SERIES: The Book of Acts
TEXT: Acts 8
MESSAGE: “The Gospel for the World”
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Sociologist and author Alvin Schmidt did extensive research on how Christianity had changed the world, and here’s what writes: 
“Jesus’ disciples originally were plain, ordinary Jewish citizens. Several were fisherman, one came from the socially despised tax collectors, and the others similarly came from low ranking occupations…No one would have guessed at this time that these…individuals and their associates would in a few years be accused by some of the Jews of having ‘turned the world upside down’ by their preaching and teaching…The transformed lives of…devout and dedicated individuals…effected monumental changes in the world at large. Yet many people today may not know. Or even try to deny, the many contributions that the transformed followers of Christ for two thousand years helped to bring about. These Christ-inspired individuals took the words of Jesus to heart: ‘Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” — Alvin Schmidt (Socialogist & Author of “How Christianity Changed the World”)
“It is, I believe, that we trust in God and his gospel and move out confidently into the world, living for a new Christian renaissance, and thus challenge the darkness with the hope of Christian faith, believing in an outcome that lies beyond the horizon of all we can see and accomplish today.” — Os Guinness
What can we learn from today’s text about the power of the gospel and how God changes the world? God works by…(1. Exposing Hidden Motives 2. Sending Genuine Disciples)
  1. Exposing Hidden Agendas (v. 9-13; 18-23)
But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
“All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” — Proverbs 16:2
“(Simon) saw the signs that Philip was doing. They were better than his own magical signs. He got excited about them. He followed Philip around and wanted to imitate them. But…he never saw the ugliness of his own sin, the need for repentance, and the glory of Christ in the gospel who forgives and makes new and clean.” — John Piper
 
“Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” 
“Peter condemns Simon as one who does not have Christ’s salvation…he calls Simon to repentance, which is a command typically delivered to the unregenerate. Peter knew Simon was in danger because his heart was corrupt before God.” — Tony Merida
  1. Sending Genuine Disciples (v. 26-29; 30-35)
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 
v. 30-31 — So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” 
v. 35 — “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.”
 
“We need the gospel. We need it more than books. More than studies. More than groups. We need the life-giving, identity-establishing, purpose-defining gospel of Jesus Christ.” — Eric Mason
v. 39 — And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing.”
TAKEAWAYS:
  • Are personal agendas blocking you from seeing God?
  • In what ways is God asking you to trust His leading in your life?
  • Who’s name is more prominent in your life? Your name or God’s name?
GOSPEL: How’s the world going to change? Luke 10:17-20
 
“The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” — Luke 10:17-20