Summary: This sermon is based on a man in Acts 8 who the people of the city referred to as "The Great Power." This sermon demostrates how the real "Great Power" is the Spirit of God!
The Great Power
May 5, 2002
A. Today, we come to a couple of stories about a man whom the people in the city called "The Great Power."
B. As we come to the teaching of the Word, I want to ask us to bow very meditatively and sing the first two verses #278 "Open My Eyes, that I May See" as a prayer to God that He would prepare, open, and soften our hearts to hear what He has to say to us this morning.
I. The Preliminary Story
A. Simon, "the divine power"
Acts 8:9-11, 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, 10 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." 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic.
1. Simon was a magician. He boasted about himself and his abilities.
2. Simon thought he was someone great.
3. Now I need to make it clear that this is NOT the kind of magic that we think of when we think of magic; this is the real kind of magic.
a. When we see magicians today, it is usually slight of hand; the-hand-is-quicker-than-the-eye sort of thing.
b. But Simon practiced sorcery, magic, witchcraft.
5. The Bible does indeed teach that this sort of thing is real.
a. But God made it clear that believers in Christ are to stay away from those things.
b. Believers are supposed to stay away from witches, sorcerers, astrologers, mediums, horoscopes and the like.
c. Why? Not because it is not real, but because it is real.
d. And because the realness of that power is not from God, but from the other side.
e. THAT’S why we are to stay away from those kinds of things.
6. Now the truth is that many of those who practice such things today don’t really have any special power, but some do.
7. But even those who don’t, are still evil.
a. Why? Because they get us to put our faith and trust in something other than God.
b. Why do people consult horoscopes?
c. Probably not because there is some magical power, but because they don’t pray about the future and simply leave the future in His hands, trusting Him to work it out for the best.
8. Simon was a real sorcerer who practiced real magic.
a. He had real powers.
b. That is why the people were amazed and bewitched by him and they called him "the divine power" or "The Great Power."
c. The very real power that Simon had was the reason the people gave him their attention.
9. However, we know and understand that that is exactly what Satan wanted the people to think.
10. Satan wanted the people to think that Simon had power from God; but the truth is that he had power from Satan.
11. Simon was full of Satan and he was full of himself, and they called him the great power.
B. Philip, "the divine servant"
Acts 8:12-13, 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. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
1. Now Philip comes to town.
2. Philip is an interesting contrast to Simon.
a. Philip has divine power, but there is no mentioning of anyone calling him the divine power.
b. Philip has great power, but no one is calling him the great power.
c. There is no mentioning of Philip boasting about himself or thinking he was great.
d. Philip did not come to town to draw attention to himself, he came to preach the name of Jesus.
e. Philip was one of the seven chosen to take care of the widows and was known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.
f. Philip had divine power: the Holy Spirit. Philip had great power: the HS.
g. But Philip was not drawing attention to himself, but to God.
h. Philip did not see himself as someone great; he saw God as someone great.
i. Philip did not boast about himself; he boasted about God.
j. Philip was not the divine power, but a divine servant.
k. Philip was there to bring glory to God, not to himself.
3. And look at what happened: SIMON got saved.
a. Philip preached the good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus.
b. Simon was astonished by the great signs and miracles that Philip preformed.