THE CORNELIUS POSTURE
In acts 10 we are introduced to the story of Cornelius who was a captain of the Italian regiment of the Roman army. He was a gentile and according to that time, salvation in Jesus name was perceived to be the preserve of the Jews. But there are several things that set Cornelius apart to receive and open the door for salvation to the Gentiles;
- He was a devout and God-fearing man
In Acts 10:2-‘ He and all his family were devout and God fearing’- though he was a gentile, Cornelius and all his family recognized that there was a God and only one God and that attracted God’s attention positioning him to receive a blessing from Him. In a culture that had a god for everything he stood out as an embracer of a monotheistic God.
Verse 2 also says he was devout which meant he fasted. Even though he wasn’t yet saved. His devotion to God caused heaven to move on his behalf and bring salvation to him and his family. In Proverbs 9:10 the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Cornelius and his family reverence for God produced an effect that led to peter being sent to his household and that led to his whole house getting saved.
- He gave to the poor
In the same verse, we learn that Cornelius was an alms giver. He gave to those in need and that situated him to gain favor from God. in the present world, we have seen that the richest people in the planet are givers. The more they give the more they received. I once heard that money is called currency (derived) from current because it’s meant to be moving around.
In Luke 6:38- give and it shall be given unto you, good measure pressed down shaken together and running over shall be put into your bosom, for with the same measure you give it will be given back to you.
Point to note, this is not only applicable to money. For there are some people who are abundant in so many other things than money. It could be love, kindness, your time and so on. And they have received great reward by giving of these things. Case in point, mother Teresa. She gave love to the poorest of the poor and the sick in Calcutta India. Her selflessness caused her to win the Nobel peace prize in 1979.
Back to Cornelius, his giving to the poor touched heaven. Jesus himself said 25:40:
– the king will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you for one of the least of these brothers of mine , you have done it for me.’
It is a fact of life regardless of one’s salvation that when you give you receive. The bill gates of this world have understood this and as much as they give they still sit on top on the worlds rich list. For Cornelius, he gained something and his family, he gained something far greater-salvation.
Heaven remembers and acknowledges your giving.
- He Prayed Regularly
In acts 10:4- the angel answered, ‘your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.’ For Cornelius though he hadn’t yet received salvation, his consistent prayers had made it to heaven. God hears our prayers regardless of our spiritual state. This is testament, though not enough to grant us entry into heaven.
For though we pray, salvation is the key that makes us right with him. His prayers reached heaven, but there was still the acceptance of Christ as lord and savior that would seal the deal. We must therefore be aware that God hears our prayers and the kicker for that matter is that prayer works!
- He Acted on God’s Word
In verse 7 and 8– when the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of the attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa.
Cornelius did not think of himself highly that he had been visited by the angel of the lord. He heard his instructions and sent for peter who was living in Joppa so that he could hear what the man of God had to say to him.
His meekness caused him to submit to the angelic instructions and sent for peter. He knew that peter spoke for God and so would not selectively obey Him and he heard all that peter had to say.
- He surrounded himself with worship
Acts 10 speaks of a man devoted to the things of God. His household was all seekers of God. And in verse 30 -Cornelius answered: ‘four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour at three in the afternoon…. I cannot tell the times of prayer those days, but for a non-saved gentile to be praying at three in the afternoon, shows some level of devotion.
His seeking caused him to meet with whomever he was after.
Mathew 7:7 –ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
I believe his devotion to God though he being a gentile positioned him and his family to receive salvation. We must not tire in knocking, seeking, and asking God for the salvation of our family members, friends and the larger society because our actions, attitudes and prayers position us to be of impact as instruments God uses to make his will come to pass.
As we begin this new year, know that God answers prayers, he hears your cry, and he knows every sacrifice you give in pursuit of him. We are all positioned for impact in our various spheres of influence and beyond when the holy spirit falls on us. Just like Cornelius was the first gentile to get salvation though God’s servant peter, God will send a peter to you. Stay in prayer and listen to God’s instructions for He is sovereign. Happy new year!
by Rev. Jotham Munene
December 15, 2017
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