Friday, January 25, 2013
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: (Acts 8:9 KJV)
Have you met someone such as Simon? Not that they’ve used sorcery, but certainly bewitching people and making them think he was something great?
His story comes after Jesus had given His disciples their responsibilities before His return to heaven:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8 KJV)
Acts 8 begins with Saul’s persecution, then moves to the scattering of His disciples:
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. (Acts 8:4-6 KJV)
It was enough to convince a number of people – including Simon:
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. (Acts 8:12-13 KJV)
As often with new converts, there were problems.
And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. (Acts 8:18-21 KJV)
Simon believed. Simon was baptized. Simon wanted to do more, yet his heart was not right in the sight of God.
How can we be certain our hearts are right in God’s sight? Depend on Him to do it:
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10 KJV)
That’s basically Peter’s message to Simon, too:
Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. (Acts 8:22-24 KJV)
That gall of bitterness is built on arrogance and pride which blinds our hearts to God’s message and fills us with a desire to have what we should not, which places us within the bond of iniquity, which is sin. What we need is to ask God to cleans and release us, isn’t it?