Acts 8:9-11 “But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery (magic) in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the great power of God.’ And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries (magic) for a long time.”
In Acts chapter eight we are privy to a real life
encounter between the power of darkness that flowed through Simon the magician, and the power of light demonstrated through the apostolic anointing that flowed through Simon Peter. Sometimes it takes a real fake to recognize what the real thing is. When I described the power flowing through Simon the magician as fake, I do not mean that his power was not real or that it was not great, what I mean is that it wasn’t from God.
Acts 8:5-8 “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.”
Did Simon Magus really believe that his power was from God? Maybe, but whether he was deceived or complicit in the matter at this time, is not what’s important here. Because when Simon saw the great miracles that flowed out of Philip’s ministry, we are told that he also believed the message that Philip was preaching, He, Simon the magician, was baptized and followed Philip’s ministry.
Acts 8:13 “Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with (follow) Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs that were done.”
The difference between magic and the real thing is that in magic the magician makes you believe something that is not real, through his manipulation of reality, while the real thing is always self-evident. The way it works is, if the magician or sorcerer can make people believe that his power comes from the real God, then the people’s own faith in the real God will heal them, while he, the magician or sorcerer takes credit for the miracles.
So that Simon Magus had no problem recognizing, number one that, the miracles that were flowing out of Philip’s ministry were the real thing, and number two, that Philip had greater abilities than the ones that he, Simon Magus possessed, and that is why he followed Philip.
Acts 8:14-19 “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’”
Here we see what Simon Magus saw from his perspective, the source of Philip’s power came from the laying on of the apostles’ hands. After all, Jesus had told His apostles, “You will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” In Simon Magus thinking, if you can own the source of the power, then you can control it, and give or sell it to whomever you want to. Isn’t that how some ministries try to operate today? Their desire is to control the actions of the Holy Spirit, and in some instances, for the right price or service, the anointing can be given as reward for their faithfulness to their ministry, or so they think.
Acts 8:20 “But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you though that the gift of God could be purchase with money!’”
Peter’s rebuked of Simon Magus establishes once and for all that God’s apostolic anointing cannot be earn nor manipulated, it is a direct result of God’s sovereign calling and empowerment. Which leads me into the reason why I am writing this lesson on the first place.
Revelation 2:2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.”
In the early church there was a flood of ministers that claimed to have the apostolic calling and did not, Simon Magus being one of them. Simon Magus has a long secular history of trickery and manipulation that he perpetrated against the church, while he claimed to be part of it, in spite of Peter’s rebuke against him. That same spirit, whose root is magic, or sorcery, is alive and well today, causing many of the saints to lose heart because of the ways that it manipulates the truth, especially as it pertains to prophecy.
Mark 13:5 “...Take heed that no one deceives you.”
As the return of Jesus draws near, the propaganda and manipulation against God’s prophetic truth is in high gear, as Jesus warned us. The airwaves are filled with so called prophecies of non-biblical origin, that pretend to be in the same, or even in some cases higher level, than that of biblical prophecies. Their intent of course is to equate secular prophecies with true biblical prophecy, so that when the false prophecies fail, people will fill the same way about biblical prophecy.
Recent examples can be found in the end of time predictions that were attributed to the Mayan calendar, which got more credence with secular prophets than any biblical true prophet ever did. The same way with the Nostradamus predictions and the many others put forth, that were in many cases, a manipulation or private interpretation of some old sayings. The most recent case being that of the, I believe, Irish monk of many centuries ago named Malachy, that’s supposed to have predicted the names and order of the pope’s that lived and ruled long after his death. He is supposed to have predicted that the pope that was just installed is to be the last pope before Christ’s return, and that his name was to be, I believe, Peter Romanus, of course the newly elected pope selected to go by the name Francis, so there goes that “prophecy”.
John 8:31-32 “...If you abide in My word, you are My disciples. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
I know that the temptation to go with secular speculation is great, but we must resist it, because it is, simply put, a manipulation of God’s truth, designed for no other reason than that of undermining the veracity of God’s true prophetic words.
Revelation 3:2-3 “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” NIV
We the church, the body of Jesus Christ, are living in what can truly be described as perilous times, for us the church. Which have come as a result of us elevating secular teachings to the same level as God’s biblical truth, and in some cases higher than biblical truths. For instance, many Christians believe that evolution is part of the creation process due to the secular teaching that the earth is billions of years old. If one follows along those lines of trying to appease secularism, then before long you wind up believing that the resurrection from the dead is nothing more than a metaphor instead of a reality.
I wonder how many of those secular humanists have woken up to the reality of hell and then realized that it was too late for them. Wake up! Before is too late for you. In the same way that Simon Magus manipulated truth and made people believe that he was someone great, by the “miracles” that he projected, there are many “miracle” workers today, especially in the scientific arena, that make claims and boasts of things that are nothing more that assumptions based on their distortion of reality. Do you really think that if secular humanists discover something that confirms the truth that the Word of God teaches, that they will tell you? If you do, you do not know the lying ways of devil at all, nor how his manipulative schemes work.
You will not know at what time I will come to you.
The above verse captures the essence of what the lying spirits of this world are trying hard to accomplish. They are hard at work trying to prevent Christians from knowing the signs of the time. Truth and falsehoods can never combine, I mean, lies mix with anything, but truth can never be corrupted. Truth will never endorse a lie. That is what the temptation of Jesus by the devil was all about. Satan was saying to Jesus, if you endorse (worship) me, I will give to you back everything that I stole from Adam and You won’t have to die on the cross to get it.
Well as you know, Jesus who is Truth would not endorse the lie (the devil) even at the cost of dying on the cross for our sins.
So that when Christians entertain the falsehoods and perversions of this world, and try to mix them with the Word of God’s Truth, so that they fit in together nicely, guess what happens, the truth is not in them anymore, and when that happens, they do not have a clue as to what’s coming their way.
1 John 2:4-5 “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, (or stays true to God’s Word) is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (truth will not mix with any form of lies) But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
The only thing that will protect God’s church from the evil time that we are living in, is His pure unvarnished Word, His Truth, and the revelation and enlightenment that they provide to us when we do not compromise His Word.
Look all around you, as a believer, do you yearn for days past when God’s anointing was palpable in so many of His houses of worship. Where has the anointing gone? So many Christians wonder today what happened to it, it left the minute they believed the lie, the second they compromised the truth. Yet that anointing never left the true believers that hold true to God’s Word, however it left with them, as they left their dead churches behind.
1 John 2:20-21 “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know (because you have not compromise God’s truth) all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and (you know as well) that no lie is of the truth.”
It’s true that there is a great deal of contamination out there, and that there are many so called leaders, both secular and in the church, that do not have a clue as to their true spiritual condition.
So, it falls upon us to pray and to interceded on their behalf, let our prayers for them be in accordance with Scripture, Ephesians 5:14. Wake up sleepy heads, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light! My version.
Let us remember that the only thing that is going to keep us from the hour of testing that is soon coming to test all the inhabitants of the world, is our firm belief in the veracity of God’s Infallible Word, and an uncompromising belief in the deity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and His physical resurrection from the dead.
Revelation 3:8/10 “…(you) Have kept My Word, and have not denied My Name (His deity) ...I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell in the earth.”