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One may hear the same utterances among members of any given congregation as they subconsciously mimic each other, rather than are given utterance by the Spirit. Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in , is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works.
He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah. One For Israel Staff May 30, In a recent trip to share with some Egyptian Coptic Christians, one of our Arab students was welcomed among them with open arms… until it came to light that he was from Israel. But he challenged his new friends with this passage from Ephesians:.
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility. There was a time when Gentiles were prevented from worshiping the God of Israel, and had to stay outside the temple courts. The wall has gone, and we are one in Messiah. Equally, it is important for us to stand in solidarity with our Coptic brothers and sisters as they are being so fiercely persecuted at this time.
But even those persecuting the Egyptian Christians are not too far off for God to reach. Our staff is comprised of both Jewish and Arab Israelis, with the shared belief that true peace in the Middle East can only come into existence under Yeshua. Stefan Silver May 30, So how can you accomplish this?
This article will help. In our previous articles, we discussed why you should invest in Israel. There are many reason for investing in Israel, among them currency diversification, geographical diversification, and the desire to support the Land and people of Israel. Other reasons include participating in the prosperity Israel is experiencing since its rebirth, and enjoying the fruit of a strong and robust economy that weathers the sometimes-stormy global financial climate. So how can this be accomplished practically? There are three main ways to invest in Israel financially:.
Investing in Israel is a great way to diversify your portfolio, support the Israeli economy and participate in the success of the nation. Before you decide how to do that, you should consider the information above and how that applies to your specific personal and financial situation. This article originally appeared on Wise Money Israel , May 22, , and reposted with permission. Being passionate about both ministry and business, Stefan serves as the Executive Pastor at the vibrant Messianic-Israeli congregation Kerem-El in Haifa along with his wife Keren, an Israeli worship leader and songwriter.
He serves as a Director at Wise Money Israel, the first Jewish believer-run Investment Portfolio Management firm in Israel working with individuals, ministries and organizations around the globe to invest in Israel. Sandra Teplinsky May 29, Translation used is the NIV. The issues of our day concerning Jerusalem are serious. As a result, our prayers often take the form of tears and travail. In do so doing, your heart will rest in His joy. The joy of the Lord will keep your prayers for Jerusalem from becoming a burden too hard to bear. Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.
In the Bible, gates represent authority. Pray for Jerusalem with the spiritual authority Messiah has delegated to you. If you abide in Him, your feet stand in the gates of heavenly Jerusalem—even if you do not live in the earthly city. Because your spirit can access heavenly realms, you can release the Word of God over earthly Jerusalem.http://clublavoute.ca/bejah-nava-gay.php
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Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely compacted together. Today, however, the holy city is characterized by violent contention between Muslims and Jews. In addition, there are sharply competing Jewish factions, mostly between ultra-religious extremists and those who identify as secular, but are often God-fearing, moral people. Tensions can run high here. That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to praise the name of the Lord according to the statute given to Israel.
But the fulfillment of those tribes coming up after Yeshua returns will be unimaginably glorious! You and I are called to help birth this spectacular reality in prayer. There the thrones for judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David. Ultimately, these judgments release righteousness and justice from Jerusalem into the earth. When righteousness and justice manifest in Jerusalem, all nations on earth will be blessed.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. This verse speaks of physical peace and quiet. Which were sent unto him from Cornelius - This clause is wanting in almost every MS. Behold, I am he whom ye seek - A sudden, unexpected speech, like the address of Aeneas to Dido; when the cloud in which he was involved suddenly dissipated, and he appeared with the exclamation.
What is the cause therefore ye are come? Cornelius the centurion, etc. For the character of Cornelius, see the comment on Act note. Then called he them in, etc. Certain brethren from Joppa - They were six in number, as we learn from Act It was necessary that there should be several witnesses of the important transactions which were about to take place; as on no slight evidence would even the converted Jews believe that repentance unto life, and the Holy Spirit, should be granted to the Gentiles.
It appears that he had collected the whole circle of his intimate acquaintance, that they also might profit by a revelation which he expected to come immediately from heaven; and these amounted to many persons; see Act Prostrations to superiors were common in all Asiatic countries. This is a very remarkable addition, and relates circumstances that we may naturally suppose did actually take place.
I myself also am a man - " I am not an angel; I am come to you simply, on the part of God, to deliver to you the doctrine of eternal life. And as he talked with him - Cornelius had met Peter at some short distance from his house, and they conversed together till they went in. Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing, etc. But God hath showed me, etc. A Gentile is not to be avoided because he is a Gentile; God is now taking down the partition wall which separated them from the Jews.
I ask - for what intent ye have sent for me? Thy prayer is heard - See the note on Act Cornelius prayed, fasted, and gave alms. It was in this way he looked for salvation; not to purchase it: a thought of this kind does not appear to have entered into his mind; but these were the means he used to get his soul brought to the knowledge of the truth.
The reader must recollect that in the case of Cornelius there was no open vision; he used the light and power which God had already given; and behold how mightily God increased his gifts! He that hath, i. The people were all waiting for the preacher, and every heart was filled with expectation; they waited as before God, from whose messenger they were about to hear the words of life. God is no respecter of persons - He does God esteem a Jew, because he is a Jew; nor does he detest a Gentile because he is a Gentile.
