The Challenges of Cornelius' Conversion
Being good is not good enough (v. 1-2)
God is no respecter of persons (v. 34)
Get out of our comfort zone (v. 28)
Cornelius was saved the same way we’re saved: He heard the Word (10:33); believed (15:7); repented (11:18); and was baptized (10:48).
This week, let’s look at how Cornelius’ conversion also offers us an opportunity to examine ourselves. It is not enough to be good. One must become a Christian. However, it is not enough for one to be a Christian. One must also be good. It’s worth taking a closer look at Cornelius’ character to see how we measure up.
Am I devout to God (v. 2)? It’s the first thing said about Cornelius’ character — he had a reverential attitude toward God.
Do I fear God (v. 2, 22)? As a centurion, he, of all people, would know to respect one of even higher authority than himself. He learned enough about God to fear, revere, and respect Him.
Do I influence others for God (v. 2, 24)? Cornelius wasn’t content to keep his ideas about God to himself. He convinced his household to fear God as well.
Am I generous (v. 22)? Cornelius was generous and did what he could to help the Jews.
Do I pray to God often (v. 2)? Cornelius was a dependent creature — not dependent upon Rome, but God.
Am I an honest, fair person (v. 22)? Cornelius was a righteous man who did not take advantage of his position or his authority.
What kind of reputation do I have with others (v. 22)? The men sent by Cornelius to bring Peter back must sell to Peter that Cornelius is a good man.
Am I humble (v. 7-8)? Cornelius was humble enough to admit he needed God’s instructions, regardless of who the messenger was.
Am I eager to learn and to do (v. 33, 48)? Cornelius did what he was commanded to do by Peter.
Let us all use the story of Cornelius as a means to examine our lives, and let us be determined to make the changes in our lives where they need to be made.
— Steven Matthews