Acts 8:13 – Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
I have written before about the matter of being qualified for ministry. Today, at the risk of being judged as judgmental, I do it again. Let me be plain-spoken on this matter. Being born again, even Spirit-filled, while absolute requirements for ministry and service in the body of Christ, are NOT the only qualifications. Take a moment and read our Manna for Today. It won’t take long at all. Then consider the “novice” as mentioned in 1 Timothy 3. It is clear that Paul is writing about qualifications for strong levels of leadership in the church; bishop and deacon. He said a “novice” is not qualified, despite the fact that he would surely be born again and Spirit-filled. You can easily read all the qualifications for that level of ministry.
In our Text for Today, I believe we’re looking at a man, Simon by name, who thought that because he was a believer, had followed through with the Biblical command to be baptized, and had remained close to Philip who was the spiritual leader, that he was qualified to function alongside the apostles in their level of authority and giftedness. From the description of events in Acts 8, we see that this is clearly NOT the case. We easily understand that he was in error to think that he could BUY the power to lay hands on people to receive Holy Ghost. That is evident. But what we don’t often recognize is his thinking that he was qualified to possess such an anointing and the powers that accompanied it. He was wrong in both cases. It could NOT be bought, and with that point not even entering into the discussion, he was in NO WAY qualified to have such a gifting and power convey upon him. Regardless of his faith and faithfulness, he was not, at this point in time, yet qualified.
Oh, how I wish that these principles were clearly taught in the church. So many people think that if they’re born again and Spirit-filled, they should be able to stand in any place and hold any post in the church. Not so, dear friend. One must make full proof of one’s ministry before one will be loosed by the Lord to serve in many arenas of ministry. Likewise, people think that when one has turned from the Lord, perhaps bringing great offense and hurt to the church, and then repents, that the repentant party should immediately be restored to places of trust, authority, and leadership in the church. Once again, this is simply not the case. Just as a new believer must prove himself by growing in the graces of ministry, so a repentant fallen leader must do the same. Though completely forgiven for the sin, they have not yet made full proof of their ministry again. Failure to recognize these truths in the church has brought it much harm. The church must awaken.
Manna for Today – Acts 8:9-25; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 2 Timothy 2:24-26