Sunday School Material 10-4-15: Simon is Rebuked

(Acts 8:9-24; 10/4/15)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Simon is rebuked for ungodly motives. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to live by godly motives.

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Read Acts 8:9-13

I. Simon’s Salvation. In our Sunday School material a man named Simon was a noted sorcerer. Many people followed him. However, when Philip preached about Jesus, the people began to follow Philip and the gospel. In fact, Simon was baptized and followed Philip.

Applications –

- God is greater. Notice in vss. 9-10 that Simon had some kind of power outside the power given by God. In like manner, there are evil/ungodly forces in this world.

On one hand, we thank God that they are no match for the power, wisdom, and love of God. On the other hand, we should not be unaware of their presence. The devil and evil spirits are real.

Let’s live as if we trust that God is greater than the ungodly spirits that live in this world. Such living should be known for prayerfully studying and obeying God’s will for us to love Him and others, as we love ourselves.

- Helping people switch. Notice in vss. 10-12 that people tend to follow after those things that they believe serve their interests. Notice in the Sunday School material when the people were ignorant of the gospel, they followed Simon.

When they became aware of the gospel, they followed the gospel.  As believers, we are called to help people see that the gospel serves their interests and needs better than the things of this world.

Let’s work on helping people to see that the gospel is better for them than the things of this world.

One of the greatest signs that we can display, as a means of giving authority to what we say, is our loving one another (see Jn. 13:34-35).

- Simon can be saved. Notice in vs. 13 that Simon believes and is baptized. There are some who doubt if Simon was really converted. The truth is we may never know. But thank God, people like Simon can be saved and need to be saved.

Let’s minister to people like Simon with the understanding that God can save them, if they would truly believe on the substitute payment of Jesus Christ.

Read Acts 8:14-17

II. Apostles’ Actions. The church in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to minister to the people in Samaria, where Philip was ministering. Peter and John prayed for the people. The people received the same Holy Spirit who was poured out in Jerusalem.

Applications –

- Unity in the Spirit. Notice in vss. 14-17 that the Apostles were used in regard to the people receiving the Holy Spirit. One way of understanding this Sunday School material is to think of the story showing us that the same Holy Spirit who was poured out on the believers in Jerusalem is now being received by those in Samaria.

The purpose of the story is to show that there is only one Holy Spirit and He is moving in an orderly fashion in the Church of Jesus Christ. Whether this is a proper understanding of the text or not, we should agree that every believer receives the Holy Spirit, when we accept Jesus as our savior by faith.

We should also agree that we should behave as if we are all recipients of the same Holy Spirit. We are members of the same body. Let’s work on living like we are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit as every other believer.

Such living should be known for confidence in the Spirit’s working in us and serious effort being given to getting along with especially other believers.

Read Acts 8:18-24

III. Simon’s Sin. Simon was so amazed by the Apostles’ ability to pray for people and the people receive the Holy Spirit that he offered to buy the power. In our Sunday School material. 

Peter rebuked Simon because of his ungodly heart. Simon asked Peter to pray for him, so he could avoid any punishment.

Applications –

- Right motives. Notice in vss. 18-21 that Simon asked for a good thing but for a bad reason. His motives or thinking were wrong. In like manner, we should work on making sure that our motives and thinking are in line with God’s will. It is not enough to do right.

We are called to do right for the right reason. The right reason for all that we do should be that we want to bring glory to God, by obeying His will and trusting Him for the results. Let’s work on doing right for the right reason (i.e., make sure our motives and thinking are in line with God’s will).

- Repentance. Notice in vss. 22-24 of our Sunday School material that repentance was the proper response to discovering that we are wrong. In like manner, whenever we discover that our thinking and/or our actions are wrong, we should repent.

We should turn to God’s will from our own will. When our repentance is real, there will be both words and deeds to support our claim of repentance. Let’s work on repenting, when we discover that we are wrong.

Repentance is a part of the growing process. We prayerfully study God’s word, discover His will for our lives, and we repent of what we want to do and obey His will.

Conclusion: Let’s work on living by godly motives. God has much for those who obey His will.

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