Recently I have found myself that I repeated a word unconsciously when I were reading the Bible. It is the word “Amen”. Maybe “Amen” is the word that is used a lot at the church or in Christians life. Amen is such a powerful word and has several meanings.
First, Amen means an agreement showing that I will do that way. Second, Amen is the promise of obedience for the word of God. Third, Amen is used for glorifying God. Psalm 89: 52, "Praise be to the LORD forever! Amen and Amen! Revelation 7:12 - "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!" Fourth, Amen is a word for Jesus Christ. Revelation 3:14 - "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.
Though ‘Amen’ seems to be a simple word, it is very important in worship. Amen, therefore, is a powerful word that can express our hearts before God. Amen!
Every Wednesday, we study the Bible. Now in the book of Exodus we are studying when God called Moses as a leader when Moses was 80 years old. God told Moses to go to Egypt and bring the Israelites out to the land of Canaan. However, Moses said that he would be not the right person. "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.". He had many excuses and somehow these might be reasonable. Then the LORD said to Moses.
"Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
When I read this verse, I said ‘Amen’. It would be a short prayer to God. Amen. Lord, please do it for me like Moses. Now you can also pray to God like me when you read the Bible.
2. People whom we want to resemble.
As we read the Bible, we can find many prayer topics; and, we can find some people who we may have a desire to resemble. Of course, all Christians should resemble Jesus Christ, our Lord. And, we can also find the faithful people in the Bible. For example, you may want to resemble Moses: you will long for his experiences with God. You may wish to resemble the apostle Paul, or Peter. It is natural to resemble them. You would like to experience God. Even though we will have a similar desire when we read history books, we want to learn from the forefathers and might want to follow them. I would like to add one more person today in my list and in your list. His name is Cornelius.
3. Cornelius was a devout man.
Today's passage describes some characteristics of Cornelius. You can find some interesting facts: He was a Roman soldier. At that time, Israel was the colony of the Roman Empire. Rome’s army seemed to be stronger than Jehovah, God of the Israel. However, for some reason, he served the God of the Israel seriously.
Recently, newspapers and some movies I have seen described what the lives of people who have power were. Of course, it would be not true always. However, the articles in newspapers and movies described people who have a power was far from the godly life. In many cases, people become very ungodly when they have more power. They ignored the law, but forced others to keep the law. They ignored people and God. They might need a god who will help them when they were in trouble. It is a phenomenon that you can observe in society or even in church. It is very shameful.
So we need to pay more attention to today’s passage. When today’s text introduced Cornelius, the text used the word, ‘godliness or devout’. The centurion, Cornelius, was a devout man, but not corrupted.
The dictionary meaning of ‘devout’ is 'godliness or God-fearing.'
The Bible Dictionary explains, "Including the mind and attitude of your heart and entrust yourself to God; the life to please God, the mind to be faithful to the Word of God."
The Bible says that Cornelius's life is 'godly', which God has granted to his life. In other words, He didn’t pretend to be godly in front of people. He always lived godly before God.
To sum up, Cornelius's attitude and heart were ‘Amen’! Those who live a godly life like Cornelius are 'Amen'. It is Amen because God pleases. Amen!
Importantly, his family admitted his attitude. His life should be real because his family recognized him daily based at a near place. Later, you can also find that his subordinate, who met Peter, evaluated Cornelius like this, “Cornelius was a righteous man and also God-fearing man, who was respected by all the Jewish people (Acts 10:22)’ The life of Cornelius was recognized by people, above all, by God. That is a reason why we are ambitious to resemble Cornelius.
I am sure that we need a leader like Cornelius in this country and in the church. So, we need to pray for the leaders. Of course, we will live a godly life like Cornelius. Because godliness is what God asks us.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love (2 Peter 1:5-7)”.
We should live a godly life!
4. Cornelius was a man who honored God.
The godly life of Cornelius is linked to a devout, God-fearing. This means that he never thought that God was a powerless to serve the people of the colonial, but he served God with fear and trembling. The secret of his godly life is that he lived in front of God.
To understand the word God-fearing, let imagine that you may meet someone who you admire. Imagine that you may met a president or some famous person whom you admire. Just imagination make you feel trembling already? If you may shake hands with that person or take a picture with that person, it will be your glory. However, it is truly fearing to meet God who is greater than such people. All of us will stand before God. We don’t know when, but we will stand before the Lord with fearing.
Standing before God is a fearing, but not awful.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is the object of fear. I saw the news on television, showing that whatever he said people should write on their notebook. Otherwise they will be killed. It will be not honorable mind. They are scared to the death. The feeling when we meet the Holy Lord is different from such a terrible man.
The life of Cornelius, who honored and feared God, was pleased by God. I hope that your life is also like Cornelius. This is a holy dream. It is what the Lord's people should long for. 'I want to be the joy of the Lord!'
5. Cornelius is a person of prayer.
It is natural that the life of Cornelius who feared God led to prayer life. He was the person who prayed to God three times a day, following the customs of the Jews. Cornelius was the one who constantly prayed, even if nothing happened.
Someone's friend said this. 'Those who believe in Jesus are weird. I do not know how they pray for a long time even though they may not memorize all of them.” How about you?
It was weird. The centurion Cornelius prayed to God three times a day even though there was nothing that happened in his life. I don’t know what Cornelius prayed for; however, I know that God has heard his prayers. God saw when he was praying. The Lord was pleased that he was praying to God.
God listens to the prayers of the Israelites who prayed for when they had problems. God is pleased with those who come to the place of prayer even though they don’t have any concern. God also hears our prayers. Amen! God listens your prayers. Let’s pray continuously. You may not know whether God listens to you. Today’s passage says clear that God listens to you and loves to hear you.
6. Cornelius was a man who had worked hard for salvation.
Cornelius was also a man who gave generously to those in need. God was pleased with his deeds. This shows that he did not rescue others with his wicked wealth by his abused power. God said that he remembered Cornelius's prayers and alms to the Jewish people. Truly, God delights in helping the poor people represented by orphans and widows. The woman who was called 'Tabitha' was the person who the Lord remembered. What did she do? She made clothes for widows. It would have been the best she could have done. And this is what the Bible says to have a godly life.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27)
There is something that God remembers: it is our prayers and our pure and faultiness life. In other words, the Lord remembers the little good we did. It may be recognized by God, but not by people. God remembered how small it was. It is important to be remembered by God, but not people. I hope that you all will do it that God will remember.
As the Lord said to Cornelius, it will be our turn.
God may say, "I remember your prayers and your gifts to the poor." How glorious it will be because God remember us on the day when we stand before Him.
How will do you live on the earth? Through Cornelius, the Lord speaks to us.
As Cornelius lived on this earth in God-fearing, in prayers, and in salvations. His prayer and his deeds have come up as a memorial offering before God. God remembered him. It should be my life; it should be your life also. Amen!