The first ten chapters of the Book of Acts contains two strange and tragic incidents. Ananias and Sapphira, a married couple, lied to the Holy Spirit about their gift of land for the care for the needy and died (Acts 5). Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8) sought to use the gift of the Holy Spirit to manipulate other people and to exalt himself.
In one sense these are strange stories. In another sense they are not strange at all. If Satan cannot attack the church effectively from outside the church by persecution, he will attack from within by people with ungodly motives and desires. This seems to be his plan of attack in many churches in America.
Simon sought to use the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit is not to be used but obeyed.
When Philip went to a city of Samaria with the gospel, a multitude of people believed (Acts 8:1-25). This included Simon a magician who saw himself as great and who may have been worshiped as a god. He desired the ability to lay on hands and give the Holy Spirit. He wanted power, status, and wealth.
Peter rebuked him as one might rebuke an unbeliever.
Was Simon saved when he believed and was baptized?
This event helps us understand the doctrine of salvation.
Simon believed and was baptized but he did not believe to salvation. He believed as many people seem to believe. They believe the truth of Scripture and the events of Scripture, but they do not submit their heart and lives to God. Simon liked the power and prestige of the Gospel not the life change necessary to be know Christ in His fullness.
We see this all the time in people who are actually part of the church. They have been baptized in water but never baptized with the Holy Spirit as John the Baptist promised.
Simon did not repent of his sin, and he had no heart change. By the discernment of the Holy Spirit, Peter described his vile and bitter heart.
How can we make sure we don’t have the experience of Simon?
First, let God look deep into your heart and soul. Ask Him to show you what you need to do to fully experience Him.
Second, confess your sin and ask God to forgive you.
Third, renounce your sinful life and turn yourself totally to Him.
Finally, find a Godly, trusted person to share your experience with. Ask this person to pray with and encourage you in your walk of faith.
Seek God in Scripture and prayer, and get deeply involved in the ministry of helping other people follow the same process of opening their lives completely to God.
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