Monday, March 10, 2008

Acts: Simon (8:9-24)

The story of Simon in Acts 8 is a picture of someone who believes and yet is not saved. The error of many evangelicals today is to simplify the Gospel too much. While it is a simple message, it is not easy to accept. It is not enough to merely believe that Jesus was the Son of God and died for the sins of the world. His death must be accepted and applied to one’s life through the repentance of sin and the surrender to Christ’s Lordship.
Simon was a magician. It might be assumed that he was acquainted with supernatural power, both in the following and respect he had, and in the easy way he accepted what Philip was saying about Jesus. The problem is, Simon never saw the sin in his own life that he needed to change, and he never turned his life over to God.
As a result, when Simon saw John and Peter confirming the conversions in Samaria, he thought that the power he was witnessing was something he could buy. He believed in Jesus because he saw the evidence, but he did not see the implications. He saw Christianity as just another tool in the magician’s belt for making money and acquiring power.
There are places in the world today where Christianity is simply a popular or culturally acceptable thing to do. There are “Christians” today who merely believe what the Bible says and think they have a “get out of Hell free” card or some form of “fire insurance.” Don’t ever present the Gospel as an easy escape from the punishment of sin. It is a life-changing surrender of control to God, a complete submission. Don’t try to sell Christianity as just another self-help program. Christ actually promised more hard times and suffering than health and wealth to His followers.

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