Date written: April 21st, 2007
Scripture ref: Acts 8:5-12
TITLE: Conversion Accounts - Samaritans
PROPOSITION: In the conversion of the Samaritans, there was a 1) Proclamation, 2) Previous Practice, 3) Penitence and Profession, 4) Preservation.
Objectives: That we would know what the Bible teaches regarding true conversion and faithfulness.
1. Read: Acts 8:5-12
2. About the Text:
1) The book of Acts is about the growth of the church.
2) At the beginning of the book, Jesus says that the apostles would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to all parts of the earth.
3) The book of Acts records their work in carrying out this mission.
4) Acts 1-7 primarily concerned the growth of the church in Jerusalem.
5) Then a great persecution began against the Lord's church.
6) This resulted in the members of the Lord's church being scattered.
7) But they went out preaching the gospel.
8) This explains to us how Philip came to be in Samaria.
9) Let's study about their conversion.
3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: In the conversion of the Samaritans there was a . . .
I. Proclamation (Acts 8:5-9)
1. We see that Philip proclaimed Christ.
1) No doubt, he taught the death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
2) But we know that he also taught the plan of salvation considering the response of the Samaritans.
3) This was in keeping with Jesus instructions in Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:47, and Mark 16:15-16.
4) We also know that he taught about the church because verse 12 tells us that he taught of the kingdom of God.
5) So, his message was well rounded; he taught the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
2. We see that the people heard the message.
1) Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17).
2) They were not only hearers of the word, they were doers (James 1:22).
3. We see that the message was confirmed with the miracles that Philip did.
1) John 20:30-31
2) Hebrews 2:3-4 "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?"
4. We see much rejoicing on account of the good Philip did.
II. Previous Practice (Acts 8:9-11)
1. The focus of these previous practices was upon the magic of Simon.
1) Magic was condemned by God.
2) Deuteronomy 18:10-12 "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee."
3) Sorcery is listed as one of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:20).
2. He elevated himself instead of God.
1) Philip likely taught the same principle in Philippians 2:3 "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
2) He taught humility. "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).
3. The people considered him to perform God's powers.
1) In Matthew 24:24 Jesus said, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
2) 2 Thessalonians 2:9 also speaks about some who would display lying wonders.
3) Simon's "wonders" were merely deceptions.
4. The people paid attention to him because of this.
1) They had not seen true miracles.
2) They failed to be appropriately skeptical of these things, to prove all things and try the prophets (1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 John 4:1).
III. Penitence and Profession (Acts 8:12-13)
1. They heard the message of Christ and the kingdom.
3) They could discern the difference between Simon's message of selfishness and the gospel's message of selflessness.
4) Hearing the message of the cross and Jesus' sacrifice was far different from the message of Simon.
5) They heard about the church and the fellowship of sharing they could have with one another (Acts 2:42-47).
5. They believed that message.
1) It was a message worthy of belief.
2) That God came down from heaven and took on man's flesh.
3) That humbling Himself, he lived the life of man.
4) And being obedient to God, the Father Himself, he went to the cross.
5) And that God exalted Him for His life and sacrifice.
6) Philippians 2:5-9.
6. They turned away from the sorceries of Simon.
1) They turned away from Simon's sorceries and deceptions and believed the truth.
2) They wanted to be free from the bondage of sin (John 8:31-32).
3) They wanted a relationship with God through Jesus.
4) So they repented of their error and turned to God (Acts 17:30).
7. They were baptized.
1) This was always part of the gospel message.
2) Romans 6:1-11 teaches us that baptism is symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
3) It is the point at which we change from the old man of sin to the new man of righteousness.
4) Galatians 5:27 teaches us that it is the point of time at which we put on, or enrobe ourselves in Christ.
5) Colossians 2:11-13 teach that it is when we circumcise our hearts and receive forgiveness of sins.
8. Simon also both believed and was baptized. He became a Christian.
IV. Preservation (Acts 8:14-24)
1. The preservation of the early church depended upon receiving the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit.
1) Philip could do miracles, but the converted could not.
2) They had not received the miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit.
3) This required the apostles to come down and lay their hands on the converted (Compare Acts 19:5-6).
4) Only then did they receive the miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit.
5) The purpose of miracles was for confirmation of the word, as we noted earlier.
6) Once the word had been preached and confirmed, it was preserved in writing.
7) 1 Corinthians 13 teaches that these miraculous gifts were the partial that would be done away and that the permanent would be God's word.
8) Hence, when the apostles died and those on whom they laid hands, the miracles went away.
9) This was part of God's plan for the preservation of the early church and the preservation of the church throughout the ages through the written word.
9. The preservation of the early church depended upon the ongoing penitence of the believer.
1) Simon saw that with the laying on of the apostles hands others could do miracles.
2) This is what he desired as well.
3) Peter rebuked him for his sin and told him what to do.
4) Simon's sin caused him to be in a lost state.
5) Simon's repentance brought him back to the Lord.
6) In order for the early church to be preserved repentance needed to be preached and practiced.
7) 2 Corinthians 7:9 "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
8) James said, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).
1. We learn many lessons from the conversion of the Samaritans. Let us remember . . .
1) The proclamation of the gospel by Philip.
2) The previous practices of which they were guilty.
3) The penitence and profession that they made to turn to Christ.
4) The preservation of the saints through repentance.