While extraordinary in terms of its importance and place in the narrative of the early church in the book of the Acts, the story of the conversion of Cornelius also speaks volumes to us today about the nature of everyday missionary endeavor. For, it is still true that there are, all around us, people, neighbors, and even nations that honestly seek God the best way that they know how.
To those like Cornelius who seek God in prayer and good deeds the word here to them, I argue, is “the Lord hears you” or as was told by the angel “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.” And yet also like Cornelius, they must hear the gospel. 
Interestingly, when the Lord moves to answer Cornelius’ heartfelt plea to know Him he does not answer by angelic proclamation. In fact, the angel’s purpose in this story is simply to alert him that God has heard him and to go and get Peter from Joppa some 30 miles away. Notice, the angel does not preach the gospel. That mission was given to the disciples and to the church in Matthew 28. So I argue then that God’s word to us here in this passage, the Church, is precisely this: we are the God’s answer to the prayer of the nations to know the true God. He wants to send us, like Peter, to share the good news of the gospel with them, no matter their native religion, culture, ethnicity, race, or degree of wealth or education. Nothing is to hinder our proclamation of the gospel. And as we go, we are to go in humility (cp. Acts 10:26), recognizing our common humanity. 
The nations are crying out to know the Lord. Our neighbors are crying out to know the Lord——and by God’s grace and design, we are the the answer to their prayer. Let us go eagerly then, and as the Lord Jesus has commanded, “make disciples of all nations...”

by Craig Lester

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