Acts 10:46, “For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.”
After the Day of Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the 120 in the upper room, the disciples began to preach throughout the whole region as Jesus had commanded (Acts 1:8). One of the biggest internal questions the Jewish disciples dealt with while preaching was, “Does God want the Gentiles (non-Jews) to be saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit, in the same way as the Jewish believers?”
In Acts 10:11-16, Peter received a vision from God that clearly showed him that all people are to be reached the same way and that he shouldn’t call “unclean” (the Gentiles) what God calls “clean” (Acts 10:15). Afterward, Peter went to the home of a non-Jewish man named Cornelius and preached the gospel to him and his household (Acts 10:24-48). Cornelius was a Gentile centurion in the Roman army and a “God-fearer,” which meant he practiced the Jewish religion but hadn’t yet fully converted to Judaism.
Cornelius also had a vision the previous day where an angel visited him and commanded him to get Peter to come and preach to his whole family (Acts 10:2-7). Amazingly, after Peter’s vision men were waiting for him at his door to take him to Cornelius’ house. While Peter was preaching to Cornelius and his household, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak in tongues and praise God (Acts 10:44-46). What a glorious sight this must have been!
After the Holy Spirit’s outpouring at Cornelius’ house the Jewish disciples had their question answered concerning the role of Gentiles in the Kingdom of God; “Yes, God wants to save and fill the Gentiles with the Holy Spirit just like the Jews!”
Although these new disciples spoke in tongues just like they did on Pentecost, no one was reported to understanding the languages as they did at Pentecost, yet Peter said, “They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have” (Acts 10:47). Therefore, they were endowed with power and given the evidence by speaking in unlearned languages just like the first disciples, but they weren’t used in the “gift of tongues.”
Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 that all people who are baptized with the Holy Spirit speak in tongues, but not all of their tongues are meant to give messages to others. The “gift of tongues,” with the “gift of interpretation,” is meant to be understood for people’s benefit, but the “prayer in tongues” is only meant to be understood by God (1 Corinthians 14:2,27).
Directly after seeing Cornelius and his household get saved and filled with the Holy Spirit Peter said, “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have” (Acts 10:47). Therefore, we now know the following things are true, (1) The gospel is for all people, (2) The baptism of the Holy Spirit with the physical evidence of speaking in other tongues is also for everyone in all times and (3) God can pour out His Spirit anywhere and anytime if people are willing!
William Seymour wrote, “I can say, through the power of the Spirit, that wherever God can get a people that will come together in one accord and one mind in the Word of God, the baptism of the Holy Ghost will fall upon them, like as at Cornelius’ house.”
When was the last time you preached to someone and prayed for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
- Preach the gospel to the lost whenever you can, wherever you can.
- If someone you’re preaching to is already born again, ask them if they have been filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Make time everyday to speak in tongues and praise God!