Summary: This sermon examines the worthless faith of Simon. It explains why his faith was worthless and how we can avoid a worthless faith today.

* Popular notion: "As long as you believe something you'll be okay before God."

* It is possible to believe in the wrong person or to believe the wrong thing.

* When this occurs, faith becomes worthless; when what or who we have faith in is not correct

* Examples of worthless faith...

- People of Israel/Judah in the OT (faith in false gods)

- Pagans who had faith in the words in a prayer (Matt. 6:7)

- People who think they are destined for heaven, but aren't (John 5:39-40; Matt. 7:21-23)

* Text: Simon; He had faith (v. 13), but it was worthless faith

* Why was Simon's faith worthless, and how can we avoid a worthless faith today?

1. Simon's faith was worthless because he had a wrong view of self (v. 9-11).

* How he viewed himself:

- He thought he was good (v. 9)

- He thought he was God (v. 10)

- He thought he was good because of what he did (v. 11)

* These views still exist today; the problem with these views is that they are contrary to what God reveals about man.

* The true nature of man as revealed in Scripture...

A. There is noting good about us without God (Rom. 3:12)

B. We desperately need God (Rev. 3:17)

C. There is nothing we can ever do that will make us good enough to earn God's favor (Eph. 2:8-9)

* Explain doctrine of total depravity

2. Simon's faith was worthless because he had a wrong view of salvation (v. 12-13)

* How Simon viewed his salvation...

- It was purely a mental choice, not a heart choice (v. 13)

- It was a works-based experienced (v. 13)

* People cling to these ideas today...

A. For some, salvation is a mental choice only.

- It does not involve the heart

- The difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge (i.e., Jer. 4:14; Rom. 10:9)

B. Some believe they can earn salvation through their good works (cf. Eph. 2:8-9)

* The core of Simon's view of salvation: it was completely an external, ritualistic experience that did not include TRANSFORMATION

* Scripture views salvation as the total transformation of a person's internal change that results in external actions (2 Cor. 5:17)

* Faith that fails to transform the life is not saving faith: it is worthless faith! (James 2:14, 17-18)

3. Simon's faith was worthless because had the wrong view of the Spirit (v. 14-19)

* Simon wanted the Holy Spirit because of what he could gain from having the Spirit in his life

* How many have that same desire today? They want the Spirit only because of what he can do for them, not because of what he can do through them and in them!

* The Spirit is given to us for more than just our benefit:

- It is through the Spirit that we are gifted to serve God (1 Cor. 12:1, 4, 7, 11)

- It is through the Spirit that we are empowered to do God's work (Acts 1:8)

4. Simon's faith was worthless because he had a wrong view of sin (v. 20-25)

A. He failed to see sin as a heart issue (v. 21)

- Psalm 66:18

- Psalm 119:11

B. He failed to see the need to repent (v. 22)

- What repentance is...

- Ezekiel 18:30

C. He failed to take responsibility for his sin (v. 24)

- Heb. 9:27

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