Summary: To establish that this conversion also follows the New Testament’s “pattern of conversions” as outlined in the Book of Acts. This lesson will establish that these uncircumcised Gentiles were added to the church in a same manner as all other believers.
1. Cornelius’ Character before the Lord
2. Cornelius’ Call by the Lord
3. Cornelius’ Conversion to the Lord
1. In our lesson today we are still continuing the discussion of New Testament conversions. As we continue to plow through this theme one thing has become apparent; and that is, each call to Christ and salvation in the Book of Acts, follows the same "pattern of conversion.” What has begun to emerge in these acts of faith and obedience is that they follow the directions of Christ that He gave to his disciples, before his ascension into heaven, in the “Great Commission,” Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16. We will see also in “The House of Cornelius’ Conversion” the same “pattern of conversion.”
2. First, Luke outlines the character of Cornelius to us in the lesson. I might add that his character shames many of us today. He was: “A devout man, and one that feared God with his entire house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always,” Acts 10:2. In other words, he reverenced the Lord, he and his entire house. He gave much alms to the people; and he prayed to God always. And it was apparent that God heard him, and was moved to answer his prayer. Notice Luke further, “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. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, what is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God,” Acts 10:3-4. This lesson might silence many brethren, who adamantly object of God hearing anything from a sinner. Peter’s words to this man will silence these opinions once he arrives at Cornelius’ house. Peter said to Cornelius: “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; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean,” Acts 10:28. After hearing from Cornelius regarding his vision, Peter said: “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him,” Acts 10:34-35. Don’t worry; we will answer their argument from John 9:31.
3. Second, we will consider Cornelius’ Call by the Lord. Just like the Ethiopian the angel of the Lord would visit with him and provide instruction on how to get the preacher, Peter. He would “tell him what he oughtest to do,” that “he and all his entire house might be saved,” Acts 10:6; Acts 11:14. Here we see also the divine hand of God in this conversion. But, let’s be abundantly clear. God is intervening in the union of these two parties (Cornelius and Peter). The message or “the words” however, would come from the preacher, Peter himself, Acts 11:14.
4. Lastly, we will notice Cornelius’ conversion to the Lord. What will be important is that it follows the same “pattern of conversions” in the Book of Acts. The man had divine help in getting the preacher to his house. But, the preaching of Christ was done by Peter. Peter will reflect on this experience later and mention it in the Jerusalem Conference, Acts 15. Luke shares: “And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they,” Acts 15:7-11. With this introduction, let’s begin our discussion of the first point, Cornelius’ Character before the Lord.
BODY OF LESSON
I CORNELIUS’ CHARACTER BEFORE THE LORD
A. Cornelius a “devout man.” Luke describes Cornelius as a good man. Though a Gentile he was a man of great devotion and love for God. It was men of this caliber that was assembled on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Luke writes: “And there was dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven,” Acts 2:5. Solomon says: “A good man obtains favor from the Lord, But a man of wicked intentions he will condemn,” Proverbs 12:2. Notice: "But Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord," Genesis 6:8. It is this kind of character God saw in Cornelius; and desires to find in men and women today.