“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” ~Acts 8:18-19 (NLT)
“Ah…this can’t be for me. Welte musta made a mistake” so I replied to his e-mail anyway. I had been outta The Colony for about 4 years; I had hit a plateau in my walk and was waiting for God to do the next big thing. I shared this Bill Welte as I was making sure he had the right guy for the task that he was asking me to be part of. His reply was classic B.W. “Praise the Lord…now get to work” and in January of 2008 I submitted my first of what would be many Freedom Fighters.
Every time I would submit one (via e-mail) I would write in the body of my letter “Bill, I hope you can use this Freedom Fighter.” As time passed Bill kinda nudged me about my opening line and assured that he trusted my writing but my reply was “But Bill I’m handling the Word of God and I don’t think I should take that lightly.” But here we are 8 years later and by God’s grace I’m still at it. Through it all I have been privileged to examine God’s Word as a good Berean should and I am no closer to understanding our God than I was when I first started…even with all the head knowledge I’ve attained.
I should publish all the Freedom Fighters I’ve written since then but the Gospel was a free gift for me to receive and what will it profit me to gain a few dollars just to see my name in print? Anyway, the point to this is how careful I need to be on thinking myself higher than I ought to. We’re living in time where self-promotion is at an all-time high and in the world of Christianity it’s just as bad. I don’t care what Christian channel you tune in on someone out there is selling what they think is truth…even if it doesn’t align with Scripture.
When the early church was setting itself up it was important to the apostles that what Jesus shared with them maintained its status as truth; boundaries had to made and enforced. When it came to a man named Simon enough was enough. In The Book of Acts, 8th chapter, we encounter Simon. This dude was all kinds of wrong. From a Jewish stand point he’s from Samaria (so that’s bad), practices sorcery (violator of O.T. standards) in front of a live audience and could be basking in the glory of being called someone who is “the Great Power of God”. (Uh-Oh…now that’s a no-no for certain)
But something happens when Philip shows up. Scripture doesn’t credit any miracles to Philip at this moment just that he preaches the Gospel Good News to the people of Samaria. The people believe and are being baptized through the effective preaching of the apostle Philip and Simon is in the crowd, somewhere, realizing that he has it all wrong. So he made his decision to do likewise and he begins to hang out with Philip. Then came the signs, then came the miracles that are attributed to Philip and Simon watched in amazement.
As the story goes on we see that John and Peter come in from Jerusalem. They begin to lay hands on the new believers so that they may receive the Holy Spirit. Now as I look at this happening in Scripture I don’t see that a love offering was taken up first, nor do I see it written “Receive the Holy Spirit for only 5 denari” (maybe if this was Inspiration Channel…oops, shouldn’t have let that slip out, sorry), as a matter of fact, all I see is men being used by God to impart to those believers something that they were missing and it was a free gift…so why would a former “sorcerer” think that this would have a material cost?
I would like to say that he was an idiot but that isn’t very Christ-like (I am thinking it so I guess that’s just as bad). However, the next time I am with you I would like to examine Simon through the words of my boy Matt Henry. He has an interesting spin on the matter that I concur with. But until then ponder on this if you will…Is God’s grace for sell? And if it is do you have what it takes to pay for it? From my viewpoint the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was the price to pay for it. If you want God’s grace you’ll have to make the exchange from what is your life now to what needs to be done to live for Jesus. Simply put…surrender and exchange. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Graduate of The Colony of Mercy 11-2003 and serves on the Deacon Board at Trinity Alliance Church in Cologne NJ.
The Daily Bible Reading: Zech. 13-14, Luke 24:1-35
Think about this: “Think About This: “Happy are they who have reached the end of the road we seek to tread, who are astonished to discover the by no means self-evident truth that grace is costly just because it is the grace of God in Jesus Christ.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths. ~Proverbs 4:11 (NKJV)