It was a long and deeply rooted opinion among the Jews, that God never would extend his favor to the Gentiles; and that the descendants of Jacob only should enjoy his peculiar favor and benediction. Of this opinion was St. Peter, previously to the heavenly vision mentioned in this chapter. He was now convinced that God was no respecter of persons; that as all must stand before his judgment seat, to be judged according to the deeds done in the body, so no one nation, or people, or individual, could expect to find a more favorable decision than another who was precisely in the same moral state; for the phrase, respect of persons, is used in reference to unjust decisions in a court of justice, where, through favor, or interest, or bribe, a culprit is acquitted, and a righteous or innocent person condemned.
See Lev ; Deu , Deu ; Deu And as there is no iniquity decisions contrary to equity with God, so he could not shut out the pious prayers, sincere fasting, and benevolent alms-giving of Cornelius; because the very spring whence they proceeded was his own grace and mercy. Therefore he could not receive even a Jew into his favor in preference to such a person who had either abused his grace, or made a less godly use of it than this Gentile had done.
But in every nation he that feared him, etc. It is not therefore the nation, kindred, profession, mode or form of worship, that the just God regards; but the character, the state of heart, and the moral deportment. For what are professions, etc.
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He looks for the grace he has given, the advantages he has afforded, and the improvement of all these. Let it be observed farther, that no man can be accepted with this just God who does not live up to the advantages of the state in which providence has placed him. Why was Cornelius accepted with God while thousands of his countrymen were passed by? Because he did not receive the grace of God in vain; he watched, fasted, prayed, and gave alms, which they did not. Had he not done so, would he have been accepted? Certainly not; because it would then appear that he had received the grace of God in vain, and had not been a worker together with him.
Many irreligious men, in order to get rid of the duties and obligations of Christianity, quote this verse in their own favor, while they reject all the Gospel besides; and roundly assert, as they think on the authority of this text, that they need neither believe in Jesus Christ, attend to his Gospel, nor use his ordinances; for, if they fear God and work righteousness, they shall be infallibly accepted with him.
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Let such know that if they had been born and still were living in a land where the light of the Gospel had never shone, and were there conscientiously following the glimmering ray of celestial light which God had granted, they might, with some show of reason, speak in this way; but, as they are born and live under the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God, the just Judge, will require that they fear him, and work righteousness, According to the Light afforded by that very Gospel. The sincerity, watching, praying, fastings and alms-giving of Cornelius will not be sufficient for them who, as it may be justly said, live in splendours of Christianity.
In such a state, God requires that a man shall love him with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength; and his neighbor as himself. In the face of such a requisition as this, how will the poor heathen virtue of one born in the pale of Christianity appear? And if God requires all this, will not a man need all the grace that has been brought to light by the revelation of Jesus Christ to enable him to do it?
The word which God sent, etc. The ancient copyists seem also to have been puzzled with it; as the great variety in the different MSS. A foreign critic makes a good sense by connecting this with the preceding verse, thus: In every nation he that feared him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him, according to that doctrine which God sent unto the children of Israel, by which he published peace i. Critics have proposed a great variety of modes by which they suppose these verses may be rendered intelligible; and the learned reader may see many in Wolfius, Kypke, Rosenmuller, and others.
This amounts nearly to the same sense with the expositions given above; and all proclaim this truth, which the apostle labored to establish, namely, that God intended the salvation of all men by Jesus Christ; and therefore proclaimed reconciliation to all, by him who is Lord, maker, preserver, redeemer, and judge of all. And of this the apostle was now more convinced by the late vision; and his mission from him who is Lord of all to Cornelius, a heathen, was a full illustration of the heavenly truth; for the very meeting of Peter, once a prejudiced Jew, and Cornelius, once an unenlightened Gentile, was a sort of first fruits of this general reconciliation, and a proof that Jesus was Lord of All.
That word - ye know - This account of Jesus of Nazareth ye cannot be unacquainted with; because it has been proclaimed throughout all Judea and Galilee, from the time that John began to preach. Ye have heard how he was anointed with the Holy Ghost, and of the miracles which he performed; how he went about doing good, and healing all kinds of demoniacs and, by these mighty and beneficent acts, giving the fullest proof that God was with him. Peter does not intimate that any miracle was wrought by Christ previously to his being baptized by John.
Beginning at Galilee. After he had been baptized by John, he went into the desert, and remained there forty days. He then returned to the Baptist, who was exercising his ministry at that time at Bethany or Bethabara; and there he made certain disciples, viz. Thence he went to the marriage at Cana, in Galilee, where he wrought his first miracle.
And afterwards he went to Capernaum in the same country, by the sea of Galilee, where he wrought many others. This was the manner in which Christ manifested himself; and these are the facts of which Peter presumes they had a perfect knowledge, because they had been for a long time notorious through all the land. God anointed Jesus of Nazareth - Here the apostle refers to Christ as the promised Messiah; for, as Messiah signifies the anointed one, and Christ has the same signification in Greek, and the Messiah, according to the prophets, and the expectation of the Jews, was to work miracles, Peter proclaims Jesus as the Messiah, and refers to the miracles which he wrought as the proof of it.
This delicate, but forcible allusion is lost by most readers. We are witnesses of all - In this speech St. Peter may refer, not only to the twelve apostles, but to the six brethren whom he had brought with him. Whom they slew - As the truth of the resurrection must depend on the reality of the death of Christ, it was necessary that this should be stated, and shown to rest on the most indubitable evidence.
