Thursday, April 27, 2017
Paul has given some specific guidelines about how the gifts of Prophecy and speaking in tongues are to be used. He made the point that these gifts needed to be used in a spiritually mature manner so that they drew people to Christ rather than driving them away. This next guideline is a point of contention with many today.
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (I Corinthians 14:34-35)
Many feel this is an extremely chauvinistic statement and should not be taught or followed in the modern church. I we look at what Paul said in I Timothy 2:11-15, we find the reasoning behind it is not chauvinistic. “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
While Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, she did so because she had been deceived. Adam was not deceived and deliberately took of the forbidden fruit in rebellion against God. It was his rebellious attitude that was passed down to all humanity resulting in their becoming sinners deserving judgment and death. Because the man caused the problem, it is the man’s responsibility to teach people how to make it right. Women should not enable men to avoid taking their responsibility. She does not have to take his responsibility to receive the blessings. God has promised that if she learns to walk in the Spirit she will have his blessings. The problem is not that the woman is inferior or less able, but that God has designated the man to take the responsibility.
The real issue is whether we believe the Bible is truly the word of God or not. II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” In other words, if we will follow all the scriptures we will be able to do everything in a way that is pleasing to God.
Unfortunately, some believe that they have gotten some special revelation form god authorizing them to ignore certain teachings. Paul addresses that teaching in I Corinthians 14:36-38. “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 1co 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”
We don’t get to decide what God’s word should say, nor does he give special rules for different groups. Anyone who is genuinely spiritual or has the gift of teaching and understanding what God says will recognize that these rules are in fact what God commands. Anyone who refuses demonstrates their ignorance of spiritual matters. I John 4:6 tells us, “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”
With these things in mind, I Corinthians 14”39-40 instructs, “Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.” We ought to be more concerned with teaching other what god wants rather than on speaking in tongues. That does not mean God will never use someone that speaks another language to deliver a message. We just need to follow his guidelines so things are done in a proper manner, as God intended.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
The gift of tongues has been a source of conflict since Paul’s day, as demonstrated by his writngs on the subject here in I Corinthians 12-14. As I Corinthians 14:20 tells us, we need to develop a mature attitude about the gifts in general and especially about tongues. “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” As we saw in the previous post, tongues were never intended for use among believers. Misusing them poses a serious problem.
“If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” (I Corinthians 14:23-25)
If a person who is unsaved or not familiar with the custom comes into a church where everyone is speaking in different languages he doesn’t understand he will undoubtedly be confused and lose respect for the people, thinking they are crazy to keep talking in all those different languages. Over the years, I have talked to number of people who visited such churches, and many felt exactly as Paul described, often refusing to go back. On the other hand, if everyone gives a clear statement about what God has commanded, even the unbeliever will realize they are serious about God and be forced to think about his own relationship, even possibly accepting Christ.
A mature attitude will be more concerned with helping others to grow than with making themselves appear spiritual. I Corinthians 14:26 asks, “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” Why is it that everyone thinks they have to sing a song or give a testimony or share a scripture every time? These things can become such a big part of a service the that God’s word is neglected. As we have already seen telling people what God has said is the most important activity gift in the church. When music, testimonies or other activities take precedence over the teaching of God’s word, the church has lost its focus. It is with that in mind that Paul gives some specific guidelines as to how the gifts should be handled in the church.
“If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.” (I Corinthians 14:27-28)
There should never be more than two or three speaking in different languages in single service, and arrangements to have each message interpreted into a language should be made before the speaker starts. If there is no one to interpret the language, the person should not speak publicly, but only in his own heart and to God.
“Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (I Corinthians 14:29-33)
As many prophets or teachers can speak as are desired, because the focus is on everyone learning. There should be freedom for others besides the pastor or elders to speak. When someone is speaking the other people are to be checking out what he teaching to be sure it is right. We are not to blindly accept what a preacher or teacher tells us, so that we do not wind up following false doctrine. In Acts 17:11, the Berean Christians were considered greater Christians because they followed this advice. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Part of the fruit of the Spirit is temperance or self-control. God is not the author of confusion, so if someone is unable to control themselves, or wait their turn, it is a clear indication they are not led of the Holy Spirit, because II Corinthians 3:17 tells us, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” The popular ideas of being slain in the spirit and falling to the floor when the spirit touches you or of being unable to stop dancing around or speaking in tongues indicates they are under the power of a different spirit. When Jesus cast out evil spirits, the evil spirits sometimes threw the people to floor and the Lord lifted them back up as we see in Mark 9:26. “And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.”
