Summary: Religious lies keep us spiritually defeated; God's truth sets us free.
A. Diane was an average Christian who grew up in a Christian home, was taken to church every time the doors opened and was taught all the do’s and don’ts of the Christian faith.
1. As she got older, church became less exciting and sometimes she even wondered if she was saved.
2. She finally went to a counselor, telling him God felt so far away and how it feels God hates her when she sins. She felt God’s love depended on her behavior.
3. When feeling this way, she hides from God by not reading her Bible, praying, going to church and by avoiding her Christian friends.
4. The counselor asked her a very important question; “Diane, has your Christianity ever been enjoyable or a source of comfort?”
5. Her answer, “No, never!”
B. Do you enjoy your Christianity? If not, it is possible you have succumbed to religious lies.
C. It is possible to tell religious lies, and it happens all the time in the most unlikely places. They come from parents, pastors, teachers and fellow church members. They don’t do it on purpose, but they pass on the misinterpretations and traditions they were taught. And while these may be the means, the source is Satan himself.
D. In our passage, Jesus has a discussion with the religious elite-those who should have known the truth about who he was and who they were.
1. Discipleship involves obedience, and he was the truth.
2. They claim heritage from Abraham and thinks this makes them secure and acceptable to God.
3. Jesus disputes their claim because they are not following him as Abraham did. He accuses them of being illegitimate children to which they maintain they are not born out of wedlock.
4. Jesus reminds them if God was their Father, they would love him because he comes from God. They on the other hand follow their father the Devil who is a liar and the father of lies-religious ones included.
5. You could not have been any more religious than these people Jesus talked with, but they were deceived by religious lies; we can be too.
E. When we live by religious lies, we will live defeated spiritual lives and Christianity will lose its joy.
F. Doug Moo said; “Our minds are stuck in a rut, a pattern of thinking that is antagonistic to the will of God. Successful Christian living depends on getting out of that rut and establishing another one that is characterized by biblical values and ways of thinking.”
G. Religious lies are difficult to dispel because of their source (they come from people we trust) and because they are taught as God’s standards.
H. Our spiritual well being depends on believing God’s truth instead of religious lies.
I. I Must Or Can Earn God’s Love (Ephesians 2:8-10)
A. Not only do some believe they must earn God’s love, the greater deception is thinking it’s even possible.
B. Grace by its very nature cannot be earned; it is a free gift of God.
C. We cannot earn what we don’t deserve and what by its very nature must be freely given.