Lessons Learned – The First Gospel Meeting
Our congregation is preparing for a gospel meeting that is coming up in a few weeks, so I thought it would be beneficial for us to study about one of the first gospel meetings that was ever held. The meeting was held in the household of Cornelius as recorded in the tenth chapter of the book of Acts. It was not called a “gospel meeting” in the text, but I think we can see that it had all the characteristics of one. People gathered to hear a preacher who was coming to teach them the truth. Isn’t that basically what a gospel meeting is? I think we can learn important lessons about conducting a successful meeting by studying what happened at Cornelius’ house that day. Consider the following points.
1. Cornelius feared God and prayed that he would hear the truth. Cornelius was a man who prayed constantly. Luke wrote that he was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:2). Obviously, Cornelius was praying to God to hear the truth of his Word, because an angel appeared to him and told him that Peter would tell him what he “must do” (Acts 10:6). We need to have the same attitude toward our gospel meeting. We need to pray to God that the truth will be preached, and that people as receptive as Cornelius will be present to hear the soul saving gospel. We, like Cornelius, will be told at our gospel meeting what we “must do” according to God’s Word as well.
2. Cornelius invited all his friends and family. Luke records that Cornelius had “called together his relatives and close friends” (Acts 10:24). He was waiting for the arrival of Peter. He knew what Peter had to say was so important, that he wanted all those who were close to him to hear it as well. We must develop the same attitude Cornelius had regarding our gospel meeting. Do we believe the words that will be spoken at our meeting are so important that we should invite those who are closest to us? He wanted his friends and family present to hear Peter because he cared for their souls. Our love and care for souls should drive us to invite everyone we can.
3. Those who came to Cornelius’ house were there to hear God’s Word. Cornelius was not having a social gathering. He wasn’t providing entertainment for his friends and family. They had all come together for a very specific purpose, and it was to hear Peter speak the truth to them. Cornelius was recorded as saying, “Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God” (Acts 10:33). We will hear God’s word proclaimed at our meeting as well. We should prayfully prepare for the opportunity that we will have to study the Bible together.
4. Those who attended Cornelius’ meeting were in the presence of God. We must remember that God is always present when Christians come together (Matt. 18:20). The thought of this should motivate us to make it the best meeting possible. Cornelius said, “we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God” (Acts 10:33).
5. Those who attended Cornelius’ meeting were blessed. They were blessed with the baptism of the Holy Spirit to show that the Gentiles were approved of God. We will not receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit at our meeting, but we will be blessed through the work, study, and fellowship that we all participate in together. -Ed