Contained within the book of Acts are numerous “cases of conversion” that make crystal clear the what, how, and means of conversion. They show that every person, regardless of age or rank, is saved the same way. As we consider Acts 10:32, 33, we are not going to be concerned with “conversion”, but with the “audience” that was present. It is not too uncommon to hear the speaker exalted and praised due to people’s attitude toward preaching. Sometimes this is done with no regard for the attitude of the audience. For those who have ever taught in a public manner, they realize that the “audience” is most essential to the effectiveness of the message. The gospel in the hands of the most effective speaker will avail nothing if the attitude of the “audience” is not good. It is like good seed in bad soil. With this article I would like for us to study the “audience” that we find in Acts 10:33 in view of the fact that in the book of Acts there are different types of audiences.

Felix – indifferent – Acts 24:24, 25.

Jews – rebellious – Acts 7:51.

Jews – receptive – Acts 2:41.

Eunuch – seeking – Acts 8:26-38.

“WE ARE ALL HERE” – Cornelius, as he explained to Peter what was going on, impressed upon him that they were all there. In looking at these words, we see that there is completeness found when he said, “We are all here.” In comparison to us, as we meet to study the Word of God, how often can that be said of us? It is interesting to see that Cornelius stated “we” and not “they.”

“PRESENT BEFORE GOD” – The ideal audience is aware of Deity’s presence (Hebrews 2:12). Even though there are no outward signs of the presence of Deity, we should know that He is with us. The realization of God’s presence should cause us to be present and reverent (Psalms 89:7).    So often, when a preacher stands in the pulpit, he sees many things other than people being reverent before God (people whispering, passing notes, sleeping, etc.). If we really believed that we were in the presence of God, would we do such?

I used to lose sleep over those who refuse to return on Sunday and Wednesday nights. I took it personal. But I now know that if they will not come knowing that God is there waiting to be worshipped, then they won’t come just because I am going to teach from His Word. I still lose sleep over this, but I no longer take it personal, I “allow” God to do so.

 “TO HEAR” – These were present before God to hear the Word. Can you imagine that? Today people attend out of courtesy, to appease their conscience, or to “feel” something. But at Cornelius’ house, they came to hear God’s word. We hear on every hand about the failure to communicate in government, in the home, in business, and even in the church. One of the problems is, everyone is talking and no one is listening. We sign up for classes on public speaking. Maybe we need classes on public listening. How many on Monday morning can tell what was studied Sunday morning? How many pay enough attention to apply what is being said themselves? We hear the prayers for this, but are they just words? When we assemble, are we all here present before God to hear what He would have us to hear? (James 1:22-25).

“ALL THINGS COMMANDED THEE OF GOD” – A good listener will cast aside their prejudices and make application of the truths that are taught (Matthew 4:4). Some want “watered down” lessons which will convict no one of their sin. Others dislike lessons on worldliness. We want a partial gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). Cornelius and his household, though, wanted to hear all things commanded of God. They did not want anything left out. How do we compare to Cornelius? Do we want to hear it all (Acts 20:20). Or just those things that suit us? Are we quick to say, “preach the word”, but include in that the thought to leave our sins alone? Do we become angered when our “toes” are stepped on, or do we say “preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort”? (2 Timothy 4:2). Do we say “Amen,” or do we say, “Can’t he find something else to preach about?” When we assemble, are we all “present before God to hear all things commanded thee of God”, or are we just here?

God knows the difference! And He knows why we are here.

Advertisements