International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday October 4, 2015
Purpose: To embrace the power of the Holy Spirit
Bible Lesson: Acts 8:9-24
Key Verse: “Therefore, change your heart and life! Turn from your wickedness! Plead with the Lord in the hope that your wicked intent can be forgiven.” (Acts 8:22)
Bible Lesson: Acts 8:9-24 (CEB)
(9) Before Philip’s arrival, a certain man named Simon had practiced sorcery in that city and baffled the people of Samaria. He claimed to be a great person. (10) Everyone, from the least to the greatest, gave him their undivided attention and referred to him as “the power of God called Great.” (11) He had their attention because he had baffled them with sorcery for a long time. (12) After they came to believe Philip, who preached the good news about God’s kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (13) Even Simon himself came to believe and was baptized. Afterward, he became one of Philip’s supporters. As he saw firsthand the signs and great miracles that were happening, he was astonished. (14) When word reached the apostles in Jerusalem that Samaria had accepted God’s word, they commissioned Peter and John to go to Samaria. (15) Peter and John went down to Samaria where they prayed that the new believers would receive the Holy Spirit. (16) This was because the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen on any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (17) So Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
(18) When Simon perceived that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money. (19) He said, “Give me this authority too so that anyone on whom I lay my hands will receive the Holy Spirit.” (20) Peter responded, “May your money be condemned to hell along with you because you believed you could buy God’s gift with money! (21) You can have no part or share in God’s word because your heart isn’t right with God. (22) Therefore, change your heart and life! Turn from your wickedness! Plead with the Lord in the hope that your wicked intent can be forgiven, (23) for I see that your bitterness has poisoned you and evil has you in chains.” (24) Simon replied, “All of you, please, plead to the Lord for me so that nothing of what you have said will happen to me!”
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
In most churches today we do not hear about a second work of grace or a second blessing. However in the past it was an important part of the doctrine in a lot of churches including the United Methodist and others that followed the Wesleyan doctrine.
In the Pentecostal movement it is often identified with the speaking in tongues. I personally like what A.W. Tozer says, “In my sober judgement the relation of the Spirit to the believer is the most vital question the Church faces today. The problems raised by Christian existentialism or neo-orthodoxy are nothing by comparison with this most critical one. Ecumenicity, eschatological theories - none of these things deserve consideration until every believer can give an affirmative answer to the question, 'Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?”
And it might easily be that after we have been filled with the spirit we will find to our delight that the very infilling itself has solved the other problems for us.” Another Tozer quote I like is “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on …” This along with another quote “The unconverted do not like to hear much about the Holy Spirit. .... 95 percent of what they do would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” ~A.W. Tozer.
In our lesson text we find Simon the Sorcerer wanting to experience the Holy Spirit for his gain. The Holy Spirit is there to help us experience God and salvation to its fullest. Our goal is to make certain that we have yielded ourselves to the will of the Spirit. Paul says, in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
I am thinking of the hymn “Fill Me Now.”