Let’s continue to dig into one of the most important chapters to us Gentiles in the whole Bible; Acts 10. Last week we discussed how Cornelius was a man who put himself in position for Father God to use him by a lifestyle of prayer, fasting and giving and now let’s pick up the story in verse 3 One afternoon about three o'clock (time of prayer), he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. "Cornelius!" the angel said. 4 Cornelius stared at him in terror. "What is it, sir?" he asked the angel. And the angel replied, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have not gone unnoticed by God!
I’m not so spiritual that I judge Cornelius for being in terror; God’s angels are amazing, powerful and intimidating. They fight on our behalf, they war in the heavenlies, they are messengers from God’s throne, and they deliver God’s promises to mankind.
When the angel called him by name, Cornelius replied, “What can I do for you?” The angel was on assignment with a message from Father God and he said your lifestyle (prayers, giving, etc) are noticed by God. The way you have lived your life has caught the attention of Father God who sees all, knows all and is all in all. That’s exciting! Every time you give a drink of water, every time you help someone in private, every time you pray in secret, fast in seclusion, give to the poor or give to the Kingdom, God sees and God notices and it opens up the heavens! What a mighty God!
Then God gives him instructions, prayer without obedience will not deliver the promise. 5 Now send some men down to Joppa to find a man named Simon Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon, a leatherworker who lives near the shore. Ask him to come and visit you."
I love the supernatural workings of Father God. The angel told him to go get Peter and described Peter to him and told him where he was staying (near the shore) and who he was staying with (Simon who works with leather) not leaving out a detail. The only problem was this, Peter was a Jew and Cornelius was a Gentile and at that point and time the law (Old Covenant) forbade Peter to come into his house.
Remember this, when God is talking to you on one end, once you obey, God will be talking to the person on the other end if we will just be obedient. Then we read in verse 7 As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of his personal attendants. 8 He told them what had happened and sent them off to Joppa.
Before fear could set in, before the “ifs” started forming in his mind, Cornelius immediately obeyed what the angel told him.
9 The next day as Cornelius's messengers were nearing the city, Peter went up to the flat roof to pray. It was about noon, 10 and he was hungry. But while lunch was being prepared, he fell into a trance.
It must have been a good distance since it took almost a day to arrive, and as they were nearing the city (in obedience) Peter was going to his closet of prayer to spend some personal time with the Lord before he ate lunch. The reason God tells His secrets to only a few is only a few spend quality time in the secret place of prayer. So while everyone else was downstairs cooking and getting ready to eat, Peter was praying and fell into a spiritual trance (having a spiritual dream but still awake) and what he saw broke all the religious traditions he had been taught and had even taught others.
11 He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. 12 In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. 13 Then a voice said to him, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat them." 14 "Never, Lord," Peter declared. "I have never in all my life eaten anything forbidden by our Jewish laws."
Father God was about to demonstrate to Peter that salvation is now based on relationship with Him not works for Him. We do the works because we love Him and not to be accepted by Him. I’m not talking about a cheap grace where we accept grace and go do our own thing but I’m talking about an undeserved favor which impacts us to the point of living a Godly lifestyle based on God’s word to please Him. Faith pleases the Father but our works demonstrates our faith. Friend, we still can’t live wrong and die right. When the blood of Jesus is applied to our lives, something changes (old things pass away and all things become new).
Prayer Points: Father, open our eyes to the supernatural realm of your Spirit. Help us not live by man’s traditions but by relationship with the Father by the Lord Jesus Christ!