Every so often, I like to sift through old journals and notebooks. Just to see what I can find that I might have forgotten about. Because in this house, they’re everywhere! I’ve scribbled on napkins, cardboard… I’ve even torn the label off a vegetable can and turned it over to the blank side just to get something off my mind, lol!
So, today as I was flipping through an old travel journal, I found this one. And I just thought I’d share it. No rhyme or reason, really. I shall preface it with, “Welcome to the mind of a writer.”
Acts Chapter 8
Saul has come. Havoc was the result. Philip goes to Samaria, casting out devils, healing, and baptizing.
Enter Simon, the sorcerer. This chapter says that “beforetime” he used sorcery to bewitch (Strong’s G1839, to be out of one’s mind, beside oneself, insane) the people of Samaria, “giving out that himself was some great one.”
Simon was vain. He used witchcraft to literally drive the people out of their minds.
Remember when Jesus healed the Gadarene? The Bible says he sat at Jesus’ feet, clothed and IN HIS RIGHT MIND. Being someone who made it their life’s work to drive people crazy was certainly frowned upon by Jesus!
The people hailed Simon as a God. They “regarded” him because he had been bewitching them for a such a long time. BUT… when Philip came and preached:
- The things concerning the Kingdom of God, AND…
- The Name of Jesus Christ… then…
THEY were the same people Simon bewitched and drove crazy. The same people in the same town, so it had to be Simon’s crew from before they heard Philip preach, were baptized. WHICH MEANS THEY believed first. AND THEN…
Simon himself believed also and was baptized.
The people all hailed Simon the sorcerer as a god because they hadn’t yet heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached. Once they did hear it, the Word did what it always does.
It brought life.
The people who believed had ONLY been baptized into the Name of Jesus. So Jerusalem sent Peter and John to lay hands on them for the sole purpose of receiving the Holy Ghost. This was important enough that Peter and John traveled roughly FORTY MILES. On foot. To make sure they had the Holy Ghost.
THAT’S how important it was to the New Testament Church! To the ones Jesus expressly left in charge of the fledgling church after He departed this earth.
Simon the sorcerer saw that the people received the Holy Ghost at the laying on of the Apostle’s hands.
And speaking of which… what would have given it away that they had the Holy Ghost? How is it that they KNEW the people did NOT have the Holy Ghost after Philip had preached to them and baptized them? But they knew that the people DID have the Holy Ghost after Peter and John came and laid hands on them.
It must be just as the Scripture tells us –
enough times that we will realize the authors are trying to make a point. That they spoke with other tongues when receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost!
More importantly, that it was necessary enough that when the Holy Ghost was NOT poured out after Philip preached and baptized the people, that when Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans received the Word (which was obvious in that they were baptized), they sent Peter and John SPECIFICALLY to lay hands on them that they might receive the Holy Ghost.
This fulfilled the salvation formula that Peter spoke of in Acts 2:38, which is clear, and repeated through the Scripture, should you care to study it out.
That salvational plan is this:
- Repent – Jesus CAME to call sinners to repentance. And we’re all sinners before our conversion, as Paul tells us, we are all sinners and there is none righteous, no not one.
- And be baptized – The washing of regeneration (Titis 3:5). 1 Peter 3:21 tells us that this is where the Name of Jesus is actually applied to our lives… “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” Baptism does save us BY the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Every one of you – No one is exempt. Remember? There is none righteous. No, not one.
- In the Name of Jesus Christ – For there is no other Name… whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord (in Baptism, as any Bible student who truly studies can assure you) shall be saved (not IS saved… the salvation process is ongoing until the day we see Jesus face to face). (Romans 10:13)
- For the Remission of sins – There is NO OTHER WAY for our sins to be remitted!! This is one of the most important parts of Jesus-Name baptism is the fact that there is no other way sins may be remitted! Repentance alone can’t do it. Otherwise, it would be a thing that WE instigate and not Jesus. Hebrews 9:2 says without shedding of blood, there is no remission. The law, with the blood sacrifices necessary there, was a foreshadow of things to come (Hebrews 10:1) of the “once-and-for-all” Blood that Jesus would shed for the remission of our sins specifically.
- And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost – The promised Comforter, which is sent in JESUS’ NAME (baptism), according to John 14:26. And with the arrival of the Holy Ghost comes the power that goes with it (Acts 1:8).
I can’t possibly
go into the in-depth study that shows all the many Scriptures that reiterate this formula. John chapter three is a good place to start, where Jesus and Nicodemus are talking. Jesus tells him that we must be born again, of WATER and SPIRIT, or we CANNOT enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Plain as day. I don’t know about you, but as plain as this study is, I cannot, in good conscience, take a chance on ANY OTHER BAPTISM that stems from the traditions of men and not the Word of God.
If you’d like further study on this, or if you’d like to reason together about the Scriptural validity of baptism in the Name of Jesus,
feel free to contact me.
In the meantime, back to Simon…
It seemed to Simon the sorcerer to be a power great enough that he might be able to bewitch or swindle the people again. So, he offered money to the Apostles to have that same power for himself.
Peter reprimanded him and told him his heart was not right in the sight of God. He instructed him to repent of such wickedness (of thinking that the power of God could be bought). But Peter also told him that he perceived that he was “in the gall of bitterness” (gall means poison, and bitterness means extreme wickedness) and in the “bond of iniquity” (iniquity being an unrighteous heart).
At least Simon had the wherewithal to ask Peter to pray for him that none of those things would come upon him. Whether Simon ever got his heart straightened out or not, we aren’t told.
For Peter and John, though, the next matter of business was to preach the Gospel in many villages of the Samaritans and go back to Jerusalem.
Even Philip went on to Ethiopia and to the next revival and baptism.