This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location
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The

Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 8

"Ministry of Peter and Others in the Land, and Samaria."

 

Acts 8:1 "And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles."

Saul was applauding shouting "Kill him.", for he was "consenting", meaning he was all for the killing. "Samaria" means watch mountain, and it was the land where the ten tribes of the house of Israel were driven from by the Assyrians eight centuries earlier. They were taken north into captivity, and scattered abroad from there. So they were the offspring of five other peoples that were brought in to fill the land by the Assyrians, these were the ones that lived and called home Samaria.

We see that all but the Apostles were scattered from Jerusalem and run out by these religious leaders.

Acts 8:2 "And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him."

"Devout men" are pious men, in the Greek, "eulabes", Strongs # 2126, These men loved Stephen very much, and wept at the loss of Stephen. I am sure that through Stephens great lecture to the Sanhedrin, that there were converts that took part in the burial.

Acts 8:3 "As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."

As for Saul, which is to say "Paul", in the Greek it say, He laid waste of the church. He even entered into private homes, and "haling", which is to say in the Greek "suro", which is to say, he was literally "dragging" them out of their homes; men, woman, and children. Saul didn't care what sex they were, or their age, he treated all of them alike.

Do you see now how Paul could develop patience after his conversion, for no man had persecuted the church like Paul. Understanding this verse makes it much easier to understand Pauls later writings.

Acts 8:4 "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word."

Just because these Christians from Jerusalem were scattered throughout the land, they did not stop preaching the Word of God. They planted the seeds and the Word went forth into the minds of the people, where ever they went. Friend, you just cannot stop the Word of God.

Acts 8:5 " Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them."

Remember Philip from Acts 6:5? He was one of the seven chosen, along with Stephen to assist the Apostles in the preaching of the gospel. The word "Philip" means "lover of horses". Philip went to Samaria and preached Christ unto them. Just because of persecution, it should not stop your planting seeds of the Gospel wherever you go.

However, before you go to teach the Word of God, make sure that you understand the Word of God, and not those traditions contrived by an individual.

Acts 8:6 "And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did."

People listen to the words that Philip spoke that were the words of the Spirit of Christ speaking through Philip. The miracles were done by the Holy Spirit, and not Philip, but Philip was the instrument that God used in giving forth the ministry. The quickest way to have your ministry fall apart is for you to start taking credit for the gifts as your own. It is your gift, but it is God that performs the healing and the miracles.

Acts 8:7 "For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed."

Those evil and unclean spirits came out of the people in terror, screaming to flee the Holy Spirit. Many of those that were possesed had palsies, they were paralized, and lame, and when the Holy Spirit touched them, they were healed.

Acts 8:8 "And there was great joy in that city."

When Christ and the Spirit of God enters lives, there is always joy. It doesn't matter how rough the going gets, when Christ touches someone, he is coming out of it. In the end of that problem, it will always come out to your advantage. When the times really get tough, that is the time that your faith should be at your strongest. For then you are not relying on your strength, but Christ's. There is no force anywhere that can match that of our heavenly Father. You are your strongest when you are in need of strengthening because the Holy Spirit is with you at that time to lift you up.

Acts 8:9 "But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the save city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:"

This "Simon" is not Simon Peter, for this Simon is exactly the opposite of the Apostle Peter. He gets his power and strength from Satan, and through sorcery. After we heard that beautiful sermon by Stephen, we now see his brother elder Philip contending with Simon and his witchcraft. This Simon had bewitched these people of Samaria into believing that he was a great man of God, and presenting the things that he had done as of God, when they were of the devil.

Acts 8:10 "To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is a great power of God."

This meant that the people of Samaria believed that Simon the sorcerer was the Messiah sent from God. So we see here a man that is the type of Antichrist. Simon practiced witches art, and pretended to be of God.

This is going on today in many churches, they claim to have the Spirit of God within them, but but what is taught is not backed up by God's Word. What is taught in your church? Is it the complete Word of God, or is it slim pickins, a verse here, and another that is picked out of context to fit their own personal teaching. In most cases the verse that is read has very little to do with what they say it says. What do you gain from God Himself, or are you just listening to that man?

