Summary: To make clear that every man need to know Jesus Christ as Savior.
A DEVOUT MAN’S NEED
My brothers and my sisters, many of us know someone that we consider devout. You know the person that don’t swear, drink, nor cheat on his taxes. In fact they are honest and trustworthy too. I tell you if anyone acts like a Christian they do. I’m reminded of a cousin of mine and he was a God fearing man. A lot of things that I had mentioned earlier, was exactly the way he was. He was honest, didn’t use fowl language and he didn’t care for those who did. From a distance you would think that he was a model Christian. He even faithfully visited and helped many of the seniors in our community, and for the longest time I thought that my cousin was a sure bet to meet the Lord and to hear Him say well-done. But as I got older and the adults allowed some of us to sit in on some of their conversions, I found out that this cousin of mine that did wonderful works felt that he did not need a personal relationship with the Lord, he felt that he was doing just fine without him. It was his belief that if he did the right things he would make it in. But I’m so glad for Elder Shufford, because my cousin did work for him and Elder Shufford spoon fed him the word of the Lord and got him saved.
I thought about my cousin while reading this text. Cornelius we find was a devout man. In fact verse 2 give us four things that described Cornelius. He was a devout man. He feared God as did everyone in his house. He gave alms to the poor and prayed always to God. Cornelius for a Gentile appeared to have it all together. But there was a void in Cornelius’ life.
In our last episode, we found Peter being summoned to the little town of Joppa by a few disciples that heard about what was done in Lydda. Upon his arrival he was led into the upper chamber, I assume that they were in Tabitha’s house. There he saw and heard the widows crying and weeping as they showed the garments that Tabitha had made for them. You see Tabitha or Dorcas as she was also known as, was a woman of good works. Verse 36 said that she was full of good works and almsdeeds. Peter upon observing the situation knew that he had to clear the room of all the emotional distractions so he could call on the miracle working name of Jesus. And when he cleared the room he got down into the position that gets results and called on the powerful name of Jesus, and as a result Tabitha’s life was restored.
This week turns our attention to a certain man in Caesarea named Cornelius who was a centurion in the Roman Army. We should take note on how Luke describes this man, he said in verse 2 that he was a devout man and one that feared God, gave much to the people, and he had a consistent prayer life. It was this man name Cornelius who during a ninth hour prayer, had a vision. He saw an angel of God coming toward him calling his name. It was this angel that told him that his prayers and his almsgiving to the poor had come as a memorial offering before God. Then he instructed Cornelius to send for Peter and he will tell you what to do. So let’s peep into this text and see the things Cornelius needed.
First of all...
1. HE NEEDED TO HEAR FROM GOD. (v.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.”
As we observe the text, we should note that Cornelius much like Peter puts a lot of time in prayer. He knew that just being a good man was not good enough to get him to the feet of God. He simply needed to hear from God. Although he was respected by many as a Roman centurion and was highly favored by those of his peers. He did not take for granted that he was who he was because of himself. But deep down inside he knew that it was God Himself that had blessed him. The Jews even respected him because of his fear of God and he believed in the monotheism of their faith. He adapted to the Hebrew culture of praying and in the text we see him praying at the Ninth hour. [three o’clock] That is when God sent his messenger to speak for him. You see, God being all knowing, knew that Cornelius in all his devoutness, had only half of a picture. Yes, the Jew most likely taught him the Ten Commandments, he probably kept the Sabbath Day holy and some even informed him of the events that took place in Jerusalem with that fellow that claimed to be the Son of God. So God had to send an angel to Cornelius to inform him that he was preparing a man to come to him with some pertinent information. So we see that Cornelius needed to hear from God.