Him God raised up the third day - He lay long enough under the power of death to prove that he was dead; and not too long, lest it should be supposed that his disciples had time sufficient to have practiced some deceit or imposture; and, to prevent this, the Jews took care to have the tomb well guarded during the whole time which he lay there. Not to all the people - In the order of Divine providence, the public were to be no longer instructed by Jesus Christ personally; but it was necessary that those who were to preach redemption in his name should be thoroughly furnished to this good and great work; therefore, the time he spent on earth, after his resurrection, was devoted to the instruction of his disciples.
Witnesses chosen before of God - That is, God chose such men to attest this fact as were every way best qualified to give evidence on the subject; persons who were always to be found; who might at all times be confronted with those, if any such should offer themselves, who could pretend to prove that there was any imposture in this case; and persons who, from the very circumstances in which they were placed, must appear to have an absolute conviction of the truth of all they attested. Because it was impossible that such a thing could be done without mob and tumult.
Let it only be announced, "Here is the man who was dead three days, and who is risen from the dead! Some would say, This is he; others, He is like him; and so on; and the valid testimony must be lost in the confusion of the multitude. God chose such witnesses whose testimony should be unimpeachable; the men who knew him best, and who by their depositions in proof of the fact should evidently risk their lives.
And he commanded us to preach - By thus assuring them that Jesus Christ was appointed to judge the world, he at once showed them the necessity of subjection to him, that they might stand in the day of his appearing. The Judge of quick and dead - The word quick we retain from our ancient mother tongue, the Saxon, to live , and from this our quicks, quick-set hedges, fences made of living thorns, etc. By quick and dead we are to understand. All that had lived from the foundation of the world till that time; and all that were then alive. All that should be found alive at the day of judgment, as well as all that had died previously.
As Jesus Christ was the sum and substance of the law and the Mosaic dispensation, so all the prophets bore testimony, either directly or indirectly, to him; and, indeed, without him and the salvation he has promised, there is scarcely any meaning in the Mosaic economy, nor in most of the allusions of the prophets. All that is implied in pardon of sin, destruction of its tyranny, and purification from its pollution, is here intended; and it is wrong to restrict such operations of mercy to pardon alone. While Peter yet spake - It in not very likely that the words recorded by St.
Luke are all that the apostle spoke on this occasion; but, while he continued to discourse with them on this subject, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word; and his descent was known by their being enabled to speak with different kinds of tongues. In what manner this gift was bestowed we cannot tell; probably it was in the same way in which it had been given on the day of pentecost; for as they spake with tongues, which was the effect of the descent of the Spirit as flaming tongues on the heads of the disciples on the day of pentecost, it is very likely that the same appearance now took place.
They of the circumcision - were astonished - Because it was a maxim with them that the Shechinah or Divine influence could not be revealed to any person who dwelt beyond the precincts of the promised land. Nor did any of them believe that the Divine Spirit could be communicated to any Gentile.
It is no wonder, therefore, that they were amazed when they saw the Spirit of God so liberally given as it was on this occasion. And magnify God - They had got new hearts as well as new tongues; and, having believed with the heart unto righteousness, their tongues made confession unto salvation; and God was magnified for the mercy which he had imparted. Can any man forbid water - These had evidently received the Holy Ghost, and consequently were become members of the mystical body of Christ; and yet St.
Peter requires that they shall receive baptism by water, that they might become members of the Christian Church. In other cases, they received baptism first, and the Spirit afterwards by the imposition of hands: see Act , where the disciples who had received only the baptism of John were baptized again with water in the name of the Lord Jesus; and, after even this, the apostles prayed, and laid their hands on them, before they were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. So we find that Jesus Christ had his water baptism as well as John; and that even he who gave the baptism of the Holy Ghost required the administration of water baptism also.
Therefore the baptism of the Spirit did not supersede the baptism by water; nor indeed can it; as baptism, as well as the supper of our Lord, were intended, not only to be means of grace, but standing, irrefragable proofs of the truth of Christianity. To be baptized in the name of the Lord - That is, in the name of Jesus Christ; which implied their taking upon them the public profession of Christianity, and believing on Christ Jesus as their Savior and Sovereign; for, as they were baptized in his name, they professed thereby to be his disciples and followers.
Then prayed they him to tarry certain days - They felt the necessity of farther instruction, and prayed him to continue his ministry a little longer among them; and to this he no doubt consented. This was properly speaking, the commencement of the Christian Church, as composed of Jews and Gentiles, partaking of the same baptism, united under the same Head, made partakers of the same Spirit, and associated in the same aggregate body.
Now was the middle wall of partition broken down, and the Gentiles admitted to the same privileges with the Jews. God is wonderful in all his works, whether they be works of creation, providence, or grace. Every thing proclaims his power, his wisdom, and his goodness. Every where we learn this truth, which is indispensably necessary for all to know who desire to acknowledge God in all their ways that "there is nothing which concerns their present or eternal welfare in which God does not interest himself.
This is impossible; for God is our father, and, being every where present, he sees our state, and his eye affects his heart. Let the reader examine the chain of Providence composed indeed of very minute links brought to light in the conversion of Cornelius, the instruction of Peter, and opening the door of faith to the Gentiles, and he will be convinced that "God has way every where, and that all things serve the purposes of his will.
This is a general economy. He who feels his want may rest assured that, even then, God has made the necessary provisions for his supply; and that the very sense of the want is a proof that the provision is already made. Why then should we lose time in deploring wretchedness, for the removal of which God has made the necessary preparations? Mourning over our miseries will never supply the lack of faith in Christ, and very seldom tends even to humble the heart. As the eye of God is ever upon us, he knows our trials as well as our wants; and here, also, he makes the necessary provision for our support.
