Acts chapter 8 has got some interesting stories, and does pack a lot of useful tips. Please go and read Acts chapter 8 and then take a look at these points with me.
Verse 3 says, “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.”. Yes, this was Saul, the guy who went on to become Paul, and write a third of the New Testament. At one stage he hauled Christians out of their houses and imprisoned them. We look at the people who are killing Christians today, and I don’t condone that behaviour at all, but imagine who those people could become if they gave their life to Jesus? If you think that you have done too much wrong, or if you think that God can’t do anything with you, think again. Paul made a major change when he accepted Jesus, you can too!
We then read the story about Simon. Simon is a sorcerer. He uses evil power to do magic, and he is known for it. Then you have Philip doing signs, wonders and miracles with the power of the Holy Spirit. There are a few things to learn here. When Philip did miracles, there was great joy in that city. (Verse 8). Even though Simon did sorcery, he realised the power that Philip had and he gave his life to Jesus. This just shows where sorcery fits in, apart from being evil, it has nothing on the Holy Spirit.
Peter and John then pitch up and start baptising people in the Holy Spirit. This interests me because I always used to think that becoming a Christian and being baptised in the Spirit was the same thing. According to this it isn’t. Philip led them to Jesus, they were then baptised with water, and only later baptised in the Spirit by Peter. Have you been baptised in the Spirit or are you happy with just salvation? I can tell you that being saved will give you eternal life, but having the Spirit brings you to life! Just because you have been saved, doesn’t mean that you have been baptised with the Holy Spirit, ask someone who has to lay hands on you and baptise you too. You won’t regret it!
Simon was so impressed with the power of the Spirit, that he tried to buy it from Peter. Peter tells him off in no uncertain terms. You can’t buy the Spirit. Having The Spirit is not about being powerful or elevating yourself, it is about God working through us. It is about us walking in God’s power. Simon didn’t understand this, I hope that we do. Look at the contrast, Simon wanted it for selfish gain and therefore didn’t receive the Holy Spirit, Philip was acting correctly in the Spirit, which brought Joy to everyone. What are your intentions? Why do you want to receive the Holy Spirit? Think about that.
The last thing that I would like to draw to your attention is the last story of this chapter where Philip goes off and finds a eunuch. He preaches the gospel to him, leads him to Jesus and then stops and baptises him. Not bad going really. If we went out and came across someone, preached the gospel, lead them to Jesus and then baptised them, we’d be pretty proud of ourselves. Have you ever done this? I haven’t. Why not? Is the answer maybe in verse 26 and 27? Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went. Do we listen for God’s voice? When we hear it, do we recognise it? When we know what God is calling us to do, do we do it? These are some questions to ask yourself. I am trying to hear God’s voice, it is a constant learning curve, and I am beginning to have more faith in God and trust Him. This means that I do listen to what He is saying and I try to be obedient. The more obedient I am, the more miracles I see. I want to see more, so I need to be more obedient. I need to listen to God more and obey.
Why don’t you join me in doing this? You can bring some great joy to your city!