False Belief

Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
0 ratings
· 1 view


Simon was a man of great pride. He had celebrity status in Samaria. So much so that he was thought of as a god. He himself was claiming to be someone great. As a result all the people were giving him attention. He was highly regarded for what he did. He was the David Copperfield or Houdini of Samaria.
He loved the attention that he was getting from the people of Samaria and was welcoming of what people believed about him. I find it interesting that he gained the people’s attention through deception and trickery of the magical arts.
It is also believed that it was Simon that began the false doctrine of Gnosticism. It is s doctrine of secret wisdom. It is one that states that if you have the wisdom of Charles the Gnostic then you will be closer to God. It is a false doctrine that has its root in pride. Simon was a man of great pride.
I agree with what John Macarthur says: Pride is a universal and deadly sin. It is the most characteristic and controlling sin in all human fallenness. Pride is an easy sin to indulge in, since it does not entail the loss of public reputation, prestige, health, or wealth associated with other socially unacceptable sins. Pride, in fact, has been redefined as a virtue. Sinful pride often masquerades under seemingly upright motives. In Herod, it masked itself as integrity and beheaded John the Baptist. In the Pharisees, it masked itself as holiness and rejected the Holy One. Among the Jewish authorities, it masked itself as zeal for God and executed the Son of God.
Pride cost man Eden, and the fallen angels heaven. It doomed Sodom and Gomorrah. It cost Nebuchadnezzar his reason, Rehoboam his kingdom, Uzziah his health, and Haman his life.
John F. MacArthur Jr., Acts, vol. 1, MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 241.
Pride is a deadly sin that most all people have. We desire to be better than others. We think we are better than others. When it comes to intellect, physical, monetary, beauty, or anything else that we leverage to present ourselves as better than someone else for the purpose of elevating our own self-image is pride.
Muhammad Ali, the great Boxer was never known for being a kind person. Once he was on an airplane and he often said, “I'm the greatest.” The airhostesses looked at him and saw he didn't have his seatbelt fastened. She said to him, “Mr. Ali, you'll have to fasten your seatbelt.” Ali responded, “Superman don't need seatbelt.” The hostess then replied, “Superman don't need airplane either.”
The great theologian Charles Spurgeon once said:
“O you self-righteous people, how can you talk about being saved? What saving do you want? You are as full of good works as you can be and your pride shines—how can you be saved? Those who are saved by Jesus are those who are in themselves lost, ruined and undone. Until you know your ruin, and confess your sin, it is not likely you will ever accept a Savior. While you feel you can save yourselves, you will attempt it; but when you can do no more, then you will fall into the arms of your Savior; and what a blessed fall that will be!”
It is true that without a proper view of ourselves that we will be captured by pride. When we see ourselves as dependent on the Lord we are most powerful. When we see ourselves as dependent on ourselves we are most weak.
Unfortunately we live in a society that sees pride as a virtue. We give honor to those that have the title GOAT. We look at people like Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Marilyn Monroe, Kim Kardashion and Kanye West, Justin Beiber, Joel Olsteen, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates as people that are better than everyone else. They are just people that have obtained what the world describes as the greatest and best for what they have done. I will not deny that they have accomplished great things in the eyes of the world, but what have they done for the King?
Our eternal value is not determined by what we do. It is determined by who’s we are! You can accomplish the greatest feats of all time, but what does that matter when you die? You may have records on the books or buildings with your name on it, but it doesn’t mean anything to the person once they are gone. What matters to the person when they are gone is what they did with Jesus.

False Belief

The word of God says that after hearing the gospel through the preaching of Philipp, Simon believed and was baptised. Based on what most believe today, they would say Simon was saved. However, we must question what Simon believed. Based on what we will see later in this chapter he did not believe in following Jesus, but he believed he would be blessed and receive more power to elevate himself.
He watched what Philipp was able to do and was amazed at the power of the Holy Spirit. Philipp was able to do things that he was not able to do with his magic. He wanted to learn how to do what Philipp was doing.
When the apostles came down and began laying hands on people and distributing the Holy Spirit, Simon thought this was his opportunity to be the GOAT. He offered money to the apostles for the ability to give the Holy Spirit to people.
Before we move on we must address the why the apostles had to come and lay hands on the Samarians to receive the Holy Spirit and why they didn’t receive it when they believed in Jesus. John MacArthur explains it this way:

Why did the Samaritans (and later the Gentiles) have to wait for the apostles before receiving the Spirit? For centuries, the Samaritans and the Jews had been bitter rivals. If the Samaritans had received the Spirit independent of the Jerusalem church, that rift would have been perpetuated. There could well have been two separate churches, a Jewish church and a Samaritan church. But God had designed one church, in which “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female,” but “all [are] one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

By delaying the Spirit’s coming until Peter and John arrived, God preserved the unity of the church. The apostles needed to see for themselves, and give firsthand testimony to the Jerusalem church, that the Spirit came upon the Samaritans. The Samaritans also needed to learn that they were subject to apostolic authority. The Jewish believers and the Samaritans were thus linked together into one body.

In essence the unity of the church at this time took precedence over the reception of the individual reception of the Holy Spirit. The church in it’s early days could not afford to be divided between a Jewish church and a Gentile Church. The church had to be one. This is why the gentile church needed the apostles to come and give the Holy Spirit.
Division in the church is not good. We see this today. We have many different denominations. I believe this weakens the church. If the church is more interested in doctrinal accuracy to the point of creating a new denomination rather than be united and recognizing the differences and staying united as the church. When we focus on what we agree on rather than what we disagree on we will be stronger. I actually see church division as an element of pride. “I am right and you are wrong.” attitude.
Now let’s get back to false belief. What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Unfortunately many people believe that it means salvation. In other words, “ I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins so I don,t have to go to hell but instead can go to heaven.” So a person will walk an isle say a prayer and get baptized and believe they are saved. This is a Simon belief because all this person desires is to go to heaven. If they have no desire to make Jesus Lord of their life then they are not saved.
Luke 6:46 NASB95
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
A true believer makes Jesus Lord of their life and does what Jesus says. It is a radical change in your life. You are no longer your own. You become a bondservant to Jesus Christ. He has total authority in your life.
John 14:15 NASB95
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
A true believer loves Jesus and knows and follows His commandments. True belief results in the following of Jesus.

False Repentance

When Peter confronted Simon regarding his offer to pay for the Holy Spirit, Peter was brutally honest with Simon. Acts 8:20-23
Acts 8:20–23 (NASB95)
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 no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. “For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”
Simon was not saved because his heart was not right. He desired Jesus for what he could get rather than what He could do for Jesus. His heart of pride led him to try to achieve God status through his wealth.
Peter told him that he was in the “gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” He had not been forgiven or released from his sin because his heart was still full of pride.
Peter told him to repent of his wickedness and he could be forgiven. Simon told Peter to pray for him because he was not willing to ask for forgiveness and have a heart change.
Folks, if we want to believe that we are Christians and live like the world than we have deceived ourselves. We are to be set apart for the purposes of Christ. This entails making Loving Jesus and making Him the priority in our lives. This will result in obeying his commandments and doing what He says.
If you are not or do not know, I would love to have the opportunity to share how to begin your relationship with Jesus Christ. It begins with repentance and faith. It is establish in sanctification. It is fulfilled in glorification.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more