Is Your Salvation FORGED By God Or a FORGERY Of Religion?

Photo by Ron Lach :

Please turn with me in your Bibles to Acts chapter eight. The message God put on my heart for you is:

Is Your Salvation FORGED By God, Or A FORGERY?

Opening: That may seem like a strange question, but I think its a very important question you MUST ask yourself before you leave this room. God doesn’t want you guessing about your salvation. We are told in 1 John 5:13, “These things (the Scripture) I have written to you, that you may KNOW you have eternal life”. God wants you to KNOW that you are saved. Not just religious, but saved.

“What’s the difference?”, you ask. I’m glad you asked!

Illustrate: The other day I went to Ollies – a local discount store – because they sent me a 15% off coupon for a complete purchase. You know me – I love free or discounted. I had bought a non-stick copper pan that was supposed to last forever from Ollies. “Forever” is about 3 years. Having received this discount I headed toward Ollies. Finding the newest “you can never scratch it, even if you throw it in a volcano” frying pan, I headed toward the checkout with my coupon and pan. I got in the shorter line.

Thank goodness, because “Religion” was in the longer line.

Religion is the devil’s tool. Religion has little to no love for God, and certainly loves only its follower. Religion attacked Jesus when He walked this earth. Religion persecuted the early Church. Religion crucified, stoned, and beheaded the Apostles. Religion boiled the Apostle John in oil. I can always spot religion.

Religion loves rituals, not relationships.

Religion is two people arguing in Ollies – not about salvation through Jesus – but on whether you should worship God on Saturday or Sunday. One believed you worship God only on Saturday. The other, on Sunday. Me, I think EVERYDAY!

As these two argued, I never – NEVER – heard them mention the name of Jesus, the Cross, or the empty Tomb. Let me talk for just a minute about the “Sabbath”, the seventh day of the week. Beloved, the שַׁבָּת Shabbâth, {pronounced. Shab-bawth} was NEVER given to the Gentiles, but to the Old Covenant Jew. Israel under the Old Covenant was commanded to have a WEEKLY Shabbâth (Exodus 20:8-9), a SPECIAL Shabbâth during the ceremonial feasts (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23; Numbers 28:18, 25-26; Numbers 29), and a YEARLY Shabbâth every seventh year (Leviticus 25:2; Exodus 23:11; Leviticus 25:4). If you’ll study your Bibles you’ll find that …

Only NINE of the Ten Commandments are given to all Christians in the New Testament. The command to keep Shabbâth, {Shab-bawth} is NOT given to the Church. We worship JESUS CHRIST on SUNDAY for He ROSE FROM THE GRAVE on day.
(Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9)

Did the Apostles worship on the Shabbâth in the Jewish Synagogue? Yes, they did. Why? So they could share Jesus Christ with the Jews. The Apostles also preached the Gospel on the First Day of the week (Acts 20:7), taking up offerings on that day (1 Corinthians 16:2).

Our Lord Jesus did not strictly keep Shabbâth when He walked this earth, for He went about doing good on that day. Jesus told the Pharisees:

Matthew 12:8 … the Son of Man (that’s Jesus) is Lord of the Sabbath.

Mark 2:27 … The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

God gave the Jews Shabbâth so they would rest one day in seven. Shabbâth was never given to the Church. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no {one} therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

As Christians we are free to worship God EVERYDAY. We gather on Sunday because our Lord rose from the grave that day. If you want to gather on Saturday, then do it! There’s nothing wrong with that! But Christians should always remember that – in spite of our differences – we are to go {into the world} and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you(Matthew 28:19-20). If you want to have a LOUD discussion in Ollies, make sure you are talking about SALVATION IN JESUS. It doesn’t matter if you’re doctrinally correct. It doesn’t matter what day you gather with other Christians. What matters is that you are in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, that God is your Father, and the Holy Spirit your constant Companion.

How Can I Distinguish RELIGIOUS FORGERY from

Please write this down: Religion always violates the basic Royal Law of love. Always.

