Pastor’s Column 5/7/2023
“Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hopes that He may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin. Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you said may happen to me. Acts8: 22-24, NIV
"Sincerity or Convenience?”
The Book of Acts is compelling in its concise glimpse of the early Christian movement. We can learn much from the apostles; the men, and women, who bring life to its pages. Amid persecution and odds, we see vivid evidence of the Holy Spirit leading these believers in uncharted waters. From Mary, the mother of John Mark; bold enough to lead a house church for new believers; to Paul, the former anti-Christian terrorist, who embraces the Gospel, and sends the message of Jesus, the Christ to much of the known world. We witness the transformation of diverse people. The apostles, especially Peter and John, referred to themselves as “ordinary and marginally educated” persons. Yet, the Holy Spirit empowered them to teach, preach; and to perform healing in the Name of Jesus. It is their seminal ministry, that advanced Christ’s great Commission in the world. The ministry was public, but also involved individuals whose deeper needs may have mirrored our own. There were moments in the ministry of Peter, for instance, that gave us a glimpse of why true transformation can come only through humility and sincerity. An influential and charismatic man, Simon, practiced deceit in Samaria, exploiting people out of their money. He taught a false religious message as well. When Simon observed Peter and John healing people in Samaria, he quickly joined other converts in being baptized. Observing the sick healed gave Simon the impression he could buy the Spirit. Peter denounced Simon, and urged him to repent and change his wicked ways. Simon was warned he and his money would perish! Simon requested a prayer of convenience; essentially attempting to save his money. The thought of forfeiting financial gain was too much to bear. Prayer must be sincere!
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