Scripture: 1 Kings 3:10-11:10
Summary: Finishing strong is what counts most. It is good to start strong but unless you finish strong it is of no value.
Finishing Strong ”A good start isn’t enough”
1 Kings 3:10-13, I Kings 11:3-6 & 9-11, I Cor 9:24-27
A.With the New Year approaching, people often make some resolutions that they want to accomplish for the next year. Usually before the month is over they have already given up on them.
B.Here are the year’s top ten New Year’s resolutions.
C.Making a decision to change or to do something is nice but that is usually not enough. You need to have the ability to see it through to the end and not quit. Have you ever noticed in life that a good start isn’t always enough? Getting a good start is important. If you don’t get a good start your chances of finishing strong are not that good, but of the two, finishing strong is most the important. You can always overcome a bad start, but you can’t overcome a bad finish. If you finish bad, you lose! A good start alone is not enough to get us to the finish line, or to the winners’ circle.
D.If you don’t believe me, ask the 1969 Baltimore Orioles, who dominated major league baseball that year. Won 109 games — more than any other team. And their opponents in the World Series were the New York Mets. Everyone expected the Orioles to win easily, and when they won the first game it seemed as though they had it in the bag. In just four more games it was over, but the New York Mets were the ones wearing that World Series ring. In 1969 the Orioles and all of Baltimore were convinced of the truth that a good start isn’t enough.
E.What about the 2005 football season for the Indianaplis Colts. The start of the 2005 season for the Colts was incredible. They started the season with a 13-game winning streak, and entering the playoffs, were heavily favored to go to the Super Bowl. Considering that the team that they played next was the Pittsburg Steelers a team that they blew out the past 2 years in the playoffs. However, the Colts were upset by the #6-seeded Steelers, and their season ended. The week following the game the city of Indianapolis did not throw a parade to celebrate the Colts 13 game winning streak at the beginning of the season. Good starts are not enough.
F. We all have experienced the reality of this truth in our own everyday lives. Perhaps, we start out real good on a new diet or exercise program as part of our new year resolutions. Or on a project around the house, a class in school, a job in church or in paying off some bills. I mean we are out of that starting gate like hungry grey hounds chasing a rabbit. But time passes and the diet ends, the exercise stops, we fail the class, the job doesn’t get done and the bills are still where we left them. You see, though there is nothing wrong with a good start, it just isn’t enough.
G.Today, I want to take a look at a man who had an awesome start but had a lousy finish, King Solomon.
Solomon had a good start I Kings 3:10-13
A.He was humble and dependent on God.
1.At the very beginning of his reign as king he went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices to God. The text says that he offered a thousand burnt offerings on the altar. And that night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “What do you want? Ask and I will give it to you.” If you were Solomon what would you have asked for? Now, Solomon being a new king, was feeling overwhelmed by the task and the amount of people who would be looking to him for all things. So Solomon made this request of God, “O Lord my God, now you have made king instead of my father David, but I am like a child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am among your own chosen people, a nation so great they are too numerous to count! Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this nation of yours.” I Kings 3:10-13. And the Bible says, “Since you asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have you asked for the death of your enemies, but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never be anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for both riches and honor so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.”
2.Solomon started strong. He was humble and knew he needed to depend on God to succeed.
3.He also had a good prayer life. One of the most beautiful and powerful prayers ever prayed can be found in I Kings 8:22-30. When the building of the temple was complete Solomon had the priests bring the ark into the Holy Place, and when the priest withdrew from the holy Place, the glory of the Lord filled the temple in a great cloud. Then Solomon gathered the whole assembly of Israel in front of the Temple. And he prayed a prayer of dedication. It was an awesome prayer.
B.He had a good father I Kings 2:1-3
1.Solomon was born into the home of King David. Now David was not a perfect man. He made mistakes but God said this of David, “He is a man after my own heart.” I don’t imagine higher words could be given to anyone. Solomon had a good father.
2.Now, fathers are important in the raising of children. Not only is it important to have a father but it is also important to have a father who is a good man. To be fortunate enough to be born into a home where the father is present and where the father is also a good man is to begin life with a good start.