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
The most valuable gifts are the ones that help people know God and his desires. Those who are most interested in demonstrating god’s gifts and power should be focused on the best gifts, as I Corinthians 14:12-17 tells us. “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. “ Speaking in a language that no one understands is a waste of time unless someone interprets it. If you don’t know what you are saying, only your emotions (your own spirit) are affected and you gain no spiritual understanding or growth. As a result, Paul was determined not to spend time in those prayers, so that he could worship both with his emotions and his mind.
Likewise if he prayed audibly in an unknown language, other people would have no idea what was really said. How could they honestly say amen, or let it be so when they didn’t know what was being said? For all they know it might be cursing Jesus rather than praising him. A Chinese missionary described hearing a person who supposedly had the gift of speaking in tongues cursing the Lord in fluent Mandarin Chinese, and a man who visited our church had a similar experience with one of the Native American languages. I Corinthians 12:3 tells us,”Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed…”
“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” (I Corinthians 14:18-19) Paul had grown up speaking Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. In his various missionary journeys to different cultures he had also learned at least some of various other languages. He could accomplish more with five words in a language he and the people understood than in hours of talking in language they didn’t understand.
It is okay to have childlike attitude toward grudges and hurt feelings, but in things of the Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, we need to have a mature attitude, as I Corinthians 14:20-22 tells us. “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.”
Several times in the Old Testament, Most notably in Isaiah and Joel, God had warned that the would send people speaking other languages in an attempt to turn the Jews back to God, but they would not listen any more than they did to the Jewish prophets. Acts 2:5-12 describes on situation in which this prophecy was fuflfiied, with every person hearing the messages in their native language. “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
Clearly the gift of tongues was given as a sign to reach people who were not Christians. Those who already believe do not require some special sign to convince them of God’s power. They will be satisfied to know what God has said, but those who do not believe will not. As we saw in I John 4:6, “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us.” The gift of tongues only matters to those who do not trust God and need constant reminders and reassurance of his power.
Monday, April 24, 2017
I Corinthians 12:31 instructs, “But covet earnestly the best gifts…” As we have seen, every part of the body is important because of the particular function it plays. In the same way, every gift of the Spirit is important in the church. The body can function without the tonsils, although somewhat less efficiently, and there are some gifts the church can function without. Other gifts are like the heart or lungs, essential if the church is to be able to survive on its own. Paul is saying these are the gifts we need to be most concerned about.
In I Corinthians 13, He pointed out that without love, or charity, the gifts of the Spirit are worthless, so in I Corinthians 14:1-4 he points out why one is more important and essential than another. “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”
In modern language, the word “prophesy” is nearly always used in reference to foretelling the future. The biblical usage had a much broader meaning, referring to telling people what God said, whether about the future, or about something teaching God wanted them to know. The gift of prophecy was a special ability to receive a message directly from God which was to be shared with the other people. When the scriptures were complete, those special messages were not necessary. Teachers can fulfill the responsibilities of the prophet in our day because they have God’s word to teach from. As a result, I Corinthians 13:8-10 tells us, “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
When Paul wrote that the scriptures were not yet complete, so prophecy was still a necessary gift. Because there was such a variety of languages, the ability to speak in tongues was also necessary, but Paul says the gift of prophecy, of telling people what God wanted is more important because tongues were only of benefit to people who understood them, whereas prophecy could strengthen everyone that heard it. Tongues would only build up or strengthen other Christians if they understood them so they were worthless unless they were interpreted, as he explains I Corinthians 14:5-11.
“I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. “ (I Corinthians 14:5-11)
If people do not understand what is being said, it is just meaningless noise. They may legitimately think the church is insane for putting up with such confusion. On the other hand, even a bugle or musical instrument, can convey a message if played in a recognizable pattern. If we are to have an impact on others, they have to understand what is said. So Paul says it would be better for the church if they taught what God wanted than if they spoke in tongues.
