THE CONVERSION OF CORNELIUS
“A MAN WARNED TO HEAR WORDS” (Acts 10:22)
“WORD’S WHEREBY THOU SHALL BE SAVED” (Acts 11:14)
BIBLE TEXT – READ (ACTS 10:1-6, 22, 29-48) (11:14-17)
The story of the conversion of Cornelius is an important story. It is important for a number of reasons. It’s a story about “two visions”. God was at work in this story because a vision is a voice from heaven. God was speaking to Cornelius to warn him to hear words whereby he might be saved, (Acts 10:22). God was speaking to Peter to prepare him to take the gospel to a Gentile. Peter had scruples and prejudices to overcome before he would consent to visit a Gentile. The story is important because Cornelius is the first gentile to hear and accept the gospel. Peter said in, (Acts 15:7) “God made choice that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe”. Because of that, James said, (Acts 15:14) “God did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name”. This story is important because if this man needed to be saved, surely we all need to be saved. You will see what I mean as we review this portion of the Word of God. By way of outline, I would like to draw your attention to the following things concerning this man named Cornelius and his conversion:
1. (ACTS 10:1) – CORNELIUS WAS A RESPONSIBLE MAN
2. (ACTS 10:2) – CORNELIUS WAS A RELIGIOUS MAN
3. (ACTS 10:22a) – CORNELIUS WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN
4. (ACTS 10:22b) – CORNELIUS WAS A RUINED MAN
5. (ACTS 10:3-6) – CORNELIUS WAS A REMEMBERED MAN
6. (ACTS 10:44-48) – CORNELIUS BECAME A REDEEMED MAN
1) CORNELIUS WAS A RESPONSIBLE MAN
In (Acts 10:1) we see that “Cornelius was a responsible man.” He was a man of rank and authority. As a commander of a Roman division consisting of one hundred men, he had many responsibilities. Many people pursue and some achieve a good measure of success, social status and wealth in this life. It is natural to want these things. There is danger, however, when one pursues this course while neglecting the eternal well being of their soul. (Mark 8:36, 37) “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”. At the judgment seat of Christ, (Revelation 20:12), it says, ‘I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” Even those who are considered “great” in this life will stand before Christ at the “Great White Throne” judgment because they were “great” people who were never saved. How is it with you dear reader? Is this descriptive of you? Are you so busy with the affairs of this life that you have never really considered your eternal destiny? Are you prepared to meet God?
2) CORNELIUS WAS A RELIGIOUS MAN
In (Acts 10:2) we see that “Cornelius was a religious man.” It says the following things about him;
Being “religious” will not get you into heaven. Religion is not redemption and sincerity is not salvation. Many people depend on their “religion”, their church membership, their baptism or their pastor, priest or pope to get them to heaven. Dear reader, please do not depend on your “religion” to get you to heaven. It was not sufficient for Cornelius and it will not be sufficient for you. God has left this example in His Word to serve as a warning to all who are depending on their religion or their church to get them into heaven.
3) CORNELIUS WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN
In (Acts 10:22a) it says of Cornelius that he was “a just man, and one that feared God, and of good report.” In other words, “Cornelius was a righteous man.” Sometimes we meet these kind of people in the world, people who are just and upright. Like Cornelius they are reverent and are recognized for their good outward testimony. But, being self righteous will not get you into heaven. Being well spoken of by family and friends will not merit God’s salvation. Do you feel that you are a righteous person and that because you have this reputation God will take you to heaven? Notice what God’s Word says, (Isaiah 64:6) “We are ALL as an unclean thing, and ALL OUR RIGHTEOUSNESSES are as filthy rags.” It says in (Romans -12) “There is NONE RIGHTEOUS no not one.” “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” “There is NONE THAT DOETH GOOD, no not one.” It is clear from the Word of God, that God’s picture of us is not the same picture that we have of ourselves. Read (Romans 3: 9-23) to see God’s portrait of what man really is. The only righteousness that is sufficient for salvation is the righteousness God imputes to us when we believe in His beloved Son. It says in, (Romans 3:22) “The righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe”.
