Sunday, March 11, 2012

From Acts to Revelation Part 20 – In Depths of Sin II

From Acts to Revelation
Part 20 – In Depths of Sin II
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Today in scripture, we will see that just because one “accepts” the Word as Truth, and the teachings of Christ, and is “Baptized” into Christ, does not mean that A) You receive the power of the Holy Spirit, nor B) Your heart is right with God and you have Salvation.

Simon is our example today, as he accepts the Apostle’s teachings, becomes baptized, and follows the Apostle and Disciples around, yet, as we find out, his heart unchanged, he has no part in the ministry because he is full of bitterness and captive to sin.

Acts 8:9-25 Simon the Sorcerer
 9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into[c] the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

 20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

 24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” 25 When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.

Have you accepted the Word of God, and been Baptized into Christ?

How is your heart today? Has there been a change in your life, or are you still held captive to your sin?

Up to this point in the Book of Acts, we have seen;

         Stephen is stoned to death
         Saul Approved of Stoning—he was unknowingly in sin
         The Disciples spread Christ through Samaria and Judaea
         The Apostle Philip went to Samaria to proclaim Christ; perhaps because they were slow to believe the Disciples, they needed an Apostle to show the signs, wonders and miracles to prove the authority of what Christ taught was from God.

a.      After the Sanhedrin murdered Stephen for preaching Christ, the Disciples scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria, preaching the Gospel everywhere they went.

b.     The Apostle Philip had to travel to Samaria and show signs, wonders and miracles, perhaps because the people did not accept the Disciples teachings. The signs, wonders and miracles that the Apostles displayed, proved that the message they brought of Christ was approved and authorized by God.
i.       We see from scripture that one of the reasons people were not accepting the teachings of Christ, was because of a sorcerer named Simon, who boasted of himself, and his powers.
ii.    He had amazed the people of Samaria into following him, and believing that he was the divine power.

c.      So the teachings by the Disciples fell on deaf ears.

d.     Until the Apostle Philip came, and preached Christ, and displayed powers, signs, wonders and healings that proved his authority was of God.
i.       Then we see many accepted the teaching, and were baptized, even Simon accepted the Word and was Baptized.

a.      We now see a second part of Salvation taking place here.

b.     One can “accept” the Word and teaching of Christ as TRUTH, and one can even be baptized, but, these actions do not “SAVE”
i.        Why doesn’t believing the Word is true save you?
1)     James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
2)     James tells us that there is more to it than just believing something is true…we must live out our faith, showing deeds that reflect our belief.

ii.     Why doesn’t being baptized save you?
1)     Because, baptism is an Outward-Expression of a Spiritual-Truth.
2)     I Peter 3:21 “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.”
3)     You can “DO” the expression, without “HAVING” the Spiritual-Truth.
4)     Just like drinking a cup of wine and eating a piece of bread does not mean you are part of the New Covenant in Christ…If the Spiritual-Truth of your submitting to the Lord has not taken place in your heart first, you are simply eating bread and drinking a cup of wine.
5)     This is true of baptism as well, if you have not submitted to the Lord and His teaching, “The Narrow Path”, then no change has taken place in your Spirit, and you are just dunking in a swimming pool. The water itself does not wash your spirit clean, but is meant to represent you being made clean by God.

c.      So two more Apostles come from Jerusalem to explain the Holy Spirit
i.        Peter and John come and prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not come yet, and they had simply been baptized into Christ.
ii.     Most of them were now saved, accepting Christ as Truth, and being baptized, while truly submitting themselves to the Lord. However, they could NOT serve the Lord, because they had not yet received the power of the Holy Spirit.

iii.   So the Apostles prayed, and they received the Holy Spirit…most of them.

a.      Simon, accepted the teachings, baptized in the name of Jesus, but still in sin
i.       He followed the group around, yet was not really part of it.

ii.    You can go to church your entire life, and may not be saved because, though you accepted it was the truth, and though you may be baptized, unless you have submitted yourself to the Lord, your heart may still be following your old sin.

iii. Simon, at the first opportunity to gain his power and notoriety back, his old life, he tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit.
1)     Sometimes, we fall back into old habits
2)     Sometimes, we want to get right with the Lord, but at the first opportunity, we go back to living our old lives.

1)     This is a “Choice” we make, and we will be held accountable for this sin.
2)     When we submit to the Lord, he makes us a NEW CREATURE, and a NEW CREATION!  The scriptures tell us the OLD has passed away!
3)     STOP bringing your Old Dead Self back to life!

b.     Peter answers Simon’s request to buy the power of God
i.        “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!”
ii.     You can never own, or control God or His Holy Spirit.
iii.   He is water, wind, going where He pleases.
c.      Peter continues…
i.        You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.

ii.     How did Peter know this?
1)     Wasn’t Simon accepting the Word, wasn’t he baptized?
2)     BUT, his actions (deeds, works) reflected his heart, which was still corrupt, un-repentant, and non-submissive to the Lord.
3)     He was full of bitterness (because he was not the man of power in the town any more)
4)     He was captive to his sin, because it was controlling his actions and words…
5)     His sin was evident.

iii.   Peter gives him the answer to his dilemma.
1)     Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.


Like Simon, have you heard the Gospel and accepted it as Truth?

Have you been baptized in the name of Jesus Christ?

Now what about your heart? Have you submitted to the Lord and become a NEW CREATION? Has there been a change in you since you turned to the Lord?

Or, are your actions, deeds, works, reflecting what is truly ruling your heart?

Jesus tells us, we cannot serve two masters.

Look at your life today, and ask yourself, who is my master?

If you are not sure, simply look at your life, listen to your words, look at your actions and deeds, it will reveal your heart.

Are you decisions in life based on following Christ, or your own selfish desires?

Simon thought he had it right, he said the words, did the baptism, and yet, was on the broad path that leads to destruction.

Ask yourself right now, “Am I on the narrow path?”

Until you are, you cannot receive the power of the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord, but more so, until you are, you will not have Salvation, but a false sense of hope.

Do not think for a second that God makes provision for those who are unwilling to submit to Him.

God has laid out the plan, paid your admission, and it is up to you to respond properly to His message.

Don’t just say the words, and be baptized, but submit in your heart to the only one who can save you in this present and evil age.

If you are struggling with sin ruling your heart, come forward for prayer.