Friday, April 21, 2017
But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” (I Corinthians 12:20-26)
A few years ago, doctors routinely removed children’s tonsils because they so often became infected. They were shocked to find that those who had their tonsils removed were more susceptible to various diseases. They discovered that the tonsils were the first line of defense against certain diseases. Especially during the depression children didn’t get adequate nutrition, and immigration and trade policies allowed them to be exposed to more pathogens than they could handle in a malnourished state. When they were properly nourished the tonsils protected the children from disease.
Frequently, in the church there is a person who doesn’t seem to contribute very much, but they may be praying or encouraging others in ways we aren’t aware of. If they are hurt or ignored the entire church will suffer, even though they don’t realize why. Every member of the church plays a vital role in the church’s health. We need to learn to have equal concern for the little old man or woman who can’t do much as for the youth or the church leadership. They are all part of the body.
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (I Corinthians 12:27-28)
When God started the churches, he started with the apostles, who laid the basic foundation and wrote out what they had been taught by Christ. He gave them special gifts such as healing, miracles, and speaking in tongues as a means of convincing people they were actually messengers from God. Paul referred to those gifts as signs or proofs of apostleship in II Corinthians 12:12. “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” When the apostles were no longer present these gifts disappeared as well.
Because the scriptures were not yet complete and people were not familiar with how a church should run, God gave certain men a gift of prophecy so they could tell people about things that had not yet been addressed. Once the scriptures were complete and the principles established, this gift would cease as well. John and Matthew were written very early, apparently before about 37 AD. As persecution began to grow in 37 AD, the Christians were forced to scatter, taking copies of John and Matthew with them. The Holy Spirit gave certain men a special gift for teaching so they could explain the scriptures to the people in the different communities.
The people in these other communities still had the same needs as those in Jerusalem, and the gifts of healing or miracles were still common in the churches, although only the apostles are described as having them later in Acts. In addition the Holy Spirit gifted certain men with abilities to help people physically, emotionally, and financially. As the churches grew there was a need for people to administer or govern the church and some people were gifted in that area. As they moved into gentile communities and began to reach out to them, the need for people who could speak the different languages grew and some were given special gifts for speaking different languages.
“Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.” (I Corinthians 12:29-31)
Even in that day, there was no need for everyone to have the same gifts. Only 12 were chosen as apostles. Not everyone had a gift for teaching, or for healing or speaking in tongues. Some gifts were more important and desirable than others, and as we saw in the first post on Spiritual gifts, the fruit of the Spirit is far more important than any of the gifts. Without it the gifts are worthless.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
In the previous post we saw that the Holy Spirit does not give everyone the same spiritual gifts, but gives each person the gifts he chooses for the benefit of the entire church. It is crucial we understand this point or we may well begin to believe, like many do that a person is not really saved and doesn’t have the Holy Spirit unless they have a certain gift such as speaking in tongues. Paul explains why not everyone gets the same gifts.
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.” (I Corinthians 12:12-14)
The church is the body of Christ, and like the human body, there are numerous parts, each performing a certain function. In order to perform the different functions they have different abilities or gifts. For example the heart pumps the blood that carries the nutrients throughout the body, and removes the waste from the cells. Since it is inside the body it has no need for the ability to see, but has a special ability to keep pumping continuously for a lifetime. The cells necessary to see would interfere with its ability to pump the blood. Similarly, if the eye had muscles like the heart muscle that constantly contract, it would be very hard to see things. In the same way, Gifts that person doesn’t need to perform his function in the church may prove to be distraction and interfere with his ability to do his job, so the Holy Spirit does not give them.
Sometimes in the church, people get jealous because they want to do a different job and feel like they are not part of the church. I Corinthians 12:15-21 addresses this problem. “If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
Just imagine what would happen if a person’s foot decided that if it couldn’t be his hand instead, it just wouldn’t do anything or act as part of his body, or if the ear decided to not to be part unless it was given the job of seeing. While a person can learn to do almost everything with his feet that he can do with his hands, everything is much more difficult, and some are almost impossible, and since the foot refuses to be part the person will be unable to walk normally. Even if it got the job, the ear could never do the eye’s job because it doesn’t have the necessary abilities, but by refusing to do its proper job it would leave the person deaf.
