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Baptism Required for the Holy Ghost?

John Collins02/17/2012Acts 10 gives an account of a centurion named Cornelius who feared God and was in constant prayer. He gave much alms to the poor, insomuch that God recognized his love for others.

An angel of God came to him, saying that his prayers and alms were up for a memorial before God. The angel commissioned him to send men to Joppa, where a woman by the name of Tabitha, the disciple, was causing quite a stir not only for her alms, but for having just been raised from the dead.

While they were traveling, Peter had a vision about eating wild beasts and other unclean creatures which he had never before eaten. God spoke to him in the vision that instructed him that he should freely eat anything that God had cleansed. The vision came three times, and weighed heavy on Peter's mind. While he was thinking about the events shown in the vision, the Holy Spirit announced that Cornelius and his men had arrived, and that Peter should believe what they said because they were sent by God.

When Cornelius met Peter, he immediately fell down at his feet to worship Peter. Peter quickly informed him that he was also a man, and that he should quit worshipping him and stand up.

Cornelius began to give his testimony to Peter, and Peter realized that Cornelius was speaking the truth. Though Peter was well respected, and many had gathered during the event, Peter proclaimed that "God is no respecter of persons". In every nation, there were good, godly men and women that feared God and worked righteousness. God had sent a message of peace to the children of Israel, that was preached by Jesus Christ.

Peter began to give his testimony, and how he had witnessed the things that Jesus did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. He described the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and how that all who believed on Him would receive forgiveness for their sins.

While he was speaking, the Holy Ghost fell on the people, both Jews and Gentiles. His message of Love and Faith in Jesus Christ was fully justified by the event, those listening to his sermon were filled with the Holy Ghost regardless of their culture or nationality. He proclaimed that they could not forbid the Gentiles to be baptized; they had just received the Holy Ghost! He commanded them afterwards to be baptized in the name, or authority, of the Lord.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves: do we give to the poor? Do we recognize women can also be disciples? Do the elders of the church allow others to raise them up to a place of worship, or do they quickly tell them to stop before it happens? Do we preach that a person must be baptized in one particular formula or another in order to receive the Holy Ghost? Have we put so much emphasis on baptism that we no longer recognize it as an outward display of our dedication to Jesus Christ?