One more day of our 31 Days of Fasting in January. You can read past posts here!
Every time I read the amazing story of Cornelius I get goose bumps. Don’t you? Are you familiar with this devout man? Let me tell you what God says about him…
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” Acts 10:1, 2 KJV.
A centurion was a captain over 100 soldiers; he was a fairly important man. The Bible says he was devout, he feared God, meaning he revered Him, and made sure those in his household did the same. He also gave of his tithes and offerings and prayed to the Lord always.
Why did the Lord insist that Peter go and visit Cornelius?
There are a couple of reasons. One of them Peter wasn’t so crazy about at first. The Jews and the Gentiles didn’t mix. The Gospel had not yet been preached to the rest of the world and the Jews had pretty much determined it belonged to them exclusively.
When Peter fell into a trance on the rooftop he saw all of these unclean animals that the Israelites were not supposed to eat and the Lord told him, “Rise Peter, kill and eat!”
Peter immediately said, “No way, Lord! I have never eaten anything common or unclean!” (I’m taking liberty to paraphrase just a little here). This happens three times and then the vessel with the unclean animals was taken away and Peter woke up.
Immediately, there was a knock at his door. The Lord spoke to Peter and told him that he was to go with these men and that He had sent them, not to worry, not to doubt. What a promise!
Cornelius had also heard from God to send for Peter and when Peter arrived he told him what had happened,
“And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing…” Acts 10:30 KJV.
So Peter realized that this is BIG. And he preached the first sermon to the Gentile people by saying these famous words:
“Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons…”
He preached for a couple of moments and ended up with “…that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:37-43 KJV.
Now, here come the goose bumps!
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 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 10:44-46 KJV.
Is this why Peter was sent to the devout Christian man, Cornelius?
- Did he not already KNOW God?
- Did he not pray every day?
- Was he not a good man?
- Didn’t he pay his tithe?
- Didn’t He fear God and give Him reverence?
- Didn’t he give to the poor?
- Why then did he need Peter to come?
- What else did he need to know?
Cornelius needed MORE….
Cornelius didn’t have the baptism of the Holy Spirit; Cornelius had only been baptized with the baptism of John.
While Peter was PREACHING, the Holy Ghost literally FELL on those that were listening, just like it did in the second chapter of Acts.
How do we know something actually happened? Because the WORD says so. “For they HEARD them SPEAK with TONGUES and MAGNIFY GOD.” Acts 10:46 KJV.
God sent Peter to tell Cornelius that what he had was not enough, there was more for him, there was power to keep him; the Comforter had come!
He needed to be re-baptized in the Name of Jesus and he needed the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Well, you may say, that was then and this is now. If the Bible says it isn’t so, then it isn’t so. But if the Bible says it is for us today…
Peter cleared up that confusion in Acts 2:39 when he said, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Over and over in the Book of Acts (the birthing of the Church) they repeat the example:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them, And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4 KJV.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38 KJV.
“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” Acts 8:14-17 KJV.
“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” Acts 19:1-6 KJV.
Such wonderful words; such confirmation! Look at Ephesus again. Paul asks them, “Have you received the power (Holy Ghost) since you believed?” Remember, the Lord said you would receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you. (Acts 1)
The people at Ephesus hadn’t even heard of the Holy Ghost. So Paul, just like Peter, asked how they were baptized. They replied, “John’s baptism.” But John’s baptism was only a baptism of repentance and he pointed them to the One that should come after. Once again, what did they do?
They were baptized in the NAME of the LORD JESUS.
Then what happened?
They spoke with tongues and prophesied. They spoke with tongues and magnified God.
Remember, Jesus told them to “…wait for the promise of the Father…” and that He would “send the Comforter…” He did that in the Upper Room. (Acts 2) They were waiting just like He said and the Holy Ghost came as a mighty rushing wind. And it continues to be poured out even today.
Brothers, sisters, we are Acts CHAPTER 29! “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:39 KJV.
Cornelius fasted, he believed, he received; he and his household.
And the Holy Ghost fell!
In these last days we need that infilling of His spirit more than ever. Be blessed as you fast, pray and seek the Lord.
Don’t forget to grab your copy of The Daniel Fast Devotional! Good for any fast, it is a great, simple read with devotions for every day of a three week fast. Get yours on Amazon here!