THE POWER OF GOD
Today we see the power of God in full display through the missionary work of Philip. The church is starting to experience heavy persecution as a whole and are being scattered but in the midst of the scattering we see the word spreading as God redeems the evil meant for the church to be the way of fulfilling His will. As the word of God is proclaimed and the works of the Kingdom of God shown through the hands of His servants, we see that wherever the Kingdom of God is proclaimed that God will remove the other influences that are leading the people astray.
4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city[a] of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ
As stated in the intro, the persecution and scattering of the church was actually an opportunity to spread the name of Jesus as their discomfort was turned into an opportunity to glorify God. When it comes to suffering in the name of Jesus, we must realize that suffering for His name is actually the platform for God to be glorified, granted we continue to seek and obey Him. Suffering for Jesus is like putting nutrients into a soil in that suffering is like prepping the ground for future breakthrough and fruit. When we suffer with the purpose of glorifying God and we suffer well by seeking His presence in the midst of it rather than complaining about it, we are opening up opportunities in the present moment to glorify God through it! While we glorify God in the moment what is also happening is that we are opening up opportunities in the future for God to bring about further glory through our investment of pain.
Think of suffering well for Jesus as a two step process of changing our circumstance in the moment and laying the groundwork for the future blessing! In every moment, God will reveal how we can turn our misfortune into fortune and to further praise Him for His goodness.
TAKE AWAY: To suffer well means to seek to glorify God in the midst of the suffering and realizing that our pain is an investment for future glory as well.
6 And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was much joy in that city.9 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
In these next series of verses, the story is going to revolve around the idea of attention; who has whose attention and how much of it? Before Philip came, Simon the magician had captured fully the attention of the people. Simon promoted himself and made the people believe that he is the power of God and the people were beginning to give him their praises and attention. To know when you are in the midst of a move of God and the person performing signs or preaching is for God’s glory is when the people are being captivated by God while praising Him rather than man. Despite the fanfare that Simon was developing, we know that he is not from God because he was receiving the glory that was meant for God!
Simon had the attention of the people and thus the attention was not going to God so he had this stranglehold on the people but when Philip came, things took a turn where the kingdom that Simon created was going to be replaced by the Kingdom of God. As Philip was preaching, he was also showing signs that gave weight to his sermons. What was interesting is that the signs produced within the people joy. This tells us that miracles, deliverance, and any blessings that we receive is not the goal but only means to a goal. What our soul wants and needs is not the miracle per say but what the miracle does, which is produce within us joy and not just any type of joy but joy that comes from being with Jesus. As the healing produces the joy in people’s hearts we see that the message of Philip causes the people to realize that the joy and the Kingdom is enjoyable because of Jesus as people begin to be baptized in His name.
TAKE AWAY: When Jesus is proclaimed and people begin to live for Him, any other kingdom will be removed and the people will know true joy.
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[b] performed, he was amazed.
Everyone was getting baptized and as the kingdom of darkness and its control is being removed that even Simon is saved in the process! This tells us that the preaching of the Kingdom of God and inviting Jesus through His name breaks strongholds and that no one is too far from receiving the name of Jesus to be baptized.
TAKE AWAY: No one is too far to receive Jesus as LORD and the invitation of Jesus into our situations and our lives allows Jesus to not only be the LORD but the one that removes the things that hinder us in our lives.