We may be called to suffer, but his grace will be sufficient for us; and, as our troubles increase, so shall the means of our support. And even these trials and temptations will be pressed into our service, for all things work together for good to them that love God, Rom We must beware neither to despise outward rites in religion, nor to rest in them. Most people do either the one or the other.
God gives us outward helps, because he knows we need them. But do we not sometimes imagine ourselves to be above that which, because of our scantiness of grace, is really above us? He who is taught by the Spirit of God will be saved from both. Luke passeth over now unto a worthy history, to wit, that God vouchsafeth to advance a stranger, and one uncircumcised, unto singular honor above all the Jews, because he doth both send his angel unto him, and for his sake bringeth Peter to Cesarea, that he may instruct him in the gospel.
But first of all Luke showeth what manner of person this Cornelius was, for whose cause an angel descended from heaven, and God spake to Peter in a vision. He was a captain [centurion] of the Italian band; a band [cohort] did consist upon [of] a thousand footmen, and he which was chief captain was called a tribune, or marshal.
Again, every hundred had a captain. A legion had for the most part five bands. That band was called the Italian band, because the Romans did choose soldiers oftentimes from amongst those which dwelt in the provinces; but they had the strength of the army out of Italy; therefore, Cornelius was an Italian born; but he was at Cesarea with his hundred, to guard the city. For the Romans were wont so to distribute their places of abode, that every city of renown might have a garrison to stay sudden uproars. A rare example that a soldier was so devout towards God, so upright and courteous towards men!
And this is no small amplification of his praise, in that casting away superstition wherein he was born and brought up, he embraced the pure worship of God; for we know what account the Italians made of themselves, and how proudly they despised others. And the Jews were at that time in such contempt, that for their sakes pure religion was counted infamous, and almost execrable.
Seeing that none of these things could hinder Cornelius, but that forsaking his idols he did embrace the true worship of the true God alone, it must needs be that he was endued with rare and singular sincerity. Moreover, he could find scarce any thing amongst the Jews wherewith he could be allured unto the study of godliness, because there was then scarce one amongst a thousand which had even some small smattering of the law; and, undoubtedly, Cornelius had lighted upon some good worshipper of God, who being sound from corrupt opinions, did expound unto him the law faithfully, without mixing any leaven therewith; but because Luke giveth him many titles of commendation, we must note them all [singly.
He saith that he was a godly man, and one that feared God; secondly, that like a good householder he had a care to instruct his families; he praiseth him afterward for the offices of love, because he was beneficial [beneficent] toward all the people; and, lastly, that he prayed [to] God continually. The sum is this, that Cornelius was a man of singular virtues, wherein the integrity of the godly consisteth, so that his life was framed, in all points, according to the rule which God prescribeth unto us. This is very profitable to be marked, because we have a way to live well described in his person.
Wherefore, in ordering the life well, let faith and religion be the foundation, which being taken away, all other virtues are nothing else but smokes. Luke reckoneth up the fear of God and prayer as fruits and testimonies of godliness and of the worship of God, and that for good causes. For religion cannot be separated from the fear of God and the reverence of him, neither can any man be counted godly, save he who acknowledging God to be his Father and Lord, doth addict himself wholly to him.
And let us know that voluntary fear is commended in this place when those men submit themselves to God willingly and from their heart, who duly consider themselves what is due to him. Moreover, because a great part of the world doth, with reigned trifles, corrupt and deprave the worship of God, Luke added, for good causes, that Cornelius prayed continually; whereby he doth signify, that he proved not his godliness only with external ceremonies, but that he worshipped God spiritually, when as he exercised himself in prayer.
We must also note the continuance of his prayer; whence we gather, that he did not pray only coldly, after the common custom, but that he was earnestly bent to prayer, as the continual benefits of God do exhort us and prick us forward thereunto, and the force of faith ought there to show itself. Wherefore let every one of us exhort himself to persevere in prayer by the example of Cornelius. With all his house We must not lightly pass over this commendation that Cornelius had a church in his house. And, surely, a true worshipper of God will not suffer so much as in him lieth God to be banished from his house.
For how unmeet a thing is it for him to maintain his own right stoutly, that his wife, children, servants, and maids may obey him, and not to regard that God is disobeyed. It shall sometimes fall out so that a godly man cannot have even his wife to be of his mind; yet he, which ruleth others, must endeavor by all means to have God obeyed; and there is nothing more meet than that we should consecrate all ours to God as ourselves.
Therefore, if a godly man have children which are unlike him, or a wife of evil conditions, or lewd and wicked servants, let him not wink, nor yet suffer his house to be polluted through his slothfulness. The diligence of Cornelius is not so much commended as the blessing of God, whereby it came to pass that he had his house obedient unto him in godliness. And we must not omit the circumstance, that he instructed his family in the fear of God, setting light by the fear of danger, which did hang over his head therefore.
For the Jewish religion was in great contempt; and no citizen of Rome might freely receive any strange religion, as they called it. Wherefore, although the sincere profession of the gospel be evil spoken of in the world, yet is it too corrupt frightfulness if that unjust hatred hinder any man from offering his family to God for a sacrifice, by godly instruction. Giving alms There is also the figure synecdoche in this member, [clause. For our godliness ought so to appear to men, that we declare that we fear God by using bountifulness and justice.
