Scattered Seeds: Acts 8 (4)
Pray Psalm 40.4, 5.
Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
Sing Psalm 40.4, 5.
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
Blessed are all who trust in You, turning both from lies and pride
.Countless wonders, Lord, You do, and Your thoughts with us abide.
Lord, Your worth who can declare? None with You can e’er compare.
Read Acts 8.1-25; meditate on verses 14-25.
1. What did Simon hope to acquire?
2. How did Peter respond to his request?
The apostles had come down to Samaria from Jerusalem to verify and validate the work of Philip and the others. The Lord withheld the outpouring of the Spirit until their arrival because He wanted there to be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this new stage in the ongoing work of Christ, beyond Israel to the Samaritans, was as valid as what had happened in Jerusalem (vv. 14-17). The advance of the Kingdom is always the work of the Spirit.
Simon was seeing his new experience through old, self-centered eyes (vv. 18, 19); but he learned quickly that this was a new order, a new kind of experience and Kingdom, and the power of God could not be bought and sold. This is because it is realspiritual power, bestowed not bought, and not just the hocus-pocus employed for impressing men and making a fast buck.
Peter’s rebuke stung Simon to the soul and awakened him to the truth of his self-centered ways (vv. 20-23). His response to Peter’s rebuke – including the fear of judgment against his sins – suggests to me that he was truly contrite (v. 24).
Now in the dispersal stage, the Gospel spread to the Samaritan nation (v. 25) – a prelude to chapter 10 and the bringing of the Good News to the Gentiles (which is itself a prelude to chapters 13-28). The Lord’s ongoing work continues to unfold according to His promise, and all this is merely the portent of more amazing things to come.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“The advance of the Kingdom is always the work of the Spirit.”
And the Holy Spirit works the way He works.
There is no conjuring up of Him or His power.
There is no purchase price for Him, or His work.
There is nothing any person can ever do to activate this power.
Only the Spirit works the Spirit.
As Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn. 3.5-8).
And as Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…” (Eph. 1.13).
And then a word of warning from the writer of the book of Hebrews about this gift of the Holy Spirit:“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6.4-6).
The Holy Spirit is a gift. And only that. He is not for sale.
But beware, lest you receive the gift, and fail to use it properly!
1. Why do we say only the Holy Spirit can advance the Kingdom of God? What are the implications of that for you personally?
2. How does the Spirit do this ongoing work of Christ in us? Through us?
3. What’s the difference between seeking the gift of power and the Giver of the gift of the Spirit?
Simon Magus was ambitious to have the honor of an apostle, but cared not at all to have the spirit and disposition of a Christian. He was more desirous to gain honor to himself, than to do good to others. Peter shows him his crime. He esteemed the wealth of this world, as if it would answer for things relating to the other life, and would purchase the pardon of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. This was such a condemning error as could by no means consist with a state of grace. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 8.14-25
Pray Psalm 40.11-17.
Pray that God would empower you to serve Him today, that He would keep any foes from opposing or thwarting you, and that you would have many opportunities to magnify His Name by your words and deeds.
Sing Psalm 40.11-17.
(Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
Keep Your mercy not from me; let Your love and truth prevail.
Evil and iniquity make my trembling heart to fail.
Lord, be pleased to rescue me! Let my shelter with You be.
Bring to shame my ev’ry foe, all who would my life destroy;
bring them down to scorn and woe who at my hurt sing for joy.
Let them come to grief and shame who heap scorn upon my name
.Let them shout for joy and sing who in saving grace delight!
Let them praise to Jesus bring, though affliction be their plight.
Christ, our help, our Savior He! Of us ever mindful be!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.
Not for Sale
- T.M. Moore
- February 24, 2022
Seek the Giver, not just the gifts. Acts 8.14-25
Scattered Seeds: Acts 8 (4)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore