Cornelius The Gentile Speaks in Tongues

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Cornelius The Gentile Speaks in Tongues
By Rev. Mel C. Montgomery
Had the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in
tongues occurred only at Pentecost, we would have to chalk it up as an awesome
but isolated event. However, the Book of Acts records five instances of
individuals or groups receiving the baptism. In this post we will examine the
events at Cornelius's house.
Years prior to this event, Christ had commanded in the Great Commission
that believers were to go to all nations, in the entire world, and preach the Gospel
to every creature. (Mat. 28:19, Mark 16:15). He also told the Apostles that they
were to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit and be witnesses unto him in
Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts
1:8). Nevertheless, for the next several years after Pentecost, Christians took the
Good News of Jesus Christ to no group except the Jewish people.
Interesting isn't it, that even though Jesus Christ commanded the
evangelization of non-Jewish people, the Apostles and Early Church did not act
on Christ's command? They must have mentioned the Great Commission in their
various sermons. They surely repeated Christ's command in their teachings.
Questions and speculations must have arisen about this command.
But no one acted on it.
I believe two elements motivated their inaction. First, since there is no
mention of God reproving them for disobedience, the Holy Spirit must not have
given them any specific leading to begin this missionary work. In other words,
God's timing had not arrived.
Second, as with church work today, it is always easier to stay within your
own little group. Christ called them to be fishers of men, but rather than casting
their nets out into the seas of hurting, lost humanity, they were fishing only in
their own cultural bathtub. Isolation was deeply engrained in the minds of
Jewish Christians.
According to the traditions of the time, Jews did not enter the house of a
Gentile, or eat with them. Nor did they invite a Gentile into their home. Jews did
not marry Gentiles. On the street, Jews did not even say "hello" to a Gentile,
unless the Gentile spoke to them first.
The Jews knew that they were God's chosen people. Since the days of
Abraham, God had revealed Himself to the world exclusively through the Jewish
people. God had no relations with non-Jews. If a Gentile wanted to know God,
he had to convert to the Jewish religion. However, God was about to rock the
worlds of both the Jews and the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius.
“Cornelius the Gentile Speaks in Tongues” by Rev. Mel C. Montgomery
Cornelius was a Roman Centurion, a commander of 100 soldiers, living at
Caesarea. His job was to keep the peace, prevent riots, stop rebellions, and
generally to keep a lid on things. Cornelius was also a believer in the Jewish
religion, and embraced it as thoroughly as his position would allow. The
Scriptures call him:
A devout man, and one that feared God with all
his house, which gave much alms to the people,
and prayed to God always--Acts 10:2.
God responded to his faith, prayers, sincerity, and giving, by sending an
angel to direct Cornelius toward receiving salvation through Christ. The angel
said to Cornelius:
Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a
memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa,
and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
He lodges with one Simon a tanner, whose house is
by the seaside: he shall tell you what you ought
to do--Acts 10:4-6.
The angel instructed Cornelius to send for Peter, even giving him Peter's
God knows where you live.
Cornelius sent two servants and a soldier to request Peter's presence.
Shortly before they arrived at Peter's house, God gave Peter a vision. In the
vision were numerous kinds of animals. According to Jewish Law, some of these
animals were considered "clean" and therefore edible. Others in the vision were
deemed "unclean" and inedible. In the vision:
...there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill,
and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I
have never eaten anything that is common or
unclean. And the voice spoke unto him again the
second time, What God has cleansed, that call not
you common. This was done thrice: and the vessel
was received up again into heaven--Acts 10:1416.
While Peter thought on this vision, wondering what it meant, the three
sent from Cornelius arrived. The Holy Spirit said to Peter:
“Cornelius the Gentile Speaks in Tongues” by Rev. Mel C. Montgomery
"...Behold, three men seek you. Arise therefore,
and get you down, and go with them, doubting
nothing: for I have sent them."--Acts 10:19-20.
Here you see the graciousness of the Spirit of God. It was terrifying in that
day to have a Roman soldier show up at your door. Roman soldiers were rough
and crude elements of a violent occupying force. A Roman soldier never abruptly
appeared on your doorstep to exchange pleasantries. The appearance of a Roman
soldier usually meant extortion, abuse, arrest, or death.
Do you see in this experience the Holy Spirit's tender concern and grace?
He prepared Peter's heart before the soldier even knocked at Peter's gate
by giving him this vision. That is so like Him, to carefully prepare us for
unexpected events, lest our hearts be overwhelmed.
Do you also see Peter's absolute trust in the Spirit of God?
It was enough for Peter to hear the Holy Spirit say, "I have sent them." A
brief word from God was enough for Peter to abandon a lifetime of behavior.
Without hesitation Peter did what had been for him, up to that time,
unthinkable: he invited the Gentile soldier and servants into the house. He ate
with them, and lodged them overnight. Never before in his life had Peter eaten
with Gentiles or invited them into a home.
The next day, Peter and some Jewish Christian brethren, accompanied the
three to Cornelius' house. Once there, Peter and the brethren again did the
unthinkable: they entered into the house of Cornelius the Gentile.
Cornelius told Peter about the angel's visit and ended the account by
Now therefore are we all here present before God,
to hear all things that are commanded you of God—
Acts 10:33.
