Superficial Salvation

Message:  In Acts 8 Saul who would later become Paul was fiercely persecuting the church. This persecution caused the believers to scatter but this didn’t slow the spread of the gospel. It actually promoted it. When the believers spread out into other lands to flee persecution they didn’t hide or shy away from sharing the gospel because it was more to them than a preference or belief. It was undisputable and life-altering truth. They believed it so much that they were willing to die speaking it, but they weren’t going to hand themselves over on a silver platter. There was a contrasting difference when a man named Simon heard the gospel. He was a sorcerer that heard the gospel and believed, but when he witnessed the miracles he fell back into his fascination for the supernatural and instead of respecting the God of the miracles, he hoped to pay for the ability. To him the power of the Holy Spirit was something he hoped to profit from even if it was just in admiration. Reading this I thought of the difference between believers who hear the gospel and make a decision to follow Jesus anywhere and everywhere as opposed to those who follow Jesus in the hopes that it will improve their lives. I see a lot of this kind of Christianity and it causes people to compartmentalize their lives and believe out of selfish gain and entitlement. The word is full of beautiful promises but those promises are not what our hearts are supposed to chase after. The point is not to seek out the reward. The point is to seek out the heart of God. The reward comes as an added benefit. The same was true of Simon seeking after the gift of the Holy Spirit. The gift was and is the added benefit of knowing Jesus, but it’s not what we are chasing after. When the focus of our relationship with Jesus is on the gifts, benefits and promises we are like someone who marries someone for their wealth or status. The motivations are selfish and the heart is not for the person they married. It is for their wealth and/or status. Someone who marries out of real love will prioritize the relationship and simply enjoy the accompanying benefits.

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