CHRIST or RELIGION?
A friend recently relayed a story to me that is so telling of religious persons in our day and actually throughout history. Here is how he related the story:
"One day I was speaking with my grandmother about a certain subject and simply showed her a verse in the Bible on that topic and she reacted violently and picked up the Bible and threw it across the room (literally) and resentfully and grudgingly stated that 'My church (main line protestant denomination) does not teach what that verse says, so I don't believe it!' "
Acid Test: Christ made it clear that those who love Him, love His Word:
"He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." John 8:47
Some church-going people who seem on the outside to love the LORD, simply love their religion and not the LORD Jesus Christ. Hell awaits and will feed upon their helpless souls for all eternity if they choose not to turn from religion to Jesus. Friend, always remember three things:
- Jesus Christ is not a religion
- Jesus did not come to start a new religion.
- Jesus' greatest enemy and hindrance to His ministry were the religious leaders of His day (Matt. 23). The same is true today.
The LORD says this to religious leaders:
"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition...Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." Mark 7:6-9,13
Please read Matthew 23 this weekend. Put your seatbelt on beloved and watch what sweet Jesus says to religious people of every age.
21 CHARACTERISTICS OF HYPOCRITES: (taken from the Dake Annotated reference Bible)
1. Demand respect as teachers - v2
2. Teach, but do not practice - v3
3. Demand service; not give it - v4
4. Seek praise of men - v5
5. Parade their religion - v5
6. Seek chief banquet places - v6
7. Seek chief places in church - v6
8. Glory in personal attention - v7
9. Glory in titles - v7
10. Rob men of truth and life - v13
11. Reject truth and life - v13
12. Take advantage of widows - v14
13. Exhibit l-o-n-g prayers - v14
14. Are zealous to win men to their sect, but not to God - v15
15. Root and ground converts in hypocrisy, not in God - v15
16. Profess to be the only guide in religion, but are blind to truth and practical Christianity - v16-22
17. Propagate those parts of religion from which they receive the most personal gain and honor - v16-22
18. Strain at gnats and swallow camels; stress minor details and omit the fundamentals of religion - v23-24
19. Glory in bodily cleanliness, but live in moral filth - v25-26
20. Exhibit outward religion and self-righteousness and ignore inward holiness in life and conduct - v2, 7-28
21. Pretend to be more righteous than their forefathers - v29-33
God Is Love,
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