“Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.”
I invite you to take your Bibles. We’re gonna be looking at the book of acts again, as we return there acts chapter eight. We’re gonna be looking at verses five to 25. As we reflect on the spirit at work to the ends of the earth
acts chapter one, verse eight has been the foundation for our understanding of the book of acts, but you will receive power when the holy spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. It is the story of God’s spirits, power, enabling believers to take the gospel to those areas, to Jerusalem, to Judea Samaria, to the ends of the earth.
We mentioned last week as we began chapter eight, that we were entering season two and the. Story is now beginning to extend. It is extending beyond Sumer two Samaria and Judea. Judea is the province around Jerusalem. Samaria is the province to the Northern, uh, area above Judea. And the gospel is moving outside of the confines of Jerusalem.
There’s a method that God used. We saw this last week as the, uh, San Hedron supported mob have not only stoned Steven, the first martyr of the church, but has also begun an overt and extensive persecution against the church. And many people have been forced to flee Jerusalem, relocate with their families, and God has used that to accomplish what takes place in verse four, as those believers go to other places where it says in acts chapter eight, verse four.
Now those who are scattered. When about preaching the word, this wasn’t the apostles. They’re the ones that are mentioned are still in Jerusalem. It was the regular day to day believers that have gone forth to these other places. That was the method. But the setting of chapter eight, verse five and following is actually a confrontation of power verse five through eight talks about Philip.
And we’ll see this in a moment going to the area of Samaria, this Northern province above Judea, and there doing miraculous works of power by the holy spirit among the people. But we also find a rival power in this passage. It’s presented in the person of a guy named Simon the magician, and he will have a, a power that for years has wowed the population of Samaria.
We will see that the gospel banquets Simon, and he apparently responds to the gospel that Philip is responding at presenting. But what we find in this passage is that that Simon will respond ultimately with a distorted view of power, even after he responds to the gospel chapter eight verse five to 25, to me are a classic picture of power in human experience.
As Luke shows the gospel going into Samaria, he is highlighting this, this, this varied perspective of power personal power. Supernatural power. And I just wanna give a simple definition for the concept of power power in its most basic form is simply the capacity to do something. When we think of power, usually it is power.
That is not only something you have, but something that you use. And so we also think of power as the capacity to influence the course of events or the behavior of others. The theme of power runs through this whole passage. And so I’ve entitled this sermon, simply lessons on power. And now I’d like to read acts chapter eight versus five to 25.
And here’s what we read. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them, the Christ and the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits crying out with a loud voice, came out of many of them and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.
So there was much joy in that city, but there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him from the least to the greatest saying, this man is the power of God that is called great.
And they paid attention to him because for a long time, he had amazed him with his magic, but when they believed Philip, as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women, even Simon, himself believed. And after being baptized, he continued with Philip and seeing signs and great miracles performed.
He was amazed. now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them, Peter and John who had come down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy spirit for. He had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord, Jesus.
Then they laid their hands on them and they received the holy spirit. Now, when Simon saw that the spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles hands, he offered the money saying, give me this power also so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the holy spirit. But Peter said to him may or silver parish with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money.
You have neither part nor lot in this matter for your heart is not right before God repent, therefore of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that if possible, the intent of your heart. May be forgiven you for, I see that you are on the gall of bitterness and in the bond of inequity and Simon answered, pray for me to the Lord that nothing of what you have said may come upon me now, when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritan.
Lord. As we come to this unique passage, as we are confronted with all these thoughts about power, God, I pray that you would, you would speak to us and teach us. Lord. I believe this is a subject that really is important in our lives to understand, as you talk so much in the book of acts about a power that is given to your people, And yet there is another aspect of power that is incredibly dangerous.
So Lord, I pray that you would guide us, teach us, instruct us in truth this morning, I pray in Jesus name. Amen. This passage reveals to us three realities of power. First of all, power amazes. Secondly, power is easily abused and third power is available from God power amazes. We’re told in the first few verses versus five through eight, it says the people paid attention to Philip.
and the reason they paid attention to him was because of the things that he was doing when they saw his miracles, exercising demons, coming out with shrieks and screams healing, the paralyzed and the lame, it, it describes them as signs that he was doing and signs of what signs of the divine power. The people have also been amazed were told in verses nine and following by a person that has been a part of their community for a lengthy period of time.
