Two very different characters 'believe' the good news, with very different results. Which one describes you?
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Acts 8 Summary
Stephen's execution sets off a great persecution led by Saul which scattered the new believers all over the region. It's ironic that even in his attempts to squash the Church Saul ends up spreading the gospel message, as those who were scattered went about preaching the word (v4).
We also see an interesting new dynamic unfold in the story of Simon. Not all who believed in the good news were truly converted. From start to finish, Simon is portrayed as a character interested only in himself and how the power of Christ could materially benefit him.
Phillip, one of the seven along with Stephen who was appointed a deacon, plays a big role in this chapter. He preached the words that Simon heard, and he's supernaturally brought into place by the Holy Spirit to explain the gospel to the traveling Ethiopian government official. Not surprisingly, the method Phillip used here is the primary method the Church is still to use in converting sinners: expository preaching; that is, reading scripture, then explaining how that passage points to Christ.
I think that Simon belongs to one of the most tragic classes of Bible characters: one that is so close to understanding the truth, but doesn't really seem to grasp it.
Was he truly converted, or was he just going through the motions? We read that he tries to buy the ability to dole out the Holy Spirit because he recognizes the business opportunity of a lifetime.
Did Simon actually repent when confronted by Peter, or did he just want to avoid the consequences? Simon is a pathetic character, a guy for whom it's impossible to tell if he was truly a believer, or was just in the Christian crowd.
Compare Simon & the Ethiopian, who enthusiastically asked to be baptized and went away rejoicing at his newly found salvation.
Meditate on the story of Simon today. Will people know that you're truly a believer, or will they wonder if you just hang out with the Christian crowd?
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is the King of the universe who saves us in the name of Jesus Christ (v12)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask that 'your heart be made right before God (v21)'
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: