“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15).
The Holy Spirit is an enormously significant person to the interests and life of believers. Without Him salvation cannot be worked out. Salvation in a person is triggered by His action and is firmly established by His actions. He is the beginning and the end to a new creation brought forth by the application of Christ’s blood.
Today’s verse speaks volumes of the Spirit’s purpose and God’s desire toward everyone that believed in Jesus. Every word spoken by Peter is equally important. Study the whole background leading to his words. God did something that men could not have imagined. When He proved Himself impartial, it became evident that all men are in His redemptive scheme.
There are sections of people that continually disregard the importance and intensity of this Scripture purely for reasons personal. Yet, it is significant enough to note that belief in the Word spoken about Christ causes the advent of the Spirit. Peter was very clear in saying that the advent of the Holy Spirit in the Gentiles was in no way dissimilar to them when they received Him “at the beginning,” i.e. in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. In all they were about 120 persons then. In both cases the effect is relative in that around 3000 souls were added to Christ through the apostles while an astounding sign and an expansive door was given to the Gentiles to enter. The idea of some that the Spirit fell on the 12 disciples alone and not on the 120 is negated by Peter’s statement. At times a passage in one place adds greater understanding to a passage at another place so that truth and faith are sustained, and we benefit. Since the admitting of the Spirit on the 120 would nullify their interests and brings all believers under the influence of the Spirit, certain group of people limited the number to 12 with mind-based interpretation.
When the Word is rightly spoken and believed as in the time of Cornelius, or as in the case of the 120 it rightly exists in the hearts for what it really means, then the Spirit unequivocally falls upon believers. This is the primary message of the passage. The subsequent wisdom is He falls impartially on anyone irrespective of a time frame. When the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house who are not the apostles received the Spirit, it as well says that all the 120 in the upper room received the Spirit. This is the insinuation of Peter. For if only the 12 in the upper room received the Spirit, it then follows that the household of Cornelius are apostles for receiving the Spirit. And if the 12 alone received the Spirit and not the120, Cornelius’ household should have been excluded from Joel’s prophecy (2:28-32). But the Spirit fell on the household of Cornelius, a people seeking to put on Christ, and it is quite obvious they are not apostles. Thus, we can infer the rest. A prophecy fulfilled is not for one time or period alone, but it is that its effect remains until God’s purpose is accomplished; or else, the fulfilled prophecy of Christ’s death for the sin of mankind would have ceased long ago. For this reason, we see spiritual gifts working throughout the churches in the New Testament as a standard to the end of time.
People that disregard the message of Peter are naturally void of the Spirit. They are a self-made religion. Their mind-based interpretation is more momentous to them than the fulfilling (continually existing) God’s word spoken by the prophet. For if they speak by the Spirit they would not split the 12 from the 120 or insinuate the case of Cornelius as special. The falling of the Spirit has nothing to do with the apostles laying hands on believers. Peter never mentions in the contrary; for it is God’s work. What this means is that if a person believes in Christ just as Christ desired he or she will receive the Spirit according to Christ’s measure. The receiving or the falling of the Spirit is more important than the kind of outcome. The outcome is relative.
So, if you do not have the Spirit, you can have Him just as they did and according to Christ’s measure to bring God glory. Or, if you were told you cannot have Him like in the yesterdays, you can disqualify it right away and by faith can have Him now. He will guide you into all the truth and not just my words.