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Acts #39 (chapter 10:44-48)
The Book of Acts
The Salvation of the Gentiles, Part 5
Acts 10:44-48
One of the forgotten facts of the history of the church is that in the beginning, it was made up almost entirely of Jews.  There were a few Samaritans, but for the most part, the church was pretty much identified with Judaism. 
That's why the conversion of Cornelius was such a big deal.  For the first time in its short history, a Samaritan would be saved and baptized, and the it was no small event.  Even though the church was primarily made up of Jews who had converted, a lot of Jewish tradition and teaching came along with them into the church.
So it wasn't easy for what God designed in one church made up of people from all kinds of nationalities and tribes and backgrounds to actually come to be.  And as we've seen here in Acts 10, Peter is on the cutting edge of coming to understand what's going on.  
God began to break down his prejudices as he goes to Samaria to preach.  Then he stays in the home of Simon the tanner.  He has this vision of both clean and unclean animals being permissible to eat, and finally servants of Cornelius arrive to ask him to come with them and speak to Cornelius. 
And when he gets there, Cornelius has gathered up a whole crowd to hear what he has to say, and we've been looking at that for a couple of weeks now.  Tonight, we come to
Acts 10:44-48
Now remember, leading up to this point, just to follow Peter's outline, he introduces his topic by telling how God is teaching him all are welcome in the church.  Simply put, the introduction is "Salvation is available."
Then He preaches Jesus as the One Who can bring peace with God and peace between men.  Salvation is available, but it is only available through Jesus.
Then he gives an invitation that includes a call to faith.  Salvation is available only through Jesus Christ, and the only way to obtain it is by faith.
And as Peter is preaching, a very interesting thing happens.  Peter preaches this simple message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and when as he's speaking, they all get saved. 
So where does it say that?  Well, it doesn't. So how can we know that everyone listening became a Christian?  We can know because God doesn't give His Holy Spirit to unbelievers.  We don't need the Bible to call the roll and tell us the names of those who were saved.  All we need to do is read verse 44 where it tells us the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the Word and there we find the verification of their salvation. 
Now, three things led up to their salvation.  There was a call from God, a response of obedience by Peter and Cornelius, and a simple proclamation. 
Then, we find in these verses three things that followed their salvation.  Let me show you what they are from this text.
First, there is
- spiritual power
verse 44
What a thrill it must have been to preach the Gospel and have everybody in the crowd get saved.  He's preaching along, and all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit takes over.  So what happened?  The minute that Peter said, "Salvation is available, it is in Christ, and it is by faith," bang, they believed.
That's all they needed to hear; and immediately when somebody believes, God grants that somebody His Holy Spirit. That's not something you have to wait for.  It is a simultaneous occurrence.  At the moment of salvation, the new believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
It is wrong to teach that somebody can be saved and not have the Holy Spirit. Here, they believed and immediately, God gave them the Holy Spirit. This was the Pentecost of the Gentiles.
And this experience actually became the norm for every believer from then on. The first thing that happens when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, God instantly gives you His Spirit Who dwells within you from then on, and His presence is as eternal as your salvation.  It is the immediate result of saving faith.
Why is that so essential?  Well, for starters, if you didn't have the Holy Spirit, you couldn't obey God, you couldn't understand His Word, you wouldn't have the power to follow His instructions and commands.  You've got to have the Holy Spirit to do what God instructs us to do as His followers. 
The instantaneous indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what takes away all out excuses.   We have no reason to not udnerstand the Bible, to share our faith, to follow God's will, to obey God because the One Who makes it all possible is living within us 24/7.
In fact, if you didn't have the Holy Spirit, you can't even say, "Jesus is Lord." Listen to
1 Corinthians 12:3:
"Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit."
You wouldn't even know who your Savior was if it weren't for the Spirit of God within you. The only people on the face of the earth who do not have the Holy Spirit are unbelievers.
Through the Holy Spirit, God gives us power to witness,  help in our prayers, the security of our salvation, the assurance of His coming and the guarantee we belong to Him.
So first and foremost, as a product of salvation, God sends the Holy Spirit, and with Him came spiritual power.
And so evident is this spiritual power and presence, the Jews who were with Peter were amazed by what they witnessed.
verses 45-46
I mean, it was evident.  The same thing that happened to them at Pentecost they are seeing all over again here in the home of Cornelius with these Gentile believers.  It is undeniable!
Just as it happened in Acts 2 at Pentecost and again in chapter 8 with the Samaritan believers, the same thing happens here with those being saved able to speak in foreign languages.
