Sat, 22 Oct 2016 10:20:33 +0000
Welcome to our discussion for to-day. The above topic is based on the story of Cornelius, concerning his acts of charity which led him receiving an angel as his visitor in his home. As it is written in the book of Acts 10:1-4, and says: “There was a man in Caesarea, named Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman regiment called “The Italian Regiment”(2) He was a religious man, and his whole family worshipped God. He also did much to help the Jewish poor people and was constantly praying to God (3) it was about three o’clock one afternoon when he had a vision, in which he clearly saw an angel of God who said to him, “Cornelius” (4) he stared at the angel in fear and said, “what is it Sir?” the angel answered “God is pleased with your prayers and works of charity, and is ready to answer you” The story of Cornelius is a welcome example as truly God’s desire to answer prayer. With Cornelius the Lord God Almighty used an extraordinary method of reaching a man who wanted to know Him. If we are to specifically consider the life of Cornelius, would most certainly learn the following:
Cornelius was Godly, generous, Roman and was well respected by the Jews, probably because of his loving kindness he demonstrated among the local people, even though he was an officer in the occupying army.
He responded to God’s commands and encouraged his family to do the same. His conversation helped the early Church realize that the Good News was for all people.
Truly, those who are willing to seek the truth about our Lord God Almighty and are obedient to the light of the world, Christ Jesus, the reward is forth coming from Him, who lives in heaven and the earth is His footstool. (Isaiah 66:1) Cornelius was a devout, God fearing man, and so was everyone in his household.
Cornelius learnt to give generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God. “When we endure, the Lord will faithfully provide: For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion. (James 5:11). What we learn from Cornelius, is that he was always actively seeking and revered (feared), God, at the same time, very generous in meeting other people’s needs and led a prayer life. Our Lord God Almighty told Cornelius to send for Apostle Peter, because he was one to give Cornelius extra knowledge about the God of Israel. Another very important aspect, we can learn from the story of Cornelius, was that he was able to put into practice what he learnt from the teachings he received on our Lord God Almighty and His Son, Christ Jesus, our Saviour and Messiah.
Cornelius therefore received or experienced that startling visit from the angel of God for two good reasons: He loved His God, to whom he constantly prayed for what he wanted in his life. He was faithful and constant in his prayer. He really wanted to meet Apostle Peter in his lifetime. Cornelius wanted to meet Apostle Peter, because of the wonders and miracles Peter used to perform, which were amusing to the ears of Cornelius. To be persistent in prayer is to have hope that one day – the Lord will answer our prayer. Another reason for Cornelius to receive that rare honour of a visit from an angel in his home, was that, Cornelius was a kind man. He had a character of helping the poor. We are talking about two sides of a coin, not too complicated to emulate or copy.
If we were like Cornelius, persistently and consistently, praying to our God, pouring out our needs and concerns in our life, as well as remain devoted to helping the poor, the faithful God Almighty is bound one day, send an angel as bearer of good news. What he did to Cornelius, he can repeat the same to the present believers. This is in accordance to what is written in Psalms 41:1, which says: “Blessed is he who considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver in time of trouble”. That is the Lord will always be available when need be, for those who help the poor. We may be poor, but we can still provide for the poorest of the poor.
The story of Cornelius is truly a welcome example of God’s willingness to use extra ordinary means to reach those who desire and love Him, the God of Hosts. In the book of James 3:13, the bible says: “There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” It can be said that, it is neither difficult nor easy to show mercy to others, it all depends upon an individual’s desire or willingness to be merciful or not. I am a very blessed person, for I have met in my life very merciful people, always there desiring to help me out of my problems. It is from such merciful acts upon me that I value those who help others. It is written in Matthew 25:31-46, that there will be judgment day. Showing the importance of exercising kindness to others, in a life of a believer.
In Deuteronomy 15-10, the Bible says: “Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do”. Truly the angel may not appear to us, and deliver the message of blessings from our Lord God Almighty, but the Lord God, may use any other method of reaching us, where ever we may be, and be informed of the blessings we are about to receive. Some people may realize that they have been visited by the angel of God, after experiencing positive change in their lives. We know from the Old and New Testament readings, all individuals in the Bible, who were visited by the angel, received a great blessing, as their lives had a tremendous change. As the word of God is being preached, everywhere by men and women of God, it is like the parable of the sower (Mark 4:3-9). As Cornelius learnt from the scripture written in Matthew 5:7, which Says; “Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy”. The man of God, Cornelius took the word of God very seriously and decided to be practical, therefore bearing a lot of fruit.
Cornelius eventually received a great blessing out of what he did according to what he had learnt. How I would love to be like Cornelius in applying the things I have learnt on the kingdom of God. In my church, I have met a lot of people who have shown great mercy to the poor. They never tire from doing good, whenever this is deemed necessary. They are always eager to do good (1st Peter 3:13). There is great self – satisfaction by those who help out fellow believers and family members with necessary assistance.
One believer I know, deeply devoted to helping the needy at my congregation has been rewarded by God, he is now a Diplomat in one of the European countries. Still continues to support the poor at the same congregation. The other believer is as much devoted in helping the needy; a businessman who seems not to lose out in any way, his business is always as successful as any person can wish it to be. In Proverbs 17:17, the bible says: “the merciful man doeth good to his own soul; but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh”. The kind souls will always be happy and the cruel soul will always be sore. Merciful people live life to the fullest. This is according to what is written in the Book of Romans 6:22, which says, “but now being made free from sin, and becomes servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting.” All works that are done for Christ, are holiness and attract everlasting life. Try God. Get the experience of other people, provide your home to the poor and orphans, and you will see the blessings of God upon you.
We should not resist the Spirit when called upon to help the needy. Some people have experienced the replenishment of resources, almost immediately after spending on the needy. In times of trouble or challenges, the Lord God Almighty will rescue the merciful. We should always remember, the Lord loves a cheerful giver (2nd Corinthian 9:7).
When you are devoted to giving to the needy, do not worry about those who do not approve of your good works. After all, if God is for you, no persons can be against you (Romans 8:31).
In the book of 2nd Samuel 22:26, the Bible says; “With the merciful, you shall show yourself merciful and with the upright, you shall show yourself upright.” A person is bound to get blessings according to what he does, the merciful and upright accordingly. Cornelius was a blessed man, he did what he was required of him, helping the needy and prayer without ceasing (1Thess 5:17). We can certainly do the same. Cornelius loved people and loved his God. We also can. We should not close our ears to the cry of the poor, because it can be to our disadvantage. All good deeds must be done to the glory of God. When the right hand does what is good, the left hand should not know (Mathew 6:3). In Galatians 5:13, we are advised to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And Galatians 6:2, to learn to carry other person’s burdens. Remember doing good covers a multitude of sins 1st Peter 4:8. He that of God, hears God’s word. John 8:47.
In a crusade of helping the needy, we should start with family members; fellow believers, community members and others. Then the visit Cornelius experienced from the angel of God, will be our own experience, sooner than we can imagine. For God will reward every person according to what each person has done, Roman 2:6. Those with ears let them hear what the Spirit says. May the Lord God Almighty bless us all. We pray in the name of our Lord Christ Jesus, our Saviour and Messiah. Amen!