Summary: Welcome to God’s Great Family! God wants a house full of family and he is preparing both the seekers and the speakers when it comes to evangelizing.
Welcome! We want to extend a special thanks to all our guests who have come to celebrate the worship of our Lord. God’s family is international. We have several Spanish speakers with us today along with all our other friends and family. We want everyone to be able to participate in the worship so would you join me in singing “Te Amo Re, (I love you Lord), sheets should be there in your pews.”
Open your Bibles to Acts chapter 10. Here we see how Cornelius was the first Gentile to be welcomed into God’s Great Family. God actually set it all up. Cornelius received a heavenly invitation. And Peter receives a heavenly preparation. And it all culminates in a great salvation! (Read 1-20)
Picture this: Two ocean front properties on the Mediterranean, about 32 miles apart, two men pause to pray and God sets up an appointment for them to meet. One of the men is a Christian, the other is not. But listen to the description of this unsaved non-Christian man: he was (verse 2) a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.
Wow! That sounds a lot like a good Christian man, doesn’t it? But in fact, he’s not… yet. Jim Newsome was a murderer serving time in the State Penitentiary of Florida. After his arrest and conviction he started seriously searching for God. He said, “At one time, I thought I was saved, I felt I was saved, I even looked kind of like I was saved! The only problem was… I didn’t know Jesus Christ, and I had never obeyed the gospel. So in reality I was still lost.” But I’ll tell you something. It wasn’t long till God led someone to Jim Newsome to share with him the good news of Jesus and teach him how to receive the saving grace of Christ. And Jim Newsome is a Christian today who reaches out to share the Good News with others. God prepared him and God prepared someone to share with him.
Do you know people like Cornelius? Good, even spiritual people who don’t yet know Jesus Christ as their Lord? God is always looking for people like that! His eyes search throughout the earth for those whose hearts are fully devoted to him. He is seeking worshippers who will worship him in Spirit and in truth. He is sending messengers to call those he seeks by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them so that they can be saved. You see, God wants those that want him! But He seeks after lost sheep, not lost wolves. Some people’s hearts are inclined toward God and God finds a way to bring them into his wonderful family!
Acts shows us that God has a way of getting the message before those that he knows have a desire to be in His Great Family. God sent Jesus, his only begotten Son to seek and save the lost and to pay for our sins on the cross. He sent the apostles everywhere to make disciples of everyone so that all who believe and obey could come home to heaven. He sent the sound of the rushing wind on Pentecost that called the crowds together, and he sent the Holy Spirit upon the apostles to proclaim the kingdom, repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus. He sent power to heal the lame man at the temple gate where thousands more heard the word and were saved. He sent an angel to rescue the apostles from jail and then sent them back to preach in the temple. He sent Philip to Samaria where a great many came to Christ. He sent Philip to meet the Ethiopian who would take the message of Jesus to the far reaches of the upper Nile. He sent Saul of Tarsus to Damascus to be told what to do (after he softened him up a bit). He prepared Saul by blinding him and overhauling his world view with a personal appearance of Jesus! Then he sent Ananias to meet Saul and share the saving gospel with him. God is in the seeking, sending, sharing and saving business! Here in Acts 10 God sends an angel to Cornelius and sends a vision and a message to Peter. He sent to Cornelius to send for Peter to bring the saving message. Notice once again that God prepared both seeker (Cornelius) and speaker (Peter) for this meeting. God prepares both the deliverer and the receiver of the message. He did then. He still does today.
Now let me stop here and ask some questions.
For all who are in God’s Family as Christians today, do you remember how you were drawn to God? Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.” John 6:44 Do you remember how you were prepared to receive the saving message of Jesus Christ? There is something attractive and compelling about our God that draws us to him. The Bible tells us plainly that we are made in God’s image and after his likeness. Since the fall, men have all sinned and come short of God’s glory. We have all needed God to send help. Send hope. Send life, forgiveness, and salvation.