Posts made in December, 2021

Posted By on Dec 4, 2021

Only God Knows the Heart of Man “And even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized…” Acts 8:13a Soon after the spawning of Christ’s Church on the day of Pentecost1 (Acts 2:1-4), when the fledgling church was quickly ameliorating, a complaint arose against the native Hebrews by the Hellenists. They charged that their widows were being overlooked in the daily food allocations.  The Apostles needing to address the issue at once, selected seven men of “good reputation”, “filled with the Holy Spirit”, and full of “wisdom”– hence, they were the first church deacons (Acts 6:1-3).  It was vitally important that the early church laid a firm foundation, so men with virtuous characters were chosen to help lead.  Philip was one of the seven men chosen, who undoubtably fit the above qualifications.  However, even though he was Spirit filled and teeming with wisdom, he was a created being and incapable of knowing the hearts of men.  Such omniscience is only accomplished by the power of the eternal Creator God, as Scripture states: “for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men.” (2 Chr. 6:30).    When great persecution arose against the church and many Christians were scattered from Jerusalem, Philip went down to Samaria (a city of intermarried Jews and Gentiles) to preach the Gospel.  Upon arriving he heralded the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ, while performing numerous miracles, healings, and exorcisms; drawing many Samaritans to salvation (Acts 8:3-8).  While in Samaria he met a sorcerer named Simon Magus, who astonished and captivated the people with great displays of magic (Acts 8:9-11).  However, many were believing the Gospel, being baptized and began following Philip, forsaking Simon’s magnetic sorcery (Acts 8:12).  Scripture states Simon also believed, was baptized, and followed Philip; he was amazed at the great miracles Philip performed (Acts 8:13).  Having heard the Word was being accepted by the Samaritans, the Jerusalem church sent Apostles Peter and John to lay hands on them, that they would receive the Holy Spirit. (vv.15-16):   “Then they [Peter and John] began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.  Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 8:17-19—brackets added). Overcome with both awe and envy, Simon was unable to contain himself when he witnessed Peter and John [through God’s power] disseminate the Holy Spirit in a spectacular way.2 Simon’s internal sinfulness shattered his false facade of holiness and exposed...

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