We kick off this week with Acts 8:14-25
v14: Jerusalem was an important place for the Old Covenant people and it is also an important place for us – the New Covenant people.
· In the book of Acts we see a transfer of authority – to apostolic authority. In AD 70 the temple was destroyed and there was no more authoritative priesthood. G-d had a plan for after this temple destruction and He moved His people into that plan.
v15: There is a relationship between receiving the Word of G-d and receiving the Holy Spirit.
v17: When the believers first received the Holy Spirit (chapter 2) no-one laid hands on them to do so. The Apostles did not need to lay hands on people in order for them to receive the Holy Spirit – thank goodness for that, otherwise we would have a problem today as they are no longer with us …and yet we have the Holy Spirit living within us! (we will see more examples of this as we read on). So why then did they need to lay hands on these people? This passage is emphasizing and teaching on the Apostolic authority of these leaders. This was the first time the Holy Spirit was given in this geographical area and the Samaritans also then realized the new shift toward apostolic leadership rather than that of the Levitical priesthood. (Please remember to search out all these things for yourselves. You don’t have to agree, but have a good Biblical reason as to why you would disagree … – Acts 17:11)
v18: Simon’s heart is exposed here. He wanted to continue to exalt himself. We should NEVER use the Word/truth of G-d or the ministry of the Holy Spirit as a means to exalt ourselves.
v19: Simon wanted the same authority that the Apostles had as he thought this authority would give him a better way in order to exalt himself above others. He was willing to pay for this gift – not realizing that it was going to be normative for every believer (Matt 28:18-20, Luke 10:17-20)
v20: The purpose of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to exalt G-d. He does not help us to accomplish our goals in order to make us great but rather G-d is made great through our lives.
· When we use money to obtain what we selfishly want it is going to bring about destruction (Luke 16:13)
v21: Simon has no connection with the mindset of G-d.
v22: He needed to truly repent (see verse 13, he had believed and been baptized but had still retained this wickedness in his heart)
v23: Peter had discernment of what was going on with Simon.
· bitterness in our lives puts us into bondage. Simon didn’t like who he was spiritually and didn’t see himself the way G-d saw him. He wanted the power and authority on top of what he had already received.
· When we are captive to sin we are always pursuing that which is against G-d’s will
v24: He was convicted by Peter’s words and knew inwardly that what Peter had said was right. This verse again affirms Peters authority. G-d gives His servants authority in order that His glory might be seen.
v25: The Word of the L-rd is also emphasized throughout this passage.