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I’d like to highlight a couple of vital points from this…

As well as the example of acting in faith, all parties not knowing why they were being brought together until God shows them through the act of himself.

One. God accepts people from all nations equally. There is no favouritism and any thoughts contrary to that are our own bias. Easy to have. Hard to shake.

Two. The Holy Spirit came upon the Gentile listeners for the first time. This shows the gift of the Holy Spirit is for all people.

Three. The Spirit confirms the spoken testimony as truth, and delivers forgiveness of sins in a spiritual transfer.

Four. They were baptised in the Holy Spirit prior to being baptised in water. It’s not the ritual of the baptism of water that brings the Holy Spirit, although it may, it’s the hearing and accepting of the truth of Jesus Christ.

Some years later Peter is again retelling the experience to some Jewish men, believers, but who came from the class of Pharisees, who are wanting to impose Jewish customs and laws upon the Gentile converts.

He tells them.

“God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them.”

Acts 15:8

Ultimately this last point is the beginning and end of the matter, and the beginning and end of all theology, and of all religion. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving them the Holy Spirit.

God gives the Holy Spirit to those whom he accepts.

It is not just a sign of his acceptance, it is his acceptance, an indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God within the person.

He’s accepting the person into the Kingdom of God by bringing the Kingdom of God into the person.

You must be born again.

One might also infer that the baptism of the Spirit is the true confirmation and passed test of the heart and faith of the believer.

Back in 30 something AD Judaea news of this encounter and development spread fast. Peter has to explain the whole thing again to the Jews in Jerusalem who were initially critical of him for even entering a Gentile house.

“Then I remembered what the Lord had said. ‘John baptised with water but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit’. So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I should oppose God?”

Acts 11:16

58 Once God had baptised these Gentiles in the Holy Spirit, thereby fully accepting them into Christ, how could Peter then deny them water baptism, or anything else? Had not God made them clean? Of Spirit.

‘When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”

Acts 11:18

From a Jew of the day perspective, this is a radical progression. Jesus isn’t just the Saviour of Israel, the Messiah of the Jews, he’s the Saviour of everyone, the Messiah of the World.

Indeed, did not John tell them such, right at the beginning.

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

John 1:29

Not just the sin of the Jews.

The sin of the World.

…tbc…

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New Hope Christian Church

NHCC UK | Greenhill Parkway

Sheffield | S8  7JP

Phone  |  07459200418

Email  |  info@nhcc.uk

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