The message was brought by Eddie Foster. Read Acts 10 for reference to this message.
Cornelius commanded 100 men. I’ve read this many times the last few days. I think he was seeking peace and truth with a deep desire to know God. In verse 2 we see that he was a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. In verse 22 we see again that he was one that feareth God. In verse 30 Cornelius said four days ago I was fasting. He was putting into practice what he knew. He treated his duties well. He was an honest man in society. So was he all right? No. He needed something else.
He had a vision. In it he was told: Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. 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. He sent the men to Peter. God was working on the side of Cornelius and was getting ready to work on the side of Peter.
Peter was on the housetop to pray and fell into a trance. Verses 9-15 give us the story. Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This happened three times. There were things Jews were not permitted to eat. God wanted Peter to realize some things. The angel made sure that Peter got the news that Jesus was alive. The women were told to tell the disciples “and Peter” of the resurrection. Later Jesus told Peter three times to feed his sheep. Thirty-two miles physically separated Peter and Cornelius, but they were very separated by prejudice. We read back in Chapter 11 that Peter had to defend himself for sharing the gospel with Gentiles. Then Cornelius’ men came from Caesarea and Peter was instructed to go with them.
Cornelius wasn’t interested in what Peter had to say just for himself. He invited his friends and family to hear it. We should be so excited about the news that we invite others. When Peter arrived, Cornelius bowed down to him. In verse 26 Peter said stand up; I myself also am a man. Peter shared the gospel message with them and they all got saved and baptized. Anytime something like this happens, it is a time of rejoicing and praise. I want to show you things that stick out in this for me.
God will not allow a sinking soul to perish. Cornelius had a deep yearning to know more about God. He had heard reports. In Acts 8 the Ethiopian read from Isaiah desiring to know more about God. He was empty; there was a void in his life. Philip had been in a great revival, but God took him from that to one man. He preached to the Ethiopian about Jesus; he believed and was baptized. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, but others were in the way. The woman at the well wasn’t satisfied by her sins. In Acts 16 they were called to go to Macedonia. Solomon tried wisdom, wine, wealth and women. His wisdom was from God because he asked for it. He built magnificent structures. He had hundreds of wives and concubines. He found no peace. He said it was all vanity to him. It left him empty and void. Without the Lord, you are empty. If what religion you have didn’t change your life, you need something else–Jesus. I’m not perfect. I grow day by day. But I can tell you I’m not what I used to be. God makes the difference in lives. The woman with the issue of blood had tried many things. Then she tried Jesus. You may have tried many things, alcohol, drugs, women. Why don’t you give Jesus “a try”. He will meet your needs.
Cornelius was devout. He did everything you’d think people would do, but he was lacking. Good works can’t save us. You won’t do enough to work yourself into heaven. Only Jesus can get you there. That’s why he died on the cross. I’m not going to heaven by my goodness, but by the goodness of Jesus Christ. Cornelius was lost because he had never asked Jesus into his heart. Most people have some kind of religion. Multitudes deny there is a hell. Millions depend on good works and morality hoping that will outweigh the bad. You mess up with that thinking. Jesus Christ is what tips the scales in our favor. There are no substitutes for the gospel. If you’re lost, praying is just a good intention. We have to deal with sin by a prayer of repentance before God hears our prayer.
Others have the wrong worship. Cornelius worshipped Peter. Many people worship people. No human is valid for worship. I wish I could say that I always do and say what is right. I can’t. We all make bad errors in judgment. Don’t put too much confidence in man. Remember what Jim Jones got people to blindly do. Look at Waco. How easily people are blinded. Whether the Pope or the Ayatollah, or a preacher, we are all just men. Peter was a great man of God, but still just a man. If John the Baptist had told the people he was the Messiah, many would have believed him. But he pointed people to Jesus. Man worships man, but many also worship self. You cannot save yourself, but Jesus can.
The ground is level at the foot of the cross. In verse 34 Peter said Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. The false belief is that at the end God will just allow all to be saved and go to heaven. But only those who have trusted Jesus Christ will go to heaven. In John 14 Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life: No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Listen to me. Jesus is not a good way to get to heaven. HE IS THE ONLY WAY. You’ll come by the way of the cross. Life is in the blood, and Jesus gave his blood to give us life. While men judge by appearance. Samuel did so going to Jesse’s sons to anoint the King of Israel, but God told him man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart. We respect others for what they possess or the responsibilities they have. Church must be one place where there are no distinctions. After all, we’re sinners saved by the grace of God. I was lost, but one day the Lord saved me. God is impartial in his judgment. Jews have to accept Jesus. He’ll not let a good Gentile go to heaven. He has to be saved. God didn’t excuse the sins of Abraham, Moses and David. He’ll not excuse ours. We have to repent. That means by the help of the Lord we determine not to go back.
The Lord stands ready to save.