Sebree First Baptist Church

Poser - Acts 8:9-25

I. Introduction

Illustration – Catch Me if you Can -
In 1960’s, Frank Abagnale Jr., between the ages of 15 and 21, became one of the most famous impostors ever. He assumed no fewer than eight identities, including an airline pilot, a physician, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons agent, and a lawyer and defrauded people and companies out of millions of dollars.

• Posers and imposters abound every where… even the church
• Jesus warned us in His parable of wheat and tares that there would be imposters sown into the church along with the true followers
• Jesus, Himself, encountered those, who at first glance, seemed like true believers, but they were posers
• How can you recognize an imposter and what should the church do about it?

The church must possess a clear and biblical understanding of the Gospel and use Spirit-filled discernment to recognize and respond to imposters.

Four traits that are often demonstrated by a spiritual poser:

II. Text
1. Posers have a high-view of self and a low view of God (8:9-10)
• The Gospel expands into Samaria through Philip’s ministry.
• While the power of the Gospel has been changing lives in Samaria, the church has its first run in with an imposter. (cf. 8:6-8)
• “But…” – contrasts what we read in 8:8
(Simon’s) High view of Self
• Simon made a successful living using black magic (8:9)
• Simon had a long-standing reputation for wielding demonic power → he praised himself “saying that he himself was somebody great.” (8:9b)
• He routinely was praised by others great and small alike. (8:10)
• Self is still “god” – my rules, my life, my standards

(Disciples) High view of God
• As a disciple, you are not your own
• Deflects glory to God… (Acts 3:11-12)
• Your heart reflects that of Christ that is full of humility and a thankful heart. - (Phil. 2:3-4)
• Your life is marked with God-honoring obedience (Phil. 2:5-8)
• The Gospel produces a sober self-assessment in light of God’s mercy. (Rom. 12:1-3)

2. Posers are attracted to signs and not Jesus (8:11-13)
• The fickle crowds had been attracted to a show (8:11) (cf. John 6:28-30)
• The power of God that Philip demonstrated trumped Simon’s skills and drew mass response from the crowd (8:12)
• Simon seemed convinced as well (8:13a) → his works will demonstrate otherwise
• Simon followed Phillip to watch miracles (8:13b) – Illustration - Camp conversions en masse
• Signs and wonders were used to authenticate the messenger, but became a distraction to Simon
• Phillip spoke of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus → crowds responded to the Good News

3. Posers are dominated by worldliness (8:14-19)
• Word had travelled to Church in Jerusalem of the Samaritan conversions, so they want confirmation (8:14)
• Peter and John discerned that there needed to be identification with the Jerusalem church (8:15-16)
o Acts 1:8 - 3 “Pentecostal” experiences confirming one church (Acts 2 (Jews) → Acts 8 (Samaritans) → Acts 10 (Gentiles)
• There was some manifestation of the Holy Spirit. (8:17)
• When Simon witnessed this, he reveals his true nature… fortune and glory (8:18-19)
• Disciples are marked by contentment in all circumstances (cf. Phil. 4:11-13)

4. Posers are unrepentant (8:20-25)
• Peter and John discern Simon’s selfish motive - his heart is unchanged. (8:20-21)
• They point out his sin and extend an offer to be truly saved by repenting and asking God for mercy. (8:22-23)
• Simon’s response to rebuke was sarcasm, not brokenness. (8:24) – How do you respond?
• Early church tradition teaches that Simon went on to become a heretic and tried to infiltrate the church with false teaching.
• The Apostles leave continuing to share Gospel with Samaritans (8:25)
• A true believer sees their own sinfulness, repents and trusts in God’s mercy to save.

III. Conclusion
• Abagnale’s skills were redeemed! He could no longer remain a poser
• Am I a poser?
o Do I have a high view of self or high view of God?
o Am I attracted to external religious activity?
o Am I consumed with worldly desires?
o When called out on sin, do I repent?
• Are posers in our midst? → Repent and believe the true Gospel

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