Further Study: “In the tenth chapter of Acts we have still another instance of the ministration of heavenly angels, resulting in the conversion of Cornelius and his company. Let these chapters [8-10] be read, and receive special attention. In them we see that heaven is much nearer to the Christian who is engaged in the work of soulsaving than many suppose.
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We should learn through them also the lesson of God’s regard for every human being, and that each should treat his fellow man as one of the Lord’s instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His work in the earth.”—Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1059.
“When the church prays, the cause of God will go forward, and His enemies will come to naught, even if this does not exempt the church from suffering and martyrdom; Luke’s belief in the victory of the gospel is thoroughly realistic and recognizes that though the word of God is not fettered, its servants may well have to suffer and be bound.”—I. Howard Marshall, The Acts of the Apostles (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), pp. 206, 207.
- Cornelius is described as “a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God” (Acts 10:2, NRSV). It is evident that God’s Spirit was already working in Cornelius long before he met Peter. Could it be that his devotional life was an opportunity for God to reach him with the gospel message? What lesson is there for us in his story?
- In class go back to Monday’s final question and ask yourselves this question: What is the cultural, social, and political context in which you live that breeds the kind of ethnic tension that Christians are not supposed to harbor? In other words, when we need to, how can we all as Christians rise above our culture and background?
- Despite their damage, Paul’s efforts to persecute turned out to good effect: the refugees who came to Antioch started preaching, to Jews and to Hellenists. In class share a personal experience of pain and suffering that God turned into a blessing.
- James was one of Jesus’ closest disciples (Mark 5:37, Mark 9:2, Mark 14:33); yet, he was the first of the Twelve to suffer martyrdom. What other examples do we find in the Bible of faithful people suffering unfairly? What lessons should we draw from these accounts for ourselves about the whole question of suffering?