C.He did great things for God
1.During Solomon’s fourth year as King the construction of the temple of the Lord began. And what a project it was. The Temple was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide and 45 feet high. Tens of thousands of people were involved in this seven-year project. He used 4,000 tons of pure gold plus 40,000 tons of silver! The value of this gold and silver would be valued at $60 Billion not counting bronze, iron, precious stones, cedar wood and labor. Just to compare to day. The construction cost of Solomon’s Temple would have been around $100 Billion! Just to compare this to today, the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center is expected to be completed in 2009 at a cost of $2 billion.
2.Solomon did great things for God.
D.Solomon wrote many good books
1.Solomon is the author of 3 Books; Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.
Solomon did not finish strong I Kings 11:9-11
A.I think you will agree with me that Solomon had a good start. You could say a “He had a great start!” But he had a lousy finish. He looked like a sure winner. It is this great start that makes it so hard to understand his lousy finish. Solomon did not finish strong, he had a lousy finish. “The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my laws, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants.” And scripture goes on to say; that if it wasn’t for David, and his loyalty to God, God would have ripped the kingdom out of Solomon’s hands during his own lifetime. But for the sake of David, God would not do it in Solomon’s lifetime but rather in Solomon’s son’s lifetime.
B.This is what I am talking about, finishing strong is more important that starting strong. Solomon went from being God’s man to having God tear the kingdom from his hands. And the only reason God didn’t do it to Solomon directly was because of David not because of the good Solomon had done in the past, you see that didn’t matter and Solomon couldn’t say, “but God I did this and I did this, I wrote three books of the Bible doesn’t that count?” Those things didn’t really matter now, because a good start isn’t enough in the eyes of God. And Solomon was going down, and he was going down hard, because he had a lousy finish.
C.Every one cheers the runners at the start of the race. But the real race is fought and won on the back roads, where not many see and few cheer and that is where many choose to quit and they never make it to hear the cheers at the finish line.
D.Why did disaster strike in the life of Solomon? Because he stopped walking in the ways of the Lord. What did Solomon do that was so bad? Solomon married many foreign women, hundreds, and most of them were not followers of God, they worshiped idols. And these wives led Solomon away from God. He began to worship these false gods. He built altars and shrines to these gods. Solomon had a great start. He had a good father, received good advice, was humble and dependent on God, had a great prayer life, did good works for God, and he wrote three good books. But in the end we find the Lord becoming angry with Solomon and tearing the Kingdom from Him, Why? BECAUSE he no longer walked in the ways of the Lord.
E.He allowed other things in his life to replace God. It happens still today. Many start strong and are passionate about God, but somewhere along the line, God gets replaced by some other idol. Maybe it is pursuit of money, or compromising by dating or marrying a non Christian boyfriend/girlfriend, allowing unforgiveness to stay in your heart. All of these can cause a person who has started strong to “no longer walk in the ways of the Lord” and end up finishing lousy.
Paul was concerned about finishing strong I Cor 9:24-27
A.When Paul came to Christ he blew out of the blocks faster then anyone ever has. But Paul knew that there was more to a race then the start. Listen to his own words, “In a race, everyone runs but only one gets first prize. So run your race to win. To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best. An athlete goes to all this trouble just to win a blue ribbon or a silver cup, but we do it for a heavenly reward that never disappears. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow boxing or playing around. Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside.” 1 Cor 9:24-27.
B.Paul was concerned about finishing strong. A good start isn’t enough in the eyes of God. A good start and past victories, do not make up for a lousy finish. If Solomon could not coast in on the waves of his good start, we dare not think that we can either.
C.A good start is important. It is important getting out of the blocks fast. But trophies are given only to those who cross the finish line. The bible is full of stories of men and women who had great starts for God but who did not finish strong.
1.Twelve spies were sent by Moses to spy out the Promised land, and only two finished strong, Caleb and Joshua, the other ten had a lousy finish. They all started strong. They were leaders chosen among the million Israelites. These were Israel’s best and brightest. They weren’t rookies. They had a proven track record. They started strong but had a lousy finish. Numbers 13.
2.Then there was King Saul, Noah’s sons, the high priest Eli. They all started out strong, but did not finish strong.
D.The fact that good men, godly men, faithful men, men like Solomon, the ten spies, Saul, the high priest Eli, Gideon and Samson, the fact that men, who were on fire, men who flew out of the starting blocks, men who had a commanding half time lead, finished poorly, put a godly fear in Paul and it puts a godly fear in me.
