|SPEAK AS THE ORACLES RADIO Program #129
Adapted from Ira Y. Rice
XVIII. THE SEVENTH CASE OF CONVERSION — CORNELIUS AND HIS HOUSEHOLD (Acts 10).
In the conversion of Cornelius and his household, next, we came to an event of broad significance to every
GENTILE (i.e., NON-JEW) in the world. Prior to all this, all the converts to date had been Jews. Not one single
Gentile convert to Christ had been made.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter, on Pentecost, had preached that the promise not only was to the Jews and
their children but also to those that were “AFAR OFF” (i.e., Gentiles). Evidently, however, he did not understand
this HIMSELF, for in this seventh case of conversion it took a miraculous demonstration to convince Peter that
God also had granted salvation unto the Gentiles.
The principal person involved, of course, was Cornelius, a centurion, who lived at Caesarea, a devout man, who
feared God with all his house, helped the poor with alms, and prayed to God always.
With some astonishment we noted that even such a wonderful character as this was not exempted from obeying
God’s commands for salvation — that he had to DO something — the same as required of all the others we had
studied thus far!
An angel of the Lord appeared to him, acknowledged that God was mindful of his prayers and his alms which had
come up for a “memorial.” Nevertheless, he commanded Cornelius to “send to Joppa, and call for one Simon,
whose surname is Peter ... he shall tell thee what thou OUGHTEST TO DO” (verses 1-6). Also see Acts 11:14.
While Cornelius’ emissaries were on their way to fetch Peter, the Lord appeared unto Peter in a vision and
convinced him that he had “cleansed” the Gentiles, and that he should “get thee down, and go with” these
Gentile men, “doubting nothing: for I have sent them” (verses 6-23).
Next day, Peter, accompanied by “certain brethren” from Joppa, went with the men (verses 23-27).
When they reached Caesarea, they found Cornelius, who had called his kinsmen and near friends together,
waiting for them.
Cornelius fell down at Peter’s feet and worshipped him; but Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself also
am a man.” He then asked of Cornelius, “for what intent ye have sent for me” (verses 28-29).
Cornelius explained what had happened, causing him to send for Peter. “Now therefore we are all here present
before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God” (verses 30-33).
Peter began, then, by preaching the first gospel sermon to the Gentiles, just as he had preached the first gospel
sermon to the Jews on Pentecost in Acts 2.
“Of a truth,” he said, “I perceived that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and
worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (verses 34-35).
He witnessed, then, the things he knew of Jesus Christ, saying he “commanded us to preach unto the people, and
to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets
witness, that through his name whosoever BELIEVETH in him shall receive REMISSION OF SINS” (verses 36-43).
While Peter was preaching, a second miracle occurred, evidently to convince the Jewish, disciples, who
accompanied Peter from Joppa that “God (hath) also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life” (11:18).
They were astonished because that on GENTILES ALSO was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they
heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.
Then Peter asked, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy
Ghost as well as we?” And he commanded them to “BE BAPTIZED in the name of the Lord” (10:44-48).
XIX. THE EIGHTH CASE OF CONVERSION —LYDIA AND HER HOUSEHOLD (Acts 16).
Throughout the first twelve chapters of Acts, as we had seen, the apostle Peter was the dominant character. But
from Acts 13 onward, it is converted Saul of Tarsus (now called Paul), who dominated the last 16 chapters of Acts.
Thus it is that when we came to Acts 16, Paul and Silas had gone to Philippi, a chief city of Macedonia (verse
Abiding there certain days, on the sabbath they went to a place outside the city, down by a riverside, “where
prayers were wont to be made” (verse 13).
As they spoke to the women who resorted there, one of them, Lydia by name, a “seller of purple” from Thyatira,
listened to what they taught.
The result was that both she and her household were baptized (verse 15).
To any who might wonder if INFANTS might have been in her “household,” hence baptized, we pointed out that,
if so, nothing was said about it in the Scriptures and that it would be nothing more than a bald, unsupported,
human assumption to presume there were infants in her household. We cannot even tell, from what is recorded,
whether Lydia was even MARRIED — much less HAD CHILDREN! She could easily have had servants, kinsmen,
friends and others living with her — and not a child among them!
Let us not assume what is NOT SAID!
XX. THE NINTH CASE OF CONVERSION —THE PHILIPPIAN JAILER AND HIS HOUSEHOLD (Acts 16).
Following Lydia’s conversion, Paul and Silas did not leave Philippi at once. She constrained them to be her
While thus living at Philippi, one day they came upon a girl possessed with a spirit of divination, a sort of fortune-
teller. Following Paul and those with him, this girl kept saying, “These men are servants of the most high God,
which show unto us the way of salvation” (verse 17). She did this repeatedly over a period of many days (verse 18).
