There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,…
Roman spirit there. Philip's visit (see Acts 8:40). Herod's influence. Possible contact of Cornelius with gospel truth. Necessity that the entrance of the Church on its new territory should be solemn, authorized, undoubtedly firm, because of the subsequent controversies which would be largely settled by reverting to the facts.
I. CORNELIUS, A TYPE of the religious heathen under the influence of the Spirit.
1. Devotion may be sincere, while unenlightened; yet needing the higher teaching.
2. Almsgiving, when accompanied by prayer, a sign of real religion.
3. Household piety. The true man lives his faith, however imperfect. As best he could he feared God in the regulation of his life.
II. SUPERNATURAL HELP leads on the seeking minds. The resources which were open to the heathen world insufficient. Philosophy dumb on the greatest questions. Heathen priests mostly deceivers. Cornelius was not satisfied. Sense of sin awakened. The heathen must be evangelized, even though we admit that their religious position is not absolutely hopeless. The gospel is not a mere individual message; it proclaims a remedy for universal ills. The centurion was a man of great influence. His conversion would open the way of the truth to many others.
III. LESSONS FOR GOD'S PEOPLE to be learnt from those without.
1. Responsibility for light.
2. Position to be faithfully employed for God.
3. Family religion - even soldiers in the house had learnt devoutness from their master.
4. Follow the leadings of God's voice. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,