So how do we make sure that we finish strong?
A.How can you and I ensure that we cross the finish line with power? We need to have “staying power.”
1.Stay away from things that slow you down. Stay away from people that slow you down.
2.Realize what your weaknesses are and be smart enough to stay away from them. As Paul said, “Flee, youthful lusts.” Rather than think you can handle strong temptation, stay away from it.
3.“Staying Away” from your weak areas will help you to “finish strong.”
1.Don’t get distracted by other things. It is going to take endurance to finish strong. Be willing to deny yourself when you want to quit or give up, tell yourself to keep on pressing on, don’t give up. Remind yourself about the reward is that is waiting for you.
2.It’s endurance that determines whether or not we will finish strong. And endurance is the fruit of godly character. The Christian life is not a 100 yard dash. It’s a marathon. It’s a long race, and long races don’t only require speed. They require grit, guts, determination and finishing power.
D.It is never too late to begin doing what is right. As long as you’re breathing, it is never to late to get back on track. It is never too late to repent from getting side tracked and “stay in” “stay close” “stay away” “stay focused”
E.It’s never too late to confess your sin to the Lord in genuine repentance and receive His forgiveness. You may have messed up and messed big time but the race isn’t over yet. Just because you have fallen down does not mean you still can’t finish strong.
The Power of the Tongue
People die because of something said. Tongues can be weapons of mass destruction, launching holocausts and wars. Tongues can also be the death of marriages, families, friendships, churches, careers, hopes, understanding, reputations, missionary efforts, and governments.
But people also live because of something said. The tongue can be “a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4). Tongues reconcile peoples and make peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Tongues can make marriages sweet, families strong, and churches healthy. Tongues can give hope to the despairing, advance understanding, and spread the gospel.
So what will come out of your mouth today, death or life? “Sword thrusts” or “healing” (Proverbs 12:18)?
What Fills Your Heart?
It will all depend on what’s filling your heart. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). A critical heart produces a critical tongue. A self-righteous heart produces a judgmental tongue. A bitter heart produces an acerbic tongue. An ungrateful heart produces a grumbling tongue.
“The words you speak will all depend on what’s filling your heart.”
But a loving heart produces a gracious tongue. A faithful heart produces a truthful tongue. A peaceful heart produces a reconciling tongue. A trusting heart produces an encouraging tongue.
So fill your heart with grace by soaking in your Bible. Soak in Matthew 5, or Romans 12, or 1 Corinthians 13, or Philippians 2. And be very careful taking in the words of death in the newspaper, the radio, the TV, or the blog.
And pray: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3).
The world is full of words of death. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), who “was a murderer from the beginning . . . and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Let us not join him in his “restless evil” (James 3:8).
For “we are from God” (1 John 5:19), and we believe in his Son, Jesus, “the Word” (John 1:1), “the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and who alone has “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Let us join him in speaking these.
Today, make your mouth “a fountain of life” (Proverbs 10:11). Be “slow to speak” in general (James 1:19). Encourage more than you critique. Seek opportunities to speak kind, tenderhearted words (Ephesians 4:32). Say something affectionate to a loved one at an unexpected time. Seek to only speak words that are “good for building up,” that “give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
Be a person whose mouth is full of life.
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up” (Acts 20:32).
It was a normal day for Saul but it was an arranged day from God! From now your days will be arranged. The dad sent him on an errand like any other kid could have been sent but by the end of the day – He had become a king! He did not lobby for it. He did not bed for it – purely by divine arrangement! We will take the scriptures line upon line to use to pray!
DIVINE ARRANGEMENT CAN WORK FOR ANYBODY!
1Sa 9:1 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth.
1Sa 9:2 And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
“a man of wealth.”
That which is bigger than what money and my family can buy – Arrange it for me oh Lord!
“a handsome young man”
God – all that I have – my beauty, my brain ETC – ARRANGE IT FOR YOU, GLORY LORD!
Where no one has ever been to, What no one has ever touched in my lineage – let divine arrangement take me there.
Father, In every area of my life – make me exceptional!
“ From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.”
THE DAY OF DIVINE ARRANGEMENT IS LIKE EVERY OTHER NORMAL DAY
1Sa 9:3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, “Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.”
1Sa 9:4 And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin but did not find them.
