by Tad Lindley
The Apostle Peter was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. From humble beginnings, he rose to become the first Christian preacher ever, and the first to reach non-Jews with the message of Bible salvation. This is the conclusion to last week’s article.
DD: Peter, not only did you preach the first sermon ever preached in a church meeting (Acts 2:14-39), but you were the first to bring the message of Jesus Christ to non-Jewish people. Tell us about that.
Peter: The Lord commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15) We just didn’t realize he meant Gentiles too. You see, for the first ten years or so, the church was exclusively Jewish men and women that believed that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law.
DD: How did you end up reaching for the Gentiles (non-Jews) then?
Peter: It wasn’t my plan at all. While staying in the town of Joppa, I had a vision from the Lord. He lowered a sheet from heaven. It was full of all sorts of foods that we didn’t eat: shrimp, catfish, hogs etc. The Lord spoke to me, “Peter, get up and eat.” I tried to explain to the Lord that I had never eaten anything unclean before. He was really trying to show me that the Gentiles were not unclean. It was right on time. When I went down off the roof of the house where I had the vision, there were three Gentiles waiting at the door for me.
DD: From there you went to Cornelius’s house, right?
Peter: Yes. It was an awesome experience. Cornelius was a man who loved God. He prayed often, and gave much to help others. He had a heart after God. So God used me to bring him the message of salvation.
DD: Wait a second Apostle Peter, I’ve read about Cornelius. He was a devout man. What do you mean he wasn’t saved?
Peter: He wasn’t saved. That was the whole point of going to his house. So I could tell him the words whereby he and his household would be saved. (Acts 11:14)
DD: What were the words that you told them?
Peter: I spoke to them about who Jesus is and Jesus’ death and resurrection. I went on to explain that remission of sins is available to believers through the name of Jesus.
DD: I’ve read the book, Peter, but for our readers who haven’t, tell us what happened while you were telling Cornelius’s family about Jesus, and salvation in his name.
Peter: Well, while I was still speaking, God poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost on them. It was powerful, and we did not expect it to happen that way. (Acts 10:44)
DD: How did you know that they had received the gift of the Holy Ghost?
Peter: Because we heard them speaking in other tongues and magnifying God. It was just like what happened on the day of Pentecost when we received the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 10:45-46)
DD: Tell me what happened next. Did you go back to Joppa?
Peter: Hardly. Next thing I did was have those people baptized in the name of the Lord! (Acts 10:47-48)
DD: Why did you baptize them? Hadn’t they already been filled with God’s spirit?
Peter: I like to think of it like this: Noah built an ark, that ark saved everyone who was on board, which were eight people. When this old world is wrapped up for the beginning of eternity, baptism is going to be required for our salvation. (I Peter 3:20-21) Jesus also instructed us that baptism was necessary for salvation. (Mark 16:16)
DD: When you commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord, to what name were you referring.
Peter: Jesus, of course. That’s the only way the disciples baptized people. (Acts 2&10) It’s the only way Paul baptized people (Acts 19:5), and the only way Philip the evangelist baptized people (Acts 8:16). Jesus is the name that is above every name. Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
DD: Thank you for your time Apostle Peter, hopefully we will be able to interview you again soon. God bless you, and thank you for opening the door for the Gentiles.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.