This guy named Simon, the magician, he too, it says the same phrase. They had all paid attention to him. Verse 11, for a long time, he had amazed them with his magic people that were wealthy and powerful and people that are described as the least. All were wowed by Simon power does that, he was apparently like the magicians in Pharaoh’s court back in the book of AC Exodus, where some of the miracles that, that Moses was able to do, they were able to replicate.
He had a, he has a replicating supernatural power. Although his comes from a different source than does Phillips. The Samaritan saw the power of God. They heard the truth of the gospel and many in the city believed. And among the crowd, responding to Phillips invitation was this interesting personage called Simon the magician now.
There are different opinions on Simon. I just gotta give a little background in all this. There are different opinions on Simon, and if you read commentaries, you look at your study Bibles. You’ll probably see one in perspective or another. Some interpret him as having a genuine saving faith. And then his behavior after that is somewhat misguided.
Other people believe no. His, his misguided behavior in the latter part of the passage where Peter blasts him verbally is evidence that he actually did not have saving faith. And I, my perspective after studying this is that I am going to, uh, my interpretation is to align with the thinking of Abraham Lincoln when confronted with a thorny political issue.
And he responded this way. Well, some, and it was, it was before a group of reporters and he says, well, Some of my friends are for it. Some of my friends are not for it. I’m for my friends. That’s where I’m going with this one. I don’t actually believe that Luke was telling us about Simon Magus in order for or Simon the magician in order to have us discern whether his belief was real or not, that I don’t think that’s a focus of the packages.
I think the passage is saying he is highlighting for us the danger of power in our lives and how power, which is so much a theme in the guy, in the book of Luke in Luke’s, uh, record in the, in the book of acts. It is such a powerful tool for us to be living out and proclaiming the gospel in this power or.
that power can be something that stands as a block to us enjoying and glorifying God. We will see that in a moment when we get down to verse 18 and that’s really gonna be a focus, but, but here I’m just emphasizing the fact that that power amazes this. They were amazed by power power. Does that in the context, the short historical explanation of what’s going on here is the story of the Samaritans they’ve gone in.
And, and you’ll notice it says they went down from Jerusalem and it’s a little confusing because if you look at a map, they’re going north. Now, when, when you go north, do you go up or down? You go up, but they’re going down. Why is that? Because Jerusalem was Hills, it was high. It means elevation. They were going down.
That’s how they continually, this is a free biblical insight that will help you in many passages of scripture, basically. Now they’re in this Northern area of Samaria and, and something unique is taking place here because the Samaritans and the Jews for almost a thousand years have been in conflict.
There has been hostility between them. It all results back to the, the early seven hundreds BC, when, when the Northern kingdom of Israel, the Southern kingdom was, was down in Judea Jerusalem. And, and then the, the Northern 10 tribes were defeated. They were a separate entity. At that point, they were defeated by the Syrian empire and they, they took all of them, uh, eastward, uh, many, they took many of the Jews and, and, and did what they did.
Uh, they just. Relocated them. They deported them to another area. At the same time they brought in other nations, they had conquered and they placed them in the area of the Northern kingdom. Now their land. Now, these people had come in and what happened over generations, many of them embraced many of the teachings of the J, but they also had some mixed in parts, but there were parts that were very much, uh, honoring of Jehovah.
God, for instance, the Samaritans accepted the old Testament as the word of God, but , but that only referred to the first five books of the old Testament. They took those, the Genesis Exodus Leviticus numbers due to Romy. The what’s called the book of the law, the Torah, they saw that as, as inspired, they did not take the rest of the old Testament.
They followed the Sabbaths, the FEAS stays and the sacrificial system, but. they had erected their own temple on a, on a Mount called Mount Guin. The Jews felt they were half breeds, religiously, not true believers, not really followers of Jehovah. They were kind of a, of a halfway house between the Gentiles and the Israelites.