On the day that promotion is arranged, let me be selected for an errand.
Lord – let today be my day of visitation.
As I step out of this prayer session, I receive a divinely arranged call to greatness!
In the name of Jesus, let my legs walk me into a divine program
“passed through the land of Shalishah but did not find them.” and ” passed through the land of Benjamin but did not find them.”
FRUSTRATIONS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO DESTROY A DIVINE PLAN
1Sa 9:5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.”
1Sa 9:6 But he said to him, “Behold, there is a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.”
Lord, while the power of divine arrangement is working behind the scene, let me not be breakdown!
Arrange a helper into my life who will initial my walk into a divine arrangement!
Let my pains push me to you! Let my cries be heard in heaven!
Make me a source of help to people who need a divine arrangement
Every demonic and evil arrangement intended to derail me, STOP
I decree that I will not take that step that will make me miss or walk away from divine arrangement,
1Sa 9:14 So they went up to the city. As they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.
1Sa 9:15 Now the day before Saul came, the LORD had revealed to Samuel:
Every arrangement that you have been working for me, FAST TRACK it – let it manifest today!
The one that you have arranged to help me – talk to him.
No matter how far away they are – the one you have ordained to pull me up – speak to him loud and clear!
Every helper that is the divinely arranged plan for my future – manifest!
Every power blocking the arrangement Heaven has made for me – be destroyed permanently!
DIVINE ARRANGEMENT IS REAL!
1Sa 9:16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.”
” Tomorrow about this time”
Lord! Speak now that my tomorrow will be alright!
” I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin”
Send me Lord to where the arrangement that will give me rest has been made in the name of Jesus!
” and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel”
By reason of the anointing of Divine Arrangement on my destiny today – coronate me as King!
By reason of the anointing of Divine Arrangement on my destiny today – I will not struggle again!
DIVINE ARRANGEMENT LEADS TO DIVINE IDENTITY
1Sa 9:17 When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.”
1Sa 9:18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Tell me where is the house of the seer?”
LORD, before I arrive at the place of greatness, arrange a “space” for me.
Lord! By the anointing of divine arrangement – Identify me and promote me!
DIVINE ARRANGEMENT SOLVES PROBLEMS EASILY
1Sa 9:20 As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s house?”
Lord! arrange ease into my life!
Lord! arrange ease into my family!
Lord! arrange ease into this ministry!
Lord! arrange ease into Our nations!
Lord I submit – let divine arrangement sort me out in the name of Jesus!
IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!
MY PLACE WILL NOT BE TAKEN
There is nothing as sad and frustrating in life than been harassed and forced to leave a position that is rightly yours and that you have worked for – for years! A lot of things can cause this and as you know I prefer a preventive approach to spiritual things!
The king Xerxes called a party/banquet for six months with unlimited alcohol and in the state of drunkenness asked Vashti the Queen to come and do a fashion parade and she refused. He was advised to depose and remove her!
FACTORS THAT CAUSES REMOVAL FROM PEOPLE’S PLACES
” For six whole months”
5. The next six months of my life will not be spent in foolishness and vanity.
6. That year of failure will not come in my life
7. Every decision by someone close to me that will destroy be – I abort them in Jesus name
8. I, (insert your name) will not suffer for another person’s stupidity.
Est 1:5 After that, the king gave a banquet for all the people in the capital city of Susa, rich and poor alike. It lasted a whole week and was held in the gardens of the royal palace.
Est 1:12 The king’s servants told Queen Vashti what he had said, but she refused to go to him, and this made him terribly angry.
Est 1:15 The king said to them, “Queen Vashti refused to come to me when I sent my servants for her. What does the law say I should do about that?”
Est 1:16 Then Memucan told the king and the officials: Your Majesty, Queen Vashti has not only embarrassed you, but she has insulted your officials and everyone else in all the provinces.
Est 1:17 The women in the kingdom will hear about this, and they will refuse to respect their husbands. They will say, “If Queen Vashti doesn’t obey her husband, why should we?”
Est 1:18 Before this day is over, the wives of the officials of Persia and Media will find out what Queen Vashti has done, and they will refuse to obey their husbands. They won’t respect their husbands, and their husbands will be angry with them.
Gen 37:20 Let’s kill him and throw him into a pit and say that some wild animal ate him. Then we’ll see what happens to those dreams.”
