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Simon the Sorcerer in Samaria
“But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the great power of God.’ And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the Apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.’ Then Simon answered and said, ‘Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.’” Acts 8:9-24
Religious Racketeer Becomes a False Convert
In Acts, we read of Simon the sorcerer of Samaria. Here we see the dangers of counterfeit Christianity. Simon the sorcerer claims to be “someone great.” We read that everyone in Samaria, “from the least to the greatest” gave heed to him, saying: “this man is the great power of God!” His acts of magic had astonished them for a long time. When Philip preached, Simon was amongst the many men and women who believed and were baptized. Yet, the Apostle Peter declared to Simon the sorcerer: “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
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"Test all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
A Celebration of Evil
Halloween is a religious day, but it is not Christian. Tom Sanguinet, a former high priest in Wicca has said: "The modern holiday that we call Halloween has its origins in the full moon closest to November 1, the witches' new year. It is a time when the spirits (demons) are supposed to be at their peak power and revisiting planet earth… Halloween is purely and absolutely evil, and there is nothing we ever have, or will do, that would make it acceptable to the Lord Jesus."
Day of Death
Halloween has strong roots in paganism and witchcraft. It began as the Druid festival of Samhain. The Celts considered November 1st the day of death, because, in the Northern hemisphere, this was the beginning of winter, the leaves were falling, it was getting darker earlier, and temperatures were dropping. They believed that their sun god was losing strength and Samhain, the lord of death, was overpowering the sun god. The druids also taught that on 31 October, on the eve of the feast, Samhain assembled the spirits of all who had died during the previous year to return to their former home to visit the living.
Our Lord's Devastating Condemnation of Hypocrisy
The most devastating condemnation of hypocrisy is given by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 23:
Much Talk But Little Action
"Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: 'The scribes and the pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Pride and Arrogance
"But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in Heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.
“The Lord will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; people shall worship Him, each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations.”
Hijacked by Humanism
What has happened? How has Humanism hijacked our culture? How did communists gain control of our government? How did it come to the point where church synods are even debating what constitutes marriage and whether satan or hell exists?
Infiltration and Infection
Plainly, Marxists have been infiltrating the five culture-shaping institutions of society. Our education institutions have been subverted by evolutionism, situation ethics, sex education and values clarification. The entertainment industry has been so subverted as to glamourise evil, popularise profanity and celebrate ugliness. In all too many sections of the news media, reality is being rearranged by a selective focus and rather than news, we are receiving humanist views and propaganda. Many religious institutions have been liberalised, ecumenised and syncretised in order to harmonise with New Age secular humanism and a revived paganism.
“And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” Luke 22:47-48
Although it has been common for Hollywood productions, like Jesus of Nazareth, to deal very sympathetically with Judas, the Bible is quite clear that Judas was greedy (Matthew 26:14-15); treacherous (Luke 22:47-48); dishonest and hypocritical (John 12:5-6).
The Bible is very clear that Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ (Matthew 10:4). Judas asked the chief priests: “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” Matthew 26:15.
The Bible records that the chief priests were delighted at Judas’ treachery (Mark 14:10).
Far from Judas being a well-meaning victim of circumstances, the Bible is quite clear that he was a malicious traitor. John’s Gospel plainly says: “Then satan entered into Judas” John 13:27.
"Beware of the leaven of the pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops. And I say to you: My friends do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear; fear Him, who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell. Yes, I say to you, fear Him!"
There is probably no more detested vice than that of hypocrisy. Yet it is pervasive.
Living a Lie
Hypocrisy involves the deception of others. Hypocrisy is living a lie. Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities or standards that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy is far more than simply failing to practice all those virtues that one promotes. For example, an alcoholic may sincerely advocate temperance without any hypocrisy, as long as that alcoholic makes no pretence of constant sobriety. Everyone should seek to attain to the highest Biblical standards, without pretending that they have already achieved perfection.
"Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you."
2 Chronicles 19:2
New World Order
The first attempt to establish a New World Order was by the people who came to the land of Shinar (present day Iraq) and built the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:2-4). Others have tried since. Revelation 13 describes a beast with many heads and horns. The dragon gave the beast power, a throne and great authority. The beast mouthed blasphemies against God, blaspheming His Name, His Tabernacle, and those who dwell in Heaven. The beast made war with the saints and gained authority over "every tribe, tongue and nation."
"All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
Aggressive Fashion Statements
In some of the most unexpected places we are confronted by a revival of the old tribal practices of body scarification, body piercing and body mutilation. Nose rings, eyebrow rings, belly rings, tongue studs, multiple earrings, nipple rings, tattoos and other disfigurements are more than an identifiable sub-culture – it is all part of an aggressive fashion statement which is challenging the Christian Church.
"Do not cut your bodies… or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord."
A Scandalous Silence
Unfortunately, most Church leaders have remained silent on this practice, even while some youth leaders and Bible College students are giving themselves over to body modification.
"Priests must not shave their heads… or cut their bodies. They must be holy to their God and must not profane the Name of their God... they are to be holy."