Book of Acts Chapter 8 Part 2
Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere they go. Today, we hope to conclude our discussions of the preaching in Samaria and start discussing the preaching on the Gaza Road.
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Read Acts 8:18-25
1. The Preaching in Samaria (8:4-25). When Simon saw the power of God, he wanted to buy it. But he received a stern rebuke for his misdirected heart in this section of the book of Acts. Simon seems to repent. The Apostles go back to Jerusalem.
- Buying the power of God. Notice in vss. 18-19 of this section of the book of Acts that Simon wanted to buy the power that he saw.
On one hand, when the Spirit of God is doing great things, it is so impressive that one should want to buy it. The strange thing in today’s churches is that there is little going on that anyone wants to buy.
This may be a product of so few people letting God do a great work in and through their lives. On the other hand, the power of God is not for sale.
The focus in the church is to be on receiving and using the power that God gives us for His glory, instead of on trying to buy the power. Let’s work on letting God use us to do His work, instead of trying to buy the power of God.
An example that comes to mind, in the local church, is that too often we are tempted to let big givers sit in seats that they have not demonstrated the Christian maturity to sit.
Giving $15,000 a year to a church is not the only qualification of being a deacon or trustee. However, with this kind of giving, maybe we should make him the manger of the generous giving club (smile).
- Godly discipline. Notice in vss. 20-23 of this section of the book of Acts that Simon is rebuked.
In order for the church to be a place of decency and order that glorifies God, by its attempt to live by faith, there is a need for some discipline.
Some people will keep on doing the wrong thing until they receive discipline. Some people are not as wicked as they are ignorant. Therefore, the church must provide both teaching for the ignorant and rebuke for the wicked.
And then the church must understand that even when our loved ones are the ones being rebuked that we should learn to pray for God’s will to be done, instead of trying to protect our loved ones from godly rebuke.
Plan A should be for us to live right, so we don’t need discipline. However, let’s support godly discipline when such is being applied. If sin is not dealt with, punishment is not far behind.
- Genuine repentance. Notice in vs. 24 of the book of Acts that Simon gives some evidence of repentance. He asks for the leaders to pray for mercy to be shown towards him.
There are commentators who doubt Simon’s true repentance. The truth is we may never know. What we do know is that where there is true repentance, there is a serious effort to live by the will of God.
Even when there is failure, there is an attempt to seek forgiveness and do better the next time. Where there is continued sin with no effort to stop and not even a crisis of conscious, there is no real repentance.
More than trying to discern Simon’s level of genuine repentance, let’s make sure we have genuinely repented.
Make sure you have enough evidence for God to be satisfied that you have turned from trying to save yourself in other ways than accepting Jesus as your savior by faith.
Show God that you have turned to a lifelong pursuit of denying and dedicating yourself to following divine directions.
- Witnesses everywhere we go. Notice in vs. 25 that Peter and John preached along their journey back to Jerusalem. Remember that a key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere they go.
Although we are not all pulpit preachers, and even though pulpit preachers ought not to preach in a pulpit without permission, we can all be witnesses wherever we go.
Let’s make sure we are witnesses for the Lord everywhere we go. We should have a life style that attracts questions about our positive attitude. And to such inquiries we should share the salvation and satisfaction found in Jesus.
Read Acts 8:26-30
2. The Preaching on the Gaza Road (8:26-40). We see in this section of the book of Acts that Philip followed the angel of the Lord's instructions about where to preach.
He came across an Ethiopian official. Philip both helped the man understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ and baptized him. After which, Philip seems to miraculously get transported to Azotus (az-oh’-tuss), where he continued preaching as he traveled.
- Hearing and obeying God. Notice in vss. 26, 29 of this section of the book of Acts that the Lord told Philip where to go, and Philip went.
In the first case, there is the usage of an angel of the Lord. In the second case, the Spirit is used. Let’s be open to hearing and obeying God’s will about where we are to be and what we are to do.
The best way to hear God’s voice is to prayerfully study and obey His word. However, God often speaks through the leaders He has placed in our lives – Pastors, husbands, parents, boss on our jobs, leader in our community, etc.
It is not strange for God to call us to move. When our lives are exactly the same today, as they have been for the last ten years, we may want to revisit our level of listening to the voice of the Lord and obeying it.
- God’s use of people of color. Notice in vs. 27 of this section of the book of Acts that the eunuch was an Ethiopian. A eunuch is often a castrated man who often served as a guard or caretaker of a harem.
However, there are occasions, according to commentators, when the term is simply referring to a high governmental official who has not been castrated.
Ethiopia is in eastern Africa. There has always been a large group of people with brown or at least beige skin in Africa.
It is a gross miscarriage of accuracy to suggest that all of the people in Ethiopia, Egypt, and northern Africa were as pale as Charleston Hesston.
This matter is so important because too many Blacks have too much self hatred. They and many others (i.e., Blacks and Whites) think all White is right and all Black is bad.
This notion is reinforced by the faulty impression that only Whites were found in the Bible. Let’s allow the long history of God’s relationship with people of color to inspire our continued discipleship.
God has done and continues to do great things through people of color. We don’t need to try to be like anyone else. We should strive to be who God is calling us to be.
God is using Black, Brown, White, and Yellow skinned people to do a great work for Him. We mess things up, when we try to be a copy, instead of the original that God has made us to be.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will
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