Acts 10:30-33 – “Then Cornelius said to him, Four days I have been fasting; and at three o’clock in the afternoon while I was praying in my house, a man dressed in white garments stood before me.31 And said to me, Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are a memorial before God.32 But send to the city of Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; behold he is staying in the house of Simon Bur-sa’ya, the tanner, by the seaside: and he will come and talk with you.33 At that very time I sent for you, and you have done well to come. Behold we are all here present before you, and we wish to hear everything commanded thee from God.”
We have covered the first two factors of success in this gathering presented in Acts 10, the Audience, and the Preacher. Today, we will consider more, and hopefully what I present will be beneficial and encouraging.
THE THIRD FACTOR WAS THE MESSAGE…
Not all sermons have the same effect or are of the same importance. Some are breathed from the Throne of Heaven and others are concocted from the mind of man. Both can have benefits, but one far outshines the other. I want to hear a Word from Heaven, not the opinion of another when I am searching for Light. I enjoy hearing the opinions of others but when I am hungry for a Word from God, I want a God-breathed Word, not another’s opinion.
I love praise and worship! I love special music sung for the joy of the Lord and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. However, I am convinced that those were not the factors that produced the results they received. Those things are wonderful and needful, but there is also a time when what is needed is that direct word from God through preaching or teaching.
Believing the Gospel is a major key to victory in a service. Jesus preached the Good News and lives were changed. The apostles preached the Good News and entire cities were turned upside down. The message is important, and it must be the Gospel of Christ and a word specifically for that group, at the moment, for God’s purposed result. It is not to apply Sunday balm to our lives and wait until next week to come again. It is hearing God! Peter’s message was simple, but it was God-inspired. It transformed their lives.
THE FOURTH FACTOR WAS THE RESULTS…
We need to develop expectation. We are not gathering to hear another song or another sermon, we are gathering to hear God and come into His presence. The purpose of the service was deliverance from bondage, recovering of sight for blind eyes (naturally and spiritually). It was for setting at liberty those who were bound and entering the presence of the Lord in worship. Jesus’ ministry was reconciliation. The disciples carried for that ministry. It is vital that we carry forth the objective and ministry of reconciliation.
What was the outcome of the service? Let me give you a scenario that would be relevant to much of today’s church services. The next morning Cornelius was asked, “Hey you had a preacher come by yesterday, didn’t you?” His response would have been, “Yes.” Then the person asked, “How was the service?” Cornelius would say, “Oh so, so.” Mrs. Cornelius would chime in and say, “Fairly good, I guess. But to tell you the truth I never quite got the drift of what he was preaching. When I saw, he was going to preach to the man on the moon, I tuned out and took a nap.” That is not what happened but happens in far too many services today.
They understood the preacher. So, Cornelius how was the service? Then with a radiant face and his feet about a foot off the ground still floating in the euphoria of the service would say, “WONDERFUL! He told us about salvation and that it could be received by simple faith. Everyone repented and the Power of the Holy Spirit fell and saturated the house. We were all transformed by the Power of God and are Born Again Believers! It was phenomenal.”
They heard the preacher. So, if we want to come together and meet God in His power, and love, and have a life-changing experience we need to be Present, Reverent, and Expectant. We (preachers) need to place a premium on our preaching and know that we have a Word from God. We (the congregation) must hear the message and then God will do what God does and Give us Results. Lives will be transformed.
I have no desire to go to a Church Service for the sake of soothing my conscience and claim to have done my religious duty. I want it to be a powerful time in the presence of God. There does not have to be any outward manifestation, but the presence of God should be there powerfully. I want my heart stirred and challenged. God wants us to receive and then what we have received is freely given to those in the highways, byways, and hedges. He wants us to become laborers in His harvest.
How we come together will be a critical factor in how we will leave. God comes to meet us, do we come expecting to meet Him?
God bless you as you enter His presence and receive that which He desires to bestow!