Summary: If you want to get right with God, you had better humble yourself!
1. Listen to this true story: "My father began teaching business classes at the local prison through a community college. On his first night of class, he started a chapter on banking. During the course of his lecture, the subject of ATMs came up, and he mentioned that, on average, most machines contain only about $1,500 at a given time.
"Just then a man in the back raised his hand. ’I’m not trying to be disrespectful,’ he told my father, ’but the machine I robbed had about $5,000 in it.’" Reader’s Digest
2. Sometimes we learn best by experience. And that’s how it is with humility. Sometimes we have to humbled the hard way, by experience; this reduces our tendency to overestimate our importance.
3. A magician by the name of Simon had a problem with a lust for greatness and recognition. He learned -- through error -- that God’s way is the way of humility.
Main Idea: If you want to get right with God, you had better humble yourself!
I. Simon and the Samaritans HUMBLE Themselves (9-25)
A. Simon the Sorcerer BELIEVES (9-13)
1. His "pre-existing condition" -- an influential magician and manipulator; lots of baggage
2. Believes despite his sinful lifestyle: he tricked others, perhaps claiming Messiah
3. His conversion took great humbling of himself
4. Simon had to give up being in the spotlight
B. The Holy Spirit is Given to the SAMARITANS (14-17)
1. I wonder what the discussion would have been like among the Apostles when they heard that many Samaritans believed?
3. Note the bad track record the apostles had before Pentecost! Luke 9:51-56, "As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village."
4. Why this ordeal? The reason the apostles had to lay their hands on this group was to unite the Samaritan believers with the church in Jerusalem
5. no regular pattern in Acts. Paul received the Holy Spirit not by the laying on of Apostolic hands, but by a laymen’s hands, Ananias. In other instances in Acts, crowds received the Holy Spirit automatically after baptism and before baptism. There is no regular pattern in Acts, because Acts is a book of transition. It is description, not prescription.
6. Note that John and Peter were sent by the Apostles. Peter was not the head of the church; the apostles, as a group, made decisions based upon how their head, Jesus Christ, led. Later, in Acts 15, it was the apostle and elders who sought to discern God’s will.
7. Jesus originally told His disciples to only preach to the Jewish people. Note Matthew 10:5-7, "These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ’Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: "The kingdom of heaven is near.’""
8. Matthew 16:18-19, "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
9. Acts 15:7-8, "After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us."
C. Simon’s Quest for POWER Leads to Sin (18-23)
1. He wants to continue a life of having power and attention; Simon was a big shot who "astonished" others before these people were won to Christ; he wants to be a big shot now that they are converted.
2. Sometimes following Christ means giving up glory, and that can be a steep price.
3. Peter felt no hesitation to condemn Simon and urges him to repent
4. Repentance doesn’t end with salvation, it begins there
5. Just because one gets right with God does not mean his life and attitudes have been straightened out…that takes time
D. Simon HUMBLES Himself (24-25)
1. God did not strike Simon down, therefore he repented