Summary: To establish that Cornelius was instructed by the Angel to send for the preacher to hear words whereby he and his entire house might be saved. This lesson deals with the false notion – that God does not hear or answer prayers from the unsaved or sinners.
1. The Message of an Angel
2. The Message of Cornelius
3. The Message of Peter
1. In our lesson today we are going to be discussing a theme: “Cornelius, thy Prayer is Heard.” These are the words of the angel that instructed him that God has remembered his prayers and alms among the people. This lesson deals with a just man that prayed to God for salvation for himself and his house. We will notice how God answered his prayer!
2. First we will notice the angel’s message to Cornelius to send to Joppa for Peter. He would come and “tell thee what thou must do,” Acts 10:6. The angel of the Lord instructed Cornelius first that his prayer was heard of God. He then advised him how he was to obtain an answer to his prayers. Notice, the angel did not instruct him how to be saved; but rather, told him to send to Joppa and ask for Peter. It would be he that would tell “him what he and his house must do.” God has left this message in the hands of men, “For we have this treasure (message of the gospel) in earthen vessels (men), that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us,” 2 Corinthians 4:7.
3. Second, we will consider the message from Cornelius to Peter when he asked: “What is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him,” Acts 10:21-23. The messengers said they were come to get Peter and take him to Caesarea that Cornelius and his house might “hear words from him.” And Peter’s words would instruct Cornelius and his house, “what they must do to be saved.”
4. Finally, we will discuss the message of Peter to Cornelius and all that were assembled in his house. After Peter arrived, Cornelius rehearsed the angel’s words to him: “Send therefore to Joppa, and call for Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.…Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God,” Acts 10:29-33. He had assembled his entire house, kindred and friends to hear words commanded of God. Peter would later rehearse these things unto the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. He stated: “Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house: And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter: Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved,” Acts 11:12-14.
BODY OF LESSON
I THE MESSAGE OF AN ANGEL
A. The angel’s visit to Cornelius’ house. I pray God’s messengers have a welcome in this house. Paul to the Hebrews saints: “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares,” Hebrews 13:1-2. Sometimes God sends angels among us; and we reject them and their message. We find their words offensive and disturbing. But remember the words of Jesus: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me,” Matthew 10:34-39. Notice:
1. First, Jesus regarding His word. To his disciples he asked: “Will ye also go away?” Peter, “Thou hast the words of eternal life,” John 6:67-69. Jesus said earlier: “It is the spirit that quickeneth the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” John 6:63.
2. Further, Paul to the Hebrews: “The word of God is quick and powerful,” Hebrews 4:12. It discerns the “thoughts and intents of the heart.”
3. Next, “Have I become your enemy because I tell thee the truth,” Galatians 4:16. Might I suggest, it is the truth that makes the enemies; but the people and sometimes the saints blame the messenger? Paul again: “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth,” 2 Corinthians 13:8.