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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

“The Heavens Torn Apart

Acts 8:18-24

This dramatic encounter between Peter and Simon Magus is finally about power.  Simon sees the effect of the Holy Spirit on the believers (of which he ostensibly is a part, v. 13).  Simon wants the power of the Holy Spirit.  However he doesn’t recognize the vast difference between material, human power and divine power.  Simon lives in a world very similar to our own where “money talks.”

Simon’s alleged power as a magician was apparently something he had bought.  In all probability he had found someone to teach him the magic he practiced.  He was apparently somewhat successful so he believes he can pay whatever price Peter would ask to give him the power to bestow the Holy Spirit on someone.

Peter will have none of this.  Simon has totally confused the nature of divine power.  He is gripped in a world where money buys everything.  He has the money and he’s prepared to give Peter whatever he demands, so what’s the problem?

The problem then as now is that money is a false god.  Having said this we need to remember that money itself is not the root of evil but the love of money is (I Tim. 6:10).  Yet Jesus warns in no uncertain terms that we have to choose between money and God as what we really worship (Matt. 6:24).  Jesus exposes the heart of the rich young ruler who in spite of his claims to follow God’s law really loves money (Mark 10:17-22).

Peter quite frankly is appalled at Simon’s request.  This is of course the same Peter who claimed to have no money but instead demonstrated God’s healing power (Acts 3:6).  Still, we need to remember that money in and of itself is not the problem.  Paul acknowledges this in the previously mentioned discussion he has on wealth.  He says simply that those who are rich do not have to give up their wealth.  To the contrary they should be “rich in good works, generous, and ready to serve” (I Tim. 6:18).

The United States is the richest country in the history of the world.  This is not to say that every one of us (or even any of us) are actually rich.  Yet we need to remember that we are all gifted to some extent.  We need to give money to the church to support its ministries.  We need also to support Christian missionary efforts whether it’s feeding the poor, providing medical benefits and of course preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To be in Christ is to be truly rich.

Merciful and loving God make me realize how rich I actually am compared to the rest of the world.  May I use whatever resources I have to promote the building up of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray this in his name, Amen.