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Summary: The riches of a relationship with the true God through faith in Christ alone cannot compare to the bankruptcy of merit religion.

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Dead Religion or New Life?

(Philippians 3:1-3)

INTRO

1. Many of you know that I love the music of the 20’s and 30’s and old time radio from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.

2. Because of MP3 formatting of discs, I have discs with over 100 shows on them…all available Jack Benny programs (the greatest radio comedian).

3. Jack Benny also made movies. His last movie, "The Horn Blows At Midnight" was a big flop, so they make fun of it constantly.

4. In one episode, Jack walks past a movie theater showing The Horn Blows at Midnight.

5. He asked the girl at the ticket window if she had sold a lot of tickets.

6. Haven’t sold one all week…Jack buys one….

7. Later he confronts the manager: girls said not selling tickets, yet the theater was almost filled…

8. He said, "we rented it to the morgue this week."

9. "You mean they are all dead?"

10. "Yep," said the manager, "but the funny thing is that this movie is so bad that three of them got up and walked out!"

11. May I suggest to you that many people in our churches are spiritually dead, not unlike those in the theater.

12. There is a big difference between a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and outward religion.

13. That’s why Jesus said we need to be born again…to be raised to spiritual life.

We cannot earn a relationship with God, but must submit to His verdict that we are lost, helpless, and sinful, and that the only cure is to believe that Jesus bore your ugly ways and sins on the cross, shedding His blood to save you from the wrath of God and from yourself, rising again as a victor.

Main idea: The riches of a relationship with the true God through faith in Christ alone cannot compare to the bankruptcy of merit religion.

I. Dead or FALSE Religion (2)

1. Teachers of this way are called DOGS

1. "Dogs" here do not refer to house pets, but scavenging packs that plagued the cities…sort of like we think of rats…not a complimentary term

2. The Jews often referred to gentiles as the "dogs" and themselves as Children of the Most High. These false teachers in the church who insisted that Christians must keep the Laws of Moses to be saved are called "dogs" by Paul

· Nowadays, this position is called, "covenantal nomism," the idea that you enter the New Covenant by faith in Christ but stay in the covenant by keeping the 10 commandments and other Old or New Testament laws; it is growing in popularity…similar to Roman Catholicism (synergism)

3. What this tells us about name-calling, labeling false religious leaders, and Jesus statement, "Judge not lest you be judged…."

2. We are to beware of them, not OBLIVIOUS

1. Too many Christians do not recognize false teaching

2. If they do, they either live in denial or think it is acceptable

According to Pollster George Barna, " Born again Christians are more likely than non-born again individuals to accept moral absolutes. Specifically, 32% of born agains said they believe in moral absolutes, compared to just half as many (15%) among non-born agains. (2002)"

3. Comes back to this question: what is the measuring stick of truth; human reason or Scripture?

4. We tolerate freedom to teach any religious position in society, but not within the church:

In Rev. 2:2, Jesus said to the Ephesian church, "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false."

In Rev. 2:20, to the church at Thyatira, Jesus said, "Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants…"

3. We should view their teachings as EVIL, not just different

4. Their hallmark is RITUALISM and WORKS salvation

5. Paul is trying to prevent in Philippi what happened in GALATIA

Galatians 3:10-14 reads, "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith." The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us… so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."

The riches of a relationship with the true God through faith in Christ alone cannot compare to the bankruptcy of merit religion.

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