Subject: Heart Trouble In The Church
Text: Acts 8:9-24
Introduction: Up to this point, the early church had experienced its empowerment, which brought signs, wonders and miracles, and rapid growth. In chapter seven, it suffered its first martyr, Stephen. Saul kept the coats of those who stoned Stephen and watched as Stephen prayed for his enemies. Instead of the church being stopped, the church was strengthened and increased. Somehow God used Saul to cause the church to scatter. The disciples were forced to spread out, leave Jerusalem and take the gospel to surrounding area. Philip who was one of seven that was selected to wait on tables, went to Samaria. Philip preached Christ unto them, his life, death and resurrection. God worked with Philip confirming the word with signs following, many believed and were baptized, demons were cast out, the palsy was healed, and the lame walked. The Bible says, “there was great joy in the city.”
We have witnessed Power in the Church, Persecution of the Church, Corruption within the Church, Problems inside the Church, the First Martyr of the Church and now Heart Trouble in the Church. The hearts of the people of Samaria were changed by the word of God. One of the most notable converts was a man named Simon Magus. Simon was a sorcerer, who had bewitched the city of Samaria, giving out himself as some great one. The entire city gave heed to Simon, and was held under his spell. But when Simon heard the preaching of Philip, Simon also believed and was baptized.
I have titled this message heart trouble because Simon had a problem that was hard to detect. Most heart attack victims seem to doing well only moments before, then out of the blue, chest pains begin. Sometimes spiritually, the same thing happens. A person may receive Christ as his Savior and a journey filled peace and joy. He feels like he’s on top of the world singing, “Ain’t going to let nobody turn me around”. Some people say that Simon was not really saved, but let’s consider the scriptural evidence. I believe a person can be saved, but still have heart trouble. They can be saved but still have some issues.
1. You Can Be Saved, but still have Heart Trouble - Ac 8:9-13 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”
The Bible said, Simon believed and was baptized, then Simon closed his business and continued with Philip. Then when Peter and John came down, Philip received the Holy Spirit through the laying in of the apostles’ hands. But still he had heart trouble.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Adam Clark’s Commentary says of the heart that “the heart is full of windings. It even hides itself from itself; so that its owner does not know it. A corrupt heart is the worst enemy the fallen creature can have; it is full of evil devices,-of deceit, of folly, and abomination, and its owner knows not what is in him till it boils over, and is often past remedy before the evil is perceived. Therefore trust not in man, whose purposes are continually changing, and who is actuated only by motives of self-interest.” You see you can be saved but still have heart trouble. Secondly, most heart trouble develops from an underlying problem.
2. Heart Trouble Often Develops From An Underlying Problems - Ac 8:14-19 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
Physically, medical doctors caution us about our blood pressure, cholesterol, stress and the like, they call them silent killers. Spiritually, we have conditions in our life that lie dormant until an opportunity presents itself and to our surprise we find ourselves in the middle of a crisis.
Simon had been the main man so long, following Philip was not satisfactory to him; before he was in the spotlight, doing wonders, receiving praising and gifts of appreciation. He thought that it was all behind him, but as soon as he saw an opportunity to redeem himself and continue in a similar way as before. He offered them money and tried to buy the gift of God. Simon was so ambitious to possess this power peculiar to the apostles, he offer money for it. His sin was not that he desired this power, but that he sought to buy it. He sought to make merchandise of it. It is easy to identify Simon’s sin as the sin of greed and the desire for glory. But the sin is typical of the many old habits that often show up and attempt to drag us back into bondage.
Satan has a way of allowing us to have a selective memory. We only remember the pleasure and not the pain. When God led Israel out of Egypt, how often they said, let us choose us a captain and return to Egypt. Although they given manna everyday and did not even have to work for it, they desired the flesh pots of Egypt. King David, a man after God’s own heart fell into sin when the right opportunity presented itself. Ps 51:10 David prays in repentance, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Although David was a man after God own heart, there was something unclean and wrong in his heart. Even disciples, who had been called to be fishers of men, after Jesus had been gone only ten days, the old desire of fishing surfaced again, and Peter said, “I go a Fishing.” Maybe some of you can remember catching yourself doing something you never thought you would do again. You may even have questioned yourself, “What in the world was I thinking.” “I must have been out of my mind.”
3. God Has a Remedy for Heart Trouble - Ac 8:20-25 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
The Remedy for Simon’s Heart Trouble begins with confrontation and his thinking. I THANK FOR THE PETERS OF LIFE, (1) because we need to be confronted when we get caught up in the crazy of life (2) Simon’s thinking was wrong. His mind needed to be renewed. Ro 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (3) Simon needs to repent of his wickedness and pray that God will forgive the thought of his heart. And finally, (4) he must solicit the prayers of others to help him overcome his sinfulness.
It is hard for us to compare ourselves with a man like Simon who was so thoroughly exposed and confronted in this text, but each of us may have experienced a little heart trouble, and we found ourselves saying or doing something that surprised even ourselves. When you came to yourself and said, “What was I thinking?” Like Simon, our spiritual heart trouble begins in our mind. We can never be over-comers until (1) we renew our minds with the word of God. (2) repent of our wicked ways, bad attitudes, unforgiveness, envy, strife and any thing else not pleasing in God’s sight. (3) pray for yourself, spend time with God, desiring to be everything He desires us to be and finally, (4) solicit the prayers of others to overcome.
When Peter confronted Simon, Simon was forced to face the real issues of his life and he dealt with his sin. When the prophet Nathan confronted King David, David was forced to face the real issues of his life, he dealt with his sin. Today’s society seems to try to avoid dealing with the real issues of life. Sin must be confronted, repented of, forsaken which make forgiveness possible. David knew how to get right with God…..
Ps 51:10-13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
Ps 139:23,24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.