Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
“The Great Pretender” Acts 8:9-25
In the first eight verses of chapter 8 we saw revival come to Samaria as Philip the Evangelist preached the good news of Jesus Christ. Miracles were performed, souls saved.
Just a few verses in and we see that wherever God sends genuine revival, Satan attempts to send counterfeit revival. For example: John the Baptist preached a message that centered on repentance, saying “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
Repent is defined as a change of mind which leads to change of life.
When I got saved, I didn’t continue to walk and talk the same way because God gave me a new heart, new desires, and pointed me in a new direction!
The idea that you can be genuinely saved and not turn from sin, is foreign to the Bible.
2 Cor. 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
When the Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized, John the Baptist saw they had not repented of their sins, and there was no evidence they had been truly converted. The evidence clearly shown by their lifestyle was just as wicked as it had always been.
That’s why we read in, Matthew 3:7-8
“But when he [John] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:”
In other words John was calling them a bunch of fakes or pretenders!
And the truth is that where there is the real thing, Satan will plant counterfeits. He is able to make them look real.
It’s a shame but true that if the Rapture occurs during church time it really does not matter how deep the foundation of the church is, there will be some sitting, wondering, scratching their heads. There will be some left behind!
In the book and the movie “Left Behind” it was a pastor who got left behind! He had a title but no real relationship with Jesus.
The same thing also happened in the ministry of Paul.
False teachers had come in and were leading people astray, saying they had divine authority, even declaring themselves to be above the apostles, which was false. They claimed to be true servants of God, but were they were nothing more than impostors or pretenders.
[2 Cor 11:13-14 NKJV] “13 For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”
Did you know that for everything God has, Satan has a counterfeit?
Here is Satan’s counterfeit gospel:
[Gal 1:6-9 NKJV] “6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”
[Rom 10:3 NKJV] “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.”
There is a huge difference between righteousness and self-righteousness!
The prophet Isaiah says in: [Isa 64:6 NKJV] “But we are all like an unclean [thing], And all our righteousnesses [are] like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.”
[Rev 2:9 NLT] “I know about your suffering and your poverty--but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan.”
They gather in buildings locally and all over the world today, thinking they know the true and living God, without ever realizing they bow before Satan himself!
It may be politically correct, but it’s dead wrong to say “we all call God by different names, but we mean the same thing!”
[2Pe 2:1 NIV] “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.”
Some do some things in the name of Jesus, but what they do is contrary to the Word of God. Some of those healing services. One guy is nothing more than a comedian, who spends more time making fun of those who don’t act like him, etc.