Summary: Religion without relationship with Christ can be a destructive influence.
1. Quote from Karl Marx - “Religion is the opium of the working class.”
I agree, but not necessarily the working class. Religion is a drug that works as a sedative for the spiritually dead, so as to keep them from ever questioning their own deadness.
Illus...Growing up in a University community. My nephew earned a Masters of Religion. He took trips to such places as Bangkok, Thailand to study foreign religions. Their emphasize is on the major generalities of all religions, not the specifics of any one denomination or sect.
You see we are looking for universals that all can agree upon and then we can come together and be one big happy family. After all, if a religion produces people who are basically good, isn’t that what God is about anyway?
Could I suggest to you that that philosophy is as dangerous and destructive as any opium, heroin, or drug that you could buy off the street!
The kind of love the world wants us to have, in order that we might be tolerant of all doesn’t come anywhere close to the Biblical concept of agape love. The kind of goodness the world would have for all of the people isn’t near good enough!
The Bible warns us that there is a way that seems right unto man, but it leads to destruction! Many are on the path of destruction!
God hasn’t called us to be religious! He has called us to follow a person by the name of Jesus Christ and to be His disciple. We are disciples of the Son of God!
Trans...My vision for the church is Biblical! “We commit ourselves, for the benefit of the next generation that will follow us, to be healthy, devoted followers of Jesus Christ. That will become evident in how, and to what extent we value relationship with God; spiritual life development, integrity, authentic Christian community, compassionate outreach, excellence, leadership & teamwork.” The list could go on but this is a small picture of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The Psalmist also paints a portrait of a disciple. We are confronted with a choice, the opium of religion or the blessing of discipleship.
I. Opium or Blessing
A. Vs 1 - The Blameless Way
3 kinds of people: (1) The person who isn’t blameless and knows it. They may (believe) that it is impossible to be blameless. (RF-I John ... “the blood of Jesus cleanses from all unrighteousness). (2) The person who thinks he is blameless but is blind to his own sinfulness (self-righteous). (3) There is the disciple of Jesus Christ who has confessed and continues to confess when necessary his own waywardness. (His transgressions of God’s laws or ways).
B. Vs 1 b - According to law
Who walk in God’s directions, instructions, (instruction in Messianic age), Torah
CF- Acts 2:42 “And they were continually devoting themselves to the Apostle’s teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
How could they give themselves to a set of rules ?
What did the O.T. saints find in the Torah? Could it be that they found grace!
What did Christ’s disciples find in the Apostle’s teaching, fellowship & prayer?
Remember this is the age of the New Covenant ... the age of the Spirit.
Could it be they found grace (Blessing)?
Illus...Bible idolatry or faith without works.
Grace comes when I exercise faith in His word and begin to walk in it!
C. Vs 5 - “Oh that my ways were established to keep thy statutes....”
Here is a word picture of a heart (mind set) set (focused) on the Spirit!
Here is a word picture of someone who is presenting himself / herself to God as a living sacrifice!
The result is found in vs. 6 & 7. “Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Thy commandments.”
CF- I Thess. 5:23 b - “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit & soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The divine Logos (Word) will return someday and we will all stand before Him. Will you stand ashamed when you look upon the Word as He reveals all the secrets of your heart? Or will you be preserved blameless at His coming?
1. Illus...My Parents & the Good Guy, Bad Guy Syndrome
I learned through much practice that I could get my way if I made a case for my own victimization. I could get my way if I could get people to feel sorry for me? To me, that was what love was.
God loves us by giving us the truth backed up by overwhelming evidence of His unconditional love!