Gen 37:21 Reuben heard this and tried to protect Joseph from them. “Let’s not kill him,” he said.
Psa 92:8 But you will rule over all of us forever,
Psa 92:9 and your hateful enemies will be scattered and then destroyed.
WHEN GOD OPEN YOUR EYES
BLIND MAN WHO SAW MEN WALKING LIKE TREES
Mar 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?”
Mar 8:24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.”
Mar 8:25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
” And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out”
3. In every area of my life that I have been blind for years – let your light shine and remove the darkness
4. Take my hand and lead me to where my breakthrough is!
” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.”
5. Every partial sight that I have been carrying that is leading my life the wrong way – Lord, make me see clearly! very clearly!
6. What I need to see, What I need to know, What I need to observe – show me!
7. Every obstruction that is still blocking my sight – remove it now!
” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”
8. Holy Spirit, Please! Please lay hands on me again – until I see clearly!
9. I command ( insert name) – see clearly
Remove the log in your eyes
Mat 7:3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Mat 7:4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
Mat 7:5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Elisha, King of Syria and His Servant
2Ki 6:9 Each time, Elisha would send this warning to the king of Israel: “Don’t go near there. That’s where the Syrian troops have set up camp.”
2Ki 6:10 So the king would warn the Israelite troops in that place to be on guard.
2Ki 6:11 The king of Syria was furious when he found out what was happening. He called in his officers and asked, “Which one of you has been telling the king of Israel our plans?”
2Ki 6:12 “None of us, Your Majesty,” one of them answered. “It’s an Israelite named Elisha. He’s a prophet so he can tell his king everything–even what you say in your own room.”
” Elisha would send this warning to the king of Israel”
21. Surround me with people whose eyesight and insight are sharper than mine!
“” Which one of you has been telling the king of Israel our plans?”
22. Every traitor that I have been carrying around for years – expose, expel and expunge
2Ki 6:14 He ordered his best troops to go there with horses and chariots. They marched out during the night and surrounded the town.
23. Every order that has been released to hurt me and my family member – be canceled in the name of Jesus!
24. Every ” march” toward me to cause me pain – be terminated!
2Ki 6:15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
2Ki 6:16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
2Ki 6:17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
25. Every response of hell to my new sight and revelation – backfire in Jesus name.
26. The laws of grace, the power of victory, the angels of protection – what are you waiting for? I command you, ARISE AND FIGHT FOR ME!
” for those who are with us are more than those who are with them”
27. In any area that I have been losing the battle because of lack of help -Raise my hand and fight with me!
28. I reject fear, legit or not – I reject you!
29. Open my eyes to see that help is here!
30. The powers and their human agent that has refused to back off me, THE NAME OF JESUS – STOP!
31. I (insert name) will never lack help!
2Ki 6:18 And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha.
FOR IN JESUS NAME, WE HAVE PRAYED. AMEN.
Praying With Recipients of the Holy Ghost
Text: Acts 8:14-17
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Tonight I am going to share some tidbits of wisdom on the dos and don’ts of praying folks through to the Holy Ghost. This can be exciting, so strap on you pew-belt!
In this Acts, chapter 8, there was great persecution against the church in Jerusalem. This caused the church to scatter throughout the various regions. These were courageous men and women who continued to preach the word everywhere!
There was a man named Philip who went to Samaria and preached Christ to the people. The people listened and watched the miracles unfold. Notice the link between hearing the word of God, having faith built up in the heart, and experiencing the actual miracle. People were delivered of demonic unclean spirits that cried out with loud ugly, shrieking voices and people were healed of palsies and lame ailments. It was awesome and a fantastic demonstration of the power of God for sure.
Then, all of a sudden, there was a monkey wrench thrown into the mix…..a man by the name of Simon known as a sorcerer.
Simon bewitched the people into thinking that he was some great person. Nevertheless, the preaching of Philip and the name of Jesus Christ was far more powerful and the people believed and were baptized.
Believe it or not, Simon also himself believed and was baptized, he continued with Philip and watched the miracles unfold.