Paul finally became so annoyed at her doing this that he commanded the spirit in the girl, in the name of Jesus
Christ, to come out of her (verse 18). The spirit came out that same hour.
The girl’s masters, seeing that the hope of their gain (from her fortune-telling) was gone, thereupon caught Paul
and Silas, drew them before the rulers and charged them, saying, “These men, being Jews, do exceedingly
trouble our city and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans”
After the resulting riot, thus incited, the magistrates tore off the clothes of Paul and Silas, had been beaten and
cast into prison (verses 22-23).
The Jailer was charged to keep them safely. Hence he not only put them in prison, but into the INNER PRISON.
And to make triply sure they did not escape, he fastened their feet in the stocks (verse 24).
However, as they prayed and sang praises unto God at midnight, suddenly there was a great earthquake, the
foundations of the prison were shaken, all the doors were opened, and everyone’s hands were loosed.
The jailer, awaking out of sleep, seeing the prison doors opened and supposing that the prisoners had fled,
started to commit suicide.
But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.”
Calling for a light, the jailer sprang in, came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas. Bringing them out
of the prison, he asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
Paul and Silas answered, “BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
To induce belief, Paul and Silas then “spake unto him the word of the Lord,” as well as unto them that were in his
house. (This was necessary, because belief (i.e., faith) comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:13-17).
Hearing this word not only produced FAITH in the jailer’s heart, but led him to REPENT as well; for Acts 16:33
tells us “He took them the same hour of the night, and WASHED THEIR STRIPES.”
Furthermore, both the jailer and all his house were BAPTIZED — straightway (immediately), the same hour of the
Afterward the jailer set meat before them and rejoiced BELIEVING in God with all his house. Both the eating as
well as well as the rejoicing were postponed until AFTER the jailer and his household had been BAPTIZED!
XXI. THE TENTH CASE OF CONVERSION —THE CORINTHIANS (Acts 18).
From Athens Paul came to Corinth, where he lived with a certain Jew named Aquilla and his wife Priscilla. They
lived together because they had the same trade — tent-making.
Every sabbath day, while at Corinth, Paul reasoned in the synagogue, persuading Jews and Greeks, testifying that
Jesus was CHRIST (i.e., God’s anointed).
When the Jews resisted this and blasphemed, Paul finally turned from the Jews, saying, “hence forth I will go unto
Next door to the synagogue was the house of one named Justus, who worshipped there.
Paul, departing from the synagogue, went into Justus’ house to resume his teaching.
As a result, Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue BELIEVED on the Lord with all his house (verse 8).
“And many of the Corinthians HEARING, BELIEVED and were BAPTIZED” (verse 8). (From 1 Corinthians 1:14 we
learn that CRISPUS ALSO was BAPTIZED).
XXII. THE ELEVENTH CASE OF CONVERSION — THE EPHESIANS (Acts 19).
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus.
Upon finding “certain disciples” there, he asked them, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?”
They answered, “We have not so much as HEARD whether there BE any Holy Ghost” (verses 1-2).
“Unto what then were ye BAPTIZED?” asked Paul.
“Unto JOHN’S baptism,” they replied.
Paul then explained that John 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 (verse 4).
When they HEARD this, they were BAPTIZED in the name of the Lord Jesus (verse 5).
In our discussion of this case of conversion we considered the contention of some that because Ephesians 4:5
says “ONE baptism,” many people who have not been baptized like the New Testament teaches, but have had
SOMETHING ELSE which they CALLED “baptism,” they feel they cannot be “baptized AGAIN.”
As we see from Acts 19:1-5, foregoing, the very same Ephesians, to whom Ephesians 4:5 was written, WERE
Why? Because the baptism they had previously received was not the ONE Jesus Christ had authorized. When
they learned better, they submitted to being baptized AGAIN — according to the correct teaching.
The SECOND baptism — though NOT THE FIRST — was the “ONE baptism” of Ephesians 4:5.
XXIII. SUMMING UP GOD’S RECORD OF CONVERSIONS (ALL 11 CASES) IN ACTS.
Seeing that no SINGLE case of conversion taught EVERYTHING recorded in Acts on the subject, we next made
a careful analysis of ALL THE INFORMATION the Scriptures set forth in EACH CASE and reduced the whole
matter to a chart.
In ALL 11 cases we found that either TEACHING or PREACHING was done.
In 9 CASES it was mentioned that they HEARD. TEN CASES, that they BELIEVED.
THREE CASES indicated REPENTANCE.
ONE CASE, CONFESSION of faith.
And in ALL 11 CASES that they were BAPTIZED (although in the second case, Peter used the words “BE
CONVERTED” to those at Solomon’s Porch, whereas he had used “BE BAPTIZED” to those on Pentecost, in the
same connection and sense).
