Summary: This message compares the lifelessness of religion to the power of being in a relationship with God.
Scripture: Luke 11:37-12
Title: “Religion vs. Relationship”
Introduction: It has been said, “The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.” (Christianity Today, 2001)
A 19th-century Danish theologian identified two kinds of religion – Religion A and Religion B. The FIRST is “faith” in the name of religion only (2 Tim. 3:5 “They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that.”) * It’s the practice of attending church without genuine faith in the living God.
* Webster defines “Religion” as, “a particular system of belief or worship built around God, moral ideals, a philosophy of life, etc.”
Religion B, on the other hand, is a life-transforming, destiny-changing experience. * It’s a definite commitment to the crucified and risen Savior, which establishes an ongoing personal relationship between a forgiven sinner and a gracious God.
There are a lot of “Religions” in the world that has nothing to do with God.
There are a lot of people with “Religions” that will never take them to Heaven.
I. RELIGION ALONE.
The Pharisees had a Biblical Religion but they rejected the very one that their religion was centered around, Jesus!
a. RELIGION ALONE focuses on the things others can see and forgets that God can see everything about them. (Luke 1:39-40 “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are still filthy--full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside?”)
b. RELIGION ALONE worries about what others may think and wants to be PERFECT. (Luke 11:42-43 “But how terrible it will be for you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you completely forget about justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things. How terrible it will be for you Pharisees! For how you love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the respectful greetings from everyone as you walk through the markets!”
c. Religion Alone finds the LOOPHOLES in the regulations in order to avoid obeying them. (Luke 11:46 “"Yes," said Jesus, "how terrible it will be for you experts in religious law! For you crush people beneath impossible religious demands, and you never lift a finger to help ease the burden.”
d. Religion Alone honors heroes of the past but rejects God’s work in the PRESENT. (Luke 11:47 “How terrible it will be for you! For you build tombs for the very prophets your ancestors killed long ago.”
e. Religion Alone seeks a “deeper” message in the Bible in order to be in CONTROL. (Luke 11:52 “How terrible it will be for you experts in religious law! For you hide the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.” * Religion ALONE prevents people from becoming GENUINE Christians!
II. A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
a. To be able to go to HEAVEN a person MUST be in a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with God.
b. Being in a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with God means there are no SECRETS between you and God and that PRODUCES a CLEAN SPIRIT and LIFE. (Luke 12:1 “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. The time is coming when everything will be revealed; all that is secret will be made public. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!”
An honest relationship with God avoids trying to keep secrets.
c. Being in a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with God means that you and God are in COMMUNICATION with each other.
In the old song, “In The Garden” the words of the first verse and chorus says, “I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses, And the voice I hear Falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own; And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.” * Now that’s COMMUNICATION!
d. Being in a RIGHT RELATIONSHIP with God brings about a PEACE because we know God’s PROTECTION is upon us. (Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” * God takes care of the SPARROWS will He not take YOU also, are you not worth more than the SPARROWS?