” For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” – Acts 8:23
We’re back in Acts 8. Recall our previous discussion with Philip teaching the gospel to the Samaritans and Simon, the magician, obeying the gospel by being baptized. I meant what I said that night that I wrote about restoration of New Testament Christianity. We can see what the early church did in the New Testament and be the kind of Christians that they were.
After Simon was baptized, along with the rest of the Samaritans, word got back to the apostles in Jerusalem about the good news of Jesus being taught throughout Samaria. So, John and Peter traveled there to pray for the new converts and lay hands on them so that they could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8: 14-17).
The miraculous power of the Holy Spirit only came by the laying on of the apostles’ hands. Since the apostles are all dead, no one has the power today to do what they did.
“Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power too, so that anyone I lay hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.'” – Acts 8:17-19
Simon, like many, was interested in power. A lot of people will go to extreme lengths – even abandon God – to get 15 minutes of fame. Simon liked to be thought of as great (v.9) and he saw that the apostle had something great, so he wanted it.
Imagine someone you love being dead for over a year, mourning greatly over them (and/or family members), doing everything within your power to honor them, and then they are brought back to life by the power that the apostles and other disciples had from God.
Pride is a powerful motivator. Simon offered the apostles money for a gift that came from God, and he was strongly rebuked. Peter told him, “May your silver be destroyed with you, because you thought the gift of God could be obtained with money! You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God” (Acts 8:20-21).
Peter told him to repent and pray that God might forgive him of the evil intent of his heart (v. 22). Notice money was at the center of another sin within the early church here. Recall Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10). And with money, there is also power and fame. People will do anything for it – even sacrifice their dignity (but others do it because their dignity is at stake). Peter called it a poison and being bound by sin (v.23).
We must be careful of falling into the same trap.
We’ve been through a whole lot together in this journey of Acts so far. That’s hard to walk away from. Thankfully, there are several more chapters to study. Call me crazy, but I love so very much to study God’s word with you in this way and to be able to write about it. I’d like to talk with you about the gospel and restoring New Testament Christianity more.
It’s a journey, for sure. It can be long, and I think of some who have dwindled off from the study, “Is this why you didn’t want to go on the trip with me?” What am I supposed to think without any communication or knowing what’s real or fake? But I’m thankful for you who keep reading and studying along with me.If you are saying, “I’m tired of making decisions without full knowledge,” or “I want to know what’s real in order to get to heaven,” then you can do what it takes.
I hope that you will repent of your sin, if you haven’t already. You have to cut it off completely and obey the gospel call of Jesus Christ today. There’s more to life than the act of sin . Let that go. Believe in the Christ, confess Him, repent, and be baptized. Remove the bitter poison of sin from your life, and be washed in the blood of the crucified Lamb.
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