Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed,This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.Acts 8:9-10
All false faith exalts personalities, makes much over men. It involves the inflation of an individual, usually by self-aggrandizement. These individuals are always egocentric, always pointing to themselves, exalting themselves, and using religious terminology to make a great deal over themselves. That is the quality of counterfeit Christianity. Genuine Christianity makes nothing of the individual.
For what we preach is not ourselves, says the Apostle Paul,
but Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves your servants, for Jesus' sake... (2 Corinthians 4:5). But here we have a man who exalts himself.
I remember a few years ago attending a service put on by one of the famous faith healers of our day, a man who has milked millions of dollars from earnest Christians. I attended this meeting just to hear what he was saying. He began preaching what I thought sounded like a good gospel message. He started out well, took his text from the Scripture, began to develop it well, and I began to settle back and say to myself,
I've been wrong about this man! — until he came to the conclusion! Rather than giving an invitation to the thousands who were present to come to know Jesus Christ, this is what he said:
If you want to know God, then have faith in my prayers. If you want to meet God, believe that my prayers will lead you to God. Come forward and kneel here, and I'll pray for you. The whole direction of his message was toward himself and his prayer.
That is false Christianity. It always attempts to interject a mediator between a believer and his God. But,
There is God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2:5); no other. Counterfeit Christianity tries to insert a priesthood of one sort or another, a mediator, someone great, someone who has an
in with God, someone who has a special channel to God that other people don't have. When you hear that sort of thing, you know that you are hearing again the same kind of false Christianity that appeared here in the book of Acts.
Thank you, Father, for the exhortation of this passage to my heart — that I should be Christ centered instead of self centered.
Why is it sometimes easier to identify self-centeredness in others than in ourselves? Do we grasp the reality of our true identity in Christ, which sets us free to live for Him?