Summary: What’s wrong with being religious? Nothing, as long as it does not become a substitute for knowing Jesus Christ.
You know America loves to take polls and surveys. It seems our nation’s leaders are more in tune with the polls and the surveys than they are in doing what is right and moral and just. Isn’t it interesting though that one recent survey determined 58% of Americans don’t believe the results of polls and surveys. I don’t know if you can believe that poll or survey either. In survey after survey after survey of Americans asked, “What’s the most important thing in life?” the number one answer is always, “How can I be happy?” You know worldly happiness is like a smoke bubble. It’s there for a moment…POP...and then it’s gone. It’s so hard to stay happy. Maybe you can relate to the person who prayed this prayer. He said, “Dear Lord. So far today I am doing pretty good. I haven’t lost my temper. I haven’t been grumpy, selfish or rude. But, in a few moments I am going to have to get out of bed and then I’m going to need your help for the rest of the day.” The number one most important question should not be “How can I be happy?” The utmost question in the mind of every person ought to be, “How can I be saved?” “How can I be saved?” In Romans 10 (quickview) , Paul tells us how to be saved. He tells us how not to be saved and how to be saved. Let’s look at the first 8 verses.
“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ [to bring Christ down] or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ [to bring Christ up from the dead] But, what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith we are proclaiming…”
The title of this message today is “Religious, But Lost.” If you haven’