4) CORNELIUS WAS A RUINED MAN
Cornelius had much to commend him. Humanly speaking, he was religious, moral and upright and had a good testimony before those who knew him. But, HE WAS NOT SAVED. “Cornelius was a ruined man.” He was a ruined sinner who needed God’s salvation. Notice what it says in (Acts 10:22b), Cornelius “was warned from God.” He needed “to hear words.” He needed to hear the Gospel. He needed to hear about God’s Savior and Gods way of salvation. Notice (Acts ) “Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.” Dear reader, this is the reason for this website. I know that you, also, need to hear words whereby you might be saved. (Romans 1:16) says that “The Gospel of Christ … is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” Have you believed the message of the gospel?
5) CORNELIUS WAS A REMEMBERED MAN
We see this truth in (Acts 10:3-6) and other verses. God arranged for Peter to come to Cornelius and preach the gospel to him. Read (Acts -43) God has remembered you as well, because it says in (Hebrews 2:6) “What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him?” God did remember each one of us because it says in (John ) “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Have you believed in God’s Son? Are you saved? Have you been “born again?” (John 3:3,7)
Cornelius received a warning from God. His self-righteous life could not save him. Your so called “good works” will not save you. Church membership, infant baptism, keeping the Ten Commandments, doing the best you can, will not save you. There is only one way to be saved, (Acts ) “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” The message that Cornelius needed to hear is recorded in (Acts -43). It is all about God’s beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the following from these verses;
· (verse 36) – “The word which God sent … preaching peace by Jesus Christ, (He is Lord of all).” Peace with God comes through believing in and receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. (Romans 5:1) – “being justified by faith, (not by works) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Do you have this peace?
· (verse 37) – “That word – which was published.” God has given us His word, the Bible, the Word of God. It says in (2 Timothy ) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” (2 Timothy 3:15) “—the Holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” Do you believe and accept that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, to you? This is absolutely necessary for you to be saved.
· (verses 38,39a) – Peter preached about the life of the Lord Jesus Christ – “who went about doing good” – “all things which He did.” Peter spoke about the Lord’s anointing, His moral glory and His ministry. In the Bible, the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John reveal particularly the birth, life, ministry, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God wants you to know His Son. If you have never read these books it would be profitable for you to do so. (John 17:3) “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
· (verses 39b, 40) – Him “they slew and hanged on a tree.” Peter preached about the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. Cornelius needed to hear this message. You need to hear it as well. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, He died for you, for your sins. (1 Peter 3:18) “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” (Romans 4:25) He was “delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” This is the Gospel (God’s good news) that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). It was through believing the gospel that some of the Corinthians were saved. Notice (1 Corinthians 15: 1, 2). This is the only way that you also, can be saved.
6) CORNELIUS BECAME A REDEEMED MAN
Peter preached in (Acts ) “whosoever believeth in Him (Jesus Christ) shall receive remission (forgiveness) of sins.” The imparting of the Holy Spirit upon Cornelius in verse 44 was verification that he believed the message of the gospel and in believing he received the Holy Spirit of God, i.e., he was “born again.” When a person truly believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of God comes in to that person and takes up residence in their heart. Notice what it says in (Ephesians ) “In whom (Jesus Christ) ye trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” Have YOU been “born again”, “born from above”?
Have you believed the message of the gospel? It says in (Romans ) “it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” This is God’s way of saving people in this age in which we live for it says in (1 Corinthians ) “in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom new not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
In closing let me remind you that you are traveling the “highway of life”, passing through time on the way to eternity. There are only two destinations before you. It will be either heaven or hell and you will spend eternity in one of these two destinations. Now that you have read this message you have come to a “crossroads” in your earthly journey. Which way will you go? Will you be a believer or a non-believer? It says in, (1 John 5:12) “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”.Please give this matter your most serious attention. Will you be a believer or a non-believer? Your eternal destiny depends on your decision.