Evangelism

The Good News

This devotional is written by Cyndi Mitchell, a tech entrepreneur and the wife of Max, a fellow Bible nerd. She became a Christian on the Life Weekend in March 2015, where she also received an identity transplant.

Acts 10:23-48

23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.
Peter at Cornelius's House
The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along.24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."
27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?"
30 Cornelius answered: "Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.'33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."
34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointedJesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
39 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues[a] and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 "Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water.They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Reflection

This bit of evangelism seems comparatively easy, considering how important it was.
Cornelius clearly already had a heart for God. He was, however, probably worshipping many gods, as was common in his time, and he was quick to fall at Peter’s feet and worship him too.
Peter simply obeys. He’s fully aware of the Rabbinic law, but he follows God’s instruction and goes into Cornelius’ house and shares the Gospel anyway.
Enter the Holy Spirit, and job done - the gentiles are now clearly included, as originally promised. (Genesis 12:3)
I wonder how much more "easy" evangelism like this there is to be done? Probably a lot more than we realise.
When I came to faith over 3 years ago, I was heavily invested in worldly success and "the pride of life" (1 John 2:16). And like Cornelius, I was seeking - I wanted there to be something more, but I didn’t know what it was. Looking back at that time, I can see very clearly how God was preparing my heart and my mind to hear the Gospel, receive the Holy Spirit, and turn my life toward Him.
All I needed was someone to nudge me in the right direction. (thank you Life team :))
It’s easy to get caught up in how?, whether?, and when?, to share the Gospel. "It’s not appropriate right now", we reason. "She’ll think I’m judging her", "He’ll think I’m naive", “There’s not enough time to do it justice", and so on… our minds love all the barriers.
But this passage shows it’s really not about us. God is constantly preparing the hearts and minds around us. All we have to do is listen out for His "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12) and obey. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Who is He asking you to speak to today?

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