Great Joy or Bitterness

Great Joy, or bitterness

Great Joy, or bitterness

William Stout / General

Acting Out Acts Part 10


Acts 8:5–8 NKJV

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

And there was great joy in that city.

  • Although they were scattered, they did not stop preaching the Word!
  • When the Word is mixed with Genuine faith, miracles follow
  • Multitudes of people in Samaria began to be saved also, just like in Jerusalem
  • People receive the Word with gladness
  • the Word of God still has power to change people today
  • when it is proclaimed in faith, and received in faith
  • What the devil meant to stop the Word only caused it to spread further
  • the disciples placed God above their homes, their jobs, and community

Multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken

  • We see a pattern in Acts of miracles and healing when the Word is preached in faith
  • this was “normal” in Christianity, and it should still be normal today
  • People did two things:
  • They were in “one accord”
  • We cannot say enough about being in “one accord”
  • When people are divided they cannot accomplish any great thing
  • Like the double minded man, who should not expect anything from God
  • But when people are in one accord, things happen
  • Unclean spirits came out, people were healed – multitudes
  • There are still “unclean spirits” in the world today
  • we just don’t call them spirits anymore
  • We call them mental illness, etc. (ex.)
  • Examples:
  • Divine Healing by faith is still a reality today
  • The Christians proclaimed it in faith
  • The people received it in Faith
  • What you believe had tremendous impact on your health and mind
  • Divine healing, and faith healing. God has given us a measure of faith
  • These people “heeded” the things spoken by the apostles
  • this means they believed the Word concerning healing and deliverance
  • they also repented of the things that are contrary to God – which also bring ills (isa59:1-2)
  • “heeding” is also “faith”. Jesus said why do you call me Lord and don’t do the things I say?

What do you need to be healed from today?

  • Do you need deliverance, Healing, provision?
  • Be set free today – from Worry and doubt and lack
  • Believe God for health, and peace, and abundance
  • Believe God for wholesome living according to His Word

There was Great Joy in that City!

  • There is joy in believing God
  • Joy in receiving His blessings
  • Great Joy in living as a Christian
  • Joy in knowing you have eternal life


Acts 8:9–13 NKJV

But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

  • Simon also believed –
  • This person had been practicing sorcery
  • He had bewitched the people, and impressed them with his so called power
  • He was obviously very bad, but when He believed, he also was saved
  • He followed Phillip, was baptised and was amazed at the miracles
  • We have seen many people who seemed past saving, come to Jesus
  • even people who had practiced devil worship and witchcraft


Acts 8:14–24 NKJV

Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,

saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!

You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.

Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”

  • Simon backslides into sin
  • He offered money to the apostles to give him the power to lay hands on people to give the Holy Spirit
  • What was so bad about that? Wasn’t he asking for something good?
  • He may have thought he was desiring a good thing, but it was rooted in evil
  • Peter said “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!
  • Our Faith is in Jesus Christ alone
  • Believing on Him means that we believe that He alone is enough
  • He is enough to pay for our sins
  • He is enough to heal us
  • He is enough to save us from death
  • He is enough to fill us with the Holy Spirit
  • Not by Works of righteousness, not by gifts of money, not by any person
  • To believe that salvation, or any gift from God could be purchased with money is sin.
  • We express our faith in giving, but we do not purchase faith through giving.


Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

not of works, lest anyone should boast.

  • This is such a wonderful thing about the character of God that we learn here.
  • His gifts are a free gift
  • They are available to all, but only through faith


Acts 8:23 NKJV

For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”

  • Simon’s heart was not right in the sight of God
  • Although he had believed, got baptised and was amazed at the miracles,
  • He allowed his mind to go back to old way
  • Peter rightly discerned that he was “poisoned by bitterness”
  • Perhaps he had been mistreated early in life
  • Maybe had a broken family, perhaps abused as a child
  • Maybe that caused him to turn to sorcery and such, to gain a sense of power over these things (false power)
  • Maybe he had experienced rejection or great disappointment, the loss of loved ones, or abandonment
  • We don’t really know, but it appears that this man, like most people who turn so bad, had suffered something
  • Although he had been saved, he allowed his mind to go back to those negative thoughts and feelings
  • What you believe is very powerful, and does affect your mental well being and health
  • In the same way that believing the gospel and rejoicing in Jesus leads to health and life and joy
  • Stewing over past hurts, giving heed to negative thoughts, unbelief, leads to bitterness and evil
  • This bitterness is a poison, leads to iniquity
  • So, after he had been free from the past and filled with joy, he turned backl to the old way of thinking
  • Suddenly he again thought he wasn’t good enough- he needed something more
  • He wanted the gift of the Holy Spirit not to glorify God, but to empower himself
  • Why did he think he needed this power? HE no longer trusted in Jesus alone.

Acts 8:22 NKJV

Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.

  • Many commentators think that Simon was just a bad guy that backslid and that was it
  • But Peter advised hime to “repent” and pray for forgiveness
  • There are many Christians who have done exactly the same thing, in a sense
  • Who were once filled with joy in the Holy Spirit, but get caught up in bitterness and self serving
  • Thank God that we have a savior who made a way for us to be forgiven
  • If that is you, repent today, and remember the joy of your salvation.
  • I like believe that Simon repented and kept right on serving God
  • I know that we can do the same thing today!
  • Rejoice in the Lord



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