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Summary: Paul said, "Hold fast to what I preached...unless you believed in vain." What it means to have "believed in vain" - an example of and results of "believing in vain"

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I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE “BELIEVED IN VAIN”?

1 Cor 15:1-2 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain.”

A. Study Of The Original Greek

1. Original word = eike (i-kay’); idly, without reason, without a cause

2. Root word = eiko (i’-ko);

a. to be weak, yield

b. to yield idea of faintness as a copy; to resemble, resemblance:

3. Two senses of this word “Vain” in the context of “believed in vain”

a. believe without reason, without cause:

b. believe in such a way that it’s a faint copy or mere resemblance

B. Vain Belief Is…

1. Coming to the belief “without reason, without real cause”

a. just the thing to do

b. my friends are doing it, I might as well too

2. Coming to the belief to simply “fit in”

a. might as well fit in - easier to go to the altar than to sit here

b. my friends are doing it, I might as well to - cool to be a Christian

c. this is what someone else wants for me

d. it’s the politically correct or socially correct thing to do!

II. SIMON THE SORCERER = EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE WHO “BELIEVED IN VAIN”

Acts 8:13 “Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. “

A. Simon Was Used To Astonishing People & So He “Believed”

1. Simon felt upstaged by Philip - gospel power was his ticket to something

2. Simon “believed”

a. eyes not on power of Christ to transform him

b. eyes on power of Christ to astonish other people

3. Simon offers to purchase the power

B. Simon’s Vain Faith – Be Like The Disciples So I Can Once Again Astonish People

1. So hard to get the old self out or under control

2. Takes a life-time of transformation (Romans 12:1-2)

3. Vanity of coming to the faith

a. to be like someone elses

b. to get what someone else has

c. without true cause or conviction

4. It’s vain, it’s empty – reflecting a heart that’s not right

III. RESULTS OF “BELIEVING IN VAIN”

A. Faith Will Only Be A Mere Shadow, Faint Copy or Resemblance Of The Real Thing

1. Greek word “Vain” = faint copy or mere resemblance

a. like Xerox copy that’s low on toner

b. resembles the real thing – but not as bold or clear as real thing

2. James 1:23-25 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

a. how many people “believe in vain”

b. looking the spiritual mirror – only faint resemblance of real thing

c. walks away, forgetting what could have been

B. You Will Not Hold Fast To The Word Of God – Steadfastness

Psalms 106:12-13 “Then they believed His words; They sang His praise. They soon forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel…”


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