And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (Acts 10:41-45)
Cornelius, a Roman centurion had assembled a house full of his closest friends and family, to hear a message from Peter. He had never known or met Peter before, but an Angel arranged the meeting, telling him that Peter would speak words, “whereby you and your household would be saved”.
What were those saving Words? The Acts gives an outline of the message, which addressed several themes:
* God is no respecter of people,or even nation. Anyone made to be serious about God, will be taken seriously by God, whether Jew or Gentile. Sure, the Lord has a unique plan for Israel, but anyone from any nation is a candidate for salvation by Jesus Christ the Jewish Messiah.
* The Word which God sent…Jesus is the Word of God, in other words, Jesus is God. “He is Lord of all”, Peter proclaimed. This would be risky in view of his audience, a houseful of Romans, to whom sole Lordship would be the prerogative of Caesar.
The very Word of the Lord, operative in Creation,exalted above the very name of God, who came unto the Prophets, and by whom all things are made, has been sent by God to bring us salvation, in the person of Jesus.
*Preaching peace with God...This Word , is the message of peace, not between man and man, or nation to nation, but ,”He came and preached peace…”with God. It was God who was “in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not holding their trespasses against them”.(2 Cor 5:19-20)
* God anointed Jesus of Nazareth– Here we have the human name for Jesus. The “Saving words” were that Jesus is man, the man God has anointed.In other words He preached that Jesus is the Christ of God. This is the one the prophets foretold.
* We are witnesses of the crucifixion and resurrection…The ‘we’ being the apostles. It is only by believing the testimony of the apostles, that one can be saved. As John would say, ”He that is of God heareth us, he that s not of God heareth not us…”(I John 4:6).
The 12 Apostles were the handpicked eyewitnesses of the cross and empty tomb.
* The Judgment of living and dead…Jesus is the person we must all finally answer to, He has been appointed by God to be the judge of all men, and the resurrection is the sign of this.
* The prophets bear witness-All of the Hebrew prophets pointed to Him. The details of timing, circumstances , significant particulars of His life were all foretold centuries before He came .This is a major apologetic for the scripture.
*Remission of sins– Any who come to God through Jesus’ death and resurrection , finds total forgiveness, remission of sin, and reconciliation unto God!
It was while the household of Cornelius received the “Words whereby you and your household would be saved“,That the whole household received the Holy Spirit. For the Spirit bears witness to the True Word of the Lord.
And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. (Acts 10:45-46)
The sign that the Holy Spirit verified the testimony Peter bore, was that these newly born again christians, who had received the ‘saving words’, received the Holy Spirit, and were all speaking in other tongues.
Note that the nature of speaking in tongues is here alluded to,that is the magnification of God. As the new converts worshipped God and prophesied, speaking in tongues, Peter was already planning the baptism of the new converts.
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.(Acts 10:47-48)