Therefore, watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn every one night and day with tears. Warn them about what?
That savage wolves would come in from among you, not sparing the flock. And so it is naive to think that just as happy-go-lucky, you know, yellow brick road to Christianity, you don't have the right, you don't have that luxury to be oblivious to Satan's counterattacks against souls. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Book of Acts.
Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Power to Preach is the title of Pastor Rick's message, and he'll be continuing in Acts Chapter 8 today. Limas, a false prophet that we'll meet in Chapter 13, he was into sorcery, and he did not tolerate Paul, the apostle, coming into his territory, and there was that confrontation, and Paul smote him blind for a period of time. We get to Chapter 19, we come across the sons of Sceva, who also decided that they were going to dip and dab into the spiritual realm.
They were ill-prepared, and they ended up physically with a beating. But there's no indication of Simon doing anything more but then bedazzling the people, making himself to be somebody. And the people said, boy, this guy's impressive. You should see what he could do with a rabbit. And so just keeping that in mind, now you can say, well, could he have been into the occult?
Sure. But I think he was a fraud. He was a phony baloney, and he was getting away with it. And we'll come back to these verses. I'll repeat that, that he is pretending through sleight of hand. Well, I should add, Philip would have really had his hands full if this guy was deep into the dark arts.
So we come to the bottom of Verse 9, that, speaking of Simon, he astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great. And there it is. He's an imposter. Look at me. He's promoting himself.
These people are loving it and making money, I'm sure, from this. Philip preached Christ, and Simon preached himself. One of the big differences between the believer and the make-believer.
Verse 10, to whom they all gave heed from the least to the greatest, saying, this man is the great power of God. Well, that's what Simon wanted. He wanted these people to accept him, and they were mesmerized by what he was doing. And it doesn't detail again for us what he was doing, but let's just say, let's just say he's levitating people. Well, it's going to impress people who don't know that there's, you know, sleight of hand.
I don't think he was levitating anybody. I stick with the rabbit-in-the-hat one, because he doesn't seem to be this great character. And here he is, a self-made village spiritual advisor. You might disagree with that, and that's okay.
I would agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong. Verse 11, just checking on you. And they heeded him because he astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. So again, he's not producing it. He's not healing anybody.
He's just, you know, doing these things. They're looking at it. They can see it. What should have been, they would better have been served had he been preaching truth to them, but there's nothing like that going on. And when Philip comes, it will be the preaching of the word that turns everything around with signs and wonders. The miracle of spiritual truth will defeat these mesmerizing wonders of Simon. The miracle of spiritual truth, and it is a miracle when a soul converts from the world, from the self, from sin to Jesus Christ. When Paul says, faith comes by hearing, you're hearing by the word of God.
It is a miracle. Paul will write to the Ephesians warning them, we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. Well, Ephesus was a huge city to whom he was writing at the time, and he knew that there were men like Simon and far worse than Simon. And he's telling the Christians, don't be wowed by things that aren't true. Stick to the unbroken witness of your scripture that goes back to Adam. Verse 12, but when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. And so whatever it was that Simon was into, it was all shoved aside by truth. Truth shows up and just overcomes. Now we will get to those acts that are into sorcery, into the occult. We will have those that are demonically influenced and possessed, but I don't think that's, again, so much the case here.
Philip's arrival and work notified the people that they were incomplete. Maybe you go to church, you're a churchgoer if that's all you do. You're not family yet. You have to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
You have to recognize that you lack something without them. More than life, you lack salvation, security that comes from Jesus Christ himself. And Philip's arrival notifies the people that, look, you might have Simon and all that stuff, you're still going to hell.
And they're responding to that. Satan says, who wants to be a millionaire? Christ says, who wants to go to heaven? Who wants to be born again? Both men and women were baptized.
There was nothing vague about that. Faith alone and Jesus alone, that's who gets baptized. To be able to say Christ died in my place as me, took my sin, my punishment.
