Summary: A sermon about how believers should not allow religion to dictate their lives, but how Christ should live through them.
Text:, Title: Ditchin’ Religion, Date/Place: NRBC, Carver Baptist Church, 3/11-12/12, PM
A. Opening illustration: Quote from Not A Fan, page 25, about stadiums with enthusiastic fans, but no interested in the pain of following. Have a brief discussion on how we describe the best Christians that we know.
B. Background to passage: Jesus says for us to follow Him. And deep within each of us there is a part of us that doesn’t want to follow Him because He might call us do something that we are uncomfortable with. And so we do lots of other stuff that we think will appease Him, and will definitely appease our conscience, in hopes that we can stop just shy of the blank check. And there is another part of us that desires to know how to follow Him (or else you wouldn’t be here tonight). And the system that have had in the south for a long time gets in the way. It gets in the way in Peru (share some of their catholic innoculation), and it gets in the way here. It’s religion. Jesus dealt with it in His day, and it got Him killed. So I may offend some of you tonight, but it is not your toes that I am aiming to step on (or even crush), but your hearts. You see, knowing Christ is about connecting with Him on an intimate level, desiring Him, and being satisfied with Him; longing for Him and seeking Him while experiencing Him to the point of being ravished with His person. Worship is not simply about singing songs or preaching, it is about connecting with Christ coporately, and privately. And many in Jesus’ day were trapped in it, and many of us are too. So if we desire for God to do a fresh work of cultivation in our hearts, we must be prepared to throw off the top layer of grass that has grown in since the harvest. O, it’s pretty, and soft, and lust, and comfortable, but it prevents growth! “The default mode of the human heart is religion,” -Luther
C. Main thought: Seven results of religion
A. Keeping People Out (v. 13)
1. 1) By testifying to our lack of transformation. When people see hypocrisy, it causes them not to want be a Christian. We pharisees like to preach a lot, and do a little. We like to preach against drinking and adultery, while gluttony, anger, pride, greed don’t preach as well. 2) By giving a gospel of works and self-righteousness. Religion likes to give lists of things to do to be a “good Christian.” And unfortunately what happens is many think that being a Christian is about doing Christian things – going to church, reading the bible, praying a lot. How many unsaved people do these things weekly, believe they are OK, but have never experienced Christ?
2. Mar 2:18,
3. Illustration: what’s the #1 reason that you hear for people not wanting to be a Christian, and we have to acknowledge that it has some validity, tell about the woman who gave me down the road about Journey “letting people come to church once, and think they have done enough.”
4. When we are fake, it is very unattractive. Because even lost people know that our faith carries with it some moral standards. Being religious instead of real causes people to try really hard at doing works that they can’t do alone. If people are trusting in their Christian things to get them to heaven, they will be dissappointed. Being a Christian is about staking your hope and faith in Christ alone. Sure those things will come, but they are not the means.
B. Make Sons of Satan (v. 15)
1. Training them to judge others and feel self-sufficient and self-righteous. Jesus told the Pharisees that they were the spawn of Satan in John 8:44. And now they are told that they make converts twice as much. They were passing on their hyper-criticalism, pride, and self-sufficiency. But note that they were very mission minded. In fact they went on mission trips to share their faith. They had all the marks of spirituality, but they didn’t really know God.
2. John 8:44,
3. Illustration: the condemning attitude that I had after first getting saved, so that the family wouldn’t even tell me when sinful things happened. I condemned non-Christian music, pants in church on women, and anything but a KJV. Wilkinson’s sermon about the three chairs,
4. Normally the student far out paces the teacher. But rather than disciple people to think through issues and pursue God, they taught them to accept the rules and pursue reputation.
C. Devalue the King (v. 16-22)
1. Because no fear of God, and importance is shifted to less important things. They would make these little rules that allowed them to promise but not keep it. They were not afraid of God, they just wanted to get their way if they needed an out. In doing so they demostrated their lack of concern for truth, integrity, or the God of both. They were randoming picking things that were “important” and focusing on them.