A. The Value of Sincerity
1. The opposite of hypocrisy
2. Most respect sincere people
B. The Shortcomings of Sincerity
1. One can be sincerely wrong
2. Sincere people have made tragic mistakes
3. Sincerity in error does not save
C Cornelius is an example of Sincerity.
1. In this account we see where he moves from sincerity to certainty.
2. He becomes certain of His salvation.
3. Cornelius had been sincere but lost
4. Peter was sent by the Lord to instruct him
II. How Cornelius became saved and sure.
A. The Certainty of the Word (v. 43)
1. "To him give all the prophets witness"
2. Cornelius had been devout
a. The word 'devout' means he held a special reverence for God.
b. He acknowledged and feared God.
c. Prov. 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom'.
d. He was generous, giving alms, this means that he cared about others, and this was an unusual characteristic of an Roman soldier, they are usually pictured as cruel and heartless.
e. We know that He was a religious man because the verse goes on to say that he prayed much.
3. He was an influential man. 'a centurion'
a. He was in charge of a company of 100 soldiers.
b. He was an officer of the Roman army.
c. He is said to be 'of good report among all the nation of the Jews'.
d. This is no doubt where he got many of his religious ideas and under- standing of God.
4. However, with all of his sincerity he still was not saved.
5. An angel told him to send for Peter (vs. 2-8)
6. Peter instructed Cornelius in the Scriptures (v. 43)
a. Peter didn't speak with him concerning social issues of the day.
b. He didn't give him a list of do's and don'ts.
c. He simply had the truth of the Gospel.
B. The Certainty of the Whosoever (v. 43)
1 ."That.. . whosoever believeth in him"
a. No restrictions on who can be saved
b. Christ died for us all
c. This meant he had to repent, you cannot separate true faith in Christ from genuine repentance.
d. but you say, 'he was such a good man'
e. 'surely God wouldn't send him to hell'
f. Jesus said, 'Repent or ye shall likewise perish'.
g. John the Baptist said, 'Repent ye and believe the Gospel. Mark 1:15
h. No matter how good he may have appeared to men, or how many godly things he may have done he was still lost without Christ.
"NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH WE HAVE DONE, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY HE SAVED US..." TITUS 3:5
2. This was new truth to Peter
a. He had limited the Gospel to the Jews
b. Now he had learned this good news was for everyone
3. Peter had struggled with the "whosoever' question
a. God opened Peter's eyes through a vision (v. 9-16)
b. Then messengers from Cornelius arrived
c. Peter traveled with them to minister to Cornelius
4. How grateful we can be that all can be saved!
C. The Certainty of the Washing Away of Sin (v. 43)
1. ". . . shall receive remission of sins"
2. What good news!
a. The sins of the past can be gone at last
b. Complete forgiveness through faith alone
3. Comelius could be saved and certain
4. We can be saved and certain too
a. No more wondering if we've been good enough
b. No more guilt over past sins
5. We can simply believe and be saved (Acts 16:31)
III. What Did He Receive? v43-48
A. He received remission of sins.
1. Remission means 'forgiveness'
2. It is promised to all who believe in their heart the gospel. cf Ro. 10:9
3. It was Just what he needed, and it is the need of all those who are religious today without Christ.
B. He received the Holy Spirit.
1. This is not an unusual things, every person who is saved will receive the Holy Spirit.
2. He comes to seal or secure our salvation.
(EPH 1:13) "IN WHOM YE ALSO TRUSTED, AFTER THAT YE HEARD THE WORD OF TRUTH, THE GOSPEL OF YOUR SALVATION: IN WHOM ALSO AFTER THAT YE BELIEVED, YE WERE SEALED WITH THAT HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE,"
3. Without the Holy Spirit, a person is not saved!
"NOW IF ANY MAN HAVE NOT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE IS NONE OF HIS.' ROMANS 8:9B
4. Note: Tongues are a sign for the unbelieving Jews. (languages)
C. He was obedient to the Lord's command of baptism.
1. Baptism is the outward profession of the inward conversion.
2. Baptism always follows belief in the Gospel.
(ROM 6:4) "THEREFORE WE ARE BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM INTO DEATH: THAT LIKE AS CHRIST WAS RAISED UP FROM THE DEAD BY THE GLORY OF THE FATHER, EVEN SO WE ALSO SHOULD WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE."
IV. Application of Truth.
A. Proof That All Can Be Saved (vv. 44-46)
B. Baptism for These Who Were Certain of Salvation (vv. 47-48)
C. How Certain Are You?