Willie Pollock - Cornelius - Booyong - 1994

Acts 10:1-5, "There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius.... a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision... an angel of God coming to him... and when he looked on him he was afraid and said, 'What is it Lord?' And He said unto him, 'Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter.'"

The Bible is not a book of stories, it is a book of discoveries. We go on discovering more and more of the depth of the heart of God. The best days for God's people will be the last days when they can finish life with more understanding, more faith, more love. They can finish life and the end is better than the beginning because this is a way of discovery.

When we buy anything, the guarantee is often for one year, the first year, then it is out of its guarantee, but God's guarantee is for the last year, when we need it most. When we pass through the valley of the shadow of death, He will be with us. Those first disciples said, "We have found Him." I don't know if we can imagine the impact that was. They had read about it. The Scriptures had prophesied it for generations. Now Jesus is here. "We have found Him."

It is nice when people discover that God has a way. There is still a narrow way, a dedicated Ministry, a separated people. It is all a great discovery when people say, "I have found it." There was an old lady in Panama who was seventy, who was seeking. She had been baptised four times and then she sat down at home and read the Scriptures. She knew what the way of God should be and couldn't find it. But then we came, and she found it and was baptised. People would say, "Come to the temple. It's closer." She would say, "No thank you. I've found it." There is nothing sweeter to the ears of a servant of God than, "This is what I've been waiting for. All my life I have been searching and now I have found it."

God has a way on earth. There's a Ministry like Jesus said. What a comfort! People say to us, "I don't need to seek any more because I have found it." We can go on discovering more and more. There's lots left; fresh bread from an old recipe, and even at this Convention there will be left untouched, great resources, for lack of time and opportunity, because this is a way of discovery. We are standing on the edge of a shore. We are paddling. There is a lot more. Sometimes we don't discover it until we get to that point in our experience when we have fulfilled what we know.

The disciples didn't understand the crucifixion until they saw it. Sometimes we don't understand until we see it fulfilled. That is a great discovery. Within the Scriptures we discover more and more. Every country and language with this Bible and every year, the same Bible and yet we are discovering things we never saw before. We can go on discovering more and more.

Psalm 14:2, "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God." Here in Acts 10, Cornelius was seeking. That same God was looking down then and is looking down today, to see if any are seeking Him. We wonder will He look on us as an understanding people, that are seeking God, not seeking religion? He that seeks religion will find religion and he that seeks God will find God. He that seeks the Truth will find the Truth. People leave what is false to go to the Truth. Friends, when you leave the Truth, there is nowhere to go. Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go?"

Here was Cornelius seeking. He was told, "You go down to that man..." and He called him by his name. God said to Peter, "I am listening. I have been listening to him. His prayers come up to Heaven." "He that seeketh findeth." We don't have to look outside of God's way when we have the Truth.

A lady was running for the last bus one time. She couldn't miss this bus because she had nowhere to spend the night. The bus started to take off just as she drew near. It kept on and she kept running. She didn't have a hope but she kept running and then the bus stopped and she climbed, puffing, into the bus. The driver said, "Do you know why I stopped the bus? I was watching you in the mirror. You didn't have a hope but you kept on running. Your effort impressed me." God takes notice of our effort. Effort shows the interest we have. If we are interested in our salvation we will put forth an effort to find it.

Cornelius was praying at the ninth hour, the Jews' hour of prayer, so he was aware that there is a God. Religion is not reality, religion is not salvation. Jesus came to convey a relationship with God. That is what this man didn't have. He had religion. In Mexico, there is a family. We never saw the man of the house because he was hiding whenever we came. One day the eldest girl said to her dad, "Is there a God, or is there not?" He said, "Yes, of course." She said, "If there is a God, what are we doing about it? We don't have a Bible, we never sing a hymn." He said, "All right. I will take you to the meeting on Sunday."

The next Sunday he came to the meeting. He stood up during testimony and said, "I came to observe. This is far beyond what I expected." Later on he wanted to be baptised. He said, "Will you let me be baptised with the keys of my car, to show that I have yielded to God and that my car is also professing? It used to go places it should not have gone. And my home?" He yielded his car and his home to God.

This man Cornelius was praying. He must have been going along with the Jewish religions. Praying is reaching up to God, giving is reaching out to others. Friends, we could reach out to others and be kind, and yet not be right ourselves. If we reach up to God and get help, we will want to share with others what God has shared with us. God said, "I have been listening to that man, he is
seeking." "What is it Lord?" You won't hear your name called in a meeting, but you will know when God is speaking to you. Your heart will respond. You will know, more than anyone else, if God is dealing with your heart. You will feel something in you responding. It is not a group or collective message, it's a personal message.

Everyone must hear and believe. The little blind dog fell into the water. His mistress called "Tiny, Tiny, Tiny," and he turned and came towards that voice. If you hear a voice calling you, you go towards that voice. God calls us personally. The bells of God ring in our hearts just like the school bell says, "The hour is come." Jesus heard the bells of God in His heart and He said, "The hour is come." It was the hour to give His life for us.

A young man in Guatemala wrote to us saying, "I have heard God's bells ringing in my heart, calling me to the harvest." He is in the harvest field with Ken Johnson. The hour is come, now is the time. Those who have left God's way and are going in the wrong direction might hear God's bells in their heart saying, "Now is the time. Come back to the family of God."