The word alms is translated unto those external good works wherewith we help the poor, Isa , forasmuch as misericordia, or mercy, is the inward affection of the heart properly. For from this fountain springeth true and well ordered bountifulness, if the troubles and sorrows of our brethren do move us to compassion; if, considering the unity which is amongst us, we foster and cherish them as we would cherish our own flesh, and study to help them as we would help our own members.
Hypocrites are, indeed, sometimes liberal, or at least bountiful; but howsoever they waste all, yet no relief which they shall bestow upon the poor shall be worthy to be called by the name of alms. For we must hold that of Paul, He which hath no love is nothing, though he give all his goods to the poor, 1Co Let us, therefore, learn by this word, that God doth then allow our liberality, if we relieve the poverty of the poor, being moved with compassion, and if, as it were, with open bowels we bestow that which the liberality of God doth give.
Whereas Luke saith that he gave alms to all the people, it signifieth as much as everywhere to the poor; for there were not a few rich men to whom to have given had been an absurd thing. But whereas he bestowed so liberally upon the Jews, he declared how he agreed with them in religion; in which respect Luke saith, shortly after, that he was allowed of all the Jews. And if so be it he was such an excellent mirror of godliness and holiness, even when he had but a small smattering of faith, although he were letted so many ways, ought not we to be ashamed who will be accounted most Christian doctors, and are yet so cold in the exercises of godliness?
If a small sparkle of faith prevailed so much in him, what ought the full brightness of knowledge to work in us? But howsoever we boast of Christ with full mouth, yet how far are we, for the most part, from the example of the holy man, so that there appeareth scarce a small shadow of those virtues wherewith he was replete? For how loose are we in prayer?
How slow and sluggish to do the duties of mercy? Yea, many are not only letted with filthiness and covetousness from giving liberally so much of their own as they ought, but they are so inflamed with a desire to have, they are become so beastly through cruelty, that they are not afraid to rob the poor of their substance, and to eat their very flesh. He saw in a vision Luke putteth vision for a kind of oracle coming from God, that we may know that Cornelius was brought unto the faith of Christ after an heavenly manner.
And because men are oftentimes deceived with juggling, Luke setteth down the time to avoid all suspicion, when he mentioneth the ninth hour. And at that time they were wont to divide the day into twelve hours; from the rising of the sun until the going down thereof.
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Whereupon it followeth that it was fair daylight when the angel appeared, that the vision might be more evident. Although there were always seals added unto visions, that they might free the servants of God from fear of illusions, because when he appeared in dreams, yet were there such marks of certainty imparted in their minds as would not suffer them to doubt. And he beheld, and was afraid Luke expresseth his attentiveness in plain words, that we may know that it was no vain imagination which came upon the man as he was sleeping or doing some other thing.
The fear wherewith he was taken proceeded from the perceiving of the majesty of God; for so soon as men conceive the presence of God, they must needs be afraid and cast down with fear. And whereas his words do no whit terrify us, that must be imputed to our sluggishness, because we do not know nor perceive that it is God which speaketh. But the godly, to whom God revealeth himself in his word, do tremble when they hear it, as Isaiah saith, Isa Furthermore, the sight of God is unto them terrible, not that they may always lie confounded, and be swallowed up of fear, but only that they may humbly address themselves to reverence him.
What is it, Lord? Therefore the common translation hath it evil, Who art thou, Lord? And assuredly, when Cornelius perceived that it is God, he submitteth himself to obey; as the answer is nothing but a commandment. Thy prayers and alms Because God seemeth to be after a sort deaf, unless he answer our petitions by and by, hence cometh that speech, that our prayers come unto him, and that he is mindful thereof. Furthermore, the angel assigneth this as the cause why God vouchsafeth to show to Cornelius the light of his gospel; because he hath heard his prayers and accepted his alms.
And again,. For God doth after this sort extol his by a continual course of his gifts, as it were by certain steps, until he bring them to the top. But the Papists abuse this place two ways; for because God respected the prayers and alms of Cornelius, so that he endued him with the faith of the gospel, they wrest that unto the preparations which they have invented, as if a man did get faith by his own industry and power, and did prevent the grace of God by the merits of works.
Secondly, they gather, generally, that good works are meritorious in such sort, that the graces of God are increased in every man as he hath deserved. In the former they are too childishly deceived, whilst that they feign that the works of Cornelius were acceptable to God before he was illuminate by faith.
And we need not to fet [seek] a proof far to refute their ignorance; for he could obtain nothing by prayer unless faith went before, which only openeth the gate for us to pray; and Augustine weigheth that well and wisely, who derideth Pelagius, because he said that faith was obtained by prayers before it was in man in any measure: Who saith he will seek a physician save he who is already healed in some part?
And it is the health of faith which teacheth us to knock. Furthermore, the fear of God and godliness do plainly prove that he was regenerate by the Spirit. For Ezekiel giveth this praise to God alone, that he frameth the hearts of men to fear him, Eze [ sic ]. And Isaiah saith, that the Spirit of the fear of God resteth in Christ, Isa , that we may know that he can be found no where save only in his members. Therefore it is too great folly to feign a man in the person of Cornelius, who, having nature for his guide, can attain unto eternal life, or endeavor to come thither.
Therefore they reason blockishly, that we are able to prevent the grace of God with the merits of works. As touching the second error, when as they imagine that every one of us is increased with greater graces as he hath deserved, it may easily be refuted. First, we deny that we have any good works which God hath not freely given us; secondly, we say that the right use of gifts cometh from him also and that this is his second grace, that we use his former gifts well.