The same question confronted the early church. Remember the early church is all Jewish, right? They’re either hellistic Jews that are Greek speaking Jews. We’ve seen those guys they’re or they’re the Hebrew Jews, which are the Hebrew or Arama being Jews in Jerusalem. And all these people that are coming to Christ are, are Jews by birth or they’re pros, Jews, Jews that have, that have embraced all the practices of, of Judaism.
And so the early churches is wondering, you know, what about people like the Samaritan. They’re not really Jews wholeheartedly, the Jews reject them, but they’re certainly not Gentiles. They, they, they’re kind of in this, in this no man’s land. And so now they’re hearing that some of these Samaritans, many of them actually are responding to the preaching of one of the, one of the first guys from X chapter six, Philip who’s gone forth, the Philip, the evangelist who’s sharing the gospel.
And a lot of ’em are getting saved and seemingly responded. He’s baptizing them and, and, and, and they say, we, we need to send our best guys. We’re sending Peter and John go up and, and take a look at this thing and, and help us figure out how do we look at what is going on up there in Samaria as they come to Samaria, they discover it’s the real deal.
These people are genuinely repenting and believing on Jesus. So Peter and John come lay hands on them and they’re given the holy spirit, just like the believers were on the day of Pentecost. This is if you will, a Samaritan Pentecost, the same experience happens there. And in the midst of all this, all this amazing stuff, Luke then takes us back to this guy, Simon, the magician.
And we see another part of the lesson on power. Not only it does power amaze, but power is easily abused. I’d like you to focus with me at verse 18 and following now when Simon saw that the spirit was given through the laying on of the Apostle’s hands. Now, again, he’s professed to believe he’s been baptized.
He offered the money saying, give me this power also so that anyone on whom I lay my hands been received the holy spirit. And Peter then gives him a very pretty straightforward response. May your silver perish with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money. You have neither part nor lot in this matter for your heart is not right before God repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you for, I see that you are in the goal of bitterness and in the bond of, in inequity, Simon, the magician was to some degree, addicted to power.
This is, this is where he lived. This is his identity. It is his life. It is his lifeblood, but it was a completely dominating barrier in his journey toward wholehearted faith in Christ. We see in Simon, the magician, the danger of personal power in our lives. Now, this is really important for us to understand.
And I personally believe this is one of the reasons that, that this is included in this passage. Our goal in the book of acts is to live as the early believers lived, embracing the leadership and control of the holy spirit in our lives. But we live in a culture that worships personal power, not that generated by the spirit of God, Simon illustrates what it looks like.
And I’d like to share three things that I think are true about the abuse of personal power, of, of, of personal power becoming dangerous in one’s spiritual life. The first reality is when we see ourselves differently, because we have power look back at verse nine, but there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in this city and amazed the people of Samaria saying that he himself was somebody great.
they all paid attention to him from the least to the greatest saying this man is the power of God that is called great Simon felt the power that he had identified as somebody great. Somebody special power does this power is an influential reality in our lives and therefore dangerous. Brian class has written a book called corruptible.
The, uh, the book subtitled who gets power and how it changes us. It’s a, it’s a fascinating reading. He has a bunch of podcasts out, um, that I’ve listened to as well. They’re interesting, not a Christian, but he is a student of power. And he tells the story of, uh, befriending a guy. He interviews over 500 different people in, in this particular book, but he got to know the guy who grew a, a man who grew up in Madagascar.
And he was basically a guy that, that, uh, started a little business as, as a young man of selling yogurt on his bicycle. And he, he got pretty good at it, pretty successful at it began to grow his thing until eventually he became known as the yogurt, CR yogurt, king of mad Madagascar. And then to everybody’s shock, he was elected president of Madagascar in 2000 and.
Came in with a, a deep desire to help the people did wonderful things, completely revamped the road structure and the transportation methodologies of Madagascar built. Many medical clinics, built a strong infrastructure, many wonderful things. But over the course of the eight years that he was king, what this guy, Brian class is highlighting is, and he got to know him very well.
