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Summary: The key to handling power is to understand what power is - and what power does...

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How to Handle the

Temptations of Power

Acts Series: “Completely Irreligious, Yet Radically Christian” Part 14

Pastor Jeff Christopherson

April 13, 2003

Acts 8:4-25

I. Understand What Power Is:

Power is not neutral.

Power is the potential to create or destroy.

Examples:

• Adam & Eve: They wanted to ‘be’ more…

Damaged their relationship with God.

• King Saul: He wanted to ‘be loved’ more…

Damaged his relationship with his son.

• Jesus’ Disciples: They wanted to ‘have’ more…

Damaged internal relationships.

• Simon the Magician…

II. Understand What Power Does:

The Power of God vs. The Power of Darkness…

A. The Creative Power of God: Acts 8:4-8

1. Points People to Jesus (not to ourselves).

“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.”

2. Meets People’s Needs.

“When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed.”

3. Results in Joy.

“So there was great joy in that city.”

B. The Destructive Power of Darkness: Acts 8:9-13, 18-24

1. Inflates my Ego.

“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, 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.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic.” Acts 8:9-11

2. Prostitutes my Faith.

“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. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw…When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:12-13, 18-19

3. Opposes God.

“Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.” Acts 8:20-22

4. Pollutes my Personality (and my environment).

“For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8:23

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15

III. Since Power is not Neutral,

How can I tap into God’s Power?

A. Discern the Source.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

B. Recognize that God and Satan are not equals.

“He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:13-15


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