The Story of Simon: Acts 8:18-24
“18) Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19) saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20) But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21) You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22) Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. 23) For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” 24) But Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”” Acts‬ ‭8‬:‭18‬-‭24‬
Two things stand out in this text. First, God is not for sale. The gifts and callings of God cannot be bought or sold. Peter quickly rejected Simon’s offer for money. He was not about to become a Judas who sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Paul warned Timothy not to put anyone in ministry who had a love for money. (1 Timothy 3:3)
Much damage comes to the cause of Christ when people enter the ministry for profit. Some big name people in ministry have become wealthy “selling their services.” I need not elaborate. It is abominable.
This is the root problem with the prosperity gospel in many poor countries plagued with poverty. The pastors exploit poor and ignorant people to get wealthy themselves. In so doing, they compound the misery and suffering of the poor who give the little they have hoping to buy a blessing from God. The children go hungry while the pastor gets rich. In doing so, they perpetuate the curse of poverty for many people. This is the antithesis of what Jesus taught His disciples. James taught the importance of giving to the poor and not exploiting them. (See James 3:14-26) Rather than meeting needs in Jesus Name they are given to greed.
Second, Simon carried negative baggage into his Christian life. Peter called him to post salvation repentance. He was still in a gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity. Though he was saved, he was still in bondage. Sin still had a grip on some area’s of his life. He was saved but not totally free. Please catch this point in Simons story. It is true of every new believer.
Salvation starts a journey into a new life. It took Moses one day to get Israel out of Egypt, it took forty years to get Egypt out of Israel. The Journey to freedom can be very fast through the power of the Holy Spirit, or people can wander for years if they embrace their flesh and the world. Don’t waste your life wandering in the wilderness of Sin.
I believe in the importance of discipleship. In my Freedom Quest Workshop, I teach people to confront sin and Satan head on with confession and repentance while resisting and renouncing the enemy. We expose and pull down Seven Basic Strongholds identified in the Bible. Then we lead people in praying for the filling and power of the Holy Spirit for consecrated living.
We follow the pattern of Ephesians 4:22-24 by directing people to put off the old self, be renewed in the spirit of their mind, and put on the new self in the likeness of Jesus Christ based on truth. Simon needed these steps to freedom and sustained progress toward growth and maturity before he was ready for leadership.
In Ephesians 4-6, Paul followed the Steps to Freedom in building godly, victorious and fruitful followers of Jesus Christ. Peter pointed people to the same growth process as outlined in 2 Peter 1:2-11.
Why is this important? Salvation is the starting line and not the finish line. Salvation is an event, but Christian maturity is a process. Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is a new way of life. Building your life on the Word of God and walking in the Spirit becomes a life long journey and there will be bumps in the road. The goal is not legalistic perfection, but rather sincere holiness through walking with Jesus in the Spirit.
Simon was not ready for leadership, he was ready for the sanctification process. Peter did not reject him, but he did rebuke and correct him. He pointed him toward a transformational walk with Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, the book of Acts does not tell the rest of the story about Simon. I am confident that he became a fruitful follower of Jesus Christ. I am confident of the same for you as you follow Jesus Christ and endeavor to walk daily in the Spirit.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global