“Cornelius’ Conversion”

Pastor David Moore

Old Testament reading: Leviticus 11:1-25 (NRSV)  

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.  “There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them.  The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you.  The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.  

“Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales. But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to regard as unclean.  And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their  carcasses as unclean. Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as  unclean by you.  

“‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.  

“‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other flying insects that have four legs you are to regard as unclean.  

“‘You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash their clothes, and they will be unclean till evening.  

Theme: Conversion is simply a turning around, change of direction, reorientation of self, you have a different goal, motivation, a different purpose.  Today, we are going to explore how Peter and Cornelius interact as Cornelius is converted. ~D. Moore  

New Testament reading: Acts 10:27-47 (NIV)  

Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him.  But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.  So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”  

Cornelius answered, “Four 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 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.  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.’  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.”  

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.  You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—how 

God anointed Jesus 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.  We are witnesses of everything He did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised Him from the dead on the third day and caused Him to be seen.  He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who are and  drank with Him after He rose from the dead.  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.  All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness through His name.”  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been  poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.  Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”  

The conversion starts with God.  We always see the converted person realizing that this search for God was the result of God searching for them. ~D. Moore  

1) We are not able to want God, search for God alone.  He was instigating our search.  Even further, a sense of God’s absence is actually a sign of His presence. We are incapable to fill the void of God unless He is putting that sense of loss into our lives. The real conversion to Jesus comes because God starts the movement. ~D. Moore  

Luke 19:10 The Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.  

Conversion most often comes as a challenge to belief and understanding of how the world works, He (Jesus) will set you straight. ~D. Moore  

2) We need to hear and understand that we fall short of God’s standards, all are in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. Conversion starts with God, and it happens when we realize we cannot save ourselves.  ~D. Moore  

Romans 3:23-24  For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight.  

During the conversion process we need to give up what made us important on earth and give up our hurts and bitterness and give up that we are decent people. ~D. Moore  

3) The conversion happens through the transformation of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit will change what we worship. ~D. Moore  

4) The conversion comes through the words of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit comes through the hearing of the good news. ~D. Moore  

Jesus came from eternity, fully human and fully God, taught us about God and then was the perfect, once and for all sacrifice that we needed to become clean in God’s sight.  Because when we believe in Christ, when we are in Christ, God sees Christ in us and ascribes to us everything that Jesus did.  And in exchange, Jesus took our sins on Himself at the Cross. ~D. Moore

The history of man’s relationship with God is the story of how God calls him out, takes him on a journey and gives him his true name.  ~John Eldredge  

The exchange on the Cross: our sins for God’s righteousness. ~D. Moore  

God is calling you out to be converted (change direction).  There is no one so unclean that they are not wanted by God. Your past no longer matters, He pardons all of us on the Cross. 

We have to acknowledge that we need and request Jesus’ forgiveness for being selfish and self-centered, worshiping all others except God. God is calling us, He will pardon us from our past and move us in a new direction.

God bless.