He saw power begin to influence him. He went out and bought a giant. One of the only countries of the world that had a, a presidential jet. He had his own one and a luxurious one. It began, they began to find out that that a lot of the roads he was constructing over time were actually roads that enhanced his yogurt, sales power, corrupted him.
And he was actually defeated by a guy in his early thirties who was a DJ from her local radio station for president. Who’s still a president today in the book class addresses the famous quote by Lord Acton. Many of you have heard this statement, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts. Absolutely. I did not know until I was reading this, that, that was actually a statement that Lord Acton made in a letter when he was writing about corruption that he saw in the church.
And he, he was, he was in a debate because others were saying, yes, there is corruption. Uh, yes, there, there, there, there are things that they’re doing in the church that are wrong, but to, to, to blow the whistle is going to do more harm than good in a way the end justifies the mean. And he said, Power corrupts, even in the church, absolute power there, it must be.
There must be accountability. I, I almost never talk about other churches. Certainly not in a derogatory sense. There is a podcast actually. It’s, it’s now in a variety of forms that Christianity today is put out. It is called the rise and fall of Mars hill. It is a fascinating study about a very influential evangelical church and community that power completely gutted the influence of that church.
And it’s many, many, many satellite churches. The danger of power is something that is real for every, any of our lives. In another book I’ve been reading, it’s called the power paradox by Docker Kelner, who is a psychology professor at the university of Berkeley and has developed an entire think tanks think tank studying power in his book, the power paradox.
He cites numerous studies on how our power corrupts and taints us one. He cites, which is a simple one is called the cookie monster study. They do it with students and he’s now done it with many business people as well. Here’s what they do. We doing three, we bring three people to the lab and we randomly assign one person to the role of leader.
We say, you’re in charge. And then over the course of the experiment, these three individuals have to write policies for the university or their organization. They bring together facts, they write policies, they submit them and we gather these written products. Halfway into the experiment. We bring a plate of four delicious chocolate chip cookies.
We put them down and that’s actually where the experiment begins. So everybody of the three takes a cookie, enjoys the cookie. They eat very happily and are grateful for it. And all groups leave one cookie on the plate because they don’t like to take that last cookie because you don’t want to be the person who takes the last piece of food.
But he says, eventually the cookie gets eaten. And he says, so the question is who eats the last cookie? And he said in, well, over 70% of the situations, it’s the guy we appointed as the person of power. And he just, he said there were so many illustrations in the book and he says, you just intuitively begin to gain.
When, when you are given a sense of personal power, there is such a temptation to have that increase to a sense of entitlement. They do it in monopoly games. I mean, it’s fascinating. They give all these things. And I, I, I watched the video of one where, where a guy was actually playing a business guy and they said, look, we’re just gonna do some random, you know, let’s, everybody else collects a hundred.
When they pass go, you’re gonna get 200. They do these little expressions and you watch. And it’s amazing how the guy begins to expect certain things, certain treatment. He makes this statement in the book, shoplifting cost Americans over $10 billion a year. So the question is who is likely to walk into the store and pocket something they don’t pay for.
And indeed. It is high power wealthier people who are more likely to shoplift. He says there are famous car studies that Paul Piff has done. Who’s done a lot of these studies, um, and is a part of his group, but write separately. And in these studies, they look at, who’s more likely to blaze through a pedestrian zone on the road and think that their time is more important than the safety of the pedestrian.
It’s people driving more high power, wealthier cars. If you’re driving a high power wealthier car, please, don’t no accusations here. Abraham Lincoln said it this way. Any man can withstand adversity. If you want to test his character given power,
what we’re reminded of is the insidious nature of power. When we see ourselves differently because we have power. When we begin to pro this is what happened with Simon. He says he was convincing everybody. He was somebody great. Why? Because he had this supernatural power wasn’t even his own. Actually, I believe it was demonic power, but he began to see himself as something.
He had a sense of entitlement power is a powerful reality in our lives. That’s the second thing that happens when we connive to control our power. Peter in verse 20, says this to, to Simon. Mayor silver perish with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money. You have neither partner a lot in this matter for your heart is not right with before God.
