TEXT: Acts 8:18-24
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 211 messages in this series.
This is message #212 titled, Simon the Sorcerer, a Phony Christian, and a Fake Prayer of Repentance, Part 2
We return to the scene of Simon the sorcerer who offered money to Peter and John in order that he might be able to impart the Holy Spirit to others. Peter’s reaction was one of justified outrage. “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.”
Dr. John Walvoord and Dr. Roy Zuck said in their fine commentary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, “The reason for such strong language was Simon’s failure to understand grace, the free nature of God’s salvation and blessings. The language of this verse implies Simon was not a Christian.” Simon had only been pretending to be a Christian. He had begun following Philip because he was intrigued by the miracles that had been performed in Samaria and he wanted to know about their source. Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “His faith was not in the Word of God, but in the miracles he saw Philip perform; and there is no indication that Simon repented of his sins. He certainly did not believe with all his heart.”
When Simon saw the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Samaritan believers, his only thought was of how powerful he could become if he gained the ability to impart the Holy Spirit to others. Obviously, Peter and John would not go along with this, but they did have some words of advice for him.
First, they said, “repent therefore of this thy wickedness.” Repentance is a decision to turn away from that which is evil. The apostles called on Simon to make an about face, to cease his hungering after the power of God, so much so that he would offer to buy it. When sin is found to be in our lives, the only acceptable response before God is repentance.
Second, the apostles told Simon to “pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” The issue at hand was whether or not Simon would be willing to confess and repent of his sinfulness and the evil thoughts of his heart. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “The adverb ‘perhaps’ does not mean God is reluctant to forgive sin. The question was whether Simon would repent of his heart’s intention.” Simon’s heart had been shown to be very corrupt. Peter said he was “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.”
Simon feared the judgment of God because of his sinful heart, but his words reveal that he is not willing to truly repent. He says, “Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.” James Montgomery Boice said, “Simon’s words were what we would call ‘a cop out.’ He was refusing to do what he had been told he should do and was passing the buck to Peter.”
We don’t know what happened to Simon — whether he truly repented and truly believed or whether he went away, like the rich young ruler, sorrowful, not wanting to believe because it would cause him to give up something that he wanted.
What we can take away from this passage is our own responsibility for repentance, prayer, and getting our hearts right with God. The preacher can’t believe for us, nor can he repent for us. That is something we must do on our own — not simply because we want to avoid God’s judgment, but because we love God and want to maintain a good relationship with Him. The preacher can pray for us, but we need to make sure that we are praying for ourselves.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.