The Gospel to the Gentiles: Acts 10 (1)
Pray Psalm 66.1-4.
Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
Say to God,
“How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name.”
Sing Psalm 66.1-4.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Shout for joy to God, all people, sing the glory of His Name!
Give Him glorious praise and say, “How great Your pow’r and great Your fame!
All the earth shall worship gladly as they praise Your glorious Name!”
Read Acts 10.1-8.
1. Who was Cornelius?
2. What happened to him?
Luke continues selecting stories, pinned to names, that both report the progress of Christ’s ongoing work and create anticipation in his readers concerning what lies ahead. Is the Gospel powerful to effect even people in government? Even a pagan government?
God was at work in this Centurion, preparing his heart for the Gospel. He was a “God-fearer,” a Gentile believer in the God of Israel. He is described as devout, generous, and pious (vv. 1, 2). Doubtless, his association with the Jewish religion helped to prepare his heart for the Gospel.
God sent an angel to further prepare Cornelius for something significant, and he immediately complied with the angel’s instructions, sending three people to Joppa to fetch Peter (vv. 3-8). Cornelius did not know why he was doing this. It’s not necessary fully or perfectly to understand God’s reasons for what He commands.
Luke uses the story of Cornelius to prepare us for the Gospel’s spreading into the Gentile world and all the way into Caesar’s own household (Phil. 1.12-14)! God’s preparation of Cornelius should encourage us to believe that God is preparing people for the Gospel still today. It should also lead us to plead with God’s Spirit to strive with people (Gen. 6.3), and to God the Father to allow His glory to break through in unguarded moments, reminding lost people of Him (Rom. 1.19-21; Rom. 2.14, 15).
God is at work in the world in various ways, striving with people and preparing their hearts to hear the Good News. This should encourage us in our daily calling in the ongoing work of Christ. God used certain faithful Jews in Cornelius’ case. Today He might use you.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
We might be tempted to look at Cornelius and think that he was primed to be saved because he was already a devout man, who feared God, gave generously, and prayed continuously. Then we remember Saul, the antithesis of primed to be saved.
God is in the business of changing lives. All lives. Ready or not. He is Sovereign. And powerful. “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps. 115.3).
In Lydda, Aeneas experienced a physical healing that led to his and many others’ salvation (Acts 9.33-35). In Joppa, Dorcas experienced a life-giving that led to the eternal healing of many people (Acts 9.36-42). And in Caesarea, Cornelius experienced a theological healing that led to the ingrafting salvation of himself and future Gentiles who believed on the Name of Jesus (Acts 10.1-48).
“…for it is God who works in you [and all who believe] both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2.13).
Physical healing. Spiritual and eternal healing. Theological healing. All for His glory. All to His praise. And He is calling us to be used in this marvelous work of bringing all those He chooses into His Kingdom.
“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power;
for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4.11).
This work is why we exist; it’s the reason we were created.
There are many people out there, in various stages of preparedness, just waiting for a touch from the Lord through us: like Aeneas, Dorcas, and Cornelius. So, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…” (Heb. 12.1, 2).
Please use us, Lord, today. And every day. For Your Kingdom, power, and glory (Matt. 6.13).
1. Do you find it hard to believe that God is already at work in the world, beyond the pale of the Church, preparing men and women to hear the Gospel? Do you think God could be doing this with any people in your Personal Mission Field? Explain.
2. What will you do today to reach out to people in your Personal Mission Field with the grace and truth of Jesus?
3. An angel helped to ready Cornelius for the Good News. Could angels be working ahead of your witness, to prepare others for the Good News? Explain.
Doubtless Cornelius had true faith in God’s word, as far as he understood it, though not as yet clear faith in Christ. This was the work of the Spirit of God, through the mediation of Jesus, even before Cornelius knew him, as is the case with us all when we, who before were dead in sin, are made alive. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 10.1-8
Pray Psalm 66.5-9.
Pray for the nations of the world, that they might see the works of God and hear His Word of salvation, that many might be saved.
Sing Psalm 66.5-9.
(Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Great and awesome is our Savior in the works which He has done.
He the sea and river dried to let His people cross as one.
Then our joy was great to worship Him our mighty, sovereign One.
He the nations watches ever – all you rebels, humbled be.
Bless our God, all men and nations, praise His Name eternally!
He preserves our souls, and He will keep His paths beneath our feet.
T. M. and Susie Moore
You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.