Intro: Sorcerers and magicians had a great deal of influence within the history of Israel (idolatry), as well as the days of the early church. They did all kinds of healings, astrological readings and teachings, and they performed “miracles” that amazed many people into believing all these powers came from God; but, they did not. If you remember about King Saul in the Old Testament, he was rejected by the Lord for consulting a diviner and practicing the sin of divination—occultism—trying to gain power, abilities, knowledge apart from Creator God. The practice of divination produces deception in the soul and this causes people to reject the true wisdom of God. Dabbling in divination is poison for mind. Even today people go to fortune-tellers, engage in tarot card readings, and seek mediums to consult the dead, but this is not something believers do because it is NOT harmless. The spirit realm is real and not all angelic beings are holy—don’t open that door!
In our passage for today, Simon is a diviner or sorcerer; he has boasted about his abilities and “his” great power. People had been following Simon, because they thought he might be the Messiah. Then, Philip shows up preaching the Kingdom of God and the crucifixion of the Messiah to bring salvation. The people who had been following Simon decide to turn and follow Jesus; in fact, they asked Philip to baptize them. Even Simon says he believes and is baptized.
News travels as the gospel is expanded, so Peter and John travel from Jerusalem to Samaria to observe the power of the Spirit at work. Up to this point the Holy Spirit had only been poured out for pure Jews. When the apostles arrive and see the work of the Spirit through these Gentiles, they lay their hands on some of these new believers and they receive the Holy Spirit. Simon wants the power of the Spirit, too, but rather than submit himself to the authority of Christ and reject the sin of divination he offers to “buy” the power. Does everything have a price? According to Scripture, the answer is “No!”
Acts 8:18-24 (TPT) 18 When Simon saw how the Holy Spirit was released through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he approached them and offered them money, 19 saying, “I want this power too. I’m willing to pay you for the anointing [authority] that you have, so that I also can lay my hands on everyone to receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 Peter rebuked him and said, “Your money will go with you to destruction! How could you even think that you could purchase God’s supernatural gift with money? 21 You will never have this gift or take part in this ministry [no portion in this faith/word], for your heart is not right with God. 22 Repent this moment for allowing such wickedness to fill you. Plead with the Lord that perhaps he would forgive you the treachery of your heart. 23 For I discern that jealous envy [bitter anger] has poisoned you and binds you as a captive to sin.”
24 Simon begged, “Peter, please pray to God for me. Plead with him so that nothing you just said over me may come to pass!”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the Truth you continue to pour into your children through your Word. We know we are not to engage in divination. You have offered to give us the wisdom we need; all we need to do is ask. You have given us your Spirit, so we can know the Truth. Continue to minister to our hearts, Father, because as your children we want to take part in your anointed ministry. In Jesus’ name. Amen.