Phillip and Simon
By Nick Bibile
V1) Soon after they stoned and killed Stephen, there arose a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem. The persecution was directed upon whom? Directed upon Jewish Christians or the Greek speaking Christians?
Persecution was directed upon Greek speaking Christians in the circle of Stephen. Thatís why the apostles were able to stay in Jerusalem.† Greek speaking Jewish Christians were the object of the persecution. Remember in the beginning it was the Jewish religious leaders that persecuted the apostles, then Gamaliel said, let them be, if it is of not God these Christians will not grow it will come to an end, but if it is of God no one can stop them. Now after Stephenís speech the persecution came against the Hellenist Christians.†† This persecution brought missionary outreach.† Acts 11:19.
V2) Devout men Carried Stephen to his buriel.
V3) One of the persecutorís was Saul.
V4) Due to the persecution the Greek speaking Christians were scattered except the apostles who were Jewish were able to stay in Jerusalem.
V5-8) Which Philip was this? Was it Philip the apostles or Philip who was one of the deaconís who was involved along with Stephen with the daily distribution of the foods to the Hellenist widows? See Acts 6:5, this was Philip the deacon, remember the apostles were in Jerusalem.
We see a two fold ministry of Philip, preaching and working miracles. What was the most important out of the two?† See v5, Philip preached Christ to them. The gospel is the foundation of any ministry, the church is built upon the cornerstone of Christ. If any church doesnít preach Christ, but speaks on a social entertaining, sugar coated gospel that is not a Christian church. Outwardly it may have all the appearance of Christianity but inwardly it is like a dead mans bones. Miracles was a confirmation of the gospel.
†Here we see a none apostle gifted with miracles. Philip continuing the ministry of Jesus.
Mt 9:35† And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
†V-6-8 Most Samaritans are taken captive more on the preaching than healing but it was Simeon the magician who was taken captive by the miracles. Gospel is the supreme power, miracles supported that.
Simon the sorcerer
Read v 9-13)
Who is a sorcerer?†† mageuo mag-yoo'-o† One who practiced magical arts. This was done by the help of the evil spirits, demonic spirits. Simonís magical arts amazed the people of Samaria. He boasted of his greatness, which means he was a proud person. If you are a proud person, you will crave for power. Then you wanted bring people under your control with your power. You can see the power hungry people who will influence the people under their control. There are power hungry politicians, power hungry managers, supervisors, principals, teachers and even ministers and pastors. You may have experienced some of their attitudes. In this case how did Simon display his power? Through sorcery.
V10 people believe this manís power came from God. They believed in him because he amazed the people for a long time. V11.
Here we see people captivated by the magicians power, then comes Philip.† What did God do through Philip, preached the gospel, which is the supreme power.† No power on this earth can save a soul of a man, can convert an evil man to a saint of God, it is only by the power of the gospel men and women are converted to Christ.
Ro 1:16† For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power (dunamis doo'-nam-is Ė Dynamite ) †of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek
The true unadulterated gospel will save people truly, but the worldly gospel will bring worldly people to the church, with an outward look of Christianity not the inward change of a person.
Why is it that God doesnít bring mighty miracles and healing like in the New Testament times?† Here is a case a non apostle doing mighty miracles and healings. God wanted to show the people of Samaria his power supercedes the power of Simon the magician.
Acts 1:8† But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
I believe God is still doing mighty miracles and healings in countries where there is a lot of demonic power. I have heard many missionary stories where God used mighty† miracles and healings to confirm the gospel power.
However today in the US and many other countries we see a gospel that is based on miracles and healings rather than preaching of Christ. There are many miracle crusade ministries, healing ministries, evangelists gathering a vast number of people, slaying in the spirit. But they do not preach the true gospel. You donít see true conversion of a souls but lot of noise. Conversion cannot happen by seeing a miracle or a healing. Simon the magician practiced these miracles for a long time but their was no conversion of a soul, until Phillip came. Thatís why we at Agape Chapel Ministries put a great emphasis on doctrine, the word of God. It is Godís word that created the world. It is the Word that became flesh. It is hearing of the word of God where men and women are convicted of their sins and come to repentance. It is the word of God that converts souls to Christ. The greatest miracle is where sinner is converted to a saint of God. The change of a heart is the greatest miracle. Once the heart is changed, your attitude will change, once your attitude change your behavior will change, then everyone will notice you are born again. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Brothers and sisters if God can use a non apostle like Phillip to take the gospel to Samaria and to be used in a mighty way, how about you and me? Where is your ministry? Are you in the army of Christ, witnessing to people? Where are your hopes? Are you laying your hopes on this earth, this world or in Christ, in heaven?† (Read Matthew 7:21-27)
Letís not only believe what we hear but let us be doers of the word.† There are many souls perishing and going to hell, donít you have sympathy win them to Christ? If Christ saved you from going to hell, will you not thank God and witness to your friends and people which God brings your way. First seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.