We left off with Peter's rebuke of Simon's request, a rebuke that was not sugar coated by any stretch of the imagination.
In my study of God's word I've come to realize that the apostles were more cordial with those that did not believe, taking the time to explain Jesus and the cross, in the hope that they would be swayed, that their hearts would be pricked,and that they would be brought to the faith.
When it came to people who should know better, or people who had a false faith, they were not so amicable.
I have often said I would rather preach to an 'unchurched' soul, than attempt to point out and expose false teaching or doctrine in one who has been warming a pew for decades. Because we often hold to the traditions and teachings of men more than the word of God, we reject His counsel, and His Word, thinking ourselves wise in our own eyes, and missing out on the fullness of Christ in our lives because we think we have already attained, we have already reached the top of the mountain, there is no more knowledge to be had, and no one can teach us anything more.
What I bring is not new teaching, but Biblical teaching as old as the Word itself that has been overlooked by today's church because it is uncomfortable, challenging, because it compels people to get off the spiritual fence and either commit to righteousness, submit to the authority of God, or acknowledge if only to themselves that they are but sounding brass, and clanging cymbals. We cannot walk in shadow, we cannot live in the perpetual dusk that is so readily offered from today's pulpits. Either we walk in the light, or are consumed by the darkness. In this supernatural, and spiritual battle for men's souls there can be no neutrality, no conscientious observers, no man can be Switzerland. Whether by our total commitment, or toxic indifference, we have all chosen a side.
Peter continues his rebuke of Simon, and explains that due to the fact his heart was not right in the sight of the Lord, he had neither part nor portion in this matter.
Yet another gem of wisdom, widely overlooked by many today. You can believe, you can even be baptized, and your heart can still not be right in the sight of God.
So much for the theory of throwing a hand up in the air, saying, I believe, and repeating a sinner's prayer being enough to ensure eternal security. (I realize new topics are popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain. I am of course referring to my mention of eternal security, not my vernacular, but the buzz words of many preachers today. We will be discussing this as well sometime in the near future.)
Back to the topic at hand. Simon believed and was baptized. Too few understand the full gravitas, the crushing weight of this revelation.
Although this is yet another topic for another post, one that will surely come about in due season, some food for thought: Why is it that salvation by faith, or salvation by works have to be mutually exclusive in Christendom today? I realize I just clubbed a bee hive with a baseball bat with that one, but I will let it marinate for a few days, and return with Biblical documentation, that faith and works are two sides of the same coin, that we as individuals must strive to do what we can, and allow God to do what we cannot, in our restoration and sanctification.
If the heart is not right in the sight of God, no amount of begging, pleading, or offering of monetary recompense will cause the Holy Spirit to dwell therein.
We can fool men with a form of godliness, quoting scripture in the King James, wearing shiny shoes and silk scarves, singing loudly albeit off key during every service, and having the appearance of piety, but God knows the heart.
As an old time evangelist in my country was fond of saying before every sermon he preached at crusades, 'He sees, He sees, tremble ye sinners and hypocrites, He sees!'
Acts 8:22, "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you."
There is only one path to the grace of God, and that is the path of repentance. Repentance is not just a feeling of remorse for past sins, but the absolute abandonment of the old flesh, the old life, the old desires, the old vices, and the acceptance and pursuit of a new life in Christ. God forgives the repentant heart, and reaches down to the darkest abyss to pluck one out of desperation if repentance is found. Absent of repentance and faith, and faith that leads unto repentance, there is no forgiveness, or eternal life with Him.
Acts 8:23, "For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness, and bound by iniquity."
Here was a man who followed Philip, a man who believed, and was baptized, but the inward truth of a matter isn't always what the outward appearance pretends to be.
Although Simon had followed the steps, in fact he followed more steps than many people who call themselves Christians today follow, he was still bound by iniquity, and the poison that is bitterness still nestled in his heart.
Peter saw with spiritual eyes what eyes of flesh could not discern, that Simon had not repented, but merely believed. (James 2:19, "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe - and tremble!") He was still bound by the shackles of sin, because true repentance had never stirred him. Simon, with all his good intentions was still Simon, no repentance, no purification, no rebirth.
Acts 8:24, "Then Simon answered and said, 'pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.'
At least Simon knew the value of prayer in a man's life, but notice that the Scripture never says that either Peter, John, or Philip prayed for him. There is a difference and a large one at that, between thinking like a Christian, and living like a Christian. What good, and of what benefit would the prayers of the apostles have been on behalf of Simon the unrepentant?
Simon was terrified when he heard the sentence that had been passed down, but he did not repent. He pleaded with the apostles to pray for his sins, but why didn't Simon pray for himself? We cannot ask others to pray for the sins of which we can repent ourselves. At best, we can pray together, and confess the sin publicly that we may be forgiven, that God would show His mercy and grace, and answer the cry of our heart.
Simon asked the apostles to pray that none of the things which Peter had spoken would come upon him. He wanted to escape judgment and punishment, but he did not want to escape the sin that kept him shackled in the dungeons of darkness and death.
