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Cornelius : Part 1
THE FIRST GENTILE TO COME TO CHRIST
Acts 10: 1 - 48
Acts 10:1 - 8 Cornelius - A Devout Man.
Cornelius was a Roman soldier stationed in Caesarea at the headquarters of the Palestine government. He was a centurion. The equivalent to the centurion in the present day military organization is a company sergeant-major.
From scripture we see that Cornelius was a man who was seeking after God and as he sought God, God found him. He was a kind man, given to charity and a man of prayer. Perhaps as yet he did not clearly know the God to whom he prayed but had a strong desire to live close to God. God heard his heart and through Cornelius, opened to the gentile world the wonders of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Cornelius told Peter that while he was praying in his house, a man appeared before him in shining clothes and said, "Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your deeds of charity have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and send for Simon who is also called Peter...". Here Peter learned that God has no favourites. That in Christ, all barriers must come down. Racial barriers, class barriers, cultural barriers. Through Cornelius, Peter learned that we must love one another and help one another, that there is no room for hate and prejudice in the Church of Jesus Christ.
The most powerful evidence of God's approval of Cornelius, his household, his friends and indeed all believing gentiles is, that while Peter was speaking to all those gathered together, the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they began speaking in tongues and magnifying God. They were baptized in water and instructed in the Word.