I. THEN PHILIP WENT DOWN TO SAMARIA AND PREACHED CHRIST UNTO THEM.
A. We are now going to look as a second one of the Deacons who was chosen by the Apostles to wait on tables.
1. We were first introduced to Stephen and how God used him in to do great miracles and wonders among the people, and how through the Spirit he was able to prevail against the arguments of those of the synagogue of the Libertines.
2. Note these men were not Apostles.
a. So many times you hear the argument that the power to work miracles was given exclusively to the Apostles, and thus miracles ceased with the Apostles.
b. Great emphasis is often placed on Apostolic authority. The Apostolic succession of the laying on of hands has become in some churches a doctrine.
c. Later we will discover that it was just a disciple of Jesus in Damascus who laid his hands on Saul. Paul later testified that when he went to Jerusalem, and spoke to the Apostles that:
Those who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it makes no matter to me: God accepts no man's person:) for they who seemed [to be somewhat] in conference added nothing to me:
3. I think that the Spirit is seeking to point out that God uses just ordinary people to accomplish His purposes. People just like you and me.
a. We are prone to put people on pedestals, such as the Apostles.
b. Many times ministers seek to set themselves on pedestals and have you think that they are some special gift of God to us.
c. It often gives us a spiritual inferiority complex and we are sure that God can't use us.
d. I figure that if God can use a donkey to speak His truth, then He can use me.
e. As has been said, "It is availability rather than ability that God is seeking."
B. Note, he is preaching Christ unto them.
1. When Paul went to Corinth he later declared to them:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
2. What a far cry that is from the methods that men are seeking to employ today.
3. Paul wrote to the Corinthians concerning the gospel that he preached unto them: That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
4. The preaching of the New Testament centered on the person of Jesus Christ. It exalted Jesus Christ, it pointed men unto Jesus Christ.
II. AND THE PEOPLE WITH ONE ACCORD GAVE HEED TO THE THINGS THAT PHILIP SPAKE. HEARING AND SEEING THE MIRACLES THAT HE DID.
A. Here with Philip as with Stephen, deacons in the church there were the miracles that accompanied their preaching.
1. When Jesus commissioned the disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, He said that these signs would follow them that believed. In His name they would cast out devils, they would speak with new tongues, they would take up serpents and if they drank any deadly thing it would not harm them, they would lay hands on the sick and they would recover.
2. We then read that they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them confirming the word with signs following.
B. Note here the description of the signs and wonders in Philip's ministry.
For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed [with them]: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
1. This was what Luke was referring to when he said hearing and seeing the miracles.
2. They heard the unclean spirits crying with loud voices. They saw the lame walking.
III. THE RESULT OF THE GOSPEL BEING RECEIVED IN SAMARIA, "THERE WAS GREAT JOY IN THAT CITY."
A. The receiving of the gospel brings joy.
B. When the angel announced to the shepherds the birth of Christ, he said, "Fear not for I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people."
C. Jesus spoke of fullness of joy.
1. He related it to abiding in Him.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full.
2. He related it to your prayer life.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
3. John relates the joy to our fellowship.
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
4. He relates it to meeting with those in the body of Christ.
Having many things to write unto you, I would not [write] with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
D. Perhaps the greatest joy of all will be in the future when Jesus presents us faultless before the Father with exceeding joy.
IV. WE ARE NOW INTRODUCED TO A MAN FROM SAMARIA NAMED SIMON.
A. What we are told about him.
1. He had used sorcery in the city. (Magic)
2. He had bewitched the people. (Astounded)
3. He made the people to believe that he was a great one.
4. All in the city thought that he was exercising the power of God.
5. He was held in high regard by the people.
a. It is possible that he was a total fake. People in those days were very superstitious and thus more open to deception.
b. It is possible that he was exercising demonic powers.
6. He had been operating for a long time and had the people convinced.
7. We are told that he also believed and was baptized.
a. Whether or not his was a genuine conversion is a matter of debate.
b. We just do not know, all is assumption and guesswork.
8. He continued with Philip and the whole time he was wondering about the miracles.
9. If he were just a magician and had been deceiving the people with his tricks, he is probably watching Philip very closely to try to find out the secret of the trick. It is possible that he thought of Philip as some clever magician who had come to town.
10. Those who practice the art of legerdemain know that there is a trick to it, and are always looking to find the trick. They will sell the secret to the trick to another.
11. You often find them offering money to discover how a particular trick is done.
a. Later we will find him trying to buy from Peter the power to lay hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit.
b. Peter rebuked him for thinking that the power of the Spirit could be purchased.
c. Peter declared to him that he had no part or share in the ministry, and that his heart was not right in the sight of God.
d. Peter called on him to repent and ask God to forgive him the thoughts of his heart.
e. Peter discerned that he was filled with gall and bitterness.
12. It is quite possible that he became very jealous of the ministry of Philip. People were no longer holding him in the same esteem, and his whole purpose was to regain his position among the people.
13. Simon asked for prayer.