Summary: Religion to most is external- what you look like. Jesus says that a religion that is worth anything begins internally with a relationship with Him and will be lived out to the widows and orphans that we meet in life.
Having a religion that is worth something
We are continuing to be in the series Nuts and Bolts of life.
We have looked at relationships, both with God and others.
We have looked last week at trusting God when we are in difficult times, and this morning we will look at religion.
Religion has caused wars.
Religion is what has torn countries apart and it has caused brother to hate brother.
Our country was founded on the belief that they could come here and find religious freedom. Yet this country is divided on what that means.
Anyone who disagrees with another on religion or religious freedom throws out the word in-tolerant.
Must we be tolerant, or can we be respectful?
Can we do that and still maintain our faith and trust in our beliefs?
Tolerant usually means 2 things-
(1) keeps people from speaking their minds because someone else or a group has told them that it would not be nice if they shared their views.
(2) the people who should be quiet believe that they have a God given right to say whatever they want, no matter how it hurts anyone else because of their :first amendment right.”
Forgetting that others have that same first amendment right.
What does God say about it?
You see I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.
I care what He says about things.
Between the cover of this Bible is the truths that I hold true and base my life on what He says.
I would not expect someone of another faith to sit here this morning and agree with Jesus teachings, but I also don’t expect that someone from another religion would not expect to have the right to sit here and pollute and tear down our beliefs.
They should be quiet and go worship where they are joined by people of like minded faith. That is not being in-tolerant, it is being respectful! There is a difference!
I want you to see some facts, no truths this morning in God’s Word.
It is not religion that we embrace- it is Christianity! Being Christ-like.
It is not any one denomination- Baptist, Pentecostal, church of God, Methodist, Nazarene. These are bodies of believers that we choose to worship Christ with.
Christ-like followers of Jesus Christ. Christianity.
I am tired of listening to a world that tells believers of Jesus Christ to “Zip it” because we do not line up with others religions. I don’t follow other religions- I follow Jesus Christ!
I am also tired of believers who do not follow the very teachings that they confess out of their mouths.
There are distinct characteristics of a Christian, and we will recognize them by their fruit.
If you look, and act, and taste like an apple- don’t tell me you are a banana! And don’t make me feel guilty because I call you a banana.
God’s Word (Bible) gives us needed answers.
James takes a whole chapter to tell believers to keep control of our tongue and what we say. That does not mean that we must keep quiet about our faith or about the truth of God.
He tells us (19) chapter one that everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Nowhere does it say to water down God’s Word or accept false teachings as true because someone disagrees with you.
In fact (22) “Do not merely listen to God’s Word, and so deceive yourself, do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word, but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
The real test of religion worth anything is this:
I. Controlled speech
II. compassionate deeds
III. cleansed life
The moral and ethical teaching of Christianity, evidenced in the Old and New Testament of the Bible, based upon God’s 10 Commandments and completed and perfected by our Savior Jesus Christ!
That should be preached in every Christian church in America!
Now, lets break that up a bit
I. Controlled speech
We have looked at the difference between tolerant and in-tolerant. Standing up for your faith and letting someone pollute what you believe.
Religion for a believer is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Receiving God’s Word into our lives.
All 3 of these points hinge on God’s Word applied to our lives. Where the problem comes in is when we do not let the Word of God do what it is intended to do in our lives.
A right relationship with Christ is a tamed tongue.
We do not have a right to say everything that is on our mind or in our heart.