Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
There’s Always a But
We have been looking (for a long while) at the book of Acts, and most recently at the account of Simon the Sorcerer in chapter 8. The whole book of Acts is a wild ride and one our church deemed necessary to take. After all, we profess to be a “New Testament” church, so we think it imperative to learn just exactly what that means.  
So far, the Holy Spirit (I know that scares some folks) has fallen wholesale to the believers in Jerusalem – chapter 2, then to the region of Samaria – ch. 8, and no peeking, but then to the gentiles -- (which is the balance of us), in ch. 10.   Note, this is exactly how Jesus said it would happen in Acts 1. 
In chapter 8 vs 5-8, we see where Philip, under the direction of the Holy Spirit) goes to the un-desirable folks in Samaria, preaches Christ to them, and the people with one mind received both the message and the messenger.   (The Samaritans were considered a “half-breed” people; a mixture of Jew and Gentile originating when the northern kingdom of Israel was taken over by the Assyrians in 732 BC.)   They were thought to be less than human. Jesus himself was often criticized for his willingness to deal with them.  There were great things happening. Demons were being cast out as well as sick and lame people being healed. Note – there is a biblical difference between sick and possessed.  
Any way, they are having a Bapticostal Fit; ready to charge hell with a water pistol, when we get the big “But” in vs 9. Simon the Sorcerer, had bewitched the people of Samaria; from the greatest to the least, passing himself of as “some great one”, and all the people thought he was “the great power of God” - vs 10.   I’m not going to talk about the origin of his power, (can you say Jonathan Edwards) or even speculate on his motivation, but I would like to focus on the fact that the whole spectacle of his presence there stood in stark contrast (But) to the working of God. To what end?
Satan is a stalking lion, but when that doesn’t work, he is a deceiving serpent. When ever there is a move of God either in your life, or the life of your church, or even in a community, Satan will provide a counterfeit to deceive. And he is not always so easy to spot. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed (can appear) into an angel of light” -2nd Cor. 11:14.  
Again, to what end?  Everyone there was experiencing a new and powerful Faith. The reciprocal of which (the big But) is Doubt.       It’s time to turn the Spiritual Switch. Something we all have in common, regardless of our denomination, is the fact that we all suffer chronically with doubt. We think it’s just a weakness in us, and often deny it; even to ourselves. Some false teachers tell us if we doubt, we really aren’t saved. Not!  Turn to Math. 28 vs. 16-17 and you better sit down.  The 11 remaining disciples who have witnessed first hand, more miracles than are even recorded, saw the Christ crucified-buried-and raised again, who are present with Him now just prior to His ascension, are in the process of worshiping Him -vs 17, and those three little words: “but some doubted”.   Is this possible? And if it is (since it is Scripture) do we somehow think ourselves immune?  What part of our lives will doubt effect? Are we alone in our Doubt? Is there something we can do about it? Join me next week, as we allow God to cast away all doubt and fear. He is Great.  

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522



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