Lessons from Simeon

Pastor Tom Ascol teaches about Simeon and his relationship with God from Luke 2:25-32 in a message entitled “Hope and Peace in Christ.” Israel in the time of Christ was a nation under servitude to Rome. They looked to God, not in faith but out of a sense of entitlement, to right the wrongs they suffered. That attitude is not so different from modern America which seems to be turning from God even while expecting Him to right the wrongs in the world.

Simeon paid attention to the times. He was attentive to God’s working in the world and consciously looked for signs of that working. There are three lessons to be learned from Simeon. First, he lived in dependence on God’s Spirit. Indeed v. 25 tells us “the Holy Spirit was upon him.” This spirit is not an impersonal force but the third Person of the Trinity. He was God Himself. He was active in Simeon’s life. The Spirit informed Simeon (v. 26). The Spirit guided Simeon (v. 27). Interestingly, this happened before Pentecost when the Spirit was given to believers. Believers now have access to that same Spirit who can inform, guide, comfort, and much more. Simeon’s dependence on the Spirit enabled him to rise above the crises in his world and whatever troubles came into his life. The Spirit gave him peace and hope.

The second lesson to be learned from Simeon is his dependence on the Word of God. He recognized the Spirit’s revelation to him regarding the Messiah was, in fact, God’s Word. Since God’s Word and the Spirit’s leading can never contradict each other, it may have been Simeon’s familiarity with God’s written word that confirmed the Spirit’s revelation. He, no doubt, was familiar with the Old Testament prophets. The lesson for us is to be familiar with God’s written Word. Through that familiarity we can ensure our actions are in obedience to God commands. Without biblical knowledge we are rudderless ships adrift in a sea of sin and temptation. God’s Word itself encourages us to read it, listen to it, memorize it, and obey it. The more we become mighty in God’s Word the more we will be transformed just as Simeon was. However, knowledge of God’s Word will not happen by accident. People need to purpose to read, to study, and to commit God’s Word to their hearts and minds.

The final lesson from Simeon is his living by faith. He believed that which had been revealed to him and he acted upon those beliefs. His faith worked It was through that faith that he was able to recognize the Messiah. He knew God. His faith shaped his perspective on the future again providing peace and hope.

Simeon’s dependence on God’s Spirit, God’s Word, and his faith enabled him to have a personal relationship with the living God, a relationship furthered by his recognition of and response to the one true Savior, Jesus Christ. That same recognition and response is available today!

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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