Summary: The Purpose of this message is to encourage us to examine our profession of salvation and make sure it is a possession of Christ and not just words.
A. This morning I want to bring a message concerning salvation, though it might not be in the manner you are used to or expecting.
1. I want to read you the beginning of an article that is posted on facingforever.org. It was written by Michael J. Vlach in an article entitled, Lost in church. (Retrieved 02/28/07). In it he writes:
2. Recent research indicates a hard reality for many churches in the United States.
a. Researcher George Barna has discovered the disturbing fact that “half of all adults who attend Protestant churches on a typical Sunday morning are not Christian.” He also points out that people who call themselves Christians but are not born again are “a group that constitutes a majority of churchgoers.”
b. Barna’s findings are similar to those reported by Bill Bright, founder and fifty-year president of Campus Crusade for Christ. According to Bright, “Our surveys suggest that over 50% of the hundred million people in church here in the United States every Sunday are not sure of their salvation.”
B. Let me begin by stating this is not an indictment of anyone – simply findings of two well respected groups.
1. Romans 2:1 which states, Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things, makes it clear that neither I nor anyone else can judge another’s heart on the matter of salvation
2. But listen to Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
a. This requires judgment of what is seen as unrighteous or unholy behavior or living.
b. It is a judge of the “fruit of righteousness.”
C. This is why I think Paul wrote these words found in 2 Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
1. The only two people who can know for sure that a person is saved is God and that person.
2. However, the person can believe that he is going to heaven, when in fact, he has been deceived or deluded himself to the reality.
3. So we need to take the opportunity to examine ourselves and that is what this message is all about.
D. Here is the context of our message from the Book of Acts
1. The church is growing and so is the persecution against her.
2. In chapter 7 we have the first record of a Christian martyr named Stephen.
3. This persecution scatters the Jewish Christians throughout Judaea and Samaria.
4. Philip goes to Samaria to preach and according to Acts 8:7-8 demons are cast out, the sick and lame are healed, and the city is in great joy!
5. This is where we pick up the account we are to look at this morning, concerning a man named Simon.
E. I have entitled the message Salvation: A Heart Transformation or A Head Transaction? Hence we will look at it in such a fashion
1. Point one – A Heart Transformation
2. Point Two – A Head Transaction
3. Point Three – A Healthy Evaluation
4. We need to look at this very important subject, because it would be a shame to miss heaven by 18 inches!
As I mentioned earlier you need to know that salvation is
I. A HEART TRANSFORMATION, Acts 8:9-13 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:  To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.  And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.  But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. The key character in this narrative is Simon and we see
A. His Former Self - Simon was a sorcerer!
1. He dabbled in the black arts
a. It was probably a combination of occult practices, divination, astrology, science and superstition, but you cannot rule out demonic manifestations of certain types of miracles – this is why God tells his people not to be involved in any form of magic (Deut. 18:10-14)
b. The Greek word used here for “bewitched” means to amaze, thrill or astonish: he had captivated them – he had them eating out of his hand, so to speak