Summary: Simon the Magician looked pretty good. But his behavior after his "conversion" experience left a lot to be desired. We can find some pretty clear characterisitcs of those who look like believers, but are not.
Passage: Acts 8:9-25
Intro: Researchers in Denmark have discovered how one of the deadliest known toxins invades and kills human cells.
1. it is the toxin that causes diseases like diphtheria, cholera and pneumonia.
Il) read from news release
2. since Satan is a great counterfeiter, it should come as no surprise that he would seek to infect the church in the same way.
3. great joy when someone comes to Christ, but if this passage teaches anything, it is that some can look the part, but be unchanged.
4. this penetration of the gospel into Samaria had a great deal of emotional baggage.
5. Samaritans were descendants of Northern Kingdom of Israel, which broke from Judah after Solomon died.
6. in to captivity to Assyria, came back and established center of worship with their own temple near Mt. Gerizim. Destroyed in 128 B.C.
7. both Jews and Samaritans thought they were superior, argued over version of Pentateuch, Temple location.
8. so to them, a guy like Simon was great!
9. he convinced them of their closeness to God, because he had power. (deceptive)
10. but as we saw last week, a different power came from Jerusalem in the form of Philip, and it was a power that overcame what Simon could not.
11. great evangelistic response, many believed and were baptized.
12. in light of religious conflict, a tremendous miracle. Even Simon believed and was baptized.
13. but this passage is a powerful example of the words of Jesus
PP Matthew 7:21
14. the church needs to be aware that there are false believers.
15. and we also need to be aware that if we see these signs in ourselves consistently, we might be as well.
1) Stuck on Signs and Wonders.
1. signs and wonders are part of the evangelistic plan. Jesus did them.
2. but notice something in v13. That’s where Simon got stuck.
3. after profession and baptism, Simon followed Philip around, fascinated by the miracles.
4. professional interest?
5. form of same word in v9 about peoples amazement with Simons miracles.
6. word=”to cause one to be beside oneself.”
7. Simon’s “faith” was in the miracles,
PP John 2:23-25
8. the signs point to Christ, but the faith is in Christ, not the signs.
9. some people today follow a preacher because of signs. Where is the gospel?
2) Non-Comprehension of Spiritual Realities
1. Peter and John made the 30 miles journey after hearing.
2. 1 week at least between event and their arrival seems reasonable.
3. gave Holy Spirit. Not a second blessing, but a unifying experience between these two groups who did not trust each other.
4. notice Simon’s response to the giving and receiving of the Spirit in v18-19
5. blind to spiritual nature of the event, focused on the only thing he could see.
6. like some onlookers at 1st Pentecost
PP Acts 2:13
7. Simon says, “I’d like to be able to make people have that experience”, probably speaking in tongues.
8. the non-believer cannot understand spiritual realities.
9. interesting that Simon is mentioned as believing and being baptized, but is only listed as an observer of the receiving the Spirit.