He says you you’re trying to get power your own way. You’re using your own methodology. Well, I’ll buy this so I can, I can, I can be the guy like you guys like Peter and John, you can give the spirit of power to people. I wanna do that. I’ll pay for it. I, I wanna get this. There’s a clamoring for power.
There’s a long for power. There’s a desire to be on the greater than side of, of, of the power grid. There’s a book that’s been written, which is its most prominent readership is by prisoners and celebrities. it is called the 48 laws of power. It’s not written in our generation. It’s written by Robert Green, but it has seen a tremendous, um, rebirth in the last generation.
The review of the book says this, a classic book on human psychology written by Robert Green. Most of the laws are undoubted undeniably true, but if you have any sense of morality, the book may leave you feeling very uncomfortable. There are principles that work in controlling others and securing for yourself.
Power they’ve been banned in some of the federal institutions penitentiaries. I’m gonna read you just some of the principles. and I’m only, there are 48 of them and I’m not, these are actually some that are not the most controversial. These are just ones I grabbed. Here are some of the things he says in the book.
One of his laws conceal your intentions, key people off balance and in the dark, by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you’re up to, they cannot prepare a defense guide them far enough down the wrong path, VE them in enough smoke. And by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.
Another one court attention at all costs draw attention to yourself by creating an unforgettable, even controversial image court scandal. Do anything to make yourself seem larger than life and shine more brightly than those around you. Make no distinction between kinds of attentions, notoriety of any sort will bring you power better to be slandered and attacked than ignored a third.
Get others to do the work for. but always take the credit. Use the wisdom, knowledge and legwork of other people to further your own. Cause not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end, your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered.
Never do yourself. What others can do for you. There’s two more, make other people come to you. Use bait. If necessary. When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning their own plans in the process. And one others learn to keep people dependent on you to maintain your independence.
You must always be needed and wanted. the more you relied on, the more freedom you have make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity, and you have nothing to fear, never teach them enough so that they can do without you. When our world thinks of power, many of those in power, secure it and keep it by applying those kinds of principles.
But they are contrary to godliness to do so is to be in the state that Simon was in, when Peter says to him, your heart is not right with God. Now here’s my question. Why is Luke highlighting Simon? The magician? I mean, here’s this amazing story. The Samaritans of responding to the gospel that Philip is portraying, and then they’re, it’s, they’re so excited in Jerusalem.
They send the guys to Samaria to work with and in the middle, you’ve got this one guy. And first of all, it seems like it’s fantastic. He believed, you know, and he embraced the gospel. But then on the other hand, you see this side of him, which makes you question, is he a real believer? If he is a real believer, a man he’s certainly missing a lot.
And the whole perspective is I think Philip is trying to get us to remember yes,
power from the spirit is what enables us to glorify God to speak for God.
But the way of the world, the way of corporate power or celebrity power or political power is often very much at odds with the power that the spirit is talking about in the book of acts. So my last point is basically, what is this power. that the spirit brings and like to share three quick principles.
Actually, I, I don’t want to do that yet. I wanna want mention, as one other principle, I wanna share about what happens when we are embracing the wrong kind of power and in the wrong way, we become addicted to power for our identity. It’s interesting. What Peter says to, to, um, Simon. He said, I sense you are in the gall of bitterness word, word phrase.
I doubt any of you use that in the last week. You’re in the goal of bitterness. GA is the, the enzyme of our digestive system. He says, bitterness is eating you up. This guy still longed for power. And he sensed the loss of it mean he’s trying to pow around with Philip, but he’s watching Philip do things he couldn’t do.
And he’s, he’s, he’s troubled by it. He’s EMBI by it because power still gave him his worth an identity. You know, there’s times when losing your job is an incredible gift of God. There’s times when things don’t go the way you want. And it is God’s greatest mercy of you.
