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THE CONVERSION OF CORNELIUS (2)

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.      In our previous lesson, we began a study of a man named Cornelius.

1.       He was a real man.

2.       He as a religious man.

3.       He was a reasonable man.

4.       He was a regarded man.

 

B.      Letís continue to look at this man who became the first Gentile convert to Christianity.

 

I.                   †A CONCERNED MAN (Acts 10:24b)

 

A.      While Corneliusí men contacted Peter, Cornelius was busy at home.

 

B.      The things that the angel told him sparked concern in his heart.† His concern was not just for himself (Acts 10:24b).

 

And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

 

C.      Would that all who had an opportunity to hear the truth were as concerned for their family and friends.

1.       The old hymn says:† ďThe Gospel Is for All.Ē

2.       If one needs it, many do.

3.       We invite people to hear about vitamins, household products, and beauty products.† NOTE:† These things do not hold a candle to the gospel.

4.       May each of us develop a concern for others, a concern that calls them to hear the message of truth just as Cornelius did.

 

II.                A RESPECTFUL MAN (Acts 10:25-26)

 

And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.† But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up.† I myself also am a man.

 

A.      Cornelius was in anticipation of Peterís arrival.

1.       An angel had announced his coming.† This fact make Cornelius hold him in high regard.

2.       When he saw him, he fell down in respect and worshipped him.

a.       His heart was good, but his actions were wrong.

b.       A kiss, a handshake, a bow would have been sufficient.

c.        Worship was too much.† Peter was just a man.† He was not God, who alone is worthy of worship (Matt. 4:10).

 

Then Jesus saith unto him, Get thee hence, Satan:† for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

 

B.      In our world, we have a problem in the area of respect.

1.       Our problems lie at the other end of the spectrum.

2.       There is little, if any, respect for those who proclaim the gospel.† There is almost a disdain for them.

3.       It is a tactic of the devil.

a.       If the messenger is not honored, the message will not be honored either.

b.       If the messenger and the message are not honored, God is not honored (Luke 10:16).

 

He that heareth you, heareth me, and he that despiseth you despiseth me: and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

C.      A word of warning to ministers.

1.       Some seem to desire to be worshipped.

a.       The love the praise of man.

b.       They love long introductions to the crowds.

c.        They love their titles and accomplishments.

2.       They need to give ear to Peterís words:† ďI myself am also a man.Ē

3.       Preachers are conduits.† They are messengers, stewards, and servants.

a.       The King of kings is to be exalted.

b.       He that plants and he that waters are nothing (I Cor. 3:5-7).

 

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?† I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.† So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

 

III.             AN UNDETERRED MAN (Acts 10:25-33)

 

A.      When Peter began to address Cornelius and his household, he reminded them of the uniqueness of his coming (Acts 10:28).

 

And he said, 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.

 

B.      This, however, did not hinder Cornelius from doing as the angel had commanded him.

1.       Cornelius told Peter about the visitor.

2.       He concluded (Acts 10:33).

 

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.

 

a.       Culture did not deter him.

b.       Fear did not paralyze him.

c.        Possible rejection did not keep him from pressing forward.

 

C.      Cornelius was a lot like Zacchaeus.† No obstacles would hinder his search for truth.

1.       This needs to be the resolve of all men.

2.       They know truth exists, and they persist until they find it.

a.       John 7:17

 

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

 

b.       Matthew 5:6

 

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; fro they shall be filled.

 

IV.              A TAUGHT MAN

 

A.      John 6:45

 

It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God.† Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

 

B.      Cornelius had to be taught.† Peter was a faithful minister that day.

1.       Godís acceptance (Acts 10:34-35).

a.       God is no respecter of persons.

b.       There are conditions to be acceptable to God.

c.        Fear God and work righteousness

2.       Jesusí ministry (Acts 10:36-39a)

a.       Jesus preached a message of peace.

b.       His ministry was empowered by the Holy Spirit.

c.        It was a ministry of good deeds, miraculous deeds.

d.       His ministry was witnessed in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem.

3.       Christís commission (Acts 10:42-43)

 

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 gave all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

 

C.      Peter conveyed two things to his listeners.

1.       The work of Jesus and how salvation can be obtained in Him.

2.       How man must respond in faith to obtain the remission of sins.

a.       This is not salvation as taught by the Calvinists.

b.       This is clear from two things:

1)      Acts 10:35

a)      He who fears and works righteousness can be saved.

b)      It is not he who has been specifically chosen by God can be saved.

2)      The commands Peter will give to these individuals to be saved (Acts 10:47-48).

a)      It is not salvation by faith only.

b)      Peter will command them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.

 

D.     Here is the secret of soul-winning.

1.       There are lost people in the world who need to be taught.

2.       It is the Word of God that needs to be taught.

3.       All that is needed are those who are willing to teach the Word to others.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.      When the various traits of Cornelius are set before us, they are always positive.

1.       He was concerned, respectful, and undeterred.

2.       It is positive traits that make one receptive to the gospel of Christ.

3.       Many have many negative traits that keep them from giving an honest hearing to Godís Word.

 

B.      The future of the church rests with us tonight.† Men, like Cornelius, must be taught.† Will we teach them the Word of God as Peter did?