Sermon Based Group Homework
For the message on October 10, 2021
Passage: Acts 8:9-13, 18-24
This Sunday, Mike continued our “Live Sent” series by looking at the story of Simon the Sorcerer and how he was deceived about the nature of true faith.
Looking back at your notes from Sunday’s message, was there anything you heard for the first time, caught your attention, or challenged you?
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Can you think of a time when you were deceived about something spiritually? What led you to discover the truth?
LET’S GO DEEPER
1. In the message, Mike showed us that Simon was focused on the signs and miracles he saw. He didn’t seek to give up power or control of his life to Jesus but rather sought to buy the power to control the Holy Spirit. In the story, Peter calls out Simon for his fake faith with these ominous words: “May your money be destroyed with you…You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God…you are held captive by sin.” This was not exactly a ringing endorsement of Simon’s faith! The literal meaning of the Greek text has been softened by most translations. J. B. Phillips’s rendering, “To hell with you and your money!” conveys the actual sense of Peter’s words. After seeing Simon’s fake faith, Peter called Simon to repentance. In spite of his “belief” and baptism, Simon failed to experience a true faith in Jesus. What can we learn about an authentic faith from the following scripture passages?
1 Peter 1:6-7 (NLT2)
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Matthew 7:21 (NLT2)
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.
James 2:14-20 (NLT2)
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. 18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Do the above passages teach salvation by performing good works? Explain.
How do these passages challenge you regarding your own faith?
2. Peter sees through Simon’s apparent conversion and detects an inauthentic faith and thus proclaims, “You can have no part in this.” The reason that Peter gives for Simon’s inability to come to a saving faith in Jesus was Simon’s heart. His heart was “not right with God.” The entire tradition of the early church (church leaders i.e., Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Jerome, etc.) confirms that Simon became a heretic and not a true believer.
Simon tried to have faith but did so without a Spirit-produced repentance. We can define repentance as a Spirit-led change of mind that results in a change of action and lifestyle that begins to resemble the life of Christ. Why must faith and repentance be tied together when it comes to one’s salvation experience? What do the following verses say about this?
Acts 26:20 (NLT2)
I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT2)
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.
2 Peter 3:9 (NLT2)
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
John 6:44 (NLT2)
For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.
What has repentance looked like in your life since coming to faith in Jesus?
3. After Peter confronted Simon about his inauthentic faith and need to pray to the Lord for forgiveness, Simon refused to ask the Lord for forgiveness. In verse 24, notice that Simon’s only concern was to escape the temporal consequences of his sin. Simon’s response indicates he intends to continue in a direction he knows is wrong. After hearing Phillip’s message of salvation and Peter’s admonishment, Simon was still in charge of Simon. In light of Simon’s refusal to repent, why do you think many older converts to Christ take years to come to the point of repentance and faith despite hearing the gospel over and over?
4. Even true believers can sometimes lose focus on who God has made them to be and revert back to life being all about them. Can you relate to this? How do you think we can remind ourselves and each other that this life is about making much of Jesus rather than making much of ourselves?
TAKE IT HOME
1. What is your biggest takeaway from this sermon and study?
2. Do you have any prayer requests for your group?