Acts 8:1-3 And Saul was consenting unto {the Deacon Stephen’s} death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the Apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling {literally dragging} men and women {Saul} committed them to prison.

Saul is a Pharisee, a member of the Ruling Council of the Jews in Jerusalem. Saul is RELIGIOUS. What does Saul do? Saul is instrumental in killing Stephen. Saul is RELIGIOUS, Stephen is a CHRISTIAN.

Religion kills. Religion “persecutes the Church”.
Religion “scatters” and “makes havoc”.
Religion “imprisons”.

Religion is NOT honest. Religion bribes false witnesses (Acts 6:11, 13) to tell lies. Religion was in the Garden of Eden in the mouth of a Serpent, hissing lies, saying, You will not die if you disobey God. When you eat of this tree, God knows you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil(Genesis 3:4-5). Religion looks good on the outside, but inside is full of dead men’s bones” (Matthew 23:27). Religion does not love either God nor man. Religion twists the commandments of God.

After help execute “Blasphemous Stephen”(Acts 7:59-60), Religious Saul volunteers to head the cleanup committee of the Council. Saul is of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Pharisee (Philippians 3:5). Saul trained at the feet of the famous Rabbi Gamaliel, and was taught according to the perfect manner of the Law (Acts 22:3). If you asked Saul if he was going to go to Heaven, he would have said “Absolutely”. If you were to ask him why he thought he was going to Heaven, Saul would have said “I am a Pharisee of the Pharisees. I keep all the rituals, all the feasts. I never miss Synagogue (Church).

Acts 8:3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling {sýrō, [pronounced soo’-ro], DRAGGING} men and women committed them to prison.

Saul brutalized the Church. Saul was certain that he was Heaven bound. After all, he kept the Law. He was doing what the High Priest of Israel was telling him to do. He was sincere in his methods. That’s what religion looks like. It is brutal. Religion means well, but missed the mark of God.

FAITH FORGED BY GOD endures the attacks of religion.

Acts 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Religion drove the early Christians away from Jerusalem, the religious capital of Israel. But the early Christians – saved by the Grace of God – baptized in obedience to Christ their Savior – went our sharing the Gospel. Jesus told us:

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Persecution and trial never destroys saving faith, but grows it, forges it into something greater and stronger to glory of God. Genuine faith NEVER gives up, because Jesus won’t let us give up.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome {the spirit of Antichrist}: BECAUSE greater is HE that is in you, than he that is in the world …

Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria {where the Gentiles are}, and preached Christ unto them.

Samaria is a religious stronghold. Philip, empowered by God the Holy Spirit, goes to a thoroughly pagan area and preaches. What are the results?

Acts 8:6-8 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.

There was great joy in that city. Where people hear the Gospel and turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior, God brings JOY into their hearts. People are looking for JOY today through their religion. Some are religious WOKE. Others are religious SENSUOUS. Yet others are religious EPICUREAN. Oh, there are thousands upon thousands of religions. These religions do not bring joy. Do you know what brings joy? A life surrendered to Jesus Christ. When you are saved by faith in Christ, God sends His Holy Spirit into your life. Once the Spirit comes, He blesses your life with:

Galatians 5:22-23 … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance

When you meet and receive Jesus Christ in love, Jesus uses His Spirit to produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life. The religious are filled with JOY over what they know. The Christ follower is filled with JOY over WHO they know. The testimony of the Christian is:

Romans 5:11 … we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

There is GREAT JOY in that city, for people found the Lord Jesus and believed on Him.