My punishment for my sin, he took it on himself so that I would not have to suffer it. He is the savior, but before he is my savior, he is Lord. He has always been Lord.
He is Lord from eternity past, and he will be Lord into eternity future. Those are the ones that get baptized in water. And if you believe Jesus Christ is that to you, your Lord and your savior, and you have not been baptized, what are you waiting for? Now we do not encourage the youth to get baptized, nor do we discourage them. We only want to be part of the process of a genuine baptism. That they're not saying, well I'm going to get baptized because my friend's getting baptized. So they don't want to create that kind of environment for them.
A lot of people do. You know, you see little four year olds getting baptized, do they really understand what's going on? Because it's part of baptism is you have to understand that Christ is your savior, you are a sinner. What it means to be baptized, what it is preaching, it's a sermon. All you have to do is go to Chop Chop Square in Saudi Arabia and get baptized in that square and find out what happens to you – they'll kill you.
You won't even dry off before they kill you. Because it means something. It means something to hell.
Hell hates deceit. People say I'm lining up with the believers, this is my uniform. This is the army I march with. This is the kingdom that I belong to.
This is where my primary citizenship is. And so if you are a Christian and you love the Lord Jesus Christ, you believe in salvation through Christ alone, faith alone in Christ alone, by the word of God, then you need to get baptized. You need to get with one of the pastors. If I was you, I'd be shoving people aside to get there after service.
No, I would not. But if you do, I'm going to preach about you. Anyway, the early church was very serious about this, where there was conversion, there was baptism. Verse 13, 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. Yeah, because he couldn't duplicate that.
He said, my man, I could do a whole rabbit thing, but I can't do this. It says, then Simon himself also believed. That is what the Bible says. The Bible does not say, but his belief was not genuine. The Calvinist will come back and add that later. We have no right to reject that initial statement from Luke under the Holy Spirit's authority just because he makes this tremendous blunder in a few minutes, well, a few verses. And why should we be surprised that a new convert has a theological error and makes a theological or spiritual faux pas?
Why should we be surprised? Was he supposed to be converted and all of a sudden now he's a theologian? Luke explicitly says Simon believed and that he was baptized. And having introduced Simon as one who was previously into sorcery in verse 9, it connects perfectly. Now, I'm going through this because you have these, you know, study Bibles and other commentaries and you read them and they just slam Simon. And I disagree with them. Just because they write a book or get, you know, get to be part of a book doesn't mean they're automatically right.
That would be kooky. By that logic, every book ever written is of the authority of what is right and wrong. It's looking at it objectively, which I think many well-meaning commentators on certain parts of theology are not objective anymore because they've gotten into a doctrinal camp and they've written books about it and they're not going to leave. Anyway, if the Samaritan's belief was genuine unto salvation, just like it says, then why isn't Simon's also? We have no reason to doubt it. That his faith led to his baptism, was genuine unto his salvation, and it says, and was amazed seeing the miracles and the signs which were done.
So the amazer is now amazed himself. We're not to crave miracles, signs, and wonders as a gateway to faith. We accept that Jesus preached on this. Christ concisely said to Thomas, well, blessed are you, Thomas.
You see it and you got it. But there's going to be others that haven't seen what you have seen, and they're going to believe by faith, and that's what I'm after. Romans 10, again, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
It doesn't say faith comes by seeing and by seeing the miracles of God. I mean, you can't top Pharaoh. Look at the miracles he saw, and it just drove him to his death. Judas Iscariot, he's probably the greatest enigma of them all. What did he see? What did he hear? And still, he goes to hell because he rejects it.
He refuses to be under its authority. Verse 14, and when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. They weren't gullible, were they? These guys, they're in Jerusalem and say, hey, there's a movement of the Spirit up in Samaria. They didn't say, wow, well, if it's popular, it must be God. They were not gullible. They dispatched heavy weights. Do you get any heavier than Peter and John? You do not among men.
