GOD CAN’T BE BOUGHT…OR SOLD!

When we think we know all there is to know—we don’t.  When we think we have finally arrived—we haven’t.  Learning, growing, and maturing in our faith and trust in God never stops as long as we are alive on earth, bound for heaven.  When we invite Jesus Christ to truly “take the wheel”, He drives us to places we have never been before.  His Holy Spirit goes with us on this new journey that is filled with side trips that challenge us to grow in His character in ways we never imagined!  We also discover that we are consistently getting closer to Jesus as we let Him do all the driving.  We also discover that we love and relate better to each other on this road trip of love, mercy and grace!  

When we give all we are and all we have to Jesus, while letting go of the baggage we desperately cling to, we discover that all we needed was Jesus.  The closer we grow in our love for Jesus, we pack lighter and carry less on our journey with Him.  When we learn and apply what Jesus taught His disciples about God and His ways, we begin living our best life with Him as followers.  As we live this best life, we desire it for others, so we begin to tell The Story of Jesus’ saving grace.  This telling comes from a heart yielded to Christ and Holy Spirit led.  This knowing and growing cannot be bought or sold.  It is a gift from God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  –Jesus (John 3:16) 

“’If you love me, keep my commands’. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”  –Jesus  (John 14:15-17)

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” –Jesus (John 14:25-26) 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” –Jesus (John 14:27)

NOT OF THIS WORLD

The world led by the Prince of Darkness barters, buys and sells trinkets, tricks and treasures that only satisfy for seconds.  Eternity living is not of this world. Simon the wizard soon learns the difference and begs for mercy and help to overcome his need for trickery and giving dazzling performances.  God cannot be bought or sold.  God gives…

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  –Jesus (John 3:16) 

The sooner we wrap our minds, hearts and souls around this Gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord, the more we grow in gratitude for all God has done, is doing and will do forever!

The stoning of Stephen lit a wild fire of persecution, led by a zealous man named Saul.  He stood by and held the coats of the stoners.  This only brought on a “missionary movement” to outlying towns and districts.  Wherever the disciples and followers went the story of Jesus, Messiah was told. 

Then there was Simon, a Wizard of Oz character, that caused Philip to call in the “big guns” of authority, Peter and John.  Read on…

ACTS—God’s Acts through His Disciples

Acts 8:1-25, The Message

Simon the Wizard

1-2 That set off a terrific persecution of the church in Jerusalem. The believers were all scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. All, that is, but the apostles. Good and brave men buried Stephen, giving him a solemn funeral—not many dry eyes that day!

3-8 And Saul just went wild, devastating the church, entering house after house after house, dragging men and women off to jail. Forced to leave home base, the followers of Jesus all became missionaries. Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Message about Jesus. Going down to a Samaritan city, Philip proclaimed the Message of the Messiah. When the people heard what he had to say and saw the miracles, the clear signs of God’s action, they hung on his every word. Many who could neither stand nor walk were healed that day. The evil spirits protested loudly as they were sent on their way. And what joy in the city!

9-11 Previous to Philip’s arrival, a certain Simon had practiced magic in the city, posing as a famous man and dazzling all the Samaritans with his wizardry. He had them all, from little children to old men, eating out of his hand. They all thought he had supernatural powers, and called him “the Great Wizard.” He had been around a long time and everyone was more or less in awe of him.

12-13 But when Philip came to town announcing the news of God’s kingdom and proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ, they forgot Simon and were baptized, becoming believers right and left! Even Simon himself believed and was baptized. From that moment he was like Philip’s shadow, so fascinated with all the God-signs and miracles that he wouldn’t leave Philip’s side.

14-17 When the apostles in Jerusalem received the report that Samaria had accepted God’s Message, they sent Peter and John down to pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Up to this point they had only been baptized in the name of the Master Jesus; the Holy Spirit hadn’t yet fallen on them. Then the apostles laid their hands on them and they did receive the Holy Spirit.

18-19 When Simon saw that the apostles by merely laying on hands conferred the Spirit, he pulled out his money, excited, and said, “Sell me your secret! Show me how you did that! How much do you want? Name your price!”

20-23 Peter said, “To hell with your money! And you along with it. Why, that’s unthinkable—trying to buy God’s gift! You’ll never be part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes. Change your ways—and now! Ask the Master to forgive you for trying to use God to make money. I can see this is an old habit with you; you reek with money-lust.”

24 “Oh!” said Simon, “pray for me! Pray to the Master that nothing like that will ever happen to me!”

25 And with that, the apostles were on their way, continuing to witness and spread the Message of God’s salvation, preaching in every Samaritan town they passed through on their return to Jerusalem.

THINK FOR A MOMENT…

What do we learn and must avoid in living our best life with Jesus? 

“You’ll never be part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes”, Peter responds to Simon who wants to buy the “secret sauce” of the devote disciples.  There’s more to Peter’s words, but we get the picture.  We are even appalled and irritated at Simon who can’t seem to leave world thinking. 

However, do we try to strike bargains with God at times? 

“God, if you will do this, I will do what you want.” 

“If you will fix my finances, I will serve you more.”

Yikes!  Do we find we are too close to the world of Simon?  We must stay alert to the pull of the world and be drawn even closer to Christ.

Lord,

We pray for repentance of chasing after what is not good for us.  We repent of bargaining with you as if we had anything to top your gift of grace.  Let us be on our way with You in the lead today, proclaiming who you are—the God of forgiveness through Jesus Christ, Your Son.  Thank you for saving our souls.  Thank you for your consistent and continual teaching and correcting on our journey to grow in your character.  We’re not there yet!  Thank you for your patience.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen.  I believe. 

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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