Brother Mike’s Message
Conversion of Cornelius
All righteous and godly people are not saved people. Cornelius was such a man. He is described as “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually” (10:2). It is also said of him that he was “a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews” (10:22). But it is evident that even this devout, prayerful, generous, and highly respected man was not saved until he did what Peter said.
So, the angel of the Lord spoke to Cornelius in a vision saying, “Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now dispatch some men to Joppa, and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter” (Acts 10:4-5). Later, as Peter reports the conversion of Cornelius to the church in Jerusalem he adds that the angel of the Lord told Cornelius that Peter would “speak words to you by which you will be saved” (Acts 11:14). Too often we may think that believing in God and being good to others is all that is necessary for salvation. Cornelius proves this is not true. If believing, praying and being benevolent is all that is necessary to be saved, then, there would have been no need for the vision. There would have been no need to summon Peter or for his “message by which you will be saved” (11:14). There are some things that even believing, praying, and benevolent people must do in order to be saved.
Prayerful and benevolent people must honestly desire to have a deeper knowledge of God’s will. When Peter came to Caesarea, Cornelius gathered his “relatives and close friends” in earnest anticipation of what the messenger of God would say (10:24). Cornelius said, “Now we are all here present before God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord” (10:33).
Devout, prayerful and benevolent people must desire to do God’s will. After receiving word from God to send for Peter, Cornelius obeyed. There was no hesitation or argument.
After the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit and Peter saw what these Gentiles were doing, Peter declared, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he” (Acts 10:47)? While normally one did not receive the Holy Spirit until after baptism, these did to prove that the gospel was for all (cf. Acts 1:8; 2:39; 9:15). Join us Sunday!