That's the top of the line. They sent them to either authenticate the work or condemn it. Again, this being popular is not enough to be accepted. Beloved, John writes, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets have gone into the world. There was an infestation of false prophets in the early days of Christianity as there seems to be even now. And so the guarding against counterfeits, they dispatched these two heavy weights. To get to the bottom of this is not enough to make converts. That's not enough. You must post guards. You must stand watch.
You must be aware of counter attacks. Paul said, therefore watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn every one night and day with tears. Warn them about what? That savage wolves would come in from among you, not sparing the flock. And so it is naive to think that just as happy go lucky, you know, yellow brick road to Christianity. You don't have the right, you don't have that luxury to be oblivious to Satan's counter attacks against souls. If once you become saved, those foreign influences have to be dealt with when you come into the kingdom. And when you come into the kingdom of God, you've got to find out how do they live.
What is the law? You know, when in the kingdom, do as those in the kingdom. When in Rome, do as those as in Rome.
It's proverbial and it's wise and it's also neglected very much. You know, what if you went to a new church, which I know you wouldn't do if you attend here. But just to say, you went to a church, wouldn't you say, well, I'm going to do like everybody else is doing. They're sitting in the pews, they're not standing on their heads, so I'm not going to stand on my head. So, but this is, this is not, this is not practice, but I'm not going to take an opportunity to use my pulpit to slam those that do it.
Too late. Anyway, may we remember that basic law and that applies for everyone. You don't just go somewhere and just start behaving like, you know, okay, I'm here now and this is what Simon, what's going to get him in trouble. Verse 15. Who when he had come down, prayed for them that he might receive the Holy Spirit.
So I need to probably put, keep that in context, 14 and 18 together. Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, that they sent Peter and John to them, who when they had come down, verse 15, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. A lot of stuff going on here. The apostles come down and they discern that there's salvation here, that these people are baptized, and yet they're still lacking something. They're lacking a personal Pentecost. They've had a personal Calvary experience. They've come to the cross, they've dealt with their sins.
They've even publicly announced that they've done this in the water of baptism. But there's another part of Christianity still available to them and they're missing it. And the apostles pick up on that.
There's no mention of Philip catching that. There's a difference between being a believer who admires God, admires salvation, admires the word of God, believes and is saved, versus a believer who also admires but also adores. It's on another level. It's passionate about God's word. Passionate about salvation. I've met believers. They believe Jesus Christ as Savior.
There's no one else. But they have no passion. There's no fire in them to reach lost souls. There's nothing in there to stand up and protest against Satan's lies. That person has not been immersed in the Spirit. They're not talking about salvation. We'll open that a little bit more.
And here's a lot of commentators. Here's where we begin to part. And I don't want to spend too much time on that because many preach it. No, there's no third experience. There are three facets that belong to Christianity. One is when Christ draws you to Him through the Holy Spirit. You become a Christian. When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit is in you.
You are saved. And then there's that next experience that now not only is He in you, but He's flowing out from you. And that's what they're lacking. And this is what this is about. This is what we're being taught. You can't say, well, that was back from the apostolic age. Oh, this is today too. Verse 16, for as yet He had not fallen upon, for as yet He had fallen upon none of them.
They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Saved? Yes. Filled? Yes. Overflowing? No.
A third experience of the Holy Spirit. Again, objected to by some, well-meaning Christians and Christian authorities. And I don't, those that don't agree with me on this, I don't think less of them. I just think they're wrong on this point. Well, 15 years ago, I would have hated their guts. No, I would not.
I just would not have wanted to read anything about them. But I've learned. I've matured a little bit at my pace, which is not very fast.
But anyhow, they have matured on the outside a lot, but not so much on the inside. They were believers. They had been baptized, which means the Holy Spirit was in them. Acts chapter 2, Peter said, repent that every one of you may be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Okay, that happened. Then Peter says, and you shall receive the Holy, you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Well, these haven't gotten there yet. They did when Peter preached to the Jews, but the Samaritans aren't there.
And there's a reason why. Again, it is one thing to have the Holy Spirit in you. Doing the inward work of conforming you into the image of Christ. Every believer gets that.
