Summary: If our hearts are right with God, we have an active part in the ministry of God.
The Heart of a Minister
Intro: A number of questions arise from this passage. Why hadn’t the Samaritans received the HS under Philip’s ministry? When the apostles laid hands on them and prayed that they would receive the HS, what happened? When the Samaritans received the HS, was it the same as in Acts 2:4, where they all were filled with the HS and spoke in tongues? What physical response did Simon see that prompted him to try and buy the ability to impart the HS? I may answer some of these in today’s message. If I miss some, or leave other unanswered questions in your mind, please come and talk to me. I will do my best to help shed light on the passage.
-When Simon tried to buy this power, Peter told him he had no part or share in this ministry. That made me wonder, “What does it take to have a part or share in God’s ministry?” Well, I think we can find the answer in our passage of Scripture. In fact, the Bible tells us that every Christian should be a minister – not just those who are called clergy. Let me state the main idea as clearly as I know how:
Prop: If our hearts are right with God, we have an active part in the ministry of God.
Interrogative: If that is true, what can we learn from Simon’s example? What would it have taken for Simon to have become a partner in God’s ministry?
TS: I’d like to unwrap four requirements that we should all consider as we seek to do our part in God’s ministry.
I. God’s Ministers Must not Exploit His Presence
-When we come to God in faith, believing that what Jesus did by dying and coming back to life was enough to provide for our forgiveness, God makes His home in us. His life merges with our lives, making us new and giving us grace and power to do what He wants. As we set out to live our lives for Him, we must always remember that being a Christian is about having a relationship with God. He is always with us, so we can talk to Him at any time, and He will speak to us in our hearts. There is a language of the heart that God uses to speak to us. You might call it a spiritual language, because it is only understood by those whose spirits have been made alive by God. This communication we have with the living God is the primary means by which we keep our lives in step with who He is and what He wants us to do.
-Out of this relationship flows a spiritual power. God the Holy Spirit lives within us, giving us the power to live right and to tell others about the love of Jesus. If we ever come to a place where we bypass or neglect our relationship with God, and try to use His power for our own personal gain, then we will find ourselves in Simon’s shoes. God never intended to impart power apart from relationship. Why? Because He knows we need to stay close to Him in order to use His power appropriately.
-It is possible for any of us to fall into this trap. Whenever we start to think that it’s all about us, then we are in danger of abusing God’s power and exploiting His presence.
-Sometimes there may be a fine line between serving God and serving ourselves. I have preached about the miraculous, because I believe that God wants to work miracles in people’s lives. He wants to show them that He loves them and that He can be trusted with their lives. I sincerely believe that miracles are supposed to play a huge role in sharing the gospel with others. However, if my relationship with God suffers, then my motives will likely suffer. And, I may find myself using God’s power to build up my own little kingdom or sideshow. We dare not prostitute the presence of God!
-God’s presence may be given and shared with others, but never sold for personal benefit. Whenever God’s grace is sold, it loses its value. Why? Because it becomes all about the person, rather than about God. What it does is it puts us in a place where we are using God and we are using His people to get what we want. God is holy and awesome and will not allow Himself to become someone’s sideshow.
-Now it’s easy to be real hard on Simon, but I’m not sure he really knew anything different. In his line of work, he had likely paid large sums of money to other sorcerers to learn their magical formulas. Then he would charge people a fee when he used his dark magic for them. Simon thought the power of God worked the same way. However, Peter let him know that God’s power was not about having a right formula; rather, it was about having a right heart before God.