The writer of Acts provides us with the account of Cornelius’ salvation experience in chapter 10. Cornelius was a Roman Centurion who worshipped God but was not a Jew. He was also the first Gentile to receive Jesus as his Savior.
4 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.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
The angel directed Cornelius to where Peter was staying because he was not authorized to preach the Gospel.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Jesus authorized His followers to be witnesses of Him but did not authorize angels. He baptizes Christians in the Holy Spirit to empower us to preach the Gospel.
The angel who appeared to Cornelius knew that Jesus was the Messiah. I believe that he also knew how to tell Cornelious to be saved but directed him to “inquire” of Peter in Joppa.
God follows His own rules and will not break them. He gave us the authority to lead people to Jesus. We can sit in our prayer closet praying for someone to receive salvation, but nothing will happen until someone shares the Gospel message with them.
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
We pray for people to receive salvation, but this is not what Jesus directed us to pray. His instructions are clear. Christians should be praying for laborers to be sent to the lost person we have a desire to be saved.
The majority of Christians prefer to hide in a prayer closet to pray that God will save the lost. They are not obeying Jesus’ command to boldly proclaim the Gospel to the lost.
Jesus has already died on the cross and completed His work! We do not need to beg God to save someone. Salvation has already been provided, and the person just needs to receive it. They will not be able to unless someone shares the good news of Christ’s redemptive work with them.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God loves people and desires that every person receive the gift of salvation. He has given His Church the authority and power to preach the Gospel. This will require us to go to the unsaved and preach the good news of salvation to them.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Jesus told His disciples that the “signs” would follow “them that believe”. We sit in our prayer closets, crying out to God to do what He has already accomplished in Christ’s redemptive work. There is a legitimate ministry of intercession, but most of what we call “intercessory” prayer today is not Biblical.
Revival will not come as a result of us praying for it. It will come when believers obey Jesus’ instructions and begin to expect the signs described in Mark 16 to begin following them. The only qualifier provided for this to happen is that we “believe”. Jesus said the signs would follow believers, which tells us that the problem is with our believing if we are not seeing them.
We need to understand that the power of God is not released as a result of us spending hours alone in our prayer closets crying out to God. It is released only when Christians take the authority provided to them in Christ Jesus. This was the reason that the angel had to direct Cornelius to send for Peter to deliver the Gospel message.
God has already completed the work of salvation in Christ’s redemptive work. He delegated authority to His Church and empowered us with His Spirit to be witnesses of this. People will only receive salvation when we share the good news of salvation with them.
We do pray for wisdom and revelation knowledge of the Gospel message. Prayer is needed but must be in line with Scripture. In my experience, though most of our prayers are focused on begging God to do something, He has asked us to do. It is not in line with Scripture and does not produce results!
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