Thirdly, we deny that we deserve any thing by our works, which are always lame and corrupt. Good works do indeed purchase for us the increase of grace, but not by their own desert. For they cannot be acceptable to God without pardon, which they obtain by the benefit of faith.
Wherefore it is faith alone which maketh them acceptable. Furthermore, if good works be esteemed [estimated] by faith, it is of mercy, and not of merit, that God doth allow [approve] them. For because faith findeth no worthy thing in us whereby we can please God, it borroweth that of Christ which we want. And this is too perverse, that though the Papists have this word merit every now and then in their mouths, and cease not to puff up fools with a vain confidence, yet they bring nothing whereby the studies of men may be moved to do well.
For they leave their consciences always in a doubt, and command men to doubt whether their words please God or not. But as for us, though we take merit from works, yet when as we teach that there is a reward laid up for them, we prick men forward with an excellent and sharp prick, to desire to live well. For we address ourselves then joyfully to serve God, when we are persuaded that we lose not our labor.
And whereas there appeareth at this day no more plentiful abundance of the gifts of the Spirit, but that the more part doth rather wither away, we must thank our unthankfulhess for that. Yet here may a question be asked, Whether faith require the knowledge of Christ, or it be content with the simple persuasion of the mercy of God? But it may be proved by sound proofs that faith cannot be separated from Christ; for if we lay hold upon the bare majesty of God, we are rather confounded with his glory, than that we feel any taste of his goodness. Therefore, Christ must come between, that the mind of man may conceive that God is merciful.
And it is not without cause that he is called the image of the invisible God, Col ; because the Father offereth himself to be holden in his face alone. Moreover, seeing that he is the way, the truth, and the life, Joh ; whithersoever thou goest without him, thou shalt be enwrapped on every side in errors, and death shall meet you [thee] on every side.
We may easily answer concerning Cornelius. All spiritual gifts are offered unto us in Christ; and especially whence cometh regeneration, save only because we are ingrafted into the death of Christ, our old man is crucified? Romans, , 6. And if Cornelius were made partaker of the Spirit of Christ, there is no cause why we should think that he was altogether void of his faith; neither had he so embraced the worship of the true God, whom the Jews alone did worship, but that he had also heard somewhat of the promised Mediator; though the knowledge of him were obscure and entangled, yet was it some.
Whosoever came at that time into Judea he was enforced to hear somewhat of the Messiah, yea, there was some fame of him spread through countries which were far off. And it is properly [improperly] said of Augustine, that Peter grounded his faith; whereas it had now before a firm foundation; although Augustine thinketh as we do in the thing itself, who affirmeth plainly, that Cornelius could not pray unless he had faith, in his Book of the Predestination of Saints, and other places.
Now send to Joppa God dealt most favorably with Cornelius, in that he doth not command him to go himself, but to send messengers unto Peter, that he may stay quietly at home, and that Peter may endure the toil of the journey for his sake. But let us not wonder that Cornelius was so courteously handled, seeing that God thrusteth the ministers of his word daily upon the unwilling; so that he appeareth of his accord to those which do not seek him, as he saith by Isaiah, Isa But why doth not the angel rather teach him?
As when Christ appeared to Paul by a vision, he set, notwithstanding, Ananias to teach him, that he might by such an example establish the ministry of the preaching of the gospel, which he committed to his Church; so now the angel giveth place to Peter, that he may execute the office committed unto him by Christ. Therefore, whosoever will be the disciple of Christ, and be illuminated by the heavenly light of the heavenly wisdom, let him not grudge to use attentiveness and docility toward the external voice of men, which Christ useth as an instrument, and whereunto he will have our faith annexed.
And we see how sore God hath punished their furious pride, who, contemning preaching, have looked for revelations from heaven. For since God will be heard in men, the ministers to whom he hath given his word cannot be contemned without contempt and reproach of him. Nevertheless, I confess that the spirits must be proved, 1Jo , that we hear not without choice whosoever do pretend that they are ministers of Christ. But because faith cometh by hearing, Rom , no man shall attain thereunto which shall refuse and despise the word when it is preached,.
And after that the angel Luke declareth here how ready Cornelius was to obey when as he maketh no tarriance, but doth that with all diligence which he was commanded to do. And this was the cause that he was so forward, because he believed the promise; as want of faith is the cause why we are so slow to follow God. How is it that of an hundred scarce one or two will stir one foot, that some creep so little that they profit but a little, but because we do not indeed believe the promise? Therefore, let us learn that we must not drive off from day to day, but every man must hasten thither whither he is called, so soon as he heareth the voice of God.
Two of his servants Cornelius had this reward for being so diligent in teaching his family, that he had faithful and honest servants who were willing to do him service; and also such as that he might commit any thing to them. On the other side, the Lord doth oftentimes punish masters with just punishments who have no regard to instruct their families.
For they find those justly stubborn and unfaithful whom they would not frame unto godliness and the fear of God, and also they are afraid of their treachery. A godly soldier Forasmuch as this soldier was much conversant with Cornelius, he had also taught him to fear God, as well as his household servants. It is meet that we call to mind here that which I touched before, that there is no kind of life which excuseth us but that we must worship God purely.
Wherefore, there is no cause why they should require a calling that is free from worshipping God, under color of warfare, who would by one means or other be free from all righteousness. If they deny that they can serve God because they be soldiers, they shall have these two soldiers meet judges and witnesses against them at the last day, who shall condemn them.