You don’t know what is taking hold first place in your heart. Sometimes until you lose it or feel you might lose it. Larry Krab says it this way. It may be that you will not learn that Jesus is all you need until he is all that you have. Simon Magus needed power. It defined him. It was his identity. And either he was a baby Christian and still trying to hold onto that.
Or he was not a believer at all, but understand that power does that. And the danger in our lives, when we have been given positions of responsibility or greater affluence or greater impact, we lean into that.
So what is power that is appropriate? Because so much of the book of acts is about God’s power and people’s what does it look like? If it doesn’t look like that three things, the power that is available from God, when he says you will receive power is not the kind of power that Simon saw. It. It’s the kind that Philip manifested you’ll notice.
First of all, this kind of power. Is seeking to bring God glory, you know, to Simon’s description of verse nine and 10. He amazed the people of Samaria saying that he himself was somebody great. Compare that with Philip in verse five, Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them. The Christ.
They believed in Christ. Nobody’s talking about Philip and Samaria. They’re talking about Jesus. God did not put you in the position you are in to bring you glory. That’s a mouthful, but he didn’t, he didn’t put you there. God, didn’t put me as the lead pastor of this church to bring mark glory. Sometimes I do that sometimes that’s my goal, but that’s not God’s goal.
God didn’t place you where you are. Wow for you to be glorified. He did it, that he could be glorified through you and the power that he is wanting to give to your life. And you say, well, I love my job and that’s awesome. And, and, and I, I love what I’m doing. I feel like I was made that’s beautiful, but be careful
because having a position of influence a position of affluence, a position of power is a risky place to be. And so we’re gonna ask ourselves what drives me in my job. What drives me in the responsibilities I’ve been given? Because I name the name of Christ. I, I believe I’m a believer. I believe I belong to Jesus.
What drives you there?
It’s not, you’re not there to bring you glory. You’re there to bring him glory.
If we are therefore our glory and to the degree we are there for our glory, we have the same description of us that Simon got from Peter. Your heart is not right with God. There’s no choice three here. So one thing we see is power available from God prompts us when we’re living out of that power to bring God glory.
Secondly, it prompts us to serve others. Phillips miracles were serving people. His messing about messaging about Jesus was to serve people. The power Jesus gives always results. In being a servant, not building for yourself. There’s a passage that I went to as I was studying for this message, because the verse that I memorized years ago, and I, I, I loved, I still love it’s from Psalm 62, but when I went to memorize the verse, I realized I’d never understood the verse until I read it.
In this context, it Psalm 62 verse 11, and it says this once God has spoken twice, have I heard this? That power belongs to God was a time in my life when I was feeling overwhelmed. And I ju I just needed to re to, I remember a number of verses on the greatness and the bigness of God and the power of God.
I love the verse. All power ultimately comes from God. Power belongs to God. He’s the powerful, mighty, unstoppable God. It’s all true. But I didn’t notice what the verse was actually saying because it’s combined with verse 12. Here’s how that goes. I’m gonna repeat again. What I just read once God has spoken twice.
Have I heard this? The power belongs to God and that to you? Oh Lord belongs steadfast. Love. What he’s saying is, yeah, it’s true. God is powerful. But at the same time, God is manifested by steadfast love. And these two things he’s saying follow parallel tracks, all power belongs to God and you, God are marked by steadfast.
Literally unfailing love to understand God’s power is to put it in the context of a God of grace and kindness and compassion. Jesus miracles are not arbitrary acts to wow. The crowd. As CS Lewis points out in his great little book miracles, his miracles were always to benefit people. He, he, he didn’t just say, you know, here’s this 70 pound Boulder watch.
No, he healed people. He let ’em walk. He gave their blinded eyes sight. He, he enabled their ears to hear he cast out demons, which were plaguing them. Some even raised from the dead that his power was used to benefit others. And when Philip came to Samaria and did his miracles, verse eight says here’s the result.
There was much joy in the city. They were overwhelmed with gladness, with what God was doing among them, because God loved them with his power. The 48 rules of power have nothing to do with. if you read ’em all, I mean, you honestly, it’s not a book. I mean, it’s not a book. I encourage anybody to buy, unless you feel overwhelmed by power figures in your life.
