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August 29, 2018, 8:03 AM

The Kingdom of God

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“The kingdom of God…” (Acts 8:12).

The “Kingdom of God,” as referred to in Acts 8:9-25, is God’s kingly reign. His sovereignty over human life. It is associated with “good news.” That God reigns, not evil, despotic, and unbelieving individuals, is good news. They exercise but limited power, while ultimate power is God’s. It is associated with “the name of Jesus Christ.” God reigns through Christ, through the One who died for us at Calvary. Which is to say, God rules in love, in liberating, fulfilling, judging love. Let’s look a bit closer at that passage in Acts 8 and see what it reveals to us about “the kingdom of God.”

First, the “kingdom of God” means deliverance for the captives (vv. 9-13). The people of Samaria had been bound by sin and superstition. In their spiritual bondage and blindness, they were easily duped by the magic of Simon, and foolishly hailed him as “the divine power” (v. 10). How very much like our times! Masses are enslaved by astrology, witchcraft, occultism, satanism, and guru philosophers. Hungry for a way out of their sins, fears, and emptiness, they are easy prey for every religious con man, every false messiah, who comes with oily tongue and itching palm. Cards, charts, and crystal balls deceive and amaze them. The “kingdom of God” – the good news that God forgives and makes new in Jesus Christ – freed the Samaritans. They “believed” the gospel and were “baptized” into Christ (v. 12). Life was liberated from the ancient and futile thralldoms. The same deliverance takes place today wherever the Good News is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Second, the “kingdom of God” means satisfaction for the hungry (vv. 14-17). Forgiveness is not enough. The soul hungers for something – or Someone – within to cleanse and fill and satisfy, to make complete and to empower for Christian living. God’s answer to that hunger is the Holy Spirit. Peter and John came to Samaria, met Philip’s converts, and “prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit … and they received the Holy Spirit” (vv. 15, 17). “Received” is the operative word here. The holy Spirit is God’s gift to believers’ hearts. He comes in response to prayer and faith.

Third, the “kingdom of God” means judgment upon the insincere (vv. 18-24). Simon the magician lusted for the power to convey the Spirit, and he tried to buy the ability from Peter. How evil he was, and how mistaken! Peter did not control the Spirit – the Spirit controlled him. Through Peter the Holy Spirit rebuked the sin of Simon and summoned him to repent. So abhorrent was the magician’s request that Peter seems to doubt whether pardon could be granted – “Perhaps he will forgive you” (v. 22). The incident stands as a warning to all who would try to make merchandise of God, who would exploit the gifts of God for selfish advantage. God reigns as Judge; and the insincere, who want to be part of the Christian movement for they can extort from it, will “perish” with their money unless they repent. God reigns through the Cross – that is “the good news of the kingdom of God.” He reigns, and therefore: Sins captives can be freed! Our hearts’ hunger can be satisfied! And the insincere will be judged!

Let’s pray: Father, You are full of compassion, I commit and commend myself unto You, in whom I am, and live, and know. May Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens

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