Monthly Archives: December 2018

Simon Throws His Money Around- The Game Of Simon Says

Simon Throws His Money Around. “The Game of Simon Says” (Acts 8:9-23)

Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope 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.”

Acts 8:9-23

Simon seems to play the part until he pulls a stunt where he whips out his coin purse to give money to Peter and says “Give me this ability also so that everyone on whom I lay my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.” Simon missed the point that the Holy Spirit was a gift of God through the blood of Jesus Christ. He treated it like some cheap trinket that he could throw money at for his own personal use.

“Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope 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.”

Peter saw right through him and realized Simon’s motives were sinful. He says “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could but the gift of God with money” and then adds, “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope 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.”

Bitterness? We do not know why Simon was bitter.

Things we do know about Simon are he was a sorcerer that liked to show off.

“Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery.”

Regardless of Simon’s backstory or motivation, or reason for why he was how he was, Peter tells him to repent and pray to God in hopes the Lord would forgive him for having such a wicked thought.

Simon says, ha Simon says: “Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.” After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.

Acts 8:24-25 –

Seems like Peter does not respond further to Simon after this. Yet all we know is the story leaves off there and have no clue how Simon ended up addressing his sin.

First of all, we must realize Peter addresses the severity of Simon’s sin, he does not coddle Simon and say “Oh poor Simon, your a bitter man and you must be overcompensating because of some hurt in your life.” No Peter is bold and addresses the heart of the issue that Simon is in grievous sin and does not candy coat it. He tells him rather, “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope 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.”

I doubt that Peter lacked compassion but rather knew that regardless of Simon’s backstory or reasons for being this way, the timeless solution for sin is still the same “Repent of this wickedness” and “Pray to the Lord in hope that he may forgive you”

Repentance and faith- Regardless of reason or surrounding details in the story. Repent and turn to Christ Jesus in faith.

Peter seems to leave the possibility that God may not forgive Simon. Yet what I think Peter is saying is Simon needs a true conversion that must have repentance and faith. Peter says “In hope that he may forgive you”

When we got saved, we repented and turned to Christ for the hope of our salvation also.

Jesus said earlier on: “37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37)

I believe if Simon had a true change of heart he could be forgiven too, yet Peter tells him he needs to repent and seek the Lord. Then Simon obviously freaked says “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

We don’t know what Peter said after that if anything. If we are not careful we can just end up filling in what may have been either not said at all, or what the writer of Acts may have just not recorded. It could have been that Peter did reply but Luke who recorded Acts leaves it out deeming it inpertanent dialogue.

It could be that nothing was said at all. Yet the timeless truth is that sin should be repented of and “for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

(Romans 10:13)

Acts indicated Simon believed even and played church but he leaves out a crucial step, repentance of sin and exchanging his agenda for the Lord Jesus Christ’s.

The Cover Up

The chief priests and elders went on to bribe the Romans in order to keep the news of Jesus’s resurection under wraps.

They liked to use their money to get their way. Yet we must realize that they were the ones who would suffer for it in the end.

These religious leaders were motivated by the desire to maintain their place of power and control. So to their own harm they rejected their Messiah and forfeited eternal life.

Many today also when forced to choose between an earthly goal or something they want will reject the Gospel that can save them.

Sometimes it is not a matter of mere unbelief that keeps people from heaven, it is a conflict of interest. They know that receiving Christ as Savior and Lord may include them letting go of control over their lives they think they cannot go without

Pride keeps more people from Heaven then nearly any other sin. It is the sin that got Satan thrown out and condemned him to later suffer himself in the fire of God’s wrath.

When people think of their pride, they often trivialize this sin in themselves more then any other. Some think in their hearts, “I am not making immoral choices” or “I don’t do drugs or steal” – “I am a good person and not a thief or like these people over here that need to get their lives together”

Yet an attitude like that makes people just as guilty of God’s just judgement as anyone else.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

The point is, God is merciful toward those who see their true need for mercy. Not those who use religious body sprays to cover up the stench of their own sin they wont acknowlege.

