you have not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. But if you will listen to the sound of my voice, and believe that what I tell you is true, then you can come to Jesus Christ and He will save you from your sins.
1. To rehearse, then, God is greatly concerned for your welfare. Despite your wickedness, He loves you and sent His Son to be the Savior of sinful men’s souls. Jesus died on a cruel cross an atonement for sins.
2. To make the best use of what Jesus did, we need to collaborate to get sinners under the preaching of the cross. To improve the effectiveness of the preaching once we get sinners here we need to live credible lives that bear witness to the fact that Jesus saves from sins.
3. That is our commission, the Great Commission. That is how we apply the text of this message, “he commanded us to preach.”
4. Now, brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a hymn.
1. Turn again to Acts 10.42-43 and read along quietly while I read aloud: “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
2. In these two verses Simon Peter is telling Cornelius what he knows to be the essentials surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
3. Let me relate them to you so that you can then act upon them:
1A. First, THERE IS THE COMMAND OF CHRIST
“And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify”
1B. My responsibility is to obey Christ’s command to preach to you. Your responsibility is to obey Christ’s command to come to Him.
2B. I am doing what I have been commanded to do. I am discharging my duties, obligations and responsibilities. In a few moments it will be your turn.
2A. Next, THERE IS THE CERTAINTY OF JUDGMENT
“it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.”
1B. Jesus will someday judge those who are alive and those who have died. He will judge every soul. And when He so judges He will judge righteously, punishing those whose sins are not forgiven and rewarding those who have served Him.
2B. What does this mean for you? It means, there will be no escape for those of you who die without Christ. Jesus, Who is not now angry with sinners, will grow impatient with your continued rebellion and stubbornness. His long-suffering will someday come to an end. Then He will judge you in righteous indignation. Then He will punish you severely. Then His eyes toward you will be flames of fire. Then it will be too late.
3A. But Until Then, THERE IS THE PROMISE OF FORGIVENESS
“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
1B. Did you hear that? Do I need to read that again? This is not some new thing. This is an old thing. It has always been “that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
2B. Do you want your sins forgiven? Do you want them as far from you as the east is from the west? Do you want deliverance from your sins? Do you want to be reconciled to God? Do you want a Savior? Are you sick of your sins?
3B. Then take hold of this promise and do not let go. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” The entire Old Testament, all the prophets, were talking about Him. They all, in one way or another, pointed toward the Lord Jesus Christ, as much as did John the Baptist did when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Are you lost? Then come to Christ. Do you want to escape the judgment of God’s wrath? Then come to Christ. Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior sent from God and promised by the prophets? Then believe in Him to the saving of your soul.
 Acts 8.4
 Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 543.
 John 3.14
 1 Corinthians 1.21
 John 17.21
 John 3.18
 John 1.29