Baptism and Simon the Sorcerer

Acts 8 about Simon the Sorcerer is another fascinating passage about baptism.

Many people in Samaria followed Simon because they thought he had the power of God. But when Philip comes to town and preaches the Gospel, they have a change of heart.

“But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”

Again, for the record, they believed and then were baptized. That’s how it goes!

Simon himself believed and was baptized. He followed Philip, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw, it was all very cool and exciting.

Peter and John are sent to Samaria to check out the new believers and to make sure everything was as they had heard.

Because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Their baptism is spoken of as being partial, only in the name of Jesus. Remember they were to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They had a partial message apparently and so got partial benefits.

The Spirit was received by the laying on of hands, not by getting wet.

The receiving of the Spirit at this time was always marked by outward manifestations, usually speaking in an unknown tongue. Simon was enamored with this. He offered Peter money for the ability to pass on the Spirit to others. You gotta spend money to make money!

Peter was not amused.

“May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.  Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.  For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Remember this is Simon who believed and got baptized (8:13)! So this is interesting! What is the test of faith? Saying you believe? Feeling happy? Getting wet?

The test of faith is always fruit. Simon has bad fruit. Peter says there’s something wrong with his heart. After Peter rebukes him, Simon says, “Hop on one foot.” Just kidding, actually Simon says, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

I don’t think that’s the right answer. Simon is always looking to someone else to do stuff. I think this fits his mindset when he was a sorcerer with followers. People in charge like he used to be, enjoy people coming to them for help. They don’t want people out there on their own. Nope, you need me!

Simon has this mindset now towards the guys he admires. He’s not dealing with the Lord.

The Acts 8 account of Simon should be a warning to us that just getting baptized or acting faithy isn’t enough. There’s a heart issue and the heart will always reveal itself by its fruit.

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