Such a statement is music to any preacher's ears.
Cornelius, and his family were not present to fight, debate, or refute what
was preached. They were not there to criticize the preacher. They had come to
listen and receive whatever God wanted them to have. They were hungry for
God, and Peter had the Bread from Heaven to feed them.
Breaking social restrictions, Jewish Law, and religious tradition, they
listened and Peter preached. Evidently, their hearts drank in everything he said
because Peter never got to finish his sermon. The last sentence Peter spoke was:
“Cornelius the Gentile Speaks in Tongues” by Rev. Mel C. Montgomery
To him (Jesus Christ) give all the prophets
witness, that through his name, whosoever
believes in him shall receive remission of sins—
Acts 10:43.
By this point in the sermon, they had heard about the death, burial, and
resurrection of Jesus Christ. They believed what they heard. They believed in
this Jesus Christ that Peter was preaching to them about. Ah what great miracles
and outstanding transformations are wrought in a moment of time by simple
faith in Jesus Christ! They believed that he died and rose again. Believing each
sentence that fell from the Apostle's lips, when Peter reached the point in his
sermon when he spoke of the remission of sins, the Gentiles believed and
received that remission instantly. Before Peter could speak his next sentence,
they were born-again.
In a moment of time, the Holy Spirit placed them into the Body of Christ,
and indwelled their newly recreated spirits. Immediately, Jesus Christ became
their Lord and Savior, and he also fulfilled his role as Baptizer, pouring out the
Holy Spirit upon all the assembled Gentiles:
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost
fell on all them which heard the word. And they
of the circumcision which believed were
astonished, as many as came with Peter, because
on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of
the Holy Ghost—Acts 10:44,45.
How could Peter and the other Jewish Christian brethren determine that
the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles? Did they have to rely on
guesswork, waiting years and years to see whether spiritual fruit or ministry
offices developed in these new believers?
No. They were able to tell instantly that the Gentiles had received not only
salvation, but also the empowering Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
How? What was the evidence? The very next verse answers these
For they heard them speak with tongues, and
magnify God—Acts 10:46.
Speaking in tongues served as proof both to Peter, and to the believers in
Jerusalem that he related the account to later, that the Gentiles had truly received
salvation, followed by the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Peter told them:
“Cornelius the Gentile Speaks in Tongues” by Rev. Mel C. Montgomery
Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as
he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus
Christ: what was I, that I could withstand God?
When they heard these things, they held their
peace, and glorified God, saying, Then has God
also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto
life—Acts 11:17,18.
Peter associated this outpouring of the Spirit, evidenced by speaking in
tongues, with Jesus' phrase, "baptized with the Holy Ghost." He did not refer to
this outpouring by the term "salvation."
The experience at Cornelius' house demonstrated that salvation, and the
baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues was not to be
an isolated occurrence limited only to 120 in the upper room on the Day of
Pentecost. Nor was it to be only for Jews. Speaking in tongues was to be for
Gentiles, and available to all Christians even today who will take hold of this
promise in faith, and believe God for its fulfillment.
If you are a born-again Christian who has not experienced this
empowering dimension of the Holy Spirit, I urge you today to immediately seek
God for this Holy outpouring.
 Copyright 2006 Mel C. Montgomery All rights reserved. Material may be copied and shared
with others as long as it is done so free of charge, in entirety, and attribution is given. The
original source for this article is Information about the author follows on
the next page.
“Cornelius the Gentile Speaks in Tongues” by Rev. Mel C. Montgomery
—About the Author—
The ministry of author, pastor,
innovator, and Pentecostal historian,
Rev. Mel C. Montgomery is the
fulfillment of a prophecy given by Sister
She and her late husband, the
Rev. J.R. Goodwin, were lifelong friends
with Kenneth Hagin. They mentored
John Osteen, Billye Brim, Elizabeth
Pruitt-Sloan, Brother Mel, and other
leaders. Mel Montgomery built his
prophetic ministry on the truths he
learned from the Goodwins.
Toward the end of her life, Sister
Goodwin laid her hands on Mel, prayed
for God to use him in spiritual gifts, and
prophesied that Mel would have “an
anointed ministry, like some of the men
of old.” Eventually this prophecy began
to come to pass as people from around the world entrusted him with rare early
Pentecostal recordings by “the men of old,” such as: Howard Carter, F.F.
Bosworth, David Du Plessis, and others. Most of these recordings had never been
copied or released to the public before being given to him. Mel serves as the
Copyright Agent for all Goodwin books and recordings. He has made these
audios and many others available on his website,
Brother Mel is the author of The Genuine Flow: How the Faith Giants
Flowed in the Spirit and How You Can Too, published by Xulon Press and sold
by book distributors worldwide. Mel’s website,, has been
accessed over 2 million times by people in more than 150 countries. His podcast,
“Voices of the Faith Giants,” in which he interviews major Christian leaders, is
heard around the world.
Mel ministers in local churches and in ministers meetings. He serves as
the Director of Public Relations for Helping Inspire Ministries—a ministry
association and fellowship.
Rev. Mel Montgomery may be contacted via his website and by e-mail at:
e-mail: [email protected]

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