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Bobby Stafford The Gospel Comes To Samaria Acts 8:5-25 Lesson 21       

The Book of Acts

The Gospel Comes to Samaria

Introduction:

Not too long after the beginning of the church in Jerusalem, a great persecution arose against it.  (Acts 8:1) “Now Saul was consenting to his death.  At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”  NKJV  This began with the stoning of Stephen.  Those Christians scattered throughout Judea and Samaria went preaching the word.  (Acts 8:4) “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.”  NKJV  The Bible records the preaching of one of these, Philip.  Read Acts 6:5. “And the saying pleased the whole multitude.  And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,” NKJV

Text:  Acts 8:5-25

Body:

I.  Christ Is Preached in Samaria  (Acts 8:5-8) “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.  And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.  And there was great joy in that city.”  NKJV

·  The Samaritans lived in an area between Galilee and Judea.  They originated during the days of the Babylonian captivity.  While large numbers of Jews were carried into Babylon, some remained in Palestine.  People from other countries were brought into Palestine and these Gentiles intermarried with the Jews.  The resulting race was the Samaritans – part Jew, part Gentile.  The Jews and the Gentiles hated each other.  (John 4:9) “Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”  NKJV

·  “Went down from Jerusalem” It was the highest point in the country.  Philip began proclaiming Christ which included such things as His death and resurrection, His reigning from heaven, and His return one day.

·  Philip performed miracles to validate what He was preaching.  These miracles included casting out demons.  Demons are ruled by Satan and will one day be cast into hell.  (Revelation 20:10) “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.  And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”  NKJV  Demon possession was limited to the time of Christ and the apostles.  In letters of the New Testament written to Christians, there is no mention of demon possession.

·  Multitudes in Samaria responded to the preaching of the word.  See John 4:5, 35. “So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  35Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’  Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” NKJV 

II.  A Magician Is Converted  (Acts 8:9-13) “But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the great power of God.’  And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.  But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.  Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.” NKJV

·  Simon, the magician, fooled people with illusions.  At this period of time, magic secrets were closely guarded and handed down from generation to generation.  Usually these magicians claimed they possessed some mystical power.  Simon apparently was a very accomplished magician because many believed that he had great power.  He was a charlatan who no doubt used his abilities to get money.  “Simony” is the buying and selling of a church office.  People today claim to perform miracles and are believed to have special power.  People believe what they want to believe:  astrology, psychics, New Age.

·  Philip came performing “real” miracles, not “fake” ones like Simon.  We see proclaiming Christ included His Kingdom.  Baptism was the entrance into that kingdom.

·  Simon also believed and was baptized just like the Samaritans. 

III.  Miraculous Gifts Come to the Samaritans  (Acts 8:14-25) “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.  For as yet He had fallen upon none of them.  They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.  And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’  But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!  You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.  For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.’  Then Simon answered and said, ‘Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.’  So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.” NKJV

·  The apostles Peter and John came down from Jerusalem to bestow upon these Christians the ability to perform miracles.  These were needed since the New Testament had not yet been completed.  (I Corinthians 13:8-10) “Love never fails.  But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” NKJV

·  Simon made a big mistake.  (Acts 8:18b-19a) “he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also,”  Only the apostles could impart miraculous gifts.  This power could not be bought!  Simon wanted to be like an apostle.  Peter replied, “May your silver go with you into eternal destruction.”  His heart was crooked before God.  This shows a child of God can fall back in sin and be lost.  (II Peter 2:20-22) “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.  But it has happened to them according to the true proverb:  ‘A dog returns to his own vomit, and, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire’ ” NKJV

·  Repentance and prayer were Simon’s only hope.  Bitterness was poisoning his heart and he was being enslaved by sin.  (I Corinthians 10:12) “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”  NKJV  Simon desired the apostles also to pray for him.  (James 5:16) “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  NKJV  

 Conclusion:

Our text reveals the “Two Laws of Pardon” for the alien sinner and the erring child of God.  The alien sinner is told to believe, repent, confess, and be immersed.  The erring child of God must repent and pray to God for forgiveness.

 

Bobby Stafford 
September 20, 2015 
Acts:  Lesson 21  Acts 8:5-25

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