The decency, the righteousness, the desire to please God. But it's another thing to have the Spirit again, bursting forth, looking for opportunity to share. I don't mean, you know, jamming the gospel down people's throat or, you know, sneaking tracts into their sandwiches, stuff like that. That's not being led by the Holy Spirit.
We, you know, the Jehovah Witnesses are out there thinking that they're, you know, knocking on doors and therefore they're doing everything right, but there's no leading of the Spirit in that. Even the apostles did not do it that way. Anyway, coming back to this, this is what they were receiving, the releasing of the Spirit of God to go forward. Jesus said this in John chapter 7, he who believes in me as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. So when you meet a Christian, we get to them in chapter, I think it's 19, we get to Ephesus, we get to Christians that we haven't even heard of the Holy Spirit.
And Paul discerned that and of course the things then change. So, he who believes in me as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow living waters, verse 17, then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit affirms that the Samaritans are believers now also, fully, just like the Jews, exciting them in their faith. Salvation again is one thing, but to be able to have a desire to get others to be saved, that's another thing. There is a distinct interval of time between the new converts being converted and baptized and the coming of the Holy Spirit into their lives and that's very interesting.
And as I mentioned, that happens in chapter 19. They're already believers, but there's this long period of time before they enter into this third experience. Here, it seems that the Holy Spirit is delayed in his filling because he wants the apostles to introduce it. I do believe that Peter and John are sent up, the Holy Spirit overseeing this, because it must have their stamp of approval in the initial phases.
This is transitional. Matthew 18, 18, Jesus speaking to Peter, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. These are the kings of the kingdom, what belongs to that. I don't have time to get into all of it, but here's where Peter's actually, it's in Matthew 16, but Peter's getting the keys. Here in Matthew 18, this is the authority to administer church discipline and authority in the apostles. And so it is important to note that the Samaritans did not receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when they believe. Philip, who was empowered to perform miracles, was not able to impart, to lay hands on them and give them this third experience in the Spirit. First experience of the Holy Spirit, he draws us to him. Second experience, we become saved.
Third experience, we are filled to overflow. So when Jesus says to Peter, I give you the keys of the kingdom, we see Peter the one unlocking the filling of the Spirit to the Jews in chapter 2, to the mixed Samaritans here in chapter 8, and then in chapter 10 to the Gentiles. It's Peter each time unlocking this transition from Judaism and non-Christianity into Christianity with the Holy Spirit.
He is unlocking doors and he is confirming it. I don't want to get too far ahead, but no Christian should feel like they are a second-class citizen, whether they have been filled with the Spirit or not. Once you believe in Christ, you are a citizen of heaven.
But there's still more. Romans chapter 1, for I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. And that's what we see happening in Acts chapter 2, chapter 8, and chapter 10, this progression that all the people are being drawn in equally to salvation.
And this should excite us. But I want to go back to these three experiences from the scripture. John chapter 14, Jesus speaking, I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that is the Holy Spirit, that He may abide with you. Now that Greek word for with, that preposition is para, coming alongside of the Spirit of truth, verse 17 of John 14, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him, but you know Him, for He dwells with you. Now that preposition, en in the Greek, en, and will be in you. That preposition, that promise, He will be.
He's with you, He's in you, but He's not yet overflowing from you. That's what Jesus is saying. And that Greek word, that preposition in the Greek is epi. It means everything because when we get to chapter 8, we read, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
Epi, there's that preposition again. And you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Philip is a witness in Samaria. He is filled with the Holy Spirit, is flowing out of him, epi. All three experiences have been captured.
One to woo you to Christ, the other to bring you to Christ to make you perform, shape us into the image of Christ, 2 Corinthians 3 13, where we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the Spirit of the Lord. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, today's teaching is available free of charge at our website. Simply visit crossreferenceradio.com. That's crossreferenceradio.com. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can subscribe at crossreferenceradio.com or simply search for Cross Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app. Tune in next time as Pastor Rick continues teaching through the book of Acts, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
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