First Baptist Church Laredo
Wednesday - 6/3/2020
  • In the last study, we looked at the martyrdom of Stephen and the beginning of the persecution of the followers of Jesus. Saul became one of the chief prosecutors of the persecution. The persecution led to a scattering of the believers. The persecution didn’t silence the message, rather it led to a greater spread of the gospel.
    The followers of Jesus were concentrated in Jerusalem. Once the persecution began, the gospel began to spread. One of the main themes of Stephen’s message was that the worship of God was not contained to Jerusalem and to the temple. Chapter 8 records the gospel being brought to groups of people who were not Jews. This is significant because up to this point the gospel was really limited to Jewish people. Now, the gospel is going to be taken outside of the Jewish people.

    1. Philip goes to Samaria (Acts 8:5-17)

    Just in case you have forgotten, Philip was one the deacons who were selected to serve the church.

    A. Philip proclaimed the gospel to Samaritans. (Acts 8:5)

    Acts 8:5 CSB
    5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them.
    We don’t know what city he went to in Samaria. In case you don’t know about Samaritans, Samaritans were likely descendants of the northern kingdom of Israel. They did not stay ethnically pure and ended up intermarrying with foreign people. They were not considered to be Gentiles, but we called “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” They held to the writings of Moses, which are the first five books of the Bible known as the Pentateuch. They were awaiting a Messiah, one who would be a prophet, like Moses.

    B. The people were receptive to the gospel. (Acts 8:6-8)

    Acts 8:6–8 CSB
    6 The crowds were all paying attention to what Philip said, as they listened and saw the signs he was performing. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed, and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
    They paid attention to what he was saying. The signs and wonders he performed through the power of God served to validate what he was saying. The power of the gospel was being experienced by the Samaritan people. We are not sure if they were of great joy because of conversions to the gospel or because of the people being healed.

    2. The response of Simon (Acts 8:9-13)

    A. Simon was a sorcerer who performed magic. (Acts 8:9-11)

    Acts 8:9–11 CSB
    9 A man named Simon had previously practiced sorcery in that city and amazed the Samaritan people, while claiming to be somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least of them to the greatest, and they said, “This man is called the Great Power of God.” 11 They were attentive to him because he had amazed them with his sorceries for a long time.
    Simon had a big following. His nickname was “The Great Power of God.” People followed Simon because he did amazing things.

    B. People begin to leave Simon to follow Philip. (Acts 8:12-13)

    Acts 8:12–13 CSB
    12 But when they believed Philip, as he proclaimed the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Even Simon himself believed. And after he was baptized, he followed Philip everywhere and was amazed as he observed the signs and great miracles that were being performed.
    Even Simon believed what Philip was saying. He was following Philip everywhere to try and figure out how Philip was doing what he was doing. It seems as if Simon believed, but his motivation was different than the others. He was following Philip, not to gain a deeper understanding of the things of God. He was trying to figure out Philip’s magic tricks. We need to remember not all who profess belief in Jesus are true believers.

    3. Peter and John are sent from Jerusalem to check out the situation in Samaria. (Acts 8:14-25)

    Just in case you have forgotten, Philip was one the deacons who were selected to serve the church. Peter and John were sent to check out what this second generation leader was doing.

    A. Peter and John prayed for the new believers, laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-17)

    Acts 8:14–17 CSB
    14 When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 After they went down there, they prayed for them so the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit because he had not yet come down on any of them. 16 (They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
    This is big. Both sides would have had their preconceived notions of the other group. Jews didn’t like Samaritans. Samaritans weren’t too fond of Jews. They would need to undergo major attitude changes. The Holy Spirit came on them and God’s presence was clearly seen.

    B. Why the delay in the receiving of the Holy Spirit?

    Doesn’t the Holy Spirit come into the life of every believer? This is a question which there is no uniformity in the church or theology. I believe this was a special circumstance and I don’t think it is a pattern. They were not full Jewish people and the Jewish leaders would need some unmistakable evidence that they really were being accepted into the family of God.
    Peter and John received confirmation that these new followers of Jesus were genuine. I don’t look at this event as normative.

    4. The sin of Simon (Acts 8:18-24)

    A. Simon offered the apostles money to gain the ability of laying hands on people so they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:18-19)

    Acts 8:18–19 CSB
    18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also so that anyone I lay hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.”
    Simon was not interested in receiving the Holy Spirit himself. He wanted the ability to give the Holy Spirit to people. He was equating the power of the Holy Spirit with a magic trick.

    B. Peter chastises Simon for his sin. (Acts 8:20-23)

    Acts 8:20–23 CSB
    20 But Peter told him, “May your silver be destroyed with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this matter, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your heart’s intent may be forgiven. 23 For I see you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by wickedness.”
    God isn’t subject to our manipulations. We don’t rub God the right way to get what we want. Peter addresses Simon’s heart. Simon’s heart was not right before God. Peter viewed Simon as being unregenerate. He made a profession of faith, but his heart was not right before God. He called Simon to repent. He said that Simon was full of bitterness and wickedness. “Peter may be referring to the potential that Simon has of causing much damage to the church—which (according to tradition) is what happened. If so, Peter’s statement reflects his desire to rid the church of this evil influence. The Greek can also mean that Simon is filled with a bitter poison—the idea communicated by the NIV rendering.”
    Simon said he believed and he was baptized, but obviously his profession was inadequate. He wasn’t interested with a relationship with God. He just wanted to use God’s power.

    C. Simon doesn’t express a desire for change. (Acts 8:24)

    Acts 8:24 CSB
    24 “Pray to the Lord for me,” Simon replied, “so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”
    He didn’t express a desire to have a good relationship with God. He didn’t want to develop a relationship with God. He didn’t even repent. He just didn’t want to the bad things to happen to him. Simon is also known as Simon Magnus. “Later references in certain early Christian writings identify him as the founder of post-Christian Gnosticism, a dualist religious sect advocating salvation through secret knowledge, and as the archetypal heretic of the Christian Church.”

    5. The gospel spreads in Samaria. (Acts 8:25)

    Acts 8:25 CSB
    25 So, after they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they traveled back to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
      • Acts 8:5–17ESV

      • Acts 8:5ESV

      • Acts 8:5CSB

      • Acts 8:6–8ESV

      • Acts 8:6–8CSB

      • Acts 8:9–11ESV

      • Acts 8:9–11CSB

      • Acts 8:12–13ESV

      • Acts 8:12–13CSB

      • Acts 8:14–25ESV

      • Acts 8:14–17ESV

      • Acts 8:14–17CSB

      • Acts 8:18–24ESV

      • Acts 8:18–19ESV

      • Acts 8:18–19CSB

      • Acts 8:20–23ESV

      • Acts 8:20–23CSB

      • Acts 8:24ESV

      • Acts 8:24CSB

      • Acts 8:25ESV

      • Acts 8:25CSB

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