When the stronghold of Satan’s dominance at Samaria was attacked with the Word of God, Satan had to find a way to regroup and counter-attack. Philip had taken the Word and with its power had thrown the “mountains and fig trees” of resistance into the sea. The city was set free and the power of God flowed through the streets.
Satan’s leader in that city was a man named Simon. What happened there had taken Simon by surprise. He thought that through his sorcery (witchcraft) he had control of the city. Demons possessed many people. The people were so impressed that he was elevated to a “god-like” status. The Word that Philip brought was so powerful that even Simon was unable to resist. The Bible says that he also believed and was baptized. One would think that would be the end of the story, but it only caused Satan to use another tactic to keep the Truth from being proclaimed. When the Church’s Headquarters in Jerusalem heard what was happening in Samaria, they sent the Apostles Peter and John to investigate. Seeing the results of the Word, they laid hands on the new Believers and they received the Holy Spirit. During this time, Simon had aligned himself with Philip. When the Apostles arrived he began to hang around them. Upon seeing that by the laying on of hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered Peter money to learn the “trick.” Peter immediately knew that Simon was not a True Believer, but an agent of Satan. He told him that “his heart was not right in the sight of God.” The very demons that had possessed so many were now affecting him with bitterness and he became bound with iniquity.
If Satan cannot keep his people from going AWOL, he will at least use them in a different setting. There is a great deal of carnality within the Church today, but many believe it is to be expected because Christianity is a growing experience. The problem is that if fleshly desires are not brought under control, other elements of the world will continue to infiltrate the Believer. The question must be raised as to what role, if any, demons play in the Church. If Satan can’t keep his “goats” in check, what about putting them in the sheepfold? What about mixing the “tares and the wheat?” When you see such things as jealousy, anger, gossip, backbiting, unforgiveness, divisions, etc., continuing in the Body of Christ, something is wrong! Is it weak teachings that fail to equip the Believers or has Satan infiltrated the Body of Christ with people who are not true Believers?
Christians hate to consider the subject of demons. The possibility of demonic activity within the walls of the church is either dismissed as fantasy or is claimed it is not valid today. If we believe in the Holy Spirit, we better also believe in satanic spirits, for if we don’t, divisions will rip our fellowships apart. There are people within the Church that are not there to glorify God but to sow discord and make the Body of Christ ineffective. Simon was exposed to who he really was, but I believe he was brought to repentance and became a true Believer. Churches are so eager to bring people into their fellowships that they have declared “open borders” with no requirements for entry. Salvation is introduced outside our “citadels” of worship. It is within the walls that the Truth is proclaimed. Satan knows that and will try to stop its proclamations. (Acts 8:13-24)