There are many Simons walking about today, many Simons attending service every Sunday morning, many Simons with 'Jesus loves you' bumper stickers on their cars, men who want the fullness of grace, forgiveness, salvation, but at the same time continue to be of this earth, living for the now, still bound by sin, unwilling to come to that place of brokenness and repentance at the foot of the cross.
God receives the sincere prayers of those with a heart of repentance. The Simons among us however, always need for someone else to pray for them. The forgiveness of sins, cannot be brought about by the prayers of saints, nor by the prayers of Peter or John, it is an intimate and personal experience, wherein only the person in question, and God are present, with Christ as the only mediator. I cannot repent on your behalf, and any man who says they can is a liar.
The Simon mentality always avoids asking forgiveness of God, and repenting before God personally. Whether due to pride, or the fact that he finds sin too pleasurable, the modern day Simon will not bend his knee in humility, will not cry out for forgiveness, will not surrender wholly and completely to the will of God.
If you pander to the Simon mentality, and advocate a zero accountability policy, chances are you will have a flourishing ministry, with countless supporters singing your praises. If however, you follow in the footsteps of men such as Peter, and with conviction speak truth saying, 'repent therefore of your wickedness', it is a certainty that you will be hated and reviled, because the flesh will never go gently into that good night, it will fight to survive, to thrive, and to dominate.
There is an upside to speaking truth however, you get to sleep well at night, knowing there is no blood on your hands, and that you will not one day be called to account for the souls who perished in darkness because you chose to omit the truth of God's holy word.
The Bible is unclear as to what happened to Simon, it remains a mystery that will only be unraveled when we all get together in the Home that has been prepared for us. Though Simon is long gone, the spirit of Simon is thriving, and too many today have no difficulty in making the impossible connection that an easier path is somehow synonymous with the right path.
Having the Word eliminates the possibility of excuse when we stand before God, no matter how elaborate or well conceived the excuse might be.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
Monday, November 5, 2007
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"We can fool men with a form of godliness, quoting scripture in the King James, wearing shiny shoes and silk scarves, singing loudly albeit off key during every service, and having the appearance of piety, but God knows the heart."
We can have all the gifts, wisdom, knowledge and if we don't walk in love what does it profit us: truly this is a form of Godliness..My husband summed it up yesterday when declining yet another bible study group..saying " you know I've been a Christian for 40 years. I don't need another study about being a Christian, what I need is to do my best at being one. To walk in love and obedience to the Holy Spirit in each and every circumstance and instance
In my life. To love others as He would have me love them..
Hi Michael Boldea,
Thank you for you comments. Truly the Lord has given you insight to share with the rest of us.
You wrote: "There is a difference and a large one at that, between thinking like a Christian, and living like a Christian." and also you wrote: "There is only one path to the grace of God, and that is the path of repentance. Repentance is not just a feeling of remorse for past sins, but the absolute abandonment of the old flesh, the old life, the old desires, the old vices, and the acceptance and pursuit of a new life in Christ. God forgives the repentant heart, and reaches down to the darkest abyss to pluck one out of desperation if repentance is found. Absent of repentance and faith, and faith that leads unto repentance, there is no forgiveness, or eternal life with Him."
I would like to use these quotes from you to share with others, for they are worth repeating.
Thank you for giving us something to think about, to cause us to examine our lives, to bring us to a purer walk with our Lord, and exhort others to do the same. We must not let ourselves, or those we love continue to go unchallenged, but to encourage them to make sure they are not merely living with "a form of godliness but denying its power", (2 Timothy 3:5a) but to be certain they are truly converted to Christ. We must abide in Christ and thus, bear much fruit. (See John 15:1-8)
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Luke 6 ;26
I think this is the 'time' of the false prophets.
They are on the top and the faithful servants of Jesus are on the botom as it should be now.
in this evil age I wouldn't have it any other way.
I've learend over the years to have a fine tuned red light and siren go off when I hear certain phrases or acts from Pastors or teachers.
Recently on a global christian radio program out of Tenessee I heard the speaker saying that God was going to take all the wealth away from the sinners and give it to us Christian's so we could do great things for God.
The flesh thinks this way and forgets that where our treasue is thats where our heart is going to be. Greed is now acceptable and good in the church today and as with Simeon ,they hold wealth to a stature which God does not.
He dosen't give a flip about it like the ChurchWorld does.
The world is in the church bigtime.
In a man called Simeon part 1 Amy wrote something that I can realate strongly to.
If you haven't read it ,it's the sad truth so many don't want to hear.
When I moved to this small Florida town ,the Pastor of the 'best' church in town showed me the nice Rolex he recieved as a gift from a well know actor in Calif. upon his graduation from bible school.
I've met him a number of times and love him but have never been to his church.
I know if I went I would be thrown out as with the other curches in this area.
They are comfortable in their delusion and anyone who rocks the boat is not welcomed.
The Christians I've met here are into their comfy religion and the Nicolatian way.
