Thesis: There is a big difference between being "religious" and following Jesus Christ.
1. When you hear someone use the word "religion" or hear someone refer to another person as "religious" what do you think of?
a. Illust. Do you think of "Church Lady" on Saturday Night Live who goes around saying things like, "Isn't that special"? Or maybe you think of people like Jim & Tammy Bakker or Jimmy Swaggert. Maybe you think of David Koresh and all the insane and hurtful things that go on in the name of religion.
b. Maybe you think of some of the characteristics we have listed on the back of your Order of Service sheet.
2. If the truth be told, religious people have gotten a bad rap.
a. Sad to say, in many cases it has been deserved!
b. Look on the back of OOS and let's ask the question ...
I. RELIGION TODAY: Does the following describe religion today?
1. RELIGIOUS PEOPLE SAY ONE THING AND DO ANOTHER!
a. Don't practice what they preach; talk the talk but don't walk the walk.
b. Say one thing on Sunday & do another thing on Monday.
c. They're a bunch of fakes, hypocrites (Nobody's perfect, but some of these folks don't even try!)
2. RELIGIOUS PEOPLE ARE TOO FORMAL!
a. Like to dress up on Sunday (suits/ties, dresses, jewelry).
b. Big on pomp & circumstance; rituals and traditions.
3. RELIGION IS RUN BY THE CLERGY.
a. Special people with special names & clothes.
1) Lots of special titles in front of name: Rev., Dr., Father, Bro., etc.
2) Lots of letters after their name: D.D., Ph.D., M.Div., I.V., B.V.D., etc.
b. The "laity" (normal folks) never get to question the clergy.
4. RELIGIOUS PEOPLE ARE SELF-RIGHTEOUS.
a. "Holier-than-thou" attitude; look down on pagans.
b. Only associate and do things with their own kind.
5. RELIGION IS A COMMERCIAL, MONEY-MAKING RACKET.
a. Turn on T.V.--always making an appeal for money.
b. Illust. Remember the Televangelist who several years ago said that if his listeners did not send in 8-10 million dollars God was going to call him home? Was God holding him hostage? Was God gonna put out a hit on him if he didn't cough up the dough?
6. RELIGIOUS PEOPLE ARE OBSESSED WITH TRIVIAL MATTERS.
a. Irrelevant, beside-the-point stuff; unrelated to everyday life.
b. Illust. When the Bolshevik revolution swept Russia in 1917 do you know what the religious hierarchy of one group was doing? Discussing the arrangements of color on robes of the clergy literally as the revolution was taking place in the streets outside!
7. RELIGIOUS PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS CONCERNED ABOUT HOW THINGS LOOK.
a. Certain places they won't go, certain things they won't do, certain people they won't associate with.
b. Always afraid about what other people are going to think.
II. RELIGION TODAY VS. JESUS CHRIST.
A. Do you think Jesus would agree or disagree with the type of religion described above? (After all, Jesus was a religious person!)
1. Guess what! ..... This is HIS list!!!
2. Taken straight out of Matthew 23.
B. Look at the list again:
1. Say one thing, do another ........... 23:1-4.
2. Too formal .......................... 23:5-7.
3. Run by clergy ....................... 23:8-12.
4. Self-righteous snobs ................ 23:13.
5. Commercial racket ................... 23:14.
6. Obsessed with trivial ............... 23:23-24.
7. Concerned how things look ........... 23:25-28.
1. What's the point of all this?
a. There's a big difference between the religion of Jesus Christ and what commonly passes for religion today.
b. If you've ever been tempted to point to the sorry state of "religion" as a reason to remain an unbeliever, there's good news! The religion of Jesus Christ is different!