And in the mean season, those brain-sick fellows are condemned who cry that it is unlawful for Christians to carry weapons. For these men were warriors, and yet godly, and when they embrace Christ they forsake not their former kind of life; they cast not away their armor as hurtful, nor yet forsake their calling. Whereas Cornelius expoundeth the whole matter to the soldier and his servants, it tendeth to this end, that he may the more encourage them to give ear to the commandment, which they see is rather a commandment of God than of man; and he is not afraid to make known unto them so great a matter whom he had instructed well before.
On the morrow, as they journeyed As Luke declared that Cornelius was admonished by an oracle to send for Peter, so now he setteth down another vision, whereby Peter is commanded to come to him. Whereby it appeareth that all this matter was governed by the wonderful counsel of God, who doth both make Cornelius apt to be taught, yea, he kindleth in him a study and desire to learn and, on the other side, maketh Peter willing to take in hand to teach him.
But we must note the circumstances whereby he maketh the history more evident. Peter went up upon the house, that he might pray alone by himself; for a quiet and lone place is a great help to prayer, which thing Christ himself did not omit, that the mind, being free from all things which might call it away, might be the more earnest and bent toward God. And the Jews had another manner of houses and buildings than we use; for they had walks upon the tops of their houses.
The sixth hour was then noon. And it is not to be doubted but that he got himself to prayer then according to his custom. For because we are drawn away with divers businesses, and there is no end of turmoiling, unless we bridle ourselves, it is good to have certain hours appointed for prayer, not because we are tied to hours, but lest we be unmindful of prayer, which ought to be preferred before all cares and business. Finally, we must think the same thing of time which we think of place; to wit, that they are certain remedies whereby our infirmities is holpen; which, if the apostles counted fit for them, how much must more the sluggish and slow use the same?
Excess of mind Because our minds are wholly, as it were, set upon the earth, to the end Peter might the better comprehend the oracle, it was meet that his mind should be, as it were, moved from his place and carried up; and by this means was he prepared to receive the oracle, when as he is carried up above the world after an unwonted manner. The opening of heaven signifieth, in my judgment, another thing in this place than in the seventh chapter.
For it is said there that heaven was opened to Stephen, that he did behold the glory of Christ; in this place Peter saw our heaven which we see divided, so that a sheet came thence. If any man ask how he could see a great multitude of living creatures at once, the question is easily answered. For Luke saith, All manner, because there were there divers kinds mixed one with another. Therefore he beginneth not at the first kind, that he may prosecute the number unto the last. Again, we must not measure this seeing according to the manner of men, because the trance gave Peter other eyes.
But before we go any farther we must know the end of the vision. Some dispute more subtilely about the same than the place requireth, in my judgment. Therefore, I think that it is generally showed to Peter that the difference which God had made in times past is now taken away. And as he had put difference between living creatures, so, having chosen to himself one people, he counted all nations unclean and profane. Now the difference between living creatures being taken away, he teacheth by the consequent that there is no such disagreement among men any longer as there was in times past, and that there is no difference between the Jew and the Grecian.
Hereby Peter is admonished that he do not abhor the Gentiles as being unclean. Undoubtedly, God meant to encourage Peter to come to Cornelius without fear; but he had separated one people to himself from the rest, as saith Moses in his song, when as the Most High did distribute the nations, he put his lot in Jacob, etc. Wherefore, when as the apostles were sent before to preach the gospel, they were forbidden to turn in unto the Gentiles, Mat And forasmuch as the preaching of the gospel is a most holy and weighty matter, Peter ought not to have attempted any thing therein with a doubting and wavering mind.
Therefore, to the end he may be assured of his calling, God showeth manifestly, as in a picture, that the legal difference between the clean and unclean is abolished; whence he may gather that the wall which was heretofore between the Jews and the Gentiles is now pulled down. And Paul saith, that it is a mystery hid from the beginning of the world, that the Gentiles are made partakers of the same salvation with the people of God, and ingrafted into one body, Eph ; Eph Therefore Peter durst never have opened the gate of heaven unto the Gentiles, unless God himself had made a plain way and entrance for all men, by taking away the wall of separation.
I said even now that there was no time wherein it was not lawful to admit the Gentiles unto the worship of God, so they were circumcised; but so long as they continued in uncircumcision they were strangers with God. But now God made the covenant of life common to all the whole world, which he had shut up in one nation, as in a treasure. Whence we gather that this vision is not a little profitable for us; for, when as it teacheth that the difference between Jews and Gentiles continued only for a season, it is as much as if God should pronounce from heaven that he receiveth all people of the world into favor, that he may be God over all.
Finally, we have an evident proclamation from heaven, which putteth us in hope of eternal life. But some men will object that Peter was taught before concerning this matter; for he and the rest were commanded to preach the gospel throughout the whole world, Mar Therefore, he was either ignorant of his calling, or else this vision was superfluous. I answer, that there was such and so great difficulty in the novelty itself, that they could not acquaint themselves therewith by and by.
They knew both the prophecies of the prophets, and the late commandment of Christ concerning the calling of the Gentiles by the gospel; but when they come to the push, they doubted nevertheless, being stricken with the strangeness of the thing. Wherefore, it is no marvel if the Lord confirm Peter with a new sign, concerning which thing we must also say somewhat as yet in the next chapter.
A voice from heaven The voice came from heaven as did the sheet, that Peter might know that both came from God; neither had the sight done him any good, unless God had with this voice made clean those things which were before unclean. Whereas some pick an allegory out of the word kill, as if God did signify that men are sacrificed to him by the spiritual sword of the gospel; I do not prosecute that, but plainness pleaseth me better, that God doth take away by this voice the law concerning the choice of beasts, that he may also teach that he rejecteth no people, Rom For if by the former word be meant sacrificing, what shall eat signify?