To listen to God's Word is to understand the Word as it was intended to be understood. It is important that the minister understand the Word, if he is teaching you. However, what is important is that you understand the Word in the fullness of God's plan. There are a lot of Simon's behind the pulpits today, they claim to be great men of God, but they never get around to teaching the Word of God, but glorifing their own so-called wisdom. Be very careful who you listen to, for this Simon practiced even witchcraft.

Acts 8:11 "And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries."

Simon had been in this city many years doing his sorceries, and bewitching the people that these people accepted what Simon said by traditional. When Philip came into Samaria, and Simon saw Philip doing the things that he did, he had no idea that they came from the Holy Spirit, for he believed that Philip, and later Peter were nothing but actors, doing the same things that he was doing.

So we will see that Simon is wanting into the act, thinking that if he has what Philip has, he can really put on a show. Simon could perform magic and trick who ever was watching him.

Acts 8:12 "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."

Philip is now cutting deep into Simon's trade, and the people were turning from Simon to believe in the name of Jesus Christ, and they were being saved. These men and women were becoming baptised and committed to the kingdom of God.

Acts 8:13 "Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

When you say that "Simon was converted", you are taking it out of context. When all the people were being saved, then Simon pretended to be saved also. A convert Simon was not. Simon was trying to learn the trade of Philip, and in Simon's mind, he could only do this from on the inside. Simon wanted to add more miracles to his sideshow. You see it very common today in many ministries, maybe a little more dancing, a little more chanting, the blowing over, and a few tricks here and there. Simon still does not understand the working of the Holy Spirit, and what the kingdom of God is all about.

Acts 8:14 "Now when the apostles, which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John."

Here comes two of the original Apostles that walked and were taught by Jesus Christ in person. Peter and John walked and talked with Jesus during His entire ministry.

Acts 8:15 "Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:"

Acts 8:16 "(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)"

There are many that would say that the Holy Spirit never came, because Simon was there, but that isn't so. God is teaching each of us a lesson here. The true Holy Spirit has not fallen on them at this time, but it is the Holy Spirit that is performing these miracles and wonders. However, when the Holy Spirit does come upon them, it will be the same person that fell on them on Pentecost day, where people would hear the words of the Holy Spirit spoken, and understood in what ever language and dialect that was the individuals home tongue. Those that heard the teaching by the Holy Spirit would understand exactly what was said, and there would be no need for any interpreter, for there would be no confusion in that tongue.

Acts 8:17 "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."

Peter and John laid their hands on the new converts and each of them, men and women alike received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:18 "And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,"

Remember back in verse thirteen it said that Simon was converted and was baptised? However when Simon sees the Holy Spirit entering all these people, and hears what they have to say, it just blows his mind. Simon told the disciples that he would pay them well if Peter and John would show him how to do that act. To Simon, that is all it was, an act, showmanship; something that could be bought. You see Simon was a fake all along.

Simoning has not gone out of being, there is much Simoning going on in our land today. These Simons of today hire people to catch people when they fall. God doesn't knock people down, He picks them up, and sets them on their feet. They enjoy playing tricks and faking certain healings before large audiences. God does not take kindly to these evil Simon types, and He will destroy those that put on shows and say that it comes from God.

Many of these Simons send people into crowds to get names and events of things that happened, and then act like the Holy Spirit told them of such things. God will destroy false prophets, and that time is coming very soon. These false ministers and false teachers are no different then Simon who wanted to buy his way into this show that he was observing, for that is all it was to Simon. Simon was not converted. Simon simply did not have the eyes to see that it was the true Holy Spirit that was working through these men.

Acts 8:19 "Saying, "Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit."

Simon is saying, "I want to buy this Holy Spirit". Simon wanted to buy this Holy Spirit atmosphere. Be very careful my Friend, there was a purpose that God put this story of Simon in the front part of the "Acts of the Apostles".

Acts 8:20 "But Peter said unto him, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."

Money will not buy any of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, my Friend.

Acts 8:21 "Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God."

Peter is telling Simon, you may tell these people that you are converted, but it is obvious to me, a man of God, that you are no more Christian, and your heart is not even right in the sight of God.

Acts 8:22 "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."

Peter just never gives up on a man. He is telling Simon to repent for the wickedness that is in his heart, talk to the Father, and perhaps your heart can be changed. Listen to Simon's response in verse twenty four and ask yourself, Does he sound familiar to anyone that you have heard?

