At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. – Acts 10:1-4 ESV
Cornelius was a GOOD MAN! He was DEVOUT; deeply devoted to one’s religion or to another belief, cause, or way of life. He FEARED GOD! Fear of the Lord brings with it many blessings and benefits. It is the beginning of wisdom and leads to good understanding (Psalm 111:10). Only fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7). Furthermore, fear of the Lord leads to life, rest, peace, and contentment (Proverbs 19:23). It is the fountain and life and provides a security and a place of Safety. (Proverbs 14:26, 27) He had an ongoing conversation with God and He gave ALMS generously; money, food, or other donations given to the poor or needy; anything given as charity. Cornelius was a GOOD man- but still LACKED something or SOMEONE!
Leader, If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3:17) This story is about a GOOD man, who sought after an UNKNOWN GOD, a man who had a need that only GOD could meet! As good as Cornelius was, He wasn’t GOODNUFF! God orchestrated this entire ordeal so that CORNELIUS could become acceptable to God: For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21) As good as Cornelius was, he LACKED what was needed to enter the KINGDOM of GOD: because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9) Just like Cornelius, we NEED JESUS to get to God the FATHER! He is our CONDUIT, our TICKET, to the FATHER! (See John 10:30, John 14:6, John 14:9b)
Conduit, the BASIS of Salvation is GOD’s GRACE. It is NOT BY OUR WORKS, it is not by our CHURCH membership, it is not by HERITAGE it is by GRACE ALONE! God’s willingness to give us what we DON’T deserve! The MEANS of SALVATION is CHRIST’s death on the cross! God’s grace was demonstrated by CHRIST’s willingness to be the PERFECT sacrifice, the FINAL SACRIFICE. but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) The CHANNEL of salvation is our FAITH! We are not saved by FAITH we are saved by GOD’s grace, but it is applied in our lives through our FAITH. By ACTING,’AS IF’- we demonstrate, WE believe in GOD and we believe in JESUS as HIS SON and our REDEEMER! We receive SALVATION through this FAITH! God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:8-10) Today ACT, AS IF, and BE SAVED!