Gentiles Receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit

caesarea 001
Herod’s Theatre in Caesarea, Cornelius’ hometown.  Herod, descendent of Herod the Great, was eaten by worms in this theatre and died, according to Acts 12: 21-23.


Acts 10 records that Cornelius, a captain in the Roman Army who worshipped God and helped the Jewish poor, had a vision.  An angel appeared to him around 3:00 p.m, told him that God was pleased with his prayers and his acts of charity, and instructed him to send some men to Joppa for Simon Peter.


While Cornelius’ men were on their way to Joppa, Peter had a vision.  In Peter’s vision, heaven opened and something like a sheet was lowered to earth.  The sheet was filled with all kinds of animals, including unclean animals such as reptiles.  Peter was told to “kill and eat.”  Peter argued that he had never eaten unclean animals.  But the voice spoke to him again.  “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean” (Acts 10: 15, GNT).  This happened three times before the sheet was taken up into heaven.   While Peter was trying to interpret the vision, the Holy Spirit told him that three men (Gentiles) were looking for him and he was to go with them.


Peter understood that God was not telling him to abandon the food laws listed in Leviticus 11 but that he should not longer consider the Gentiles unclean.  Peter went with the men from Joppa to Caesarea to the home of Cornelius.  Many people were waiting when Peter arrived.  Listen to Peter’s words as he explains his vision to Cornelius and friends.  “You yourselves know that a Jew is not allowed by his religion to visit or associate with Gentiles.  But God has shown me that I must not consider any person ritually unclean or defiled.  And so when you sent for me, I came without any objection.  I ask you, then, why did you send for me?” (Acts 10: 28-29, GNT).


Cornelius shared his vision of the angel with Peter and asked him to tell him what the Lord commanded.

And opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him” (Acts 10: 34-35, NASB).  Then Peter proclaimed the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, adding that everyone who repents and believes in the Messiah receives forgiveness.


While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.  The circumcised believers who had come with Peter where astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?  They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”  So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10: 44-48, NIV).

CaecareaCorinthianCapital 001
Among the ruins of Caesarea is a Corinthian capital that once set upon a pillar.


herodsPool 001
This is what remains of Herod the Great’s pool in Caesarea.  Water from the Mediterranean Sea flowed in and out of the pool. (The Apostle Paul set sail to Rome from a nearby port in Caesarea.)

WallBuilders – Issues and Articles – The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible

Issues and Articles – The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible,Some quotes from proclamations, letters and more by America’s Founding Fathers and early statesmen on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible.

Source: WallBuilders – Issues and Articles – The Founding Fathers on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible

Silver And Gold Have I None

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon.  Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.  Peter looked straight at him, as did John.  Then Peter said, “Look at us!”  So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.  Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.  He jumped to his feet and began to walk.  Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping  and praising God.  When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him (Acts 3: 1-10 NIV).


The first thing that arrests my attention when I examine this passage is that Peter and John were going to the temple at the “time [or hour] of prayer.”  The NIV version indicates that the hour of prayer was three in the afternoon.  The NASB calls it “the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.”  The ninth hour of prayer is 3:00 p.m.  I find the number nine interesting.  Luke, who wrote the Gospel of Luke as well as the Book of Acts, records that Jesus died on the cross at the ninth hour and “the veil of the temple was torn in two”  (Luke 23: 44-47, NASB).

Numbers are not “magical” or “lucky,” but some stand out in scripture.  For example, the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22 add up to nine.  The gifts of the Spirit listed in I Corinthians 12: 4-10 also add up to nine.


Verse 2 of Acts 23 states that the man was “crippled from birth” and had to be “carried to the temple gate” every day to beg for money. When he asked Peter and John for money, Peter replied, “Silver and gold have I none” (KJV) and instructed him to “walk in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”  Not only did the man walk but went into the temple courts and started jumping and praising God!  What a testimony!  The miracle gave Peter the opportunity share the gospel with the onlookers.  According to Acts 3: 11, “And when he [the man who was healed]  took hold of Peter and John, all the people, greatly amazed, ran toward them on the portico called Solomon’s” (One New Man Bible).  Peter preached the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah and urged the people to repent and return to God (see Acts 3: 11-26).  This miracle–followed by Peter’s presentation of the Gospel–brought at least 5000 to a saving knowledge of the Messiah.


Miracles are an effective way (but not the only way) to demonstrate the Gospel.  Notice that the miracle in Acts 3 occurred shortly after the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  Did you know that the Great Commission to take the gospel to the world includes signs and wonders, casting out demons, and laying hands on the sick?   And he said, “Go in the world and preach the gospel unto all creation (Mark 16: 15).  These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16: 17-18, NASB).

[Regarding the reference to picking up serpents and drinking deadly poison, Jesus is not instructing his disciples to pick up snakes, but instead appears to quoting Psalm 91: 13, which speaks of God’s divine protection.  For example, the apostle Paul is unharmed when he picks up sticks to make a fire and finds a viper attached to his arm (Acts 28: 3-6).]

Jesus said to his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8, NIV).   The Holy Spirit is our guide when it comes to evangelism.   One plants a seed, another waters it, but God causes it to grow (I Corinthians 3: 6-7).



Pentecost and the Book of Joel

To describe what happened at Pentecost (Acts 2), Peter explains the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a fulfillment of Joel’s end-time prophesy. * “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dreams, your young men will see visions.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.  I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (Joel 2: 28-29, NIV).

The term “pouring out of the Holy Spirit” is synonymous with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  For example, in Acts 10: 45 “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is “poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they [the Jews who had come with Peter to Caesarea] heard them [the Gentiles] speaking in tongues and praising God” (NIV).

The manifestations of the Holy Spirit in Joel 2 include prophesy, dreams, and visions.  The  “pouring out” of the Holy Spirit is available to all of God’s people: men and women, young and old, servants, Jews and Gentiles.  Notice the verse doesn’t say “all people” but “all of God’s people,” regardless of age, gender, race, or economic status.  A relationship with God through His Son, the Messiah, is the prerequisite for receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

After quoting Joel, Peter launches into a rousing sermon that begins with the death and Resurrection of the Messiah and ends with a call to repentance.  Peter said to his mostly Jewish audience, who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot (Pentecost), “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2: 38, NASB).

At first glance, it would appear that water baptism is a prerequisite for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but in Acts 10: 44-48 the Gentiles receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit first and are baptized in water afterwards.


*Note: Tongues are equivalent to prophesy when combined with interpretation.  (See I Corinthians 14: 5).










Liberty versus Licentiousness

“Those who refuse to be governed by God will be governed by tyrants.”  William Penn

If you search the Internet, you’ll find slight variations of the quote above.  Some even assign the quote to someone other than William Penn.

Either way, what really matters is the meaning behind the quote.  As we approach July 4, let us remember what liberty stands for.  Our liberty is defined by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

Liberty is not the same as licentiousness.  For example, we are not free to murder, rape, steal, or commit perjury without consequences.  Licentiousness is equated with lawlessness and immorally (especially sexual immorality).

A country that turns away from God opens the door to tyranny. I love America.  I love patriotic symbols and slogans, but I love revival even more.  Only revival–like the First and Second Great Awakenings–will set this nation on the right course.   God is patient and long-suffering, but He cannot bless a nation that shakes its fist at Him in defiance.  (Read Deuteronomy chapters 27 and 28.)

Pray for revival.  Pray for one another and pray for our leaders.  Pray that we will individually and as a nation seek God and His ways.  God will give us wisdom and freedom if we repent and turn back to Him.







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