Summary: To establish that all good people will be saved only as a result of their faith and obedience to God. Cornelius’ religious piety and righteousness did not save him. He had to hear, believe and obey the gospel of Christ.
1. Cornelius’ Character
2. Cornelius’ Commendation
3. Cornelius’ Conversion
1. In this gathering we will discuss the theme: “Will all good people be saved?” It is not our purpose to deny anyone entrance into the kingdom of God. However, God has terms of pardon one must obey before they can be saved. Unfortunately, God’s terms often differs from the conditions that men impose upon sincere believers in God. We will point some of these out as we deal with the conversion of Cornelius and his household.
2. First, we will consider the character of Cornelius. He was a devout man, one who feared God with his entire house, gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. I would suggest that although these are all noble qualities, they in themselves did not grant him salvation. According to the messenger, he need to hear words, “where by he and all his house might be saved.” These words are the gospel of Christ.
3. Secondly, we will notice the angel’s words of commendation. I must state, one cannot be called to salvation outside of the gospel of Christ. One cannot be saved by just hearing a word; it must be the word that God has ordained for men to be saved. God has put this message in “human or earthen vessels” and not within any heavenly host (angels). The angel in our lesson merely told the man where to find the preacher, who when he came would “tell him words whereby he and his entire house shall be saved.” A far contrast from what many today claim regarding their encounters with angels and other heavenly beings.
4. Lastly, we will analyze the conversion of Cornelius. Luke clearly reveals how he and his household gained entrance into the kingdom of God. After hearing the words from God, he and his entire house obeyed the gospel of Christ. We will notice first his character.
BODY OF LESSON
I CORNELIUS’ CHARACTER
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. The wise man Solomon says: “A good man obtains favor from the Lord, But a man of wicked intentions he will condemn,” Proverbs 12:2.
B. He was one who feared God with his entire house. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction,” Proverbs 1:7. “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility,” Proverbs 15:33. This word - conveys a reverence for God and his commandments. Like in Psalms 112:1 “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord that delighteth greatly in his commandments.”
C. He gave much alms to the people. He was a benevolent man. Like many today. What good things we do for others God remembers. Hear Jesus: “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward,” Matthew 10:42. Notice, Psalms 112:5, “a good man sheweth favor, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.” Finally, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again,” Proverbs 19:17.