God called Cornelius and God is calling us. Do we answer, "What is it Lord?" Cornelius was told, "Send men to Joppa." Why was Peter lodging? That is doctrine, fundamental, because, "We have left all and followed Thee." That is why. This is mentioned three times in this chapter, that Peter was lodging. You search for God's servants in any country and you will find them lodging. You
won't find them in their own homes. God deprived us of a home that we might have time to be in your home, and in the homes of others where perhaps the example and influence is needed.

Peter was lodging. Wherever you search for God's true servants, you will find them lodging. I remember Mother telling us when she professed, the neighbours turned against her when they saw two young men coming to our home. "You invite those young men into your home? We wouldn't do that." They were lodging a night or two. Mother told us afterwards, "If I had a son in this Work, I would like to think that someone would ask them to spend the night. These young men, they left their parents for us. My home is their home. I mean to serve them all the days of my life." She did and she is gone now.

Peter was lodging, that is doctrine. The greatest fellowship of all is that He might have fellowship with us and, "truly our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son." The right doctrine leads to the right fellowship. You cannot have the right fellowship by the wrong doctrine. This is doctrine, that the servant of God has given up everything for the sake of the Gospel.

Sometimes we know the question by the answer. "No it hasn't rained here today." This person says, "Very well thank you." The other person said, "How are you?" You know the question by the answer. "Peter will tell you what you ought to do." Cornelius must have been saying things like, "God, what can I do? I am doing everything I know. I know that there is more to do than this. What more can I do?" That is the question that we never heard. God said, "You send for Peter and he will tell you what you ought to do." God trusts us with the Gospel. He sent His trusted servants.

Peter was praying. We have the answer. A sheet came down from Heaven and Peter was told, "Peter, arise and eat." He said, "Not so Lord, for I have never eaten anything common or unclean." God said to him, "What God has cleansed, that call not thou common or unclean." What does it mean? Do I have to change my diet? What was Peter praying? It was the same as any servant of God, "Lead me Saviour, to the souls who are seeking. It doesn't matter where. Anywhere." God had to prepare him because it was a mission to the Gentiles.

Often we pray, "Lord, lead me to the seeking souls," and God will answer. We don't know, God knows. He is looking down from Heaven. He saw Peter and Cornelius. He started working from Heaven. I think of Joseph and Mary with the child Jesus. Not one word of His promises has failed. Jesus couldn't be born in Nazareth, because God cannot lie. We hear of space ships being controlled from the earth, but then there is something that is far greater and that is human lives controlled by Heaven, God from Heaven sending His servants on a certain bus on a certain day, to a certain place, meeting someone who is seeking. God is controlling from Heaven.

This work of the Gospel is not controlled from any other country. God is controlling from Heaven. "I need to know more, my relatives need it more." God has a message, a Way, a Ministry. Cornelius was discovering that there was more to this man than just religion. Many people were gathered together. Do you know what that is? It was Cornelius reaching out to others.

Peter said to Cornelius, "Stand up, I myself also am a man." Worship of men is not for us. You can esteem God's servants as highly as you like, but don't worship any of God's servants. Worship is for God. Love your children, don't worship your children. If you do, you could be disappointed, because you are giving them the place God should have. Cornelius discovered, this is not
man-worship, this is God-worship. We should not worship any human being. If we do, we will be very disappointed.

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet..." How beautiful is the arrival of those who bring glad tidings. The arrival is beautiful. It was a beautiful arrival of the first servants of God in this home. They were thinking, "We want to know your opinion. Our interpretations aren't worth anything. We are in this meeting to know what God's opinion is." We can have the Word of God in our hand but is there any word from God?

Verse 36, "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (He is Lord of all:)" Peter could tell them it began from Galilee. We don't want to change that Ministry that began at Galilee. Jesus never raised temples, never took collections, or took tithes. That Ministry began at Galilee, sending forth His disciples two by two. We are prepared to give all our life for that Ministry. My mother prayed for me to be a Presbyterian minister. Now she wanted her son to go out as Jesus sent His
disciples. She told me that until I was tired of hearing it. I said, "I appreciate all that, but this is not between you and me, but between God and me and if God doesn't call me, I'm not going." She thought it was a lost cause.

I was twenty-two years old when I began to feel the tug of God and resisted it for three years, a tug of war between God and myself. God won and I lost. That is why I am here. I wouldn't give my life for any religion or doctrine of men, but I have given the best years of my life for that doctrine that began in Galilee. My hope is in what years are left, to give my life for that. Any change
in doctrine weakens the Ministry and confuses the believers. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever." That is the Ministry He is coming back for. If this Ministry is on earth, there will be faith on earth when Jesus comes back again.

Verse 44, "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." Afterwards they were baptised. What was lacking in the life of Cornelius? He wasn't serving God in spirit and in truth. He didn't have the spirit of God. That day, while Peter preached, the Holy Spirit fell upon them. They got the Holy Spirit first. Jesus didn't come to form a religion, but to form a relationship with God. When he got that Holy Spirit, now he was connected to Heaven. To me, this is the complete Gospel, in this chapter.