Without a heart to pump blood to it. a digestive system to get the nourishment from the food, or feet to carry it to where food is available an eye could not survive and the ability to see would be worthless. In the same way, a church where everyone had the same gifts or are competing to do the same jobs cannot function as a church and will probably not survive very long. God has put each person in the church where he wanted them, giving them the gifts they need to do the job he has given them. They need to focus on doing that job to the best of their ability instead of looking to obtain a more prestigious job or expand their ministry.
At the same time, those in the more prestigious jobs need to understand they could not do their job without the others doing their job any more than an eye could survive or function without The efforts of those who do the less visible and prestigious jobs. God has placed every person in the church as it has pleased him and we have no right or authority to dismiss them or eject them from the church just because they don’t go along with the way we want them.
Many of the attitudes and actions we see in modern churches are clear indications of a carnal, unspiritual state. The constant focus by many to attain a more prestigious position or pastorate. Efforts to drive out or eliminate those who resist change or don’t care for particular style of music or service indicate the same thing. Insisting that everyone must have the gift of speaking in tongues indicates an ignorance about the Holy Spirit’s working., as does insisting that other groups are wrong for having a different organizational structure or way of doing things.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Most of the time in modern churches talk about gifts of the Spirit focuses on four main areas, prophecy, miracles, healing, and speaking in tongues, probably because they seem more exciting. As we saw in the previous post, the gifts were given to meet a special need and disappear when they are no longer needed. As Paul pointed out, once the scriptures were complete, the need for a prophet to get a special message from God was no longer as necessary. If everyone in the church speaks the same language, the ability to speak in other languages as they did in Acts 2 is far less important. I Corinthians 12-14 were written to help us get a proper understanding of the spiritual gifts, as verse 1 tells us.
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (I Corinthians 12:1-3)
The Corinthians were gentile people who had been taught false doctrines about a lot of different gods. Since Christianity was new to them they would tend to to carry over some of those false doctrines and attitudes for a while because they simply didn’t understand the difference, and this was true of their attitudes toward spiritual gifts. In order to determine whether a gift was truly from the Holy Spirit or not it would be necessary to try the Spirits as we saw in I John 4. A Chinese Christian visiting a church in America heard a man who claimed to have the gift of tongues cursing Christ and accusing him of being a fraud in fluent Mandarin Chinese, but because no one understood what he was saying, no one questioned whether it was from God or not. The Chinese man was quite concerned. In chapter 14 we will see some guidelines to prevent such things from happening. First we start with some basic principles about the gifts.
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (I Corinthians 12:4-7)
The first thing we need to realize is that the Holy Spirit doesn’t do everything the same way every time. He does not give everybody the same gifts. A person can have the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues for example. The Holy Spirit may lead one church to have a single pastor and another to have several elders. One group may be led to support missionaries individually while another may use a cooperative program. One pastor may earn his doctorate while another never goes to college. The Holy Spirit can do different things in different people. He is still the same Holy Spirit. Looking down on someone who has different gifts or does things a different way only demonstrates our lack of spiritual maturity.
“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (I Corinthians 12:8-11)
One person may have a gift or talent for helping people to make wise decisions, while another has a special gift for learning important facts. A third person has a much greater level of faith while someone else has a gift for healing people or doing various miracles. One may have a special gift for recognizing whether something is from the Holy Spirit or some other spirit while another may have a gift for speaking different languages. Still another may have a gift for interpreting from one language to another effectively. The Holy Spirit gives each person the gifts he wants them to have for the benefit of the entire church. They are not intended to be used to enhance our own prestige or make us rich.
In Samaria there had been a religious teacher named Simon who had gained great wealth and influence through his activities. When he accepted Christ he wanted the same kind of power and prestige in the church Acts 8:18-23 tells the story. “And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” The very fact that Simon was concerned about being able to make a lot of money or gain such respect in the church indicated he was not led by the Holy Spirit, but was being directed by an evil spirit. Unfortunately many use their gifts and talents to benefit themselves rather than to strengthen other Christians.