“But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps He will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.” ~Acts 8:20-23 (NLT)
There are so many dangers to consider when you feel inspired enough to spread the Gospel. There are some who think themselves not scholarly enough to share the Good News but they have to do it outta obedience to Christ. The injustice here is that your own doubt may come out in your testimony and therefore can make you unbelievable. Then we got those whose zeal is off the scale and they share so much that their listeners only see a height that can’t be reached. Then we got those who sauce it down just enough to make profitable even to the point of blurring truth with self-help, “Just buy my book and attend my conference and I’ll show you how this works.” To quote a polite British phrase…POPPYCOCK!!
The last time I was with you I was sharing some things about a guy named Simon. We can read about him in the 8th chapter of Acts. He starts off a “wizard” but encounters Philip and becomes a follower of…Philip. Oh he does hear the Gospel Good News of Jesus Christ but his focus turns from the Cross to the apostles and what they are doing. When I got to the part in Scripture where Simon offers to pay for the gift of the Holy Spirit I was like “What is this dude thinking?” Now to be honest I use to look at this as a poor soul who thought grace could be bought with worldly things but a recent digging into this reveal something different to me and that is the sin of Self-Exaltation.
With a little help from my boy, Matt Henry, we can see just how crazy this all gets. To start with when he saw the act of laying hands Simon musta said to himself, “This is a new magic I am missing out on and I want it” and it went on to expose what he thought of himself…being on an equal plane with the apostles. Simon didn’t even think to ask to have hands laid upon him and as Matt wrote, “He was ambitious to have the honor of an apostle, but not at all solicitous to have the spirit and disposition of a Christian. He was more desirous to gain honor to himself than to do good to others.” (and the choir sang, “How great I art, how great I art”)
The next few things are like insults to the missionary work that was being done by the apostles. Simon treated Philip, John and Peter as if they were “mercenaries” that did miracles for money (as much as we don’t see it in Scripture) and “The Way” gave validity to the so-called “magic” that Simon had practiced. Matt gives this observation, “He showed that, like Balaam, he aimed at the rewards of divination; for he would not have offered money for this power if he had not hoped to get money by it.” Matt and I both agree on this, he showed that he had a very high conceit of himself and that he had never his heart truly humbled.
Like I was saying in my previous Freedom Fighter I need to be careful that I don’t think more highly of myself than I ought. I praise God that I received the privileged gift that has me striving to rightly divide His word but with the snap of His fingers it can be taken away just as fast and I can be feeding the pigs, wanting to eat their slop because I sang along with the choir, “How Great I Art”.
It is my hope that you already know this and that I have just preached this to THE CHOIR but for those that miss this lesson in Scripture (or worse, have chosen to ignore it) may the words of Peter penetrate your heart, repent and pray that this be taken from you. Self-Exaltation will make you a slave of you and should not be viewed as a by-product of the cost of discipleship. It should be viewed as the cost of disobedience and a continued separation from a God who very much wants you to stay in the flock. 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: Psalm 7; Proverbs 7
Click Here to Download our 2016 Daily Bible Reading Plan
Think About This: “Happy are they who, knowing that grace, can live in the world without being of it, who, by following Jesus Christ, are so assured or their heavenly citizenship that they are truly free to live their lives in this world.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.”~Proverbs 3:26 (NKJV)