Good Intentions, Good Doctrine - Acts 8:9-25 NIV
Christianity is not just about saying right prayer or being baptized. What we believe matters. How we live matters!
#1 - Never underestimate the ___________________ .
“Simon had practiced sorcery [and] is called the Great Power of God... Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere.” Acts 8:9,10,13 NIV
Even the sorcerer wanted to know more. Maybe was authentic. Certainly motivated him! Followed Phillip as Phillip followed Christ. NOT ONLY...
“They believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.” Acts 8:12a NIV
#2 - ____________ follows ______________ .
An important thing for us to note here. This is why we baptize adults.
"When they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news, they were baptized." Acts 8:12 NIV
"Simon himself believed and was baptized." Acts 1:13a NIV
I appreciate because there is no one who can look into the heart of a man or woman to know if they are authentic or not besides God. Phillip baptized Simon, giving him the benefit of the doubt. Should we do same?
#3 - __________________ is an important follow-up to salvation.
“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.” Acts 8:14 NIV
We will see this follow-up activity several times in Acts. Is this work of Phillip good? Are the people he is winning to the faith authentic? What do they believe? How are they living their lives? What we believe and what we do with what we believe matters!
Paul to Timothy: “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Tim. 4:16 NIV
Notice both: (1) watch your doctrine - what you believe; (2) watch your life - what you do with what you believe. "If you do... you will save..." Not a works salvation, but a plan to stay on the right course and not veer off.
#4 - Receiving the __________ is important part of receiving the gospel.
“When [Peter and John] arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them.” Acts 8:15-16a NIV
There is no such thing as becoming a Christ-follower and NOT also receiving t he Holy Spirit. Without Christ's Spirit we do not have the power to live the Christian life. We don't have the communication channel open for prayer. We see this action of the believers receiving the Holy Spirit 5 different times throughout the book of Acts.
Yet, these new believers didn't know this. We can only conclude it must be because Phillip had not instructed them about this. How could this be?
(1) It's early in the life of the church. The whole point of studying Acts is to see how these early Christians figured out what was most important.
Also (2) Phillip is an evangelist, and not a teacher of doctrine. In other words, his gift was evangelist. He was so positive and enthusiastic about this new Christian faith people naturally were drawn to him and Christ.
#5 - Christ grants different _____________ . Do I know mine?
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature.” Ephesians 4:11-13a NIV
Notice that Christ gave different spiritual gifts to different people. Here in today's passage specifically we note that God gave the gift of apostleship to Peter and John and the gift of evangelist to Phillip.
Not every one receives the same gifts.
No one receives all the gifts.
All the gifts are necessary in the life of the church.
What was the objective?
(1) unity in the faith,
(2) knowledge of the Son,
Critical that people not just be won to Jesus but also experience authentic Christianity (Holy Spirit filled)...
"They had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit." Acts 8:16b-17 NIV
Without Peter and John these new believers would have gone forward attempting to live the Christian life without the power of the Holy Spirit. But without Phillip, Peter and John would not have had these new Samaritan Christians to provide correct doctrine to.
#6 - Expect _____________ in doctrine from new Christ-followers...
“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he 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 8:18-19 NIV
New Christians really are baby Christians. They are newborn in the Spirit. Born again, Born from above. No one expects babies to get everything right the first time. Much patience and grace to raise children. Babies fall down. But they get back up. Toddlers make mistakes of attitude and will and control and have to go into "time-out". But they don't stay there - either in time-out or with a forever immature attitude, will or control. They mature. They grow up. They grow strong. They reproduce themselves and raise children of their own.
So here at Church Requel, we understand that about new baby Christians. We're patient and full of grace. We recognize that mistakes in actions, mistakes in beliefs, mistakes in doctrine. BUT...
#7 - But don't allow mistakes in doctrine to go _______________.
“Peter answered: '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.'” Acts 8:20-22aNIV
Notice what Peter didn't say: "No problem. You didn't know any better. I need not to judge you. We're both sinners. You're covered by God's grace." NO!
"May your money PERISH with you!" "You have NO PART in this ministry." "Your heart is NOT RIGHT before God." Peter minced no niceties upon Simon. This Christianity is not something to be bought and sold and used for your own private enterprise! You are wrong to do this!
In a single word what Peter said to him was "REPENT!" Here's our question for the day. Which approach is truly the more loving? To just abide the mistake because, after all, he had the right intention OR to leave no room for the mistake and tell Simon the truth. Isn't the second really the more loving approach? Wouldn't any truly loving parent do the same? This is why we are working our way through Scripture one verse at a time, to receive true Christian doctrine that we might live rightly.