Acts 8: 9-25
All the people in Samaria were hearing about the gospel and being saved. Even one prominent member of society, Simon the Magician. He was known for his fancy shows and for his tricks. However, he was amazed at the power the Holy Spirit had given to the apostles and he believed in Jesus because of it.
After seeing their power, and knowing the gifts God had given the Apostles, Simon wanted them for himself. He wanted to have that power. He wanted to be able to do that. He had spent his whole life faking the supernatural and now there were men in front of him actually making things happen. He wanted to be able to make things happen.
Simon decided he would try and buy this gift from the Apostles. He approached them with silver and told them he would pay whatever it took to be able to lay hands on people and give them the Holy Spirit the way they could. The Apostles, predominantly Peter, rebuked him for his offer. They told him to repent of his wickedness that he thought he could purchase the Holy Spirit.
There is a lot that can be said here about the gifts, about the uniqueness of the Apostles’ gifting for the unique mission they had been tasked with. I think the most important part of this, though, is the relational aspect of Peter confronting Simon.
Peter kind of let him have it. In a respectful way, but in an honest way, he told him the error in his ways, showed Simon to his sin, and then told him he needed to repent and work on his heart. They called him out and did this, not because they wanted to put him down, but because they saw where he was and didn’t like where he was going.
Simon even received it well. They said it, and approached it in a manner he was able to hear them and not get defensive. He simply acknowledges their warnings, gets a little reflective and asks for their prayers so that he would be able to repent and remove his jealousy and bitterness.
We’ve lost this in the church on both sides. We’ve lost the art of having tough conversations and traded it in for church hopping and gossiping. We’ve lost the ability to hear someone’s concerns and take them in objectively. We’ve lost the community response to sin in our life. We’ve adopted this idea that when you’re okay you come to the community but when something is wrong you run to hide in the darkness of solitude. Instead, what we see here is an honest, upfront conversation where one guy shows concern, the other guy realizes he might be wrong and asks them to pray for him that he could be better.
How different would your life be if you had people in it who could be honest with you about struggles? How different would your life be if you had a community to uphold you and make you stronger as you battled sin? Imagine the difference in the church if this became our biggest concern and not personal comfort.