After getting ALL THE INFORMATION ON CONVERSION, as recorded in Acts, on the chart, we then found that
the GRAND TOTAL of the teaching and/or PREACHING was done in each case; that to sinners who thus HEARD
the gospel, were thus led to BELIEVE in Christ, to REPENT of their sins, to CONFESS their faith and to BE
Those thus doing were “obeying” the “form of doctrine” prescribed, received REMISSION OF SINS, received the
HOLY SPIRIT, were SAVED, had their SINS BLOTTED OUT, enjoyed “TIMES OF REFRESHING,” were
BLESSED, REJOICED, and had their SINS WASHED AWAY.
XXIV. THE FIVE “Ws” AND “H” ABOUT BAPTISM.
In our following lesson, we pointed out that all that can be known of any subject reduces itself to six elements:
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW.
The first five of these factual elements begins with “W”; the last with “H.” When one knows the “FIVE ‘Ws’ and ‘H’ ”
about any matter, he knows all there is to know about it!
As we have already noted the place BAPTISM occupied in one’s becoming obedient to Christ, converted a
disciple, a child of God, hence A CHRISTIAN, we concluded that God had made baptism a PART of His plan for
the salvation of all mankind. However, before attempting to grasp this plan of salvation as a whole, we must first
clear away any confusion, wrong teaching and floundering about BAPTISM.
Under the heading of WHO may be baptized, upon sifting ALL the evidence from the 11 cases of conversion, we
concluded that ANY REPENTANT BELIEVER, upon CONFESSION OF HIS FAITH in Jesus Christ, may be
That since Jesus said “little children” are such as the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14), they are SAFE. Never
having committed sin, they are not lost; have no need therefore to be baptized. And since baptism requires
belief, confession and repentance, as pre-requisites, infants CANNOT qualify for baptism IN ANY CASE!
Under “WHAT is Baptism?” we concluded that the ONE baptism now binding on mankind is the ONE
AUTHORIZED BY THE GREAT COMMISSION.
After Jesus’ death, burial and resur- rection, He commanded His apostles to “Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, BAPTIZING them IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST”
Those thus baptized were to be taught to observe the same things (which would include baptizing) as the
apostles themselves had been commanded. This was to continue “ALWAY, EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE
WORLD. AMEN” (verse 20).
From Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12, we found that baptism is a BURIAL, a PLANTING. Since, in the cases of
either SPRINKLING or POURING, neither a burial nor a planting takes place, then it follows that neither of these
is baptism, according to New Testament teaching. In IMMERSION, however, we are BURIED or PLANTED in the
likeness of Jesus’ death; also we are RAISED in the likeness of His resurrection.
Since baptism is connected by the Scriptures with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, it follows, therefore, that
BAPTISM is IMMERSION. And those who have been only sprinkled or poured have NOT YET BEEN BAPTIZED
ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES. They must yet be IMMERSED, if they are ever to be TRULY BAPTIZED.
“WHEN be Baptized?”
Converts DID NOT WAIT on Pentecost. They that “gladly received” Peter’s word were baptized THE SAME DAY
The Samaritans DID NOT WAIT. When they BELIEVED, they were BAPTIZED” (Acts 8:12).
Simon DID NOT WAIT. “Then Simon himself BELIEVED ... and ... he was BAPTIZED” (verse 13).
The Ethiopian eunuch DID NOT WAIT. Upon confessing his faith, he commanded the chariot to stand still and
was baptized before going on (Acts 8:38-39).
Saul of Tarsus DID NOT WAIT. When Ananias commanded Saul, “Arise, and be baptized,” he “arose and was
baptized” (Acts 22:16; 9:18).
The Philippian jailer DID NOT WAIT. He and all his house were baptized “the same hour of the night” —
“straightway” (Acts 16:33).
The Ephesians DID NOT WAIT. Immediately upon learning they had the WRONG BAPTISM, “When they heard
this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).
WHERE be Baptized?
Where there is WATER (Acts 10:47). It would have to be where the water is deep enough for both the baptizer
and the one being baptized to go down into it and an immersion to take place (Acts 8:36-39; Romans 6:4;
WHY be Baptized?
To be SAVED (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 1 Peter 3:21) to be “BORN OF WATER and the spirit” for entry into the
“KINGDOM OF GOD” (John 3:3-5). For REMISSION OF SINS (Acts 2:38). To RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 2:
38). To go on your way REJOICING (Acts 8:38-39; 16:34). To WASH AWAY YOUR SINS (Acts 22:16). To GET
INTO CHRIST (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:26-27).
HOW be Baptized?
The New Testament is a book of PRINCIPLES. WHAT God wants done is CLEARLY TAUGHT in ALL things;
however in no instance is any EXCLUSIVE METHOD set forth for doing ANYTHING God has required. As long as
we observe WHAT God had commanded, He leaves us FREE as to the METHODS we choose, just so they are
DECENT and ORDERLY (1 Corinthians 14:40).
[TO BE CONTINUED]