Simon the Sorcerer
A Sermon on Acts 8:18-24
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.” (ESV)
Can anything I do save me? Are all my good deeds really worthless? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones proclaims the powerful gospel from Acts 8:18-24, showing that it does not matter how many good works we have, or how religious we are; human effort is powerless to save. For the severity of sin cannot be undone by good deeds and righteous works. Those who believe it can be do not understand the reality that sin absolutely corrupts. Dr. Lloyd-Jones painstakingly describes sin’s impact on humanity as every aspect of men, their hearts, wills, and souls are corrupted. But the message of the Bible is not good religiosity. Rather, it is one of supernatural regeneration and new birth. For salvation is obtained by Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave. It is applied to everyone who believes by the Holy Spirit, giving them new life. Those like Simon the magician who see salvation as something that is simply a choice, fundamentally distort the biblical notion of salvation. They detract from the supernatural aspect of salvation and from the work of God. The church must preach both the necessity of the new birth, as well as the supernatural aspect of salvation. They must make clear that desires alone do not save, but it is the Spirit working to give faith that saves.