AF-S104-010806 Acts 8
Alêtheia Christian Fellowship, January 8, 2006. Sermon #104, Acts "K."
The Hellenistic Jews are Greek speakers that are extremely pious and have made great sacrifice to come to worship in the Temple.
Stephen is a Jew who by tradition came from Alexandria and studied under Gamaliel along with Saul/Paul and Barnabas.
Son of Man standing - - acknowledge Me…. Final Judgment
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”
Saul was zealous and lost an argument….
Acts 8:1-3 ~ Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.
Except the apostles - It is the people as a whole who hold power.
Women - Demonstrating the extreme nature
Judea and Samaria - Acts 1:8b ~ you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” - Matthew = Command, Acts = Promise, and now it's happening
Instrument i.e. unwilling participant - - or - - Vessel i.e. willing
Romans 8:26-28 ~ In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
You will never go wrong so long as you remember the litmus test of belief.
Who do you serve?
God's ways…. God does what He does, you can either Love and Trust and therefore be a willing vessel where it is all good - - or - - Be God yourself.
The immediate effect = Acts 8:4 ~ Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.
Subsequent effect = 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 ~ For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
Acts 8:4-8 ~ Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was much rejoicing in that city.
Great signs accompanied the Gospel, but they caused people to believe the message not the man.
Acts 8:9-13 ~ Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.” And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
Simon's signs produced attention for Simon
Philips signs were from God so they produced attention for God
Simon was amazed by the signs, not the message
Simon believed and was baptized, was he a Christian?
Acts 8:14-19 ~ Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit (KJV: Holy Ghost) was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Magic versus Christianity - Biblical Christianity isn't a flavor of Christianity it is the only pure Christianity; it strips man's corruption.
Magic mentality dominates so-called Christianity!
The Apostles hear of Samaria and send Peter & John on a fact-finding mission.
Why no Holy Spirit? History of Samaritans and the Jews, call fire down.
It was unique and necessary for the Apostles to be involved, but what else can we say? Were none of them yet really saved? Was there no Holy Spirit for regeneration? Clearly the Spirit came in such a way as to be more amazing than the other miracles Philip was doing! Simon wanted to buy!
The simple fact is that every time we see someone saved they are instantly part of the family and are then baptized into the Body of Christ.
You will pay for every idle word - Words have great power and so we public ally confess Christ in baptism. Matthew 12:36&37 ~ “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Can you go to heaven without being baptized? If there's no good reason why you aren't the answer is no.
Why? Faith that can save is faith that produces fruit!
So, Real belief followed by real baptism followed by a changed life. That's miraculous.
Something else - power, annointing, unction of God upon human beings
Clearly it is sovereign choice and it is also clearly normative at this time
What about today? Do we need less of the supernatural, or are we too sophisticated for that bunk? Wise, yes, wise in the ways of man.
Acts 8:20-24 ~ But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! “You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. “For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” But Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
gift - A gift can be incredibly valuable even priceless in this case, but it can never be purchased
heart - Always
repent - Blasted just as Jesus called Peter Satan…. Open to repent
gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity - Ref Dt 29 False Gods
“Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
Most of the Fathers comment on Simon and his disciples and all of them have only the most scathing denounciation.
Once saved, always saved?