Not so, Lord This is the voice of him which doth as well refuse, as also object to God his own commandment; for he is afraid, for good causes, to touch that which he knew was forbidden him in the law of God, Lev , etc. What kind of a mission is that??? In the article, it is mentioned that during her teens, Anuradha started questioning her faith and was very confused. Vulnerable people who can be manipulated?? How can anyone follow this crazy cult. Read about the Isis and Horus Egyptian Myth. He is a mental construct derived from older myths. I agree with aman lot of my friends are atheist but they can be hindus as it gives them room and freedom to be what they believe.
Dara so true, they beat both sides of the drum. YOU are the ones not wanting people to make their own decision concerning their beliefs and religion. Shame on you. Well written article. Very interesting to hear a Christian religion is having some success in one of the biggest idol worshiping countries in the world. A religion like this that helps people become better people is good. For the other posters on this board: Not all Indians in India are poor guilible people. This is a an ignorant statement. A rich man or poor man can choose with his heart what is good or evil.
Why the bashing on proselytism? It seems selfish to keep something to yourself if you feel it could help others. There is no force involved. It essentially involves presenting basic information about the faith and asking if someone wants to know more. Do these missionaries personally benefit from what they do?
On the contrary, it is a great sacrifice for them and their families as they pay part or all of their own living expenses while serving. Aside from proselyting, a good portion of their time is also spent in service to the community. The world needs more people like this who are willing to sacrifice in this way to help others.
This post teaches patience and respect for other religions, not intolerance. Religion and faith are two of the most personal and meaningful choices people can make. If you find peace in your religion or in no religion, respectfully refuse those offering to share another religion. Should they be robbed of a choice to accept a different religion? Proselytizing is an effective way to for those searching and those offering to find each other. I came across a website who was offering free Book of Mormon.
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I applied for it giving my address and details. After an initial introduction, they persuaded me to attend a church on Sunday. I politely refused because I used to work long hours in my weekdays and weekends were very precious to me. Moreover, I was only interested in getting the free book honest so that I can read more about Christianity.
Anyways, I myself was 20ish and our conversation shifted to career. I casually but genuinely asked them about their plans for their career. I scolded them in a friendly manner about taking their career seriously. They were nice guys but appeared confused none the less. One of them mentioned that they get paid a stipend of rupees a month for doing this service. I reasoned hard with them to make them understand that they could do much better than rupees if they focus on their careers with right education and keep religion on the back burner until they get established in the life.
Well that was my philosophy. A million-plus Hindus live in the United States, a fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. No one comes to the father except through me.
Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. Christianity, like other religions of peace, is great when it follows the Golden Rule. Folks, Mormonism is an off-shoot of Christianity. The guy that founded it said an angel, in the U.
We all have to live our lives, but, buyer beware. The tone of the article does seem advertorial and I agree with those complain about the publicity Abrahamic religions receiving more publicity than is probably warranted. The vitriol on proselytisers, to some extent, arises because of a deep seated frustration of those who loose parts of their flock to others.
That in itself is divisive and God never could have intended that the path to divinity divide humans. The reason, I think, Anuradha and her family members, who converted, did so because they only saw the rituals and the many Gods that we Hindus are socially conditioned to accept. They have never been shown the path that Hinduism offers — the value system is never spoken about, no one tells of the way in which the principles of Dharma really apply — the only ones who receive the true teachings of Hinduism are those who wish to study them.
It is not imparted to the masses… because Hinduism has never been a religion — its a way of life. I am not a supporter of bigotry in any form and I believe that the only way to achieve peace and feel the presence of God in my life, is to live and let others live the way they want to.
If I can help any other in my way path, I thank God for the opportunity. It is not proselytizing that is the problem. The constitution of this country advocates it. The real problem is when coercion and promises are held out to people who are desperately looking for straws to grab at. Or do they? All religions are the same, or radically different from each other, depending entirely on how you interpret them. At one point, however, all organised religions are detrimental— they erode the ability of people to think critically. It amounts to blasphemy to believe in certain tenets of a religion and question others.
This goes on to show that any given religion today is an organisation more than a philosophy. We are just too lazy to think, and draw up our own personal religions. Its like eating canned food when does not feel upto cooking. These women spend hours doing humanitarian work helping every nation in the world, no matter what religious faith the people have. They attempt to emulate the Love of the Savior Jesus Christ for all people. If you are not a Christian, does not matter, if you or people need help, then it is offered by this church. Freedom of choice requires a knowledge of the choices available.
Just for the record — readers who compare posting this article to advertising for Christianity or proselytism do not understand why we put it up there. Mormonism is a U. The fact it deals with India is incidental — we would have been just as ready to post an article about Mormonism growing in, say, Brazil or South Africa. Some readers also seem to feel India gets undue notice in religion news.
However, is this commentator suggesting that no news stories ever feature what a religion different from the religion of the majority does, whether it is Christian or otherwise? However, if there are no alternatives allowed, how is there any genuine choice? It might interest readers to know that the Mormon Church has given over 32 million US dollars to India in the form of Humanitarian Relief Projects over the past 20 years.
These projects have included such things as wheel chairs, clean water to rural villages, eye clinics, emergency relief projects, and the like. Each project is carefully chosen to impact the most people and teach self reliance as well as relieve pain and suffering.