Summary: This is a sermon for our Family and Friends Day Celebration 2004. I looked at what God for Cornelius and Peter when he brought them together in a supernatural way. I hope it blesses your life.
4 July, 2004
Season after Pentecost
A New Vision for the Family of God – What God sees for the Family of God in the 21st Century
I. God sees you Cornelius.
II. God knows you Cornelius.
III. God hears you Cornelius.
God orchestrates a tremendous turning point of his grace through a series of powerful, perplexing, mind-invading, spirit-troubling, culture-challenging visions to one and with the needed word and one who needed the word. This was a new day for the family of God. It all happened because God saw a man’s heart for his family.
God knew a man’s works for his family and his people. God heard a man’s prayer for his family and his people. If I only knew what it was that moved God to do this, how I would pray the same thing for the family of God today. It must’ve been that Cornelius was craving a greater relationship with the family of God who are called the people of God. For God brought Peter to Cornelius. Jew and Gentile were together in worship – in communion with God. It must’ve been that Cornelius craved a deeper life in God for himself and his family as well as his people.
Cornelius wanted to know God truly. He wanted to know truly. He wanted to experience God fully. He wanted to embrace God intimately. He wanted God to draw him closer. This new vision for the family of God was exactly what Cornelius needed and more. He never expected to happen what happened. He never expected this powerful word, this powerful presence, this powerful display of God’s grace. All he knew was that Peter had something to tell him that he ought to do.
What would that be, family of God? Let’s look at some things that Cornelius was doing already as a practicing Christian. He was fasting, praying, giving alms to the poor, God-fearing and devout, and he knew God and God knew him. Evidently he was saved and had given his life to the Lord. In Cornelius, it had to be something that caused him to feel not fully forgiven, fully free from his sins, and fully accepted as a child of God. There seems to be a hint of it in verse 42 – the thing that Cornelius ought to do as told as told by Peter. Family of God, what is it that we ought to do? We ought to do the same thing as Cornelius. We ought to do what God envisions for us in the 21st century! We ought to – BELIEVE!
We ought to believe and embrace the truth that:
1. God is no respecter of persons
2. God accepts everyone fears him and works righteousness
3. He is Lord of all
4. He anointed and appointed Jesus as the Ambassador of His Good grace
5. Jesus suffered, bled, and died
6. Jesus rose with power the third day
7. Jesus is the Judge of the quick and the dead
8. Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins
This we ought to believe.
This we ought to do. We ought to hear the word. We ought to respond to the word we’ve heard. We ought to be filled with the Spirit of God when we hear the word of God preached, taught, explained, or proclaimed. We ought to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Verse 48 is exactly what Cornelius ought to do. He ought to be baptized. Baptized. In Acts 2.38 Peter told the crowd to “‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost’”. Here he simply says be baptized in the name of the Lord. Evidently they’ve already repented. Evidently their sins have been already remitted. So why be baptized, family of God? To be identified as belonging to the family of God. God wants to know that you are not in a box, cage, cell, fenced in, walled in, walled behind, separated, twixt and tween, looked down on, looked upon with disgust, or looked at with eyes of hate. No, says God. You are bona fide, certified, and sanctified. You are part of the Family of God.