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Philip Peter and a Magician

Philip the Evangelist   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Mother's Day -

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Philip Peter and a Magician

Happy Mother’s Day!
READ – persecution broke out – Wonder what Satan was thinking. What does it take to stomp this infant faith out? The attack on the church is absolutely brutal, yet everywhere they go, they keep spreading the word of God.
Imagine the family dynamics – When the persecution breaks out: A wife to her husband “Let’s not go to meet with the other believers today. It’s too dangerous.” A husband to his wife, “Why do you have to go to another prayer meeting? They are dragging Christians away! Think of your children. Think of me!”
Mom’s how would you have felt at that terrible time?
Here’s another couple of questions:
Mom’s would you be proud to have raised a Stephen? He was smart. He was compassionate to those in need. He was passionate about his faith. He didn’t show partiality to the rich and famous. Good people trusted him and good people cared about him. He was fearless. And he got himself killed by the bad guys.
How about a Saul. He moved with the in crowd. He had a tremendous education. His friends were the rich and powerful. He was a mover and a shaker. And he was religious. People, the people that counted, approved of him. I think a lot of mom’s would have been proud to have raised a man like Saul – but then he gave all of it away – and became and outcaste, and suffered and died, for his faith in Christ. How would you have felt? What would you have told your son?
(Paul phones his mom) “Mom – you know how I was persecuting the followers of that dead guy named Jesus? Yeah? Well… I sorta met him, What? No. Yeah he was definitely dead. Yeah, so anyway, He spoke to me… and now I stopped attacking His followers. And I became one myself. And, now I’m going everywhere telling people that the dead guy named Jesus is alive and that He loves people. And, now people are trying to kill me, but yeah, life’s pretty good really. Made a lot of really cool friends that love Jesus. So, how’s Dad?”
It’s hard to be a mom.
Let’s keep reading and take a look at three more men: Philip the Evangelist, Peter, and a really bizarre character named Simon.
He’s a wizard, sorcerer, magician sorta guy and he sets himself up to be the Word of God – legends say that he claimed to have revealed himself to the Jews as the Son of God, to the Samaritans as the Father, and to the Greeks as the H.S.
Irenaeus and Justin Martyr both speak of him.
Justin Martyr: “After Christ’s ascension into heaven, the devils put forward certain people who said that they themselves were gods; and they were not only not persecuted by you [The Roman government.] but even deemed worthy of honors. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Caesar, and in your royal city of Rome, did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god, and as a god he was honored by you with a statue, which statue was erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription, in the language of Rome, “Simoni Deo Sancto,” “To Simon the holy god.” And almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations, worship him and acknowledge him as the first god; and a woman, Helena, who went about with him at that time and had formerly been a prostitute, they say fathered this idea.”
History tells us that many gnostics claimed to have followed his teachings – a mix of mysticism, free love, and theology that claimed the God of the OT was evil. Although by the year 400 the religion centered on him was almost extinct.
The setting for the action is Samaria - had been the capitol of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Jerusalem had been the capitol of the Southern Kingdom of Judea). In the OT it was ruled by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians. By the time of the book of Acts it was a Roman city renamed and rebuilt by Herod the Great. He called the city Sebaste, in honor of Emperor Augustus, and it had a Roman theater, Temple to Persephone, a daughter of Zeus, and a Roman stadium.
READ (go slow and talk)
What an amazing team of deacons they put together!
Stephen and now Philip (we’re gonna hear more about him next week)
Philip is a child a Christian mother would be proud to call her own. Living for the glory of God. Living to win others to Christ.
Peter to was a straight talker and didn’t change his message because Simon was rich, or famous, or would be a star convert if they could hold onto him. (Talk)
As Christians we love everybody but change the truth for nobody. We’re not called to be popular or successful, by human standards, we are called to make disciples of all people! (talk)
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