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Summary: How to be less religious and more spiritual...

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How to be completely irreligious

(and completely pleasing to God)

Acts Series: “Completely Irreligious, Yet Radically Christian” Part 24

Pastor Jeff Christopherson

June 29, 2003

Acts 15:1-35

re•li•gion: ri-’li-j&n, from Latin religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, from religare to restrain, tie back: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices: scrupulous conformity. (Merriam-Webster)

Religious: Conforming outwardly because of an institutional presence.

Spiritual: Transforming inwardly because of God’s presence.

HOW TO BE LESS ‘RELIGIOUS’ AND MORE ‘SPIRITUAL’:

1. Be Scandalous (because of the truth).

Our English word, “scandal” comes from Greek word, ‘scandalon’, meaning, ‘a stumbling stone’.

“We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:23-25

“Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”” Acts 15:1

“But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.” Galatians 5:11 (NASB)

The Scandalon

The seers and the prophets had foretold it long ago,

That the long awaited one would make men stumble.

But they were looking for a king to conquer and to kill.

Who’d have ever thought He’d be so meek and humble.

He will be the truth that will offend them one and all.

A stone that makes men stumble and a rock that makes them fall.

Many will be broken so that He can make them whole,

And many will be crushed and lose their own soul.

Along the path of life there lies a stubborn Scandalon,

And all who come this way must be offended,

To some He is a barrier, To others He’s the way.

For all should know the scandal of believing.

It seems today the Scandalon offends no one at all.

The image we present can be stepped over.

Could it be that we are like the others long ago.

Will we ever learn that all who come must stumble.

– Words and Music by Michael Card

1. Be Scandalous (because of the truth).

2. Be Tenacious (for the truth).

HOW CAN I STAND UP FOR JESUS’ MESSAGE?

A) Refuse to add requirements to salvation.

“…Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” Acts 15:1b

B) Refuse to be intimidated by the source of the teaching.

“Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers…” Acts 15a

C) Refuse to focus on the personality,

(instead, focus on the teaching).

“This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.” Acts 15:2

1. Be Scandalous (because of the truth).

2. Be Tenacious (for the truth).

3. Be Sincere (with the truth).

HOW GOD USES SINCERITY TO REVEAL HIS TRUTH:

A) By looking honestly at my Spiritual Experiences:

“After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are”” 15:7-11

B) By looking honestly at God’s Word:

“When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: “‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ that have been known for ages.” 13-18

C) By looking honestly at my Pride:

EXAMPLES:

• Peter swallows his pride by forgetting his bruised ego.

Paul had earlier publicly corrected Peter (his elder) for failing to associate with the Gentiles (see Galatians 2:11-14).

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