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