There is an indication of what God is doing in the church as each experience is a replicate of what happened at Pentecost.  I find it interesting that God is actually reversing what happened at the tower of Babel where languages were confused.
Now we have Jews and half-breed Samaritans and Gentiles and Old Testament saints who become New Testament believers and together they will be witnesses to the world using every tongue and language to tell of Jesus, the Savior!   
And it was all made possible through the spiritual power that came with the Holy Spirit.
The second result is
-symbolic confession
verse 46
Now,  through the Holy Spirit, God Himself performed an inward baptism on every convert and He makes that very clear. 
So do you think Peter would deny them an outward baptism?  Peter asks if anyone has an objection to their water baptism, and he's speaking primarily to the Jews who've accompanied him. Is there any reason we they shouldn't be baptized since God has already authenticated their salvation?
Obviously not!  There might have been some who wanted to.  After all, they're Gentiles!  We don't want them to be identified with us!
But Peter says, "But their experience is just like ours and we were baptized.  Are you really going to forbid them?  Notice how important baptism is? If you have been saved but not been baptized, you're disobedient. Don't be disobedient.
Baptism is a public confession  symbolizing the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  It's how you identify with Christ. And Peter says, "Since they've been saved and given evidence of that salvation, they need to be baptized.
And verse 48 seems to indicate that he made the Jews who came with him baptize these Gentile converts. Can you imagine those six Jews baptizing all the Gentiles?
See, Peter's a smart guy! Can you imagine what would've happened if Peter had done all the baptizing, gone back to Jerusalem, and said, "The Gentiles believed, and they were saved, and I baptized them."
 And then they would have said to the other six, "Well, you guys were with him. What happened?" They'd say, "Well, I don't know. Man, they were there, and Peter did it, but I really wasn't in agreement.  i didn't say anything, but I really didn't think it was the right thing to do. It was all Peter.  You guys know how he is.  Once he gets something in his head, it doesn't matter what anybody else says or things."
So Peter doesn't take any chances!  He just has those with him do the baptizing. Then when He goes back, he says, "Our group baptized them. These guys say what happened and they were right there with me."
And they were right to do it because it is a sign of genuine salvation when somebody's willing to be baptized and confess Christ.
So there was spiritual power as the Holy Spirit came upon them, symbolic confession through baptism, and the third thing is
- sweet fellowship
verse 48b
Isn't that sweet?  You can always tell when somebody's really been saved because they like being around God's people.  Have you ever known a baby that didn't want to eat or be cuddled up by its mother? Babies like that!  And God's babies do too!  They need to be fed and held and loved on and nurtured and cuddled!
Peter's got a whole houseful of brand new baby Christians and they asked him to stick around for a few days.  They're saying, "Peter, feed us, love us, teach us." He's not going to walk away and leave them. 
I really believe that a person who comes to Jesus Christ honestly desires the fellowship of other Christians. It always concerns me when a person makes a profession of faith on Sunday morning, then doesn't come back on Sunday night. 
And it bothers me when someone makes a profession of faith and those who calim to be Christians don't even greet them or welcome them into the family. 
Christians of any age and maturity desire to fellowship and study the Word of God and be fed and loved on.  These folks wanted fellowship!
Over in the 16th chapter, there's a similar situation involving the conversion of Lydia.  Listen to what we read there: 
Acts 16:14-15
Well, that's what happens when folks get saved.  There is a spiritual power, symbolic confession and sweet fellowship that results from it and the good news is it is available to anybody.  God is no respecter of persons. The door to salvation is wide open, and because of that we can share the gospel with anybody, anywhere, knowing that God will accept them. 
Back in the late 1800's a guy named Henry George was running for the office of mayor of New York City.  He was asked to speak to a meeting of the working men at the Cooper Institute.  The emcee of the event gave him a flowery introduction with a typical kind of political rhetoric; and he concluded by saying, "The friend of the working man."
As soon as Mr. George rose to his feet, he said, slowly and emphatically, "I would like to announce that I am not the friend of the working man." Stunned silence ensued. A strange kind of bewilderment, and then he went on. "Nor am I the friend of capital. I am for men simply as men, regardless of any accidental or superfluous distinctions of race, creed, color, class, function, or employment. I am for men."
And that, in a sense, is what Jesus always said. He was not and is not the Jews' friend nor the Gentiles' friend, nor the friend of the rich, nor the friend of the poor, nor the friend of the higher up or the friend of the prostitute. He is the friend of sinners, and that includes all of us. I hope you're the friend of sinners, and that includes all of 'em.
Let's pray...
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