In Acts chapter 10, a Roman (Gentile) centurion named Cornelius was praying to the God of Israel, searching for answers, and the Lord told him to find the Apostle Peter, and he would tell him what he needed to do. Meanwhile, a very hungry Peter is on the rooftop dreaming about bacon…been there. It was God’s way of showing Peter that he should not be afraid to give the Gospel to the Gentiles. They were not common or unclean. They were people whom God loved and desired to see saved.
What I love is the way Cornelius prepared for Peter’s arrival. The way he prepared himself to hear God’s Word is the way we should be every single Sunday!
1. He was ready and waiting.
Acts 10:24, “And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them…“ There was nothing more pressing on his calendar. He had rearranged his schedule so he wouldn’t miss this meeting. He was there early, ready and waiting for the preacher to arrive.
Let’s make church the main priority this Sunday. Nothing else should be allowed to interfere. And don’t slide in late. Be there early, ready and waiting for church to start!
2. He had invited his family and friends.
Acts 10:24, “And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for the, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.“ This was so important to him, he made sure all of his relatives and acquaintances were there to hear it.
Every week should be like “Friend Day.” Every Sunday, we should be working to pack our pew full of friends and family members. Who have you invited to come to church with you this Sunday?
3. He was prayed up, and spiritually prepared.
Acts 10:30, “And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house...” He didn’t show up lazily, expecting to be entertained. Cornelius had spent time fasting and in prayer. He had been feeding himself spiritually at his own house, and by the time that service came, he was seriously ready to hear from God.
We do ourselves a great disservice when we fail to prepare ourselves spiritually for church. Be praying for your pastor throughout the week. Be in the Word, feeding your soul at your own house each day. And when Sunday morning comes around, turn off the political talk shows, and use that time to create an appetite for spiritual things.
4. He was ready to hear and obey whatever God commanded.
Acts 10:33, “…Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” Cornelius was intently expecting to hear from God. And he had already decided that whatever the Lord commanded, he would obey. Those who came with him followed his lead, and the whole group ended up trusting in Christ, and receiving the Holy Ghost!
As we come to church, we ought to have that same expectation that God is going to speak to us. And we should come ready to hear – not with a critical ear, to find fault with the preacher – but to listen in faith, ready to obey all that God’s Word commands.
5. He didn’t want it to end.
Acts 10:48, “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” Cornelius and crew didn’t want the service to end. They arranged for Peter to stay, and it can be assumed that those days were full of Bible preaching and good Christian fellowship.
As a preacher, I’m sometimes more conscious of the clock that I ought to be. Sometimes I’ll feel like I’m getting too longwinded, and need to wrap it up so people can get home. But what a joy to see many people linger after the services! Sometimes it gets really late, as Christians are just enjoying the fellowship of one another. When you come on Sunday prepared and you hear from God, church is a sweet time. It’s so sweet you just don’t want it to end. But eventually it must.
So in the meantime, you look forward to the next church service. You pray about it, you invite others, and you get yourself ready for another great Sunday in the Lord’s House! The weekend is coming. Let’s be like Cornelius this Sunday.