It becomes obvious that Simon himself did not fully repent because when he saw that people received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, he immediately began to calculate this in terms of financial gain and this was and still is very displeasing to the Lord. There is nothing wrong with the ministry living of the gospel, but it should never be turned into a money profiteering business with financial gain in mind as the focus. Simon wanted to find a way to make money and he saw this ability to give people the Holy Ghost, as he perceived it as the means to making himself rich. Watch what happened, this is classic Acts:
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, 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 may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
If Simon was true and genuine in what he said, and if he had a genuine repentance experience right here, then God certainly did forgive him, but not enough detail is given, so God only knows.
*We have just learned the first lesson here that it is something not to do: We have just learned that the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and praying with people to receive it should never become a money making machine! We are not talking about people not paying their tithes and giving regular offerings here, but we are talking about a person’s motive being to become filthy rich off the baptism of the Holy Ghost. That is an insult and slap in God’s face, so to speak. It would grieve the heart of our Creator to think that when He is our provider that a person would cheapen His wonderful gift and pervert the pure motives of helping people to be born again. We must guard our own hearts and guard the body of Christ against money- mongering.
**The second area of tips in praying people through to the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is that the wrong thinking will result in the wrong results. One minister was praying with a man to receive the Holy Ghost and giving him tips on how to pray properly. The man stopped, lowered his hands, and said to the minister, “I have prayed for the Holy Ghost for several years, and I know how to pray for it!”
The wrong thinking kept producing the same result: no Holy Ghost.
A valuable lesson here is that a person must be pliable in the hands of God and be teachable. God works with teachable people. God uses teachable people. God gives teachable people the Holy Ghost.
So what are some common misconceptions?
2: A person must be in a certain physical position to receive the Holy Ghost: Such statement such as, “you must be in the church building” or “you must be on your knees to receive the Holy Ghost” are not correct.
People have received the Holy Ghost in their homes, cars, at school, and at work, and many other places, in addition to at church.
The late Leo Upton would not touch anyone until he was ready for the person to receive. He at that point would put his hand on his or her forehead firmly and pray until the seeker spoke with tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.
If a person is getting hands placed all over their body while at the same time being very loudly told to get their mind on God, that combination can be very hard to cope with.
Crying in and of itself does not mean repentance, although it can include crying, but does not have to include crying. God is interested in change, not just tears alone. God would rather see a changed life without tears than tears without a changed life!
Repentance is a change of heart. No one can receive the genuine Holy Ghost without genuine repentance. If they are receiving the real Holy Ghost, then that means that they repented whether or not you saw them.
Some people come to our services ready to be filled, why? Because they have been repenting for days in their homes, cars, schools, parks, backyards, and places of business.
Repentance is a type of death; so how long does it take for someone to die?
Some seekers we are praying with have not repented and therefore it will take them a long time until they do in fact repent fully. Others who have repented before they came to church will receive the Holy Ghost very readily.
Peter told the house of Cornelius they had received in Acts chapter 10. The receivers are so focused on worshipping God and His glorious presence, many times they don’t realize what is happening to them.
Seekers feel different, wonderful, and like they never have in their entire lives, but it is all brand new to them. They need direction. Good questions to ask the seeker are: Did you hear yourself say anything that wasn’t English? Most of the time they will answer something like this: “I don’t know what I was saying”
We can ask, “How do you feel?”
When they say something to the effect of, “different” yet feeling different is not the evidence of the Holy Ghost, but speaking in tongues is the evidence. If we hear the seeker speak with tongues, then we have a Biblical right to tell them that they have received they Holy Ghost! This will give them the confidence they need to know they have not wasted their time and energy at all and there will not be any confusion.
Once a person has spoken in tongues for the very first time and they now understand what they have received, then we should encourage them with such words as, “Now that you have received the Holy Ghost, let God speak through you some more.” We then should pray with them to speak more.
Some Christians will disagree with this philosophy, but it is the best way to help the seeker get as much of the Holy Ghost as possible.
So many incidents like this have happened that the Chicago Sun-Times library now has a special file tabbed “Apathy.”
When it comes to people helping people receive the Holy Ghost, let’s not allow ourselves to become apathetic!
 The Holy Bible: King James Version. 1995. Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor, WA
 The Holy Bible: King James Version. 1995. Logos Research Systems, Inc.: Oak Harbor, WA
 Tan, P. L. 1996, c1979. Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : [a treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts, and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers]. Bible Communications: Garland TX
“I will be remembered and….” Remember me Oh Lord
When God remembers, He operates in certain ways.