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Summary: Part 6 of 6 of the series, Who’s That? Stories of little known people of the Bible. We skip ahead in time for this message into the period of the New Testament. And here in the book of Acts we discover a man who doesn’t like losing control...  

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SIMON THE SORCEROR: BARGAINING WITH GOD

Acts 8:4-25

Read at beginning of service:

Acts 17:22-28 (NIV)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. 24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ’For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ’We are his offspring.’

INTRODUCTION

For the majority of the summer we have been looking at the stories of some little known people of the Bible. It’s hard to believe that we are already on the last Sunday of August! As I’ve mentioned time and time again, the reason why I chose to undertake this study over the summer is because I believe that there are some important lessons that can be learned from the briefly mentioned as well as the often mentioned folk we find in the scriptures. I hope this study has been as challenging for you as it has for me. But more than that, I hope the names of some of these people have stuck in your mind as time goes on.

Of course I’ve also mentioned before that, given the opportunity, I could probably go on for a whole year discovering and preaching on the stories of these people in the Bible. But, I do believe that there will be another time to perhaps pick up this series again. For I know that there are other focuses and other areas God would have us hear.

For the last few weeks I’ve talked about people from the Old Testament – but this week (as I conclude this series) I’d like to take a bit of a leap forward in time and look at one of the little known person’s in the New Testament. His name is Simon and we can find his story in Acts 8:1-25

Read Acts 8:1-25 (with commentary – emphasizing certain parts)

How many of you like getting good bargains? I know I do. In fact there is a certain feeling of accomplishment that is exhilarating to me after working out a good bargain for something I buy. I remember when Chris and Jenny first moved in with us almost 2 years ago and they wanted to buy a freezer. I remember going with Chris to buy one and we noticed that there was a small freezer that fit the bill perfectly only it was a bit more than what Chris was willing to spend. But after looking carefully I noticed that there was a dent in the back. The salesman came along and we managed to get a discount for the dent and then because we said we would be able to take it immediately because we had a truck with us we shaved another $50 off the price. I don’t remember the actual price we paid for that freezer but I remember going home all excited about the "bargain" we had haggled out!!

My mom is a terrific bargain hunter. She is the queen of garage sale hunters. I’m telling you, I’ve seen my mom in action and I feel sorry for the poor folk wanting to earn a decent living selling off their beloved junk. My mom will never pay the asking price for something in a garage sale and she always manages to shave off at least 25% of the cost. When she begins a sentence, "Guess what I found?" You can be sure that she’s about to launch into a description of some incredible bargains she hunted down in the yard sale market.

But then, some of you probably (as I have!) have been at the wrong end of a bargaining deal. Instead of getting a bargain – you’ve felt ripped off! There are a couple of incidences that I remember in my life and one of them is when I bought my first electronic piano keyboard. It was used but when I played it, I fell in love with it. I thought to myself – I’ve got to have this keyboard! I was young at the time and I didn’t have a lot of income and I was also a little bit naïve as to the price of keyboards but the person selling it to me told me that I could pay them in monthly installments without interest. I thought, what a deal. But after making the last payment I happened across a flyer from a music store advertising new keyboards. There was one listed that was equivalent to or even better than the one I had just paid off and yet it was cheaper and brand new. I was ripped off! This and other experiences have made me just a little bit wiser when it came to purchasing what seems to be a bargain.

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