Simon the Magician Believes
 But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.  They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.”  And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.  But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,  who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,  for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.  Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,  saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”  But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!  You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.  Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”  And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
 Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. (ESV)
- Excitement, baptism, and authentic faith.
The story of Simon begins with excitement. Simon was known for his dark powers and the whole community was amazed by him. When Philip began preaching the Gospel, the community began to be drawn to Jesus. Initially, Simon appears to believe and even gets baptized. However, after time, it becomes very clear that whatever Simon was pursuing, it was not the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself warned his disciples of this type of superficial faith (Mark 4:1-9).
- Faith and the Holy Spirit.
The order of events in this story is atypical. In Acts 2, faith, repentance, and the Holy Spirit all come together in a singular event. But here, Samaritans believe but do not immediately receive an outward indication of the Spirit’s presence, whatever that may have been. Why would God choose to act in this unique way at this point in the Church? The giving of the Holy Spirit, in the presence of Peter and John, seemed to serve as evidence to Peter and John, that the Spirit of God and the good news of the Gospel was for all peoples and not just the Jews.
- Persecution and the advancement of Jesus’ mission.
The evangelism of Samaria came as a direct result of the death of Stephen and the following persecution of the Church. As Christians relocated to safer regions, they brought the Gospel with them. Through persecution, Jesus’ command to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth was being fulfilled.
- What is the difference between spiritual excitement and authentic conviction? Are they mutually exclusive? What warnings might we take from this text?
- Why would it be important for Peter and John, who were Jews, to personally witness the Holy Spirit being given to the Samaritan converts?
- How have you seen God use difficult and perhaps painful experiences in your life to bring others to himself? What might this teach us about how God fulfills his promises?
Call to Worship
Give Thanks to the LORD, for He Is Good
 Praise the LORD!
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
 Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or declare all his praise?
 Blessed are they who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times!
 Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people;
help me when you save them,
 that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory with your inheritance. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Gracious Father, you sent your son to die and rise to new life in order that death might be brought to an end and that we might live a new life in Him. Yet we confess that we too often have chosen to remain captive to doubt and fear and ways that lead to death. By our thoughts, words, and actions, we have scorned your love, diminished the lives of others, and defaced your image in us. Father, forgive us for Jesus’ sake, and enable us by His resurrection power to live no longer for ourselves but for Him who died and rose again for us. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.