Acts 8:9-13 – The scriptures tell of Simon the Sorcerer. He had been doing sorcery or magic in the area for quite some time. The people at that time thought he was The Divine Power and they followed him because he had amazed them with his magic. Vs. 11 Things changed when Phillip came through preaching Jesus and the Kingdom of God. One thing that immediately showed change was that Simon the Sorcerer believed and was baptized. All of a sudden those who had followed him for his magic tricks saw that his power was pale in comparison to the saving power of Jesus. And his seemingly changed life proved that he had to bow to a higher power. In verse 12 scripture says, “But when they believed Phillip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus , they were baptized, both men and women.” In the very next verse it tells of the supposed conversion of Simon. The Simon, who had been followed by many people, started following Phillip wherever he went, amazed by what God was doing. Simon had the appearance of someone who really knew Jesus, but did he?
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God they sent Peter and John to them. Scripture in verses 15 and 16 says, “When they arrived they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”
Of course, Simon was watching all of this going on and thought the Holy Spirit was given by these men. Peter and John in praying for these new converts showed the power of God working, but not their power. Simon totally misunderstood where the power was coming from and thought he could get it given to him by men. He wanted it so bad he was willing to pay for it. In verse 20 Peter said “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!” Peter went on to tell him he had no part in their ministry because his heart was not right. He told him to repent of his wickedness and pray to the Lord. Peter went on to tell Simon he was wicked and full of sin. Which showed he had not really repented and turned his life over to God. Simon still didn’t get the truth of the whole thing because he said to Peter, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” Peter could pray for Simon, but the change had to be from the inside out in Simon’s life. In other words, there is no second hand faith that is accomplished through someone else to God on our behalf. Oh, we can pray for someone, but the changes are between that person and God from the inside out.
I remember when I was a youth pastor one of the biggest problems in students getting right with God is they were living second hand faith. In other words, they were trying to live their faith off their parents commitment. It’s like they thought their parents commitment to the Lord could be passed down to them. Not possible!! The individual faith we have is total, open communication with God through Jesus for each person who comes to God. Not through a person just praying for us. That is why it is important when leading someone to Christ to get them to communicate with God themselves, especially in their prayer of repentance and belief for salvation. We can’t believe for them. There is no power, no Holy Spirit, no life change unless the individual heart is regenerated and made right with God from the inside out. To bypass this very important part is a mistake that cannot be made or the end result will be the same condition Simon found himself in. He found himself wanting and lost without Christ and without the Holy Spirit. His heart’s desire was to get a power to advance his career of magic and the motivation of that heart left him without the very thing he needed…. Jesus.
Real Power only comes through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is found in all who come to Christ for life change. We receive the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit when we receive our salvation and that acceptance of Jesus is an act of faith and repentance between an individual and God. A person of faith can guide someone to that point of communication with God, but only guide. The life change only comes when that person’s soul is made right with God on a one to one basis. Our faith cannot be bought with money or position, or church membership. It is an inside change of a life made possible through the blood of Jesus and that is it. End of discussion. It is time for real power to be seen in Christian’s lives, but they must have the power source if that is going to happen. It doesn’t happen through osmosis. Osmosis is a subtle or gradual absorption or mingling of materials together. You can’t get Christ by trying to have him rub off of someone else into your life. YOU have to do the repenting and the believing to truly receive the power of forgiveness and life change. NO SHORTCUTS.
We knew some people who a had a little boy who hated to be disciplined for doing something wrong. If he was caught doing something wrong and his dad would try to talk to him he would put his hand up to block his dad’s vision of seeing him while he was disciplining him and explaining his wrongdoing to him. It seemed like the little boy thought his hand could keep him from having to deal with the discipline, or being told he had done something wrong. I have seen some people try to get salvation on the “down low” and come to find out they didn’t really accept Jesus at all. No real power for living the believer’s life of strength and direction. Inside of letting God deal with their heart, they practice spiritual avoidance and that practice deceived them into thinking their salvation was real when it wasn’t at all. SCARY!!!
The real power we need in our life only comes from God through Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is given to us at salvation to make our lives more powerful for serving Christ and living a life of purpose and meaning. That kind of power draws others to Christ and also gives us the wisdom to live a life that makes an impact. If you don’t have that power, then you don’t have real power. Time to get right and get the real thing. Here is one truth that will make all this come into focus.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
1 Peter 1:5 -Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The Pilgrimage continues….