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The Scriptorium

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The Gospel can't be bought or sold.

Acts (7)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.  Luke 24.27
Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 8 (Lesson 7) by clicking here.

Read and meditate on Acts 8.14-24.
In Simon’s world, his former world, that is, his request was probably quite natural. Doubtless some had come to him in the past wanting to apprentice to him, so they could learn the “tricks” of the trade as well. But he was so blind to the sin of his request that he couldn’t see how totally off-base and out of line it was.

For reflection
1.  I’m inclined to chalk-up Simon’s question as an honest mistake on the part of one who didn’t really understand what he was getting into when he “believed” in Jesus. Why did Peter need to rebuke him so sharply?

2.  The apostles had come down to Samaria from Jerusalem in order, it seems, to verify and validate the work of the 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 been happening in Jerusalem. The advance of the Kingdom is always the work of the Spirit; but it isn’t always accompanied by the same signs and wonders. Explain.

3.  Simon didn’t quite understand what was going on, but he learned quickly enough 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 real spiritual power, bestowed not bought, and not just the hocus-pocus employed for impressing men and making a fast buck. How should we expect God to sign His Kingdom power through our lives each day?

4.  Simon’s response to Peter suggests to me that he was truly contrite. We use the word, “simony”, to refer to any purchased office or position of authority. I think that’s too bad. Let’s give Simon a break, shall we? Simon asked for prayers. How should we pray for the unbelievers in our lives?

5.  Now in the dispersal stage, the Gospel penetrates the Samaritan nation – 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 plan continues to unfold according to His promise, and all this is merely the portent of more amazing things to come. How can you see in this chapter (look ahead to the end) a kind of reprise of Jesus’ promise in Acts 1.8? Why would this be important to recall at just this stage of the history of the ongoing work of Christ?

Repentance and faith – these are the way into the Kingdom of God. Any other way, whether by impressing others, cajoling or “guilt-tripping” them, or even bribing them by some means, is not the Lord’s way. Do we ever stoop to ways other than repentance and faith to encourage people to “believe” in Jesus? Explain.

Closing Prayer
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 51.16, 17

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.

Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. For more insight into His work in our here and now, order the book,
The Kingship of Jesus, from our online store by clicking here.

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

T.M. Moore

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

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