First Gentiles to Receive Salvation
Who were the first Gentiles to receive salvation?
Now, the leaders of the Church and the congregations, in Judea, heard that the Gentiles had received salvation also, and they didn’t like that. They didn’t rejoice. Instead, they had a big fight with the apostle responsible for bringing salvation to the non-Jews.
Apostle Peter had recently visited Cornelius and his household. There he preached Jesus Christ to them and they received his word, believed it and were saved.
So, now the big-wigs in Judaea heard about it and their reaction is not encouraging.
“And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God,” (Acts 11:1).
The Scripture immediately above, speaks of the Gentiles receiving the Word of God. However, what it really means it that they received salvation. They are saved.
Salvation begins when we receive the Word of God.
The #1 Reason Most Church Members Don’t Receive Salvation
Everything concerning Jesus Christ begins with the Word of God.
Peter mentions this explicitly in verse fourteen, (Acts 11:14). Remember, you never rely on one verse-of-scripture to explain a topic. Use at least two related ones.
Today, Christendom is in chaos. Every leader has his personal views on how to receive salvation. There is no consensus on this topic because they aren’t rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
Most contemporary pastors don’t spend adequate time searching the Scriptures for answers. Nor do they seek God in prayer and fasting.
Instead, they are busy being businessmen. Some are so caught-up with their celebrity status that they forgot their focus: Jesus Christ.
Most take one verse-of-scripture and run with it. But make no mistakes, we are only saved when we hear, accept, believe, and obey the words of Jesus Christ.
Irrespective of how famous, articulate, well know, rich or educated you are, you’re only saved from eternal damnation when you obey the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Apostles.
Only Way to Receive Salvation
Apostle Paul says the identical thing. Listen to him as he explains:
“For I bear them record that [the Jews and many of these contemporary leaders] have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God,” (Romans 10:2-3).
We can only get to the righteousness of God by obeying the words of Jesus Christ. He is the only begotton Son of God. And his disciples’ words are also his words. He taught them. He gave them to them.
What Must You do to Receive Salvation?
Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus, through Apostle Peter outlines how every person receives salvation. This he did when he expounds the Scripture to Cornelius and his family and friends.
This is the blueprint to receive salvation. It’s the identical one that the said apostle expounded on the Day of Pentecost to the Jews.
Then, on that day, he repeats it to the Gentiles to enable them to become joint-heirs with the Jews.
Subsequently, to receive salvation we must adhere to the identical procedure that Peter laid out to Cornelius.
Follow the same steps.
These Apostles, instead of congratulating Peter and encouraging him to do greater things for Christ they pick a fight with him.
“And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,” (Acts 11:2).
Remember, up until Cornelius and his company no other nation besides the Jews had received salvation. And they were very proud of it.
The Uncircumcised in Heart
Therefore, the contention with Peter wasn’t so much about going into a Gentile-person’s home and eating with him, as it was about pride.
But this was the most logical thing that they could think of that fits the situation, but it reveals the content of their hearts.
“Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them,” (Acts 11:3).
The Jews considered the uncircumcised unclean. They disdained them.
And to add insult to injury, we are not comparing Jews who are uncircumcised, but uncircumcised Gentiles, or Philistines if you will.
The Uncircumcised Gentiles
They are the worst. They don’t know the Lord God. And they are a reproach to us. They are unclean. That’s how the Jews saw the uncircumcised Gentiles.
Listen, as the Old Testament (OT) most renowned prophet speaks of the uncircumcised person.
He makes no distinction between the uncircumcised and the unclean person. The uncircumcised is the unclean.
“Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean,” (Isaiah 52:1).
See how he motivates Israel to look towards that time when no “unclean” or “uncircumcised” or unholy person would enter into “the holy city”?
The Notion of the Fruit as Uncircumcised
Even when the diction and connotation of the word “uncircumcised” aren’t relating to a person they are despicable in the eyes of the Jews.
“And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of,” (Leviticus 19:23).
Why? They are unclean! Unclean fruits are uncircumcised fruits! Ignore them!
This is how strong the word uncircumcised or the notion of it could invoke disdain and repulse in the Jews. Imagine that!
A Reproach to the Jews
Now, turn your attention again to uncircumcised Gentiles and comprehend that to associate with them much less to marry one was a reproach to the Jews.
“And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us,” (Genesis 34:14).
Now, it was against this entrenched disdain and superiority over the uncircumcised Gentiles that Apostle Peter faced as he stood before the brethren.
Peter Explains that God Intervenes
As a result, he had to narrate the entire incident chronologically to identify, explain, and show that this was the Lord’s doing and not his.
“But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,” (Acts 11:4).
He says: “I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me,” (Acts 11:5).
Again, see how he explains that in this context “a trance” really means “a vision”. He wasn’t sleeping but praying.
“Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw [four-footed] beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air,” (Acts 11:6).
To the Jewish person, all these creatures are as the uncircumcised Gentiles: common, unclean, and reproachful. Creatures to avoid at all costs.
So, despite Peter’s natural tendency to avoid them, as a Jew, the Lord commands him to kill them and eat. Get personal!
Simon Peter Considers the Vision
Peter continues to explain his vision for he says: “And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat,” (Acts 11:7).
“But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth,” (Acts 11:8).
At first, Peter didn’t understand the vision. Initially, he saw only the natural, but had he not gotten the spiritual, one, he would still be thinking on the vision and two, he wouldn’t be explaining it to them now, (Acts 10:17, 19).
“But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common,” (Acts 11:9).
The Lord God cleansed the Gentiles. He has cleansed them they are as the Jews. Acceptable to Him.
“And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven,” (Acts 11:10).
This was a heavenly vision. The sheet came from heaven and the voice of the Lord did too. And at the end of it went back to heaven.
And after three iterations of it three uncircumcised Gentiles were at Peter’s door asking of him.
The Spirit Told him Go with them in Confidence
“And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me,” (Acts 11:11).
He knew the Law. Despite the Spirit instructing him to go he knew his words alone would be adequate. Therefore, he brought six other brethren with him. That’s three times as many witnesses that he would need.
“And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house,” (Acts 11:12).
Had the Holy Ghost not spoken to Peter probably he might not have gone with them. Can you see how he’s living the vision he had?
“And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;” (Acts 11:13).
Why did Cornelius Send for Simon Peter?
What was the purpose that Cornelius sent for Simon Peter? This is not something we have to speculate about, for the Word explains it.
“Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved,” (Acts 11:14).
This was the reason that this Italian leader sent for this Apostle of Jesus Christ. The different stages that he took them through are procedures each person needs to execute to receive salvation.
Note that even though Cornelius and his believed their belief alone didn’t grant them salvation. Believing alone does not supply salvation to anyone. They misunderstand the Word.
Three Steps to Receive Salvation
1.) Hear, accept, repent, and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Peter continues to reminisce: “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning,” (Acts 11:15).
So, first, they heard the Word of God and received and believed.
2.) Next, the Holy Ghost fell on them. This is the same as “born of the Spirit“.
The Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) has been falling on selected persons in both the OT and New Testament (NT). Has He fallen on you yet? And if He did you would know. It’s an experience like none other.
If not, you need the Holy Ghost.
3.) Finally, you should experience “born of water“. This is water baptism by immersion while invoking the holy name: Jesus Christ.
“Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost,” (Acts 11:16).
This is the common denominator in Christianity, the Holy Ghost. Possessing Him transcends gender, race, age, time, and space. All whom the Holy Ghost has fallen on are all the same before God: living souls.
They become sons of God and that’s so despite your respective genders. If you are a female you are a son of God and if you are a male you similarly are a son of God. Receive the Lord Jesus Christ today.
Does the Holy Ghost Play a Role in us Receiving Salvation?
If you possess the Holy Ghost, He could lead you. If He leads you then are you His son, (Romans 8:14).
Finally, Peter shows that God gave the uncircumcised Gentiles the like gift as He had given them; therefore, all this happening was His doings.
“Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
Then, the realization hits them. God has cleansed them and given them His Spirit then they are no longer uncircumcised but they are as we are: saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.
“When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life,” (Acts 11:18)?
Simon Peter’s Paradigm Shift
The Lord God utilized a heavenly vision to effect a paradigm shift in Simon Peter. He later achieved a similar objective in the other apostles and brethren in the church.
We were all uncircumcised Gentiles before God. But the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, cleansed us and made us neither common nor unclean. We are spotless before God because we accept and believe that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son.
A house divided cannot stand. Christendom is divided. It’s in chaos because the Devil is very active in it.
No other religion is as splintered on any topic as Christianity. Everybody has an opinion. That’s OK, but don’t teach it as the Word of God.
Allow the Bible to explicate itself!
The Devil orchestrates this confusion. Three in every four Believers will not receive salvation because they believe a lie, or they accept the words of a babe-in-Christ preacher.
The angel Gabriel instructed Cornelius to send for Peter for “… he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do,” (Acts 10:6).
However, when the men he sent to Peter found him listen to their explanation. Peter asked them, what is the reason for your visit?
They told him that an angel instructed their captain to send for Peter who would speak to them. In other words, they would “… hear words of [Peter],” (Acts 10:22).
What did he speak to them about?
But it was later, after Peter’s visit to Cornelius that we learned the purpose of his visit. Actually, we learned of it in a statement he made in his defense for having visited and ate with uncircumcised Gentiles.
Peter Told Them What they Needed to do to Receive Salvation
According to Peter, what the angel told Cornelius is this:
“… Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved,” (Acts 11:13-14).
Therefore, Peter told them what they needed to do to receive salvation.
Your belief in Jesus Christ by itself cannot save you. Alone it has no power. If that were true, why after they believed on Jesus, Peter still commanded them to be baptized in water in the name of the Lord?
If you only needed to believe on Jesus to receive salvation then they would never have received the Holy Ghost. What would be the point?
But some have it backward. To believe in Jesus Christ is the first stage of salvation.
However, the ultimate proof that you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is your receipt of the Holy Ghost.
He Told Them How to do it
Cornelius and his entourage believed in Jesus and they got proof of their belief: the Holy Ghost.
Then they demonstrated that they believe in him by taking on his name through water baptism.
If you believe in Jesus do your part. Get baptized in his name. And because you did your part the Lord will do His: give you His Holy Spirit.
Finally, the order is unimportant. You may baptize before you receive the Holy Ghost or you may receive Him after baptism. But either way, you are saved (Acts 19:1-7).
But without Him, you are lost. Do you want to be separated from God or lost eternally?