Finding the Acceptance of God
Cornelius was a ‘good man'
He and his family were ‘devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly'
Cornelius was a ‘spiritual man'
One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"
Being ‘good' and ‘spiritual' were only ‘pre-requisites'; they are not sufficient to be right with God, they do not equate with salvation.
Cornelius was not a ‘child of God'
An awareness and desire to live a ‘good, moral' life is really only a first step towards knowing God - it just begins to prepare the heart to respond to God and it is not sufficient to become a child of God.
To say ‘I pray' therefore I am okay with God is not sufficient either, that just says I recognize He is and that I need Him.
Cornelius was both a good man and a spiritual man, but He was not yet a saved man, he was not yet a child of God, His soul was not yet alive.
Acts 10:34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
God will accept anyone - of any race - of any background - who will reverence Him and live rightly. God does not have favorites.
Cornelius had a reputation of respecting and revering God
Evidence of the Reverence of God
Prov 16:6 "...through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil."
Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
- Cornelius had a teachable heart (v4) He cared about what God said with an attitude of a learner. His heart and mind are open to what God would say.
3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!"
Acts 10:4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked.
A true reverence for God says I am interested and care about what God would say and have me to do. I am willing to listen and respond to him.
Psa. 25:12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
I want to you take a minute and think about what it might look like for you to have a teachable heart towards God - draw a quick picture or write down a couple of words, don't just leave it in your head, your likely to loose sight of it there - what will it take or look like for you to have a teachable heart towards God?
- Cornelius obeyed God (vv 7-8) - A heart that will obey God
Acts 10:7 When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. 8 He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
He had a heart that would respond to Gods leading regardless of what he ‘understood' if God said it - he would do it
He had a heart that was willing to trust in God's goodness and trustworthiness
There was a lot that Cornelius did not know or understand -
‘go look for a man you do not know and bring him here' WHY? WHAT IS HE GOING TO DO / SAY?
There have been times in my own life where I knew God had said something and I had to do something but I didn't know what that would mean. I didn't have all the answers.
Psa. 112:1 Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who finds great delight in his commands.
Maybe trusting God means believing that Jesus is the way, truth and life - the only way to establish a relationship - and you do not know all of what that means but you are willing to obey him when he says believe in me and trust me.
God was moving in Cornelius' heart because he was living rightly.
Evidence of doing what is right - moving from selfishness to sacrifice
Acts 10:4 "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God
Many who think they do what is right have these sort of thoughts "well I don't steal' ‘I don't cheat, lie, kill somebody.
In all this right living - where is the personal pronoun - it is "I"
For right living to God is to move from living right for "I / ME" to living right for YOU - doing what is good for others
Cornelius gave generously to those who were in need -
He was aware of others around him - their needs
His eyes were on more than just himself
He gave generously
He was not selfish - but learning what it was to sacrifice for others
To give generously is to begin to learn how to trust God and others
This does not mean that salvation is possible apart from Jesus Christ, and his atoning sacrifice; but rather, it is on the basis of his death and resurrection the gospel is offered to all people who are willing to receive it and recognize their need of it.
Cornelius was a man whose heart was ready to hear of the hope of God's forgiveness. He was a good man
Had Cornelius said ‘My good deeds are sufficient to win me favor with God, and I have no need of the gospel' then it would become clear that he was not accepted by God. God knew it was not sufficient but because He loved Cornelius, he sent an angle to instruct him to bring Peter to tell him the gospel.
Because God loves people, he sends his gospel out with people. His people share his message of love and acceptance in Jesus Christ. That is exactly what Peter did
The gospel is a message of forgiveness of sin - not how to live a good life. Cornelius already knew how to live a ‘good' life - he was doing that
But what Cornelius did not have, what he did not know was he could experience forgiveness and discover a fresh start, a new life. A life where his soul came to life.
There is a time when God will judge each person and that happens through His Son Jesus. Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead
Acts 10:42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
As Cornelius, his family and friends who had gathered there to heard Peter and they received this message into their hearts - as they said ‘yes' to this message God's Spirit was poured out upon them and they praised God for His goodness to them.
Our sins will be judged, there will be a reckoning, a penalty will be exacted, a price will be paid.
1Pet. 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,
This morning you can know there is a message of peace - peace between your heart and God's and it is found through Jesus, God's Son.