June 7, 2010, "The Holy Spirit as revealed in the Book of Acts"
Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell
~ Acts 2:1-12; Acts 8:1-24 ~
I love the Book of Acts. Reading it this morning after praying for wisdom and understanding of our God, I noticed something quite interesting. After the Holy Spirit came upon the Jews in Jerusalem, the manifestation was that they could speak in other 'tongues' or known languages (Acts 2:4-12). The purpose of this manifestation is quite clear in Acts 2; to share the Gospel of the Infallible Truth of God through Jesus. Jesus said that they were to go into all the parts of the earth to proclaim the gospel...and they were equipped to do so. For some reason it had not occurred to me the depth of God's equipping power. A part of His equipping power was to overcome a big obstacle between the human race...language barriers. I am reminded yet again that we know that God has His perfect purpose for His gifts. They are not to be utilized with carelessness but with His great purpose.
Later as recorded in the Book of Acts chapter 8; the Samaritans accepted and welcomed the Word of God. As they accepted and welcomed the Word of God, Peter and John were sent to them. So Peter and John came down and they prayed for them that the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit. What caught me off guard today, was that the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen upon any of them, but they had only been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. After praying, the apostles laid their hands on them one by one, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:12-18). Wow! The importance of the laying on of hands to impart such power, revealing the baptism of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11, Luke 3:16).
As I read the passages in Acts, I was truly enlightened to three specific things:
1.) According to Acts 2:5-12, The Holy Spirit's purpose of 'tongues' is to minister to those in their native tongue to understand, accept, believe and welcome the message of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.
2.) Upon believing, it is important to be baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:16).
3.) Those who have the Holy Spirit, pray for those who believe in Jesus and then lay hands on them that they also may receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17).
Upon this enlightenment, I noticed this well known man named Simon as recorded in
Acts 8:9-24. He had formerly been practicing magic arts in the city of the Samaritan nation. He had promoted himself to be this extraordinary and distinguished person. However, despite all that he had done, the Samaritans were much more impressed with the kingdom of God. Upon that impression they believed and were baptized. I am so grateful for the reminder of Simon the magician. He himself believed in the good news about the kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ, was also baptized and devoted himself constantly to Philip (Acts 8:12-13). He witnessed signs and miracles of great power which were performed and he was amazed (Acts 8:13). Yet, later as the apostles prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, they laid hands on them one by one and they received the Holy Spirit. I can imagine Simon drouling as he saw that this is how the Holy Spirit was imparted by the laying on of hands, he revealed his heart as he brought money and offered it to the apostles. He wanted this power and authority so that whomever he laid his hands on would receive the Holy Spirit. Yet, Peter rebukes him, tears him apart to actually think that the free gift of God could be attained with money. Peter rebukes him even further and as Simon revealed his own heart, Peter proclaims how his heart is all wrong in God's sight. Peter goes on to tell Simon to repent of the wickedness, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, this thought and purpose of his heart be forgiven him. Simon asks Peter to pray for him that none of what Peter says shall come upon him.
Upon stopping there to imagine this moment. I am in awe of Simon's reaction. Wow! Simon reveals his repentance by not walking away offended, but he begs Peter to pray for him (Acts 8:24). I am amazed by Simon's reaction. He could have easily turned away in his wickedness. Yet the truth that cut beyond the bone, Simon was having a heart change at that very moment. I praise God for the boldness of the Holy Spirit that Peter walked in, freeing Simon from his wicked heart. If he would have proceeded without Peter's rebuke, Simon would have restricted freedom of those who would later believe in Jesus. Peter said, "For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in a bond forged by iniquity [to fetter souls]." Fetter is defined as: a chain or shackle for the ankles or feet. Something that serves to restrict; restrain. The verb is to restrict the freedom of.
Praise God for His boldness through the Holy Spirit. When we are rebuked by the Spirit of God through a vessel, may we forsake offense and receive the gift of correction that our soul may be freed, not restrained and held in bondage to deception.