Verse: Acts 8:20-23
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
This is a pretty rough situation. Simon the Sorcerer gets saved, and then he tries to "buy" the power of the Holy Spirit. I think there are two lessons we can take from this that will encourage you this morning.
First - God's gifts to us are free. You can't earn them. This is a radical departure from other religions. You don't have to earn God's love, or favor, or gifting. You receive it because he loves you. He loves to bless his children, and his Spirit is a free gift to you. Some of us get caught up in feeling like we have to "perform" in order for God to be happy with us, or for him to use us. But this is not God's way. He is not asking for a performance, he is asking for your heart.
And this is the second point - repentance is the way back to God. As you read this story, it almost sounds like Simon the Sorcerer is going to get kicked out. He's clearly angered Peter and done something pretty bad. But then it turns and Peter tells him to repent. And that is beautiful. And hopeful. And good news for you and me. No matter where we get "off the path" we can always find our way back on with repentance.
Are you feeling distant from God? Is there something standing in the way of your relationship with him? Maybe going to him in repentance is what you need right now. Confess your sin, turn away from it, and ask God to help you. And remember the forgiveness and grace from God will come as a free gift - you don't have to be perfect to earn them!
I pray that you would keep my heart pure before you Lord.