Summary: Philip & Simon the Sorcerer - The Pure & the Phony – Acts chapter 8 verses 9-25 - sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


A wrong view of self (vs9-11)

A wrong view of salvation (vs 12-13)

A wrong view of the Spirit (vs 14-23)

A wrong view of sin (vs 22-24)



• When architect Sir Christopher Wren;

• Designed the interior of Windsor Town Hall near London in 1689,

• He built a ceiling supported by pillars.

• But he hit a problem – health & safety!

• The civic authorities inspected the building,

• And they decided the ceiling would not stay up with what Wren had constructed;

• So they ordered him to put in some extra pillars.

Now nobody likes their work to be criticized:

• So England's greatest architect knew that the ceiling did not need any more support,

• So he pulled ‘a fast one’.

• He added four pillars that looked the part;

• But actually they don't even reach the ceiling. They were just a little short!

• From the ground they looked like they were supporting the ceiling;

• But it was an optical illusion to fool the civic authorities.

• And even today;

• Those four extra sham pillars fool or amuse many a tourist.


• As a family we have enjoyed a number of holidays in Turkey,

• In a small town called Kalkan.

• Now if you go into the town center and along the sea front shops,

• You will come across a jewelers shop,

• In the window of that shop is a great big sign that says; ‘Genuine Fakes’.

• TRANSITION: Well those two stories might amuse;

• But actually there is nothing funny about being conned!


• There is on the BBC;

• A consumer rights programme called ‘Fake Britain’

• The programme covers various aspects of counterfeiting and its effects on consumers;

• Including dangerous tools, ineffective or dangerous medicines,

• Shoddy goods sold under reputable names, and documents used for identity theft.

• TRANSITION: It is a reminder that there is nothing funny about being conned!

• People get hurt and can often lose a lot of their life savings.

The focus character in today’s passage is a man called Simon.

• Simon is a fake.

• He may look like a watch that has Rolex or a Versace on the outside;

• But on the inside of you removed the cover;

• You would find cheap parts and also probably the words made in China.

Now Simon appeared to have genuine faith and was even baptized;

• Certainly the other Christians in Samaria thought that he was a true believer;

• That is why they baptised him (v 13).

• Now not everyone baptized is a genuine convert;

• I guess it is only the test of time that reveals it,


• The Parable of the Sower (sometimes called the Parable of the Soils);

• Is a parable of Jesus found in Matthew, Mark & Luke’s Gospels.

• In this story, a sower sowed seed on the path, on rocky ground and among thorns,

• And the seed was lost;

• But when the seed fell on good earth it grew, yielding thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.

• To summarize the point of the Parable of the Sower:

• A man’s reception of God’s Word is determined by the condition of his heart.

• A secondary lesson would be salvation is more than a superficial,

• Just because someone might joyfully respond to the gospel message;

• Does not mean that person is genuinely saved;

• In time, someone who is truly saved will go on to prove it.

• TRANSITION: Simon the magician is a good example of this parable;

• He responded to the message joyfully;

• But alas his heart was not right and he was not genuinely converted.

Note: The difference between the pure and the phony:

• The pure:

• When the Samaritans believed they responded to verse 4 the “Preached word”;

• And verse 5: The message of Jesus “Proclaimed the Messiah”

• These people heard the gospel and responded to it.

• Yes it was accompanied by signs and miracles;

• But the emphasizes in these verses is they believed the word and were saved.

• Later on when Peter & John arrived from Jerusalem what did they do:

• Verse 25: “…they further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus”

• The Phony:

• Notice what we are told about Simon (vs 13):

• “…astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw”

• Simon’s faith was not in the Word of God,

• But in the miracles he saw Phillip perform.

• And the emphasis with Simon in these verses is always miracles and never content.


• This is the third time in the book of Acts, in the history of the early Church;

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