The Spirit Falls on the Gentiles (Acts 10:34-38)

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days. (Acts 10:34-48 ESV)

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In Acts 10:34-48 we see the Gospel reaches the “unclean” peoples & The spirit falls down through Peter’s gospel soaked sermon, we are going to see the “unclean” gentiles embrace the gospel and the Spirit fall on them before baptism. The Good News was simply proclaimed that day by Peter to this group of Gentiles. Although this account was more than likely an abridged version of the sermon we know a few things:

  1. Peter humbly confesses again of his failure to grasp that God shows no partiality and that He looks for individuals who fear Him and does what is right and acceptable to Him.
  2. Peter’s sermon gets interrupted by the Holy Spirit (v.44) The Gospel was preached and before the alter call time approached the Spirit fell down on the gentiles. Which happens to be the only time in Acts where the Spirit falls on individuals before baptism.
  3. Their conversion was evident by their praises to God and speaking in tongues
  4. Peter baptized soon after their conversion.

Imagine with me, sitting in church one Sunday Morning. Everything seems as if it will be the same hour and a 15 min service and you are satisfied with that. Routine is important to our Baptist comfort zones. We pull out our bag of peppermints and leave our bulletin cracked open so we know the EXACT order of service. Nothing, is going to surprise us. Our pastor preaches the Gospel when suddenly people start praising God, LOUDLY! the Holy Spirit is evident and their conversions are genuine. How upset would we be that the spirit did not move in our programmatic timeline laid out so intentionally before us? Would it inconvenience us that the service went longer because dead hearts became alive to Christ? Friends, we have to surrender our flesh and allow the spirit to move when he wants. Exactly like Peter did here during his sermon. I am sure it threw him that he hadn’t even offered a time for repentance before the spirit moved and people came to know Christ, but he vulnerably put his timeline aside, he prejudices behind him and embraced the uncomfortable movement of the Holy Spirit. Friends, when was the last time we embraced the Spirit in our church? Do we wait eagerly for it?

Application Questions

  1. How would we as a Church look during the service if we put our agendas and time table aside and waited with eager anticipation for the spirit to fall down on us?
  2. How often do we pray that the Spirit moves in our church?