Are You A Disciple? (Acts.8:9-24)
Does going to a church house make someone a disciple of Christ or Christian? How does one become a Christian? What does it take to be a Christian? Who is a Christian? What qualifies one to be a Christian? Does one have to repeat the sinner’s prayer to be one? Is baptism one of the prerequisite of being a Christian? If one confesses Jesus Christ outwardly without a heart-felt experience, does he qualify as a Christian? What role do the heart and mouth of man have to play in becoming a Christian? Read Rom.10:9-13.
What constitutes a Christian? Does going to a church building qualify you as a disciple of Christ? What if you don’t attend a church building, are you still a disciple of Christ? What if you don’t give your money or pay what the minister calls tithe, are you still a Christian? Giving your money as a tithe, going to a church building and even reading the Bible and praying always do not make you a disciple of Christ.
In Acts.10, Cornelius gave his money, built Synagogue for the Jews, was generous to the poor giving them arms, prayed and fasted constantly and yet he was not a Christian. God had to send him an angel to call for Peter who will tell him how to be saved, born again and become a disciple of Christ.
Simon, a sorcerer who was Satan’s man, had the whole city under his thumb. He used witchcraft to control and bewitch the people of
the city, proving that he was the great power of God. The Samarians regarded him because for a long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when Philip came to the city under the power of the Holy Spirit, preaching the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they believed Philip and were baptized both men and women. It was a sight to behold by Simon and he too believed and was baptized.
He continued to follow Philip in his evangelistic campaigns in amazement and wonders, beholding the miracles and signs that were done by him through the Spirit of God. Was Simon conversion real and genuine? Was it only a sensational response because of the miracles, signs and wonders that he saw? Was it possible to do all that Simon did without being a disciple of the Lord? Can one put on a show outwardly consenting to Christianity without being really one? Only the Lord can tell who is sincere and who is not. Man looks at the outward and the physical appearance, but God looks at what is inside the heart of man.
News of the converts to Christianity reached the ears of the Apostles in Jerusalem and they sent Peter and John to Samaria in order for the believers to receive the Holy Spirit. One might ask, “Why did the Apostles send two to them? Could not Philip have prayed for them to receive the Spirit? What was so special about the Apostles of the Lord? The scripture did not say that Philip was connected to the idea of men coming from Jerusalem, but the scripture was silent on this issue. But I believe that it was for solidarity and the Samarian Christians were not alone. It has nothing to do with power, superiority, seniority and prestige, but for the oneness of the people of God.
By now Jerusalem was saturated with the gospel of Christ and the city had tens of thousands and thousands of disciples in it, yet the Apostles still remained within the city having heard the last word from the risen Lord in Acts.1:8. The actions of the Apostles were contrary to the will of God. The Lord was thinking of how to get them out into the world of humanity and preached the gospel wherever they may go.
However, the two, Peter and John arrived at Samaria armed with the news of new babies born into the Kingdom of God through the Spirit. The first thing that they did when they arrived was to call for a prayer meeting for the converts to receive the Holy Spirit. Prayer is very important in the move of God and without it nothing is done on earth by God. God always responds to the prayers of His people from a genuine heart. The Samarians were only converted and baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, but had not received the Inner Witness and Revealer of truth within.
It is very important to know that the laying on of hands did not precede the praying together. The time of prayer was distinct and separate from the laying on of the apostles’ hands. When they laid hands on the converts, the Spirit of God fell upon them and they received the Holy Spirit. It was remarkable that Simon was not mentioned among those who were filled with the Spirit. And also, what did he see that prompted him to take the next step of his actions? He saw the joy on their faces and heard something that moved him beyond amazement to the degree that he offered to buy the power of God so that he could do the exact thing he saw and heard. He was mistaken and in great error and danger.
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