In the case of the chief priests and religious leaders, they made their choice and refused to accept the forgiveness Christ had if they only humbled themselves to receive it.

The Integrity of Daniel

Daniel was a man of integrity and the Scripture says in his career he was elevated above the other king’s officials. The officials were jealous and started to scheme in order to find reason to accuse Daniel before the king. However, in verses 4 and 5 of chapter 6 it says:

4Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. 5So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”

They schemed to devise a way to put Daniel in a bad spot by craftily getting the king to make a law that no one could pray to any god or human except the king.

Vs 7 they say;  7We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions.

Obviously the king does not fully realize what he is signing his name on, so often when a person let’s themselves listen to flattery, they will let their ego overrule. The king’s case was it must have been a tempting proposal. He must have thought “Well, I am the king after all and how lovely I am that people pray to me!” Not to say this truly went through his mind but when there is pride in the heart, flattery is easy bait.

Soon after, they caught Daniel in the act of praying to God for help. So they told the king! The king is distressed, and then they rub it in it seems that the law cannot be repealed.

Vs 11-15

11Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. 12So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?”

“Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.”

13Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.”

14Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.

15In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.”

See how these scheming officials ask a question first ““Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?” And the way it is brought up seems crafty in and of itself!

He goes in, yet the Lord protects him and no wound is found on him.

[Daniel 6:19-24]

19Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”

21Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”

23The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.

Daniel was presevered and the text tells us why,

1.) found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”

2.) Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.

Daniel first of was blameless in God’s sight and faithful to him. He also was innocent in his matters with the king- “have not wronged you” He also trusted God and had faith in Him!

It backfires of the schemers that seek to get Daniel killed. Verse 24Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.

The king who realized he had the wool pulled over his eyes was rather outraged. No one likes being fooled. No one likes to fall for a crafty trap that makes one feel they are stupid for falling for it. Yet the scheming crafty men had fooled the king and caused Daniel some trouble but it recoiled back on them. God however, thwarts the plans of the wicked and turns it back onto their own heads. They were not able to fool God, for “The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away. Darkness comes upon them in the daytime; at noon they grope as in the night. He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth. (Job 5:11-16)

Implications Of Recent News On Jerusalem To Build a New 3rd Temple.

The irony is tonight’s Bible reading is in 2nd Thessalonians, chapter 2— When Paul wrote this to early believers in the Thessalonian church he was rectifying an error and heresy that Christ already came. The Apostle Paul encourages them and says thaf they were not left.

This also I believe is significant for modern world events, to understand. Recently, the News has covered the story of attempts by a new emerging Sanhidrin in Jerusalem to start building a third temple- the last temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

The Apostle Paul writes: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?”

“Lawless one” presumably the antichrist. He will set himself up in ‘God’s temple’ and as believers we know that the Apostle Paul and the other Apostles call the true redeemed people of God, “The Temple” and “Church”

yet in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2— in this particular passage, it is an actual building that the Lawless one will eventually set himself up in defiance against God and Christ.

—Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter —asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

(2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

We see also how this individual will seem to be able to powerfully deceive, but those he succeeds to deceive will be those who are perishing already in sin and deception. A refusal to believe the true Gospel and continually hardening of their hearts.

“For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.”

Biblical scholars grapple with what this means and some think it means the Church (Believers of Christ) others think God withdrawing His Spirit from the world entirely that restrains evil. I personally am not certain either way. Yet we do know when the “Lawless one” comes, he will eventually be destroyed when “whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”

The Virgin That Conceived A King

Isaiah 7:14 is a very popular Christmas verse, yet there is a historical story behind this.

Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria. ”

Isaiah 7:13-17 –

“The lands of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.” The two kings were Pekah, kimg of Israel and the king he allied with against Jerusalem in the land of Judah was Rezin of Aram. They marched together against the southern kingdom of Judah and tried to capture Jerusalem, but “When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it. (Isaiah 7:1)

Yet in Isaiah 7:14-17 Isaiah is both giving a short term prophesy yet longterm prophesy at the same time. He says: “He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.” The prophetic word does not say how long it was between Aram and the kingdom of Israel being laid waste and the coming of the Christ. It only says “for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. “ then he adds “The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria. ”

Now historically, what happens? Israel is removed from its land by the invasion of Assyria and a little later Babylon comes against Judah and Jerusalem it’s captiol and takes the people into exile 70 years. Later God restores them to the land after and then later the book of Malachi comes about followed by 400 years of silence, until Jesus Christ enters humanity.

Malachi says : “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” (Malachi 4:5-6$

400 years of silence between Malachi and

Luke 1. The prophesy has already been fulfilled concerning the Assyrians- who later were defeated and crush by Babylon, whoch fell to Persian, then Greece came then Rome conquered and Rome begins as the next dominating empire. (see Daniel 2, Daniel interprets the dream of the king of Babylon in his exile

“After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands —a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.” (Daniel 2:39-45)

The last empire listed is most presumably Rome. Partly strong like iron then partly brittle but Jesus enters as King of the Jews

Daniel 2 reiterated———

“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands —a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

Though Jesus did not overthrow Rome, yet rather died on a Roman cross. There will be the day He comes back to Jerusalem to reign as King of Kings! Remember the passage in Isaiah 7 that we first looked at

—-Now the house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim ”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind. Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood—because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘It will not take place, it will not happen,

Isaiah 7:2-7 –

Pekah and Rezin thought they could take Jerusalem with their combined armies and appoint their own king over it, but God says “It will not take place” and the significance is, the throne in Jerusalem is reserved for only one- Jesus Christ. After the captivity to this day Israel and Jerusalem have no king. The King will come and take his place when He returns in His majesty!

A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! The crown will not be restored until he to whom it rightfully belongs shall come; to him I will give it.’ (Ezekiel 21:27)

Hosea 11:7-10 Sermon/For Someday The People Will Follow Me.

Hosea 11:7-10 Sermon, Jealous Anger of The Lord, and future for his people and how it ties into our lives today as believers.

7For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me. 8“Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. 9No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy. 10For someday the people will follow me. I, the Lord, will roar like a lion. And when I roar, my people will return trembling from the west.

Here the Lord is grieved and angry over his unfaithful people he made into a great nation. The Lord unleashed some of his wrath on them, but not the full goblet of his wrath. They were given over to captivity but not entirely forgotten by the Lord. If he entirely poured out his anger they would be destroyed entirely. Yet as it is written,

What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”

(Romans 3:3-4)

This passage in Romans was written hundreds of years later in the New Testament. God is faithful to all his promises to underserving people. As the the passage in Hosea above, the Lord concludes by saying, “10For someday the people will follow me.”

God sees the future, he knew that there would be people who would turn to Him and turn from sin and worship of other gods. God’s preservation of Israel meant that Jesus Christ would one day come as a sacrifice for not just the nations sins, but the sins of the World.

The Gospel of John says:

No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

(John 3:13-17)

Earlier on in Proverbs 30 ans Psalms 2, written at least a thousand years before the time of Christ, we see the Son of God referenced,

Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4)

I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery. ” Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

(Psalm 2:7-12)

The beautiful Gospel is that though we all have sinned against God, he wants to forgive our sins and take away our guilt. He came into the World to save us and offers himself up in our place so our sins can be forgiven if we believe the goodnews that Jesus died on the cross in our place as well as gives us the invitation to turn from sin and follow Him as Lord and Savior!

Hosea 11:10 reiterated: 10For someday the people will follow me.”

Jesus also gives the invitation, he many times said “Come follow me” (See Matthew 16:24-26, Matthew 19:21, Mark 1:17, Mark 2:14, Luke 9:51)

He gives this invitation to people also today. To exchange their program for His. To turn from their ways of doing things and their sins and receive His new call to live. When we turn to Him we receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life. We receive a new way to live our lives here as well.