Well, it would be helpful to just realize what’s going on and how you’re being played. But if you’re gonna look at that as a tool to help you get ahead, you’re going, don’t do it. It is nothing to do with power that God gives in our lives. God’s power is always oriented towards loving others. The last thing is the power of God is designed to bring God’s people together.
One other, one of the naughty questions, and I’m just summarizing this whole passage. Now of this passage is about the Samaritans who believed it’s a confusing thing. I mean, why didn’t they get the holy spirit when they believed Peter said in acts chapter two, verse 38, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
And you will receive the gift of the holy spirit. This has been happening day after day after day after day for seven years in Jerusalem, among the J. And now all of a sudden they go to Samaria and the people believe they manifest to their belief by being baptized, but they don’t receive the holy spirit.
Why this has caused some to say, well, that’s proof of a, you know, a second work of the holy spirit. I don’t think that’s what it’s saying at all. I think what it is reminding us that they receive the holy spirit later because of the uniqueness of this moment. God is sovereignly determined to have the apostles come down in order to authenticate, the Samaritans are equal partners in the new kingdom of Jesus.
Just like the Jews had their Pentecost, the outpouring of the spirit there, the Samaritans had their Pentecost. There is this it’s gonna happen in chapter 10 with Cornelius and, and at the Gentiles. And Peter’s gonna be there with his mouth on the floor going, oh my goodness, this is happening to the Gentiles.
Just like it happened to us. Well here, it’s happening to the Samaritans and God is pouring out his power, even in a way that bring people together, the rules of, of power. Don’t bring anybody together. They exalt somebody. We are all prone to want to exalt ourselves. But this is a power that comes from the spirit that does not divide.
That does not serve us. That is not about our glory. So here’s a couple of takeaways. Here’s my challenge to you. Three quick things. Number one. be careful who you’re looking to as heroes and heroes,
celebrities, politicians, athletes, business models. Are they living out the power of Jesus or the power of the world? Be careful of who you’re admiring. Secondly, be willing to face your own heart, because that is where Luke directs us in this passage. Simon is sternly rebuke by Peter for his allegiance to personal power and the pursuit of it that revealed his heart was not right with God
in your job, in your school, in the way you’re living your life in your business practices. Are you valuing people? in your honesty, your integrity, your humility, your gentleness, if not, you may want to think about what kind of power you’re really pursuing. And third, if God prompts you with conviction on those questions, embrace the beautiful message of repentance that Peter extended to SI Simon.
He says, repent, no matter how deep you’ve gone down, no matter how much you’ve had a twisted practice and, and, and how much you realize God, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, but I’m living the rules of, for, uh, the 48 rule I’m living as if this is all about me. I’ve lost sight of here’s the beautiful reality.
repentance takes you from the path of folly to the path of wisdom in a moment. Now there’ll be things he’ll lead you to change, but you can get off this treadmill where you just feel trapped as saying, God, I need you to fix this, but first of all, need to say,
I’ve made this all about me. I’ve made this all about my getting power, my being influential, my being affluent. My, my, my, the beautiful gift of repentance is that he’s willing to transform you in a moment of time and then direct you to the specific steps that may need to follow out of that.
I found this a really interesting passage. It was not when I first read it, where I thought God was leading me in, in the. But the more I studied it and the more I tried to put together, what is loop, trying to lead us to? The more I realized this is about power. It’s a power. It’s a temptation that speaks to every one of us.
Maybe you’re here today or listening online. God is speaking to you practically. Yeah. This, this one. This was for you. Well, there’s a God that delights to show mercy, to transform, to get us back on the path of wisdom by his grace Lord, we look to you today. God, we see the seed of every known sin in our own hearts.
We certainly see this one, the temptation to want to exalt ourselves and to have power, just to have influence to be somebody.
But Lord, we want to follow the pattern by you. Grace of Philip, what he offered was Christ his goal. His glory was Christ. So Lord speaking to our lives, teach us draws to Christ. I pray in whose name I pray. Amen. Now go on peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord