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!