Following the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, it was inevitable that an intense conflict lay ahead for His followers; Indeed, He had told them prior to His ascension: ‘they will persecute you . . . they will put you out of the synagogues . . . whoever kills you will think that he offers God service . . . you will weep and lament’ (phrases scattered throughout John chapters 15 & 16). This opposition came from different quarters and took different forms; however, it was orchestrated by Satan.
One of the first preachers to be targeted was Philip, who preached the gospel in Samaria, Acts chapter 8 verses 5-13. He faced subtle opposition in the form of Simon, ‘who previously practised sorcery in the city’, verse 9. Clearly, he was very knowledgeable about matters relating to the occult and exercised immense power in the city. Such people are still active today and he teaches us how careful Christians have to be, when they come in among us. A close examination of Simon reveals that such people:
- are only interested in position and power, characteristics of Satan
- lack humility – he was only interested in promoting himself – preaching about Christ was the last thing on his mind
- are interested in the spectacular and miraculous
- depend on a powerful and charismatic personality to impress people
- are prepared to do anything to hold on to their position, even to feigning becoming a believer, being baptised and joining the church – Satan can transform himself into ‘an angel of light’, 2 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 14
None of these traits marked Philip’s pathway. He trusted in the power of God to change lives and attract people to Christ. We should do the same!
Please contact us and we will gladly send you a Bible and literature to help you understand more of these things. We will pray for you. Come back again for another Message of Hope.