Acts 8:23 "For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."

"The gall of bitterness" would be better translated "in the gall of jealousy". You don't just want to be a man of God, you want to be the Messiah. It wasn't good enough to have some gift or ability in God's service, He wanted to be at the top dog. Can you see the type of antichrist showing up in Simon. We have many of this type on television today, and in church houses around our land. They think up ways to promote their ministry and bring in the big money, and pass it off as Christianity. May God destroy them all, with their evil hearts, that are not true to His cause.

Acts 8:24 "Then answered Simon, and said, "Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me."

Peter told Simon to repent, "you had better repent and pray to God". First of all Simon didn't believe in God, and then this clown said, "You pray to the Lord for me." Simon did not have a repentive heart, nor did he believe. Simon saw that Peter was filled with Holy Spirit, yet he just didn't understand that repentance must come from within himself.

Friend, there are many that call themselves ministers of God's Word, that don't even believe in the virgin birth of Christ. They practice Simony only to make money, as an occupation, for a living, or a pension program, or what ever was important to them. To many of these ministers their reason for seeking the ministry were reasons other then the spreading of the Word of God in it's entirtty. They are nothing but hirelings.

There is another group of these Simon type ministers that absolutely mock and blaspheme the Holy Spirit by claiming that the Holy Spirit does this or that, which is not biblical or doctrinally sound, and these ministers are blasphemers to the highest degree. Some people think that they are the holy ones, only God will destroy all of them, just like old Simon. That time is coming very shortly, and we are living in the generation when this time of destruction will take place.

You see, Simon believed that if Jesus could do this, anyone can do it. He started to mimic what Jesus and the Apostles were doing, and creating magic that appeared to be the same. The problem came to Simon when he believed in his own magic, and he ordered that they dig a grave, and that he would raise from the dead, just like Jesus did in three days. He thought he had this trick down real good.

Well they dug the grave, and old Simon crawled into the grave and he said, you cover the grave and in three days I'll be out. Friend, old Simon missed something along the way, for when they dug old Simon up, they found Simon's corps. The pit that he had dug for himself is symbolic of the type that he is playing here, who is Satan. Satan will also dig his way right into the pit. He will also try to mimic Jesus Christ, and God will allow Satan to have those powers of wonders and tricks to deceive all those just like Simon that just do not believe in Jesus enough to read His Word and prepare themselves against the Simon of our generation.

You can't buy your way into the Holy Spirit, so save your money if you think what you send is advancing you in God's Kingdom. None of the Holy Spirit's gifts are for sale.

Acts 8:25 "And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans."

On Peter and John's way back to Jerusalem the preached the Gospel in every villages they passed through.

Acts 8:26 "And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, "Arise, and go toward the sount unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert."

We have all heard of the Gaza Strip, and the confining of the Palestinians living there today. This is where Philip was was told to go and preach next.

Acts 8:27 "And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,"

This Ethiopian believed in God, however there were no ministries that had spread out to his land yet, and this eunuch had not heard of Christ yet, but he knew that there was a promise of a Christ. However, this eunuch worshipped YHVH the Father of all people.

Acts 8:28 "Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet."

Esaias the prophet, is what we refer to as "the book of Isaiah".

Acts 8:29 "Then the Spirit said unto Philip, "Go near, and join thyself to this chariot."

Acts 8:30 "And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, "Understandest thou what thou readest?"

This Ethiopian was reading aloud the word of God, and God place Philip there for that moment. When you read the Word of God, do you understand what you are reading?

Acts 8:31 "And he said, "How can I, except some man should guide me?" And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him."

This eunuch told Philip, how can I understand the words, unless some man should instruct me in it? Then he begged Philip to be his instructor. The eunuch loved the Lord, but he did not have the gift to be able to descern Scripture, then you need a gifted teacher. That is why God gives us gifted teachers, with the ability to dig out the true meanings and be able to discern the types and levels that should be taught. The eunuch was wise enough to know this, but it did not prohibit him from searching the Scripture and trying to understand.

Acts 8:32 "The place of the scripture which he read was this, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:"

Acts 8:33 "In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth."

This was taken from Isaiah 53:7, 8; "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, ye He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth."

Isaiah 53:8 "He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken."