Acts 8:9-11 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

Do you see that BUT? Anytime God’s people are reaching out, anytime the Gospel has any success at all, the devil will rear up his head against it. The Chief Apostle is called Simon Peter, because Jesus gave him the name Peter or Cephas. I suspect Jesus renamed Simon Peter because the Lord knew that one day His people would meet another kind of Simon. This Simon is a sorcerer. God forbade His people Israel from having anything to do with sorcerers (see Deuteronomy 18:10-12). These people – men and women – are the devil’s preachers. They are in league with Satan. Satan often gives these people the ability to do “power, and signs, and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). These people are spoken of in the New Testament, saying:

Revelation 16:14 … they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Simon was a RELIGIOUS man, but he was not a RIGHTEOUS man. He had power, but his power was not from Jesus Christ, but from a fallen angel named Lucifer. The Bible says that Simon bewitched the people with sorceries” (Acts 8:11). Simon had quite a following, and he loved the attention he was getting.

Then Phillip came along, preaching the Gospel of salvation. We read:

Acts 8:12 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.

The crowds believed in what Philip preached. What did he preach? He preached Christ, and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). He preached Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to God the Father but by HIM” (John 14:6). Philip “was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Philip preached the simple Gospel Peter preached:

Acts 2:38 … Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

What a glorious Gospel Message we have been given. God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Simon Believed … Or Did He?

The Bible now tells us:

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

It seemed to be a miracle! Here was a man involved in sorceries, but now He himself believed also. Now you might say, “well, Simon must be saved. He believed what Philip said, and Simon was publicly baptized, acknowledging Jesus as his Savior”. Was he saved?

The Apostles Peter and John come from Jerusalem to pray for these new converts. In the beginning of the Church while the Apostles walked the earth, the Spirit was often given by the laying on of hands. I could preach a whole sermon on what’s happening here, but I’m afraid I don’t have the time. Suffice it to say that Jesus wanted His Apostles explaining the indwelling Holy Spirit to the early Church Christian. This is what we see in:

Acts 8:15-17 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy {Spirit}: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy {Spirit}.

What did Simon do when he saw this laying on of hands? We read:

Acts 8:18-19 … when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy {Spirit} was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy {spirit}.

We read earlier that Simon believed. But did he really? He believed, after a sort. But his faith was NOT saving faith, for it did not change or impact his life. The stepbrother of Jesus wrote:

James 2:19-20 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

Saving faith is always – ALWAYS – accompanied by a change of heart toward self and sin.Simon is ME centered.When Zacchaeus, a Tax Collector was saved by believing on Jesus Christ, he said:

Luke 19:8 … Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Zacchaeus faith was genuine, because he received Jesus Christ as LORD, and stopped worshiping money (Luke 19:9-10). Salvation does not make a person perfect, but salvation puts love of God in a person’s heart. Zacchaeus’ faith was real, but Simon’s was fake. The Bible tells us about fake faith in:

John 2:23-25 Now when {Jesus} was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

Word Study: The Bible tells us many believed in {Jesus} name. They believed that Jesus could do miracles. They believed that Jesus could heal the sick. But they DID NOT believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of Heaven. The King James tells us that Jesus did not commit himself unto them. The word rendered commit is the Greek pisteúō, {pronounced pist-yoo’-o}, which was translated in the earlier verse as believed. The text says:

they BELIEVED in Jesus name when they saw the miracles He did, but

The saved person – truly saved – is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10). When you get saved, God comes into your life. He begins to work in you. This is why the Bible says:

Philippians 2:12-13 … work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

God begins working in the life of the saved. “Let him that stole steal no more” (Ephesians 4:28). A person is changed, and daily more changed, to be less like the darkness and more like the light. The Apostle told the Thessalonians:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Faith That Is A Forgery Will Not Save

Peter told Simon:

Acts 8:20-23 Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

When Simon heard these words, he was not angry at Peter. He simply told the Apostle:

Acts 8:24 … Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

Simon did not even attempt to pray for himself. Why? Because he had NO relationship with God. God was not Simon’s Savior and Lord – money was, and power was. God was not Simon’s Father. Jesus did not die on Calvary for Simon, because he did not believe on Him.

I believe that there are many who profess Christ, but when they leave this life they will never meet Him. Jesus calls to whosoever will, saying:

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

May God move on your life in such a way that you have assurance of your salvation. Do not leave this place today with a forgery of faith. May God the Holy Spirit bring you to Him Who alone can save, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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