Simon Seeks and is Denied the "Spiritual” Gift of Healing

My sheep hear my voice and come to me! Someone once asked a banker how he trained his staff to recognize counterfeit notes: The banker said, that’s simple, I have them handling the real thing all day, so when a counterfeit note comes into their hands, they know immediately. (Lou … More

Counterfeits
Wherever God sows His true believers, Satan sows his counterfeits. Satan’s tool in this passage was a sorcerer named Simon. He practiced witchcraft, and because of his ability to exercise control over nature and people through his demonic power, many people thought he was great (vv. 9-11).

When Philip came along preaching Christ it was evident that he was empowered by God, and that Simon started to lose his following. Many of the Samaritans listened to Philip’s messages, believed on Jesus Christ, were born again, and as evidence were baptized (v. 12). Simon seeing this great miracle, and perhaps fearful of losing his following, offered to buy this power, thinking it would enhance his sorcery. In fact he even professed to believe, and was baptized (v. 13). However, it appears that his faith was not in the Word of God, but in the miracles he saw Philip perform.

We know very little about Philip, but he was one of the architects of the Christian Church. We must note what Christianity brought to these people:

  • It brought the story of Jesus, the message of the love of God in Jesus Christ.
  • It brought healing. Christianity has never been a faith of words only.
  • It brought, as a natural consequence, a joy that the Samaritans had never known before. Counterfeit Christianity brings an atmosphere of gloom; the real thing radiates joy. 

When Peter and John arrived on the scene they saw the true state of Simon’s heart, and told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to repent of his wickedness (vv. 14-25). Simon, perhaps fearful of Peter and afraid of the consequences of his own behavior, did ask Peter to pray for him. However, it appears that he was more concerned about avoiding judgment then in getting right with God. There is no evidence that he repented and sought forgiveness.

Application

We have just seen how close a person can come to salvation, and still not be truly saved. Simon heard the Gospel, saw the miracles, gave a profession of faith in Christ, and was baptized, but not born again. This helps me to not try to give other people’s testimony, but let them give their own.

Acts 8:9-25 (English Standard Version)

But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the power of God that is called Great." And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me." Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.

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