What Is True And What Is Fake?

Scroll Down For Discussion Questions

Acts 8: 1-24

Saul Persecutes the Church

Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.

And on that day a great persecution [a]began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.

Philip in Samaria

Therefore, those who had been scattered went about [b]preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming [c]Christ to them. The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the [d]signs which he was performing. For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. So there was much rejoicing in that city.

Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; 10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.” 11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.

14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized [e]in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or portion in this [f]matter, for your heart is not right before God.22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the [g]bondage of iniquity.”24 But Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Discussion Questions

February 10th ,2019

1. Note that in verse 1 the persecution of the Jerusalem church was followed by scattering of the believers to Judea and Samaria (the surrounding regions). Compare Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28:19-20. WHY DOES PERSECUTION HELP THE CHURCH GROW? WHEN HAVE YOU HEARD OF PERSECUTION BRINGING ABOUT SPIRITUAL GROWTH—IN YOUR OWN LIFE OR IN OTHERS?

2. WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT THAT THE APOSTLES PRAY AND LAY HANDS ON THE NEW BELIEVERS BEFORE THEY RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT, verses 14-17? How would you answer someone who told you the same is true today, and that to have the Holy Spirit you must receive it through the apostles’ successors (priests, bishops, etc.) or by manifesting some particular spiritual gift (for example, tongues)? Be sure to use Scripture. See John 15:26, Romans 8:14-16, and Ephesians 1:13.

3. In verses 18-24 we see the strange case of Simon, who tried to buy the power to give the Holy Spirit. Based on the text in verses 9-24 WHY DO YOU THINK SIMON WAS A TRUE BELIEVER WHO SLIPPED INTO HIS OLD WAYS, OR WAS NEVER A TRUE BELIEVER AT ALL? Document your opinion with Scripture texts from Acts 8:1-24 and use other Scripture texts as well.