I See That You Are Poisoned By Bitterness And Bound By Iniquity

People who are of the world and who do not know the Lord Jesus are power hungry. Their idea of success is to be lord over the masses by whatever means available to accomplish this feat, but not so in the kingdom of God where the greatest among us is the servant of all. As a result of the power hungry antics of the unbelievers those who are hurt most by them have a hard time forgiving them. In the story from which I took the title of today’s blog is found in the book of the Acts of the Apostles 8:9-25 in which a man called, Simon the Sorcerer, from the land of Samaria, and who used his spiritual powers to rule over the people in the surrounding area had convinced them he was ‘Someone Great’. From the least to the greatest, they said of Simon, “This man is the great power of God.” That is until a real man of God the bible calls, Phillip the Evangelist, showed up doing works that Simon the Sorcerer could not imitate. Simon may have been a wicked man who used his powers to convince the people he was someone great, but he was not slow. It only took one miracle by the man of God to show Simon that he wasn’t in the same league with the man of God. Simon thought if he couldn’t outdo him, he would join him. The bible said, Simon believed and got baptized. But when two other men of God named Peter and John came to town doing yet other miracles, Simon tried to raise his level of power by asking Peter to pray for him to receive the power they possessed. Peter, said to Simon in verse 20-23, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Wait a minute. I thought the bible said, “Simon believed and was baptized by Phillip the Evangelist.” It did in (Acts 8:13) and as far as Phillip could tell, Simon did what he was supposed to do to meet the requirements for salvation; believe and be baptized. But when the Apostles, Peter and John came to town, God showed Peter it was nothing more than a hoax by Simon the Sorcerer to add to his power so he could continue to fool the people after the men of God left town. Imagine that; an evil and wicked person pretending to be a Christian to gain power over more people. You may not realize this; but there are a lot of people in church buildings all across this land that have fooled their pastors into thinking they are believers just because they went through the motions just as Simon fooled Phillip the Evangelist in this story.

If Peter had not seen through Simon’s evil plan; sooner or later, Simon would have created a lot of problems in the local church which would have resulted in splitting the new believers into two or more groups. Those who would follow the Lord and those who would choose to believe Simon. One group would split off from the other and a new denomination would form. When the devil can get his foot into a group of believers such as these in Samaria; it isn’t long before divisions come and splinter groups form; and Satan has defeated another church that began as a solid group of sincere believers. That’s why there are hundreds of denominations in the world today all claiming to be Christian and all claiming to be the true church. Phillip the Evangelist was sincere in his faith, but he made the mistake a lot of pastors make in that he couldn’t see what was inside, or what Simon’s motives were, but it only took one look by Peter to recongnize what was wrong with Simon. The mans heart wasn’t right, or, in other words, he had never been born again. He had faked his salvation experience, but it didn’t fool Peter. And Peter said to Simon, “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, (God’s salvation experience) for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Many churches promote these unsaved people into positions of leadership thereby granting them power and an entrance into offices they are not qualified to fill; instead of following God’s guidelines as given to Paul by the Holy Spirit who in turn wrote them down in a letter addressed to Timothy, his spiritual son, and a young pastor. The guidelines the Apostle Paul gave to Timothy are found in book named for him, 1 Timothy 3: 1-8. Most pastors do not follow these guidelines when selecting their elders and deacons, then wonder why there isn’t any agreement among the leadership, their churches aren’t growing, there is always one problem after another cropping up, and they can’t fill open positions with qualified individuals. And in some cases, the pastor themselves aren’t saved, and if they aren’t saved they sure don’t have a clue how to run the house of God. And in the end, it is the parishoners of these churches that God calls sheep who get cheated out of spiritual growth, live on a starvation diet, and die off never understanding that God wanted to meet all their needs just as a shepherd does his flock. DThrash

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