Monday, March 17, 2008

Acts 8 (message)

9-11Previous to Philip's arrival, a certain Simon had practiced magic in the city, posing as a famous man and dazzling all the Samaritans with his wizardry. He had them all, from little children to old men, eating out of his hand. They all thought he had supernatural powers, and called him "the Great Wizard." He had been around a long time and everyone was more or less in awe of him.

 12-13But when Philip came to town announcing the news of God's kingdom and proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ, they forgot Simon and were baptized, becoming believers right and left! Even Simon himself believed and was baptized. From that moment he was like Philip's shadow, so fascinated with all the God-signs and miracles that he wouldn't leave Philip's side.

 14-17When the apostles in Jerusalem received the report that Samaria had accepted God's Message, they sent Peter and John down to pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Up to this point they had only been baptized in the name of the Master Jesus; the Holy Spirit hadn't yet fallen on them. Then the apostles laid their hands on them and they did receive the Holy Spirit.

 18-19When Simon saw that the apostles by merely laying on hands conferred the Spirit, he pulled out his money, excited, and said, "Sell me your secret! Show me how you did that! How much do you want? Name your price!"

 20-23Peter said, "To hell with your money! And you along with it. Why, that's unthinkable-trying to buy God's gift! You'll never be part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes. Change your ways-and now! Ask the Master to forgive you for trying to use God to make money. I can see this is an old habit with you; you reek with money-lust."

 24"Oh!" said Simon, "pray for me! Pray to the Master that nothing like that will ever happen to me!"

Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes about how nothing really is new under the sun

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (New Living Translation) 9: History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.

So it is today. we see that there are a lot of Simons today, Trying to use God to get Rich. This is known as the prosperity Gospel and is not what God intended when He told us to "test him and see" in Malachi. He was talking about Tithing to your house of worship, Giving with a glad and joyful heart. This is what He was talking about. Giving above and beyond that is not mandatary but a good way to show generosity which is a way of reflecting our God for the world to see. It is our love that draws people to Christ. Like Pastor reminded us yesterday in service, that threatening people to hell has never worked in getting people to serve God, if it had then Jesus would not have needed to come and die for us to give us a better way to God, which is by faith. Fear is not from God (For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind). Check out the podcast from 03/16/2008 when you get a chance at www.orchardvalleyonline.com and click podcast when you get a chance. It is the last installment in the series "the other side" that has been talked about for the last three weeks.
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