There is lots of religion but no real TRUTH or LIFE ,they have lost their WAY and love it so.
This is right to the heart,
Amen again and again.
'Repentance is not just a feeling of remorse for past sins, but the absolute abandonment of the old flesh, the old life, the old desires, the old vices, and the acceptance and pursuit of a new life in Christ.' Michael, how true, how true. Sin is who we are - that is why we must have a new birth. For my own part, I had been a believer and churchgoer for many years, and there had been small acts of repentance along the way; outwardly I was doing all the right stuff, serving in church etc But the Lord showed me that I was not born again. The self life was not dead, and even the love I had for others was my own, not His, and as such was just worthless rubbish - hay and stubble. A preacher I knew once said 'salvation costs you nothing - Jesus paid the price at Calvary, but it costs you everything to go on'. How many or us see the gravity of sin as God sees it? Many are quick to claim the promises, ('Yes and Amen to those who are in Christ Jesus')but do they realise that the fulfilment of His promises is dependent upon obedience? I agree that it is much easier to share Christ with a non-believer. Those in the church with wrong doctrine will stone you.
Thank you Michael, I think these past two blogs have been two of your best. I really appreciate your writing.
We have all sinned and come short of the Glory of God,we are an imperfect people,does that mean we continue to sin, NO, we keep pressing forward towards that high calling in Christ Jesus, thats why we cannot judge any man, we must continue to Love all, NO MATTER WHAT, yes, only the Father knows the heart of every man and knows all things and thats all that matters, is, Jesus knows and sees all, what man thinks has no weight, because man cannot see the heart as truly Jesus sees it, his opinion has no value, to the one,that knows, the Father sees his heart, and knows his struggles, and uses those times to bring salvation, to bring repentance, to deliverance,to maturity to revelation, to bring man to the place of walking in a greater obedience, that brings him, to a place of walking in the supernatural, to a place that causes heaven to come down on earth and the perfect will of the Father is born into the life of that obedient child of God, and miracles, signs and wonders begin to follow those that believe and walk in this obedience that pleases our Lord for only he knows whats in the heart, whats true and whats false, we cannot fool The Great King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Love, never fails. Blessings to all.
Repentance is a gift from God. I thank God He granted me the spirit of repentance - that I was immersed (baptized) into it as a way of life. I pray I continue in it to the end. It was only through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not through simply hearing the gospel a few times. Not until I heard the preaching of the Word that was anointed by the Holy Spirit and it was living and active and I HEARD and SAW and said, "OH. Woe is me." This is the famine in this land - the famine of HEARING the Word like that. And it is not something I can take credit for in my life. It is God's mercy.
"....but the inward truth of a matter isn't always what the outward appearance pretends to be."
It's the Heart not the Head....
"and I will give you a new Heart and a new Spirit says the Lord. I will break the Heart of Stone...."
This is what the Lord said HE WILL DO when we cry out to Him from our Hearts, not just from our heads/mouths/opinions. It will be as He said it will be, not as we desire it to be according to our own opinions of God.
We will all be accountable for ourselves when we stand before the Lord. Who will stand willingly/repentantly and who will just discover themselves standing before the Lord and called to account for/by themselves?
This post led me to ponder on the Simon attitude within...it is so easy to see it in others, but within oneself it is hidden and "spiritualized" so to speak. I see others ministering in the gifts of the spirit, word of knowledge, prophetic gifts, healing, and I desire the same - is my desire arising out of the need to know God so closely that He flows through me as rivers of living water - hence the gifts, or is it to be counted among them...be lifted up on their pedestal, be seen, praised and sought after by others, increasing my pride while outwardly feigning humility. Is it to control the gifts the way I want at the opportune time for the camera click or video clip to capture the action, to whose glory - the Lords or mine? Indeed He sees, He sees all of it. We can convincingly cheat others and even ourselves but we can never escape the gaze of God....His word is like a two edged sword, piercing to reveal the very raw attitudes of our selfish and debased nature that only a true yielding, a true repentance and total acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God can deliver us....yes this was a very good post. Good for the soul to search out its true intents in ministry. Thanks Michael.
I have been to Holy Spirit filled churches and felt nothing.
They lay hands on me and ask if I see any words in my head, so I can speak tongues. Based on what Paul said tongue language doesnt appear in the mind!
Then theres those who wants one to start blabbing bababa bibidee bobidee boo nonsense. But thats not how it is, tongues is a coherent language!
Then I use to think people jumping around like they have ants in there pants is an act of the Holy Spirit, but realized thats not it but it is the feeling of "the power of God deep inside your heart"
May God turn his fiery eyes toward my heart and cleanse me of all unrighteousness and know that I am repentant, so that He may fill me with His Holy Spirit, Lord be magnified.
To all readers, how does it feel to be baptized with the Holy Spirit by Almighty God Himself
Someone once wrote; "Many have been offended all the way into heaven; while many have been placated all the way into hell."
I think many of us have seen too many pastors and church leaders become so sensitive to the sheep, that they’ve become insensitive to the Shepard.
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