Summary: REligion and spirutality have always been at odds with one another. Do we need to lose our religion?
Losing Your Religion
Intro: 10 years ago Bette Midler had hit song entitled, “God is watching us.” I believe it was popular because it expressed our cultural theological view. We want a god who provides but does not intrude, who protects and helps us out but does interfere with our plans. A god who watches us but will overlook our sins if we pay our religious duties. He calms storms but does not stir them.
This kind of god is a religious god who demands people to be religious.
Religion = dictionary “set of beleifs often containing a moral code to live by.” All this springs from your idea of God.
Chapter 1 the heathen has a perverted view of God so has a perverted religion. The hypocrite has pretended religion, now in chapter 2 the religious person has a powerless religion. God is not religious, He is a Spirit.
Religion and true spirituality have always been at odds with one another. Jesus clashed with religious people more than anyone else. Do we need to lose our religion so that people can see Jesus? Does our religious views get in the way of people seeing Jesus?
Background: In Rome church were combined Gentiles and Jews. Many of the Jews were trying to force the Gentiles to conform to their legalistic understanding of how to do church. They were using the law of God to try to force people to conform to their understanding of God’s moral code. Paul knew that no one could conform to God’s law without a heart change. God is not after you changing your ways, that will only last so long and you will go back to them.
You may need to lose your religion if,
I. You think God only wants your obedience. Vs 17-20.
Is Christinaity boiled down to just learning new things and putting them into practice? Is it just know and go?
Yes God wants your obedience but He wants something deeper. Bare obedience can harden us to God more than disobedience. If you doubt that compare the older boy with the younger in the prodical son parable. Compare the Pharisees with the tax collectors and prostitutes hanging around Jesus. Look at Jonah, pure obedience made his heart bitter.
Ill. Jonah’s disobedience and obedience came from same source; from what he is concerned with. He is concerned with himself. He will do whatever he must, go to Ninevah, flee to Tarshish just to get God off his back. The last thing Jonah wants is God’s concerns.
For the sake of clarity to our modern day allow me the liberty to exchange some words to make this relevant to you. Now read 17-18 changing Jew to Chritian and law to Bible.
Religious people become confident in their knowledge of the Word. Read 19-20.
I know the scriptures that tell us to obey God, keep His commandments and all that. If that is all you think that God wants then you have become religious without realizing it. God wants us to connect with Him, heart to heart.
What is God after? I Sam. 16:7, Heb. 4:12-13.
You can get knowledge about God and obey that knowledge of what God wants by pure self disicpline and not connect with God. God is after us to “delight ourselves in the Lord…”. It’s not about obedience, obedience will take care of itself if God has your heart.
How do you love God? First you must know Him. Butr then you take this knowledge and experience Him personally. Experiment: Jer. 33:3 is God’s address. Have everyone call upon God. Ask Him, “Do You love me? How much do You love me?” You call, God promises to answer. Listen for His answer. This is what God wants, a relationship with you. Obedience will come if the relatioship is right.
You may need to lose your religion if
II. YOUR TESTIMONY HAS LOST IT’S POWER. Read 21-22.
You can conform to outwardly to a religious lifestyle while not conforming with your inward atititude.
These verse sound similar to Sermon on Mount where Jesus gets past their head knowledge and deals with the heart.
Verse 23-24 Nothing turns away unbeleivers faster than when beleivers misbehave.
Ill. Abarham lost his testimony when intimidated before Pharoah and lied about his wife and Pharoah took Sarah into his harem. When he found out she was married he asked Abrahm why he lied. Do you think Abraham could have shared about his life changing encounter with God after that?
People don’t believe what you say they believe what they see.
You may need to lose your religion if
III. YOU DON’T LIVE IN THE REALITY BEYOND THE RITUAL.
Ill. Pam watching movie the other night. Man was unfaithful to wife. She starts to fume. I touch her arm, she snaps at me, “Don’t touch me you creep!” Honey come back to reality!