When Harsh Words Are Kind

harshwordsmainMissionary to India, William Carey, once exhorted a Baptist gathering in England by saying, "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God." I love that quote.

But we must heed the Bible's warning through Simon the Magician: if we attempt great things so that others will see us as great, we are in grave spiritual peril.

The Situation with Simon

After Stephen had been brutally stoned to death, intense persecution broke out against the Christians in Jerusalem. Many were driven off to the towns and villages of Judea and Samaria.

Philip, Stephen's co-servant to the Hellenistic widows, landed in a Samaritan town and preached and performed signs and wonders there. Large numbers of Samaritans professed faith and were baptized. And Simon was one of them.

Simon was a local celebrity, a magician of sorts. He had mesmerized the locals with his arts. And they had given him the title The Great Power of God. And he loved it. He basked in his reputation and fed off the admiration and respect he received.

But when Philip arrived, the game changed. Simon watched with covetous awe as the real, great power of God flowed through Philip; a power that far out-classed him.

[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]