This is speaking of the first advent, it is prophecy that was given over six hundred years before the birth of Christ and written by Isaiah, as given by God. Isaiah is writting about the crucifixion of Christ, and that is what the eunuch was writing about. The eunuch, however did not know that Christ had already been crucified in Jerusalem, at this time. Philip is instructing him under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:34 "And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, "I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?"

The eunuch wanted Philip to tell him who this Person was that wouldn't open His mouth to defend himself, but went to His slaughter as a lamb goes to the slaughter. The eunuch asked, was it the prophet Isaiah that spoke of himself?

Acts 8:35 "Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus."

Philip let this eunuch know that Jesus had lived, he read on from Isaiah 53:9 and continued on preaching Jesus. "And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth."

Yes Jesus was crucified with two malfactors on each side of him, and he was buried in Joseph of Arimathea His uncles grave, a rich mans grave. Joseph of Arimathea was Jesus kinsman redeemer, Joseph the tin man was a very wealthy man. Jesus was totally innocent and without spot.

Isaiah 53:10 "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand."

It pleased God, because God was taking the place of man in this Lamb of God, to pay for the sins of the men and women that would listen to His Word and repent. That offering was made for your sins and my sins, when we repent them to the Father in Jesus name. Philip would show the eunuch that Jesus Christ the son of god will live again, and come out of the grave. Through the sacrife of this Lamb, Jesus Christ, God will bring eternal life to all that would believe on him.

Isaiah 53:11 "He shall see the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities."

Do you understand how important knowledge from God is? All wisdom comes from God, and within this Scripture is the knowledge God wants planted in your mind, whether you need a teacher, or be able to dig it out for yourself, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Through the knowledge of what Jesus Christ, God's righteous Servant, did on the cross shall many have their sins forgiven and not judged for acts that have been repented. You will be judged and found perfect because after repentance, the blood of that sacrifiecd Lamb, Jesus Christ, would cover and blot out all those sins.

Isaiah 53:12 "Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

Jesus even saved on of those transgressors that hung there on the cross beside Him. Are you a trangressor? If you haven't repented, you are a trangressor against God, and you need to repent to Him for those sins.

Philip told that eunuch that this has come to pass, repent and your sins are forgiven. That eunuch after hearing the gospel out of the Isaiah repented. He heard the Word of God being taught and he responded to Philip's instruction.

Acts 8:36 "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch said, "See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?"

Acts 8:37 "And Philip said, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

Here are the qualifications for being baptized, and the eunuch gave his commitment when he said; "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." This one person, not even knowing that Jesus Christ was born, after hearing Philip teach, was moved by the Holy Spirit and repented of his sins, and now desires to be baptized.

Acts 8:38 "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."

This eunuch had faith upon believing, because he knew the Scripture when it was explained, and that knowledge of Jesus Christ the Son of God was not a religion, but a reality to him.

Acts 8:39 "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."

Why was it necessary that Philip be caught up? This eunuch would be returning to Ethiopia, and this eunuch was shown a miracle by the Holy Spirit for it would be no longer by faith, but by sight that he had seen with his own eyes a servant of the Living God, teaching and preaching the Gospel that gives eternal life. God granted him this miracle, and he went on his way rejoicing.

Then God did something for you if you have eyes to see and ears to hear, with this catching up of Philip.

Acts 8:40 "But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in the cities, till he came to Cesarea."

Philip was taken away from Gaza, where he preached to the eunuch and he reappeared at Azotus. What is interesting about Azotus is that the children of Israel, and not even Judah was ever able to take this fortress by any means, but Philip was taken there by the Spirit of God, and he preached there and converted it to Christ. Armies couldn't subdue it, yet the power of God, that possess the gift from the Holy Spirit of teaching the Word of God, could make it humble before the Lord.

This chapter gives us the assurance that God is still in control. Even as Philip was needed to preach the word to cities, God so loved this eunuch from Ethiopia, that He sent Philip to minister to him, and then gave this eunuch a miracle to witness before his eyes, to strengthen his faith, and send him on his way.

Even in our day in this final generation, God can single out certain individuals to go a certain way, do a certain thing, to place you in the position of hearing a certain person that has the gift of teaching of the Holy Spirit, that will change the direction of your life. God will let you know that He cares for you individually, He will do it for one. Each child of God is important to Him. When He touches you, God will give you a purpose for your life.

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