Winning the Spiritual Lottery
Two who sought out Christianity, one for personal gain the other for true riches
And an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias, the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 The place of which of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep before the slaughter and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33 And his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man.
35 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this?of himself, or of some other man.
36 And as they went on their way they came unto a certain water: and the Eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest, And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the Eunuch; and he baptized him.
39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
Clearly, the Eunuch was a man who sought the truth earnestly and desired for it to become something he understood and after that chose to identify himself with. Surely, this busy politician from Queen Candice’s administration could have been doing a million other things with his time; but a desire to seek out spiritual truth was more pressing than his work. The scripture says he came to Jerusalem to worship. He didn’t even know who the person of Christ was, yet had the interest and found the time to seek out God, and God answered him with the message of Christ! The Lord sent Philip with the answers to his inquiries, possibly even before the Eunuch had the opportunity to inquire. What’s more, this man of action did not wait to follow through with his commitment to the truth. After learning about baptism he asked, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” The condition given to him was: he could only do it if he believed (in and about) Jesus with all his heart. Meeting the condition, the bible says, “He (the eunuch) proceeded and went on his way rejoicing.” The Eunuch answered the call on his life to serve God with the right intention and motivation. He gained true riches through salvation and went on with his life rejoicing, meaning that he recognized the value of his salvation. For him there was no hidden agenda or an alteria motive for receiving Christ. This important figure became a spiritual rich man and he knew it! When we serve God for the right reasons, with the right attitude and heart it will bring pure joy to us and a multitude of blessings, that circumstances and the world cannot take away. The bible says that the salvation of one will extend to a thousand generations (James 1:12). Unfortunately, there are others who do not receive the gift of salvation with the same grace. For some it is a purely what is in it for me scenario. There was another man who Philip met earlier in the chapter who also accepted salvation with his mouth, but not his heart.
6 And the people with one accord gave heed to the things that Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles that he did.
7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
8 And there was great joy in that city.
9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
10 To whom they all gave heed from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both man and women.
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.
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
Now, let us examine this occurrence. The scripture says that when the people were healed and delivered from spiritual and physical oppression, “there was great joy in that city.” Again, the citizens knew that they had hit the lottery. They were blessed, receiving salvation from a pure heart and rejoiced all over the place about it. The Holy Spirit came upon them through the laying on of hands and there was a wonderful raucous. This is the way people behave when they really know they are no longer spiritual paupers. Unfortunately, we don’t all accept Christ for the same reason, and some of us have the wrong motives. In the crowd there was Simon who worked sorcery and fooled the townspeople into believing that he was someone great. It is clear that this man wanted respect, power and notoriety and was willing to do a lot of manipulation to get it. Simon, the sorcerer saw the miracles and he also believed, he even went into the water to be baptized, but without meeting the proper spiritual conditions. Even after following Philip, listening to the Word of God, and believing he thought that he could gain power of the Holy Spirit by paying for it with money. He missed his blessing entirely because of an unrepentant heart and obviously wrong motives, so great was this offense that Philip's reply to his request was:
20 Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart maybe forgiven thee.
23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.
Not only did Simon miss out on a blessing, he ended up being cursed. An unrepentant heart and evil motives put him in a worse position than he was in before receiving Christ; because he did not turn away from the idea of sorcery, he just though he could use the Holy Spirit as a different type of sorcery. He still wanted to use something to manipulate the people into believing he was something great, and discounted the gift of salvation all together for his own glory.
The eunuch had what the sorcerer wanted- importance, but the politician gained even more because of the uprightness of his heart. The sorcerer lost what he did not receive fully, and crossed the threshold from spiritual pauper to becoming a spiritual leper because he trampled on the gift of salvation. This being said," Are you the Christian who follows in the steps of Christ for the love of who He is, what He has done on Calvary and then receive it with joy?" Maybe, you are a church goer, or worse a worldly Christian who is always thinking about self, only submitting to the will of God when you get what you want or when things are going your way. If you are living in the later state you are truly missing God’s best for your life, existing in spiritual poverty and poising yourself to be under a curse without true repentance. Even if one believes in God it is not enough without the full commitment of serving Him. It’s possible to sit in church for years, reading your bible and still not applying the Word to your life. Living according to the flesh, what feels good or what pleases us is not biblical Christianity it is a distorted worldly view of it. The Word of God says that if we walk according to the flesh it is death to our souls, but walking according to the Spirit is life everlasting (Romans 8:1). We should never use our salvation to revel in things that only please us, or only makes us look good. Our walk should be a living sacrifice to the Lord, humbling ourselves under His mighty hand and then He will lift us up (1 Peter 5:6). Notice that being lifted up does not come through self seeking it comes through humility and obedience which reflects a proper posture of the heart. We must remember not to put ourselves under a curse for being artificial in our practices and claims in the things of God. Let us remember to call ourselves Christian and really be what we claim to be, receiving our blessings with great joy.
© 2012 elimentree