Acts 8:9-11: (NASB)
9 Now there was a certain man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city, and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great;
10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.”
11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts.
If you took the time to read the verses above and stopped to really think about it, you might come to the conclusion that we have many Simon the Sorcerors in the church today.
How many men and women promote themselves by claiming they have God’s power and can dispense it at will? How many claim to have health, wealth, and wisdom? How many bill themselves with bombastic titles like prophet, prophetess, and apostle? There are many. There are also many who profess to take trips to Heaven, have visions of Jesus, and have encounters with angels with a frequency that is alarming. Welcome to the church – THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!
1 Corinthians 1:21 (NASB)
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
To maintain a healthy relationship with God, we’ve got to steer clear of false teaching and stand on Biblical truth. I spoke with one pastor who regularly presents the gospel of Jesus Christ in verse-by-verse expository teaching, and he said his congregants set and flip through the hymnals, fall asleep, and stare off into space. Another pastor told me that many times he taught the whole council of God from the Scriptures and the people staring back at him from the congregation were disinterested. So, one night he decided to conduct a little experiment. He walked down out of the pulpit and kicked the front pew and began to yell. Someone in the back shouted. The congregation snapped to life and suddenly became very interested. Now, that was what they called church!!! He continued to yell and kick the pew, and they continued to shout. He preached the Word of God and they snoozed. He kicked the pew and made a racket and they shouted. He told me, “Nothing I said was Biblical, there wasn’t a bit of truth in it, but they shouted!” Yes, they shouted, they praised God, and they showed their ignorance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They didn’t want the gospel… they wanted a real good, feel good show.
There are so many solid, orthodox ministers out there who refuse to compromise for fame or fortune. They preach the Word of God with no mercenary motives – they do not want to be great or highly exalted among their peers. Fame doesn’t tempt them, and fortune holds no glory. They love God and love the gospel. They strive to be like Christ, the head of all things. But, there are many out there who can not be described as Christ-like. When exposing them to the light of Scripture, it shows they are not like Jesus, but like Simon the Sorceror.
Here is what we know about Simon the Sorceror. (Acts 8:9-11) He…
- Practiced magic
- Astonished the people with his magic arts
- Claimed to be someone great
Here is how Scripture records the people reacting to Simon:
- Gave attention to him
- Believed he had the great power of God
- Were seduced by his magic arts
Let’s take a look at some of the ministries of today’s teachers and see what we find. Will they be like Christ, or like Simon the Sorceror?
C. Peter Wagner
This is a sampling from just a few of the false teachers out there. There are many, many more.
What you see being promoted is prophetic symbolism, fire, the supernatural… everything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Given the evidence, these men and women are in no way Christ-like. They are more representative of Simon the Sorceror, who exalted himself as someone who possessed the mighty power of God and dazzled the people with his magical arts, but in the end, his crafts had no power to save. Only the gospel could do that, and it was through the foolishness of preaching (1 Cor. 1:21) that those he seduced with his wickedness were saved.
Thankfully, when Phillip preached the gospel, the people, as well as Simon, believed and were baptized.
Acts 8:12: (NASB)
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike.
13 And even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip; and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.
Yes, there is more to the story. Simon observed the signs and wonders being performed by Peter and the other apostles and attempted to buy that power with money. This resulted in him being sharply rebuked by Peter.
The point is, are you sitting under a Simon the Sorceror? Does your pastor/teacher performs mystical tricks as evidence of his walk with God, or does he preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Answering this question will speak volumes about the man (or woman) you sit under. Will you listen?