Simon was a sorcerer, a practitioner of the occult, from the city of Samaria. It was in Samaria where the apostle Philip preached a revival that resulted in the conversion of a tremendous number of people in that city believing the gospel message and becoming Christians.
Simon was a man who had been mired in the world of mysticism but when he heard the dynamic preaching of Philip, one of The Twelve, he believed the gospel message of Jesus and was baptized. He left the sin of the demonic supernatural world behind. When he saw the signs and miracles that were done through Philip’s anointed Spirit-filled revivals, he was in utter amazement and began to follow the evangelist.
Up to this point in the story, Simon is an amazing and inspiring account of conversion. His is a story that many people could relate to today.
When the word of the revival and the conversions in Samaria reached the rest of the apostles, Simon Peter and John traveled to Samaria to further teach the new believers. When they arrived, another revival broke out as the two apostles laid hands on the new converts and they were baptized in Holy Spirit.
I can only imagine the power of the Holy Spirit in those meetings!
When Simon saw that through the laying on hands, the Holy Spirit fell upon believers, he went to Peter and John, offered them money and said,
Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:19
Fast forward two thousand years.
In my physical mailbox and my email inbox, I have begun to receive invitations to attend a variety of schools taught by well-known contemporary evangelists and sponsored by popular churches. The schools include schools of prophecy, schools of healing and schools of impartation. These “invitations” come with hefty price tags of several hundred dollars. As I researched the website links of these schools, I find that many are completely sold out.
Back to our story.
Did Peter and John take Simon’s money and teach him how he, too, could lay hands on people so that they would receive their healing, be released from demonic possession and oppression, receive the gift of prophecy and the baptism in the Holy Spirit? Let us look carefully at Peter’s response in Acts 8:20-23.
May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that He may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.
Sometimes, in our zeal, exuberance and our hunger for a deeper walk with the Lord, we fall easy prey to charlatans who seek to sell the gifts of the Spirit for profit.
Evidently these schools are the newest trend in the evangelical movement and I know many people who have attended and had wonderful experiences, come home singing the praises of the teachers and preachers who sold them the gifts.
My friend, think carefully before you write that check and remember the story of Simon the Sorcerer.
You may not agree with me on this issue and that is certainly your right. But as a watchman, I am called to issue the warning. Let the words of Apostle Paul ring true:
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed — not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence — continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12
May you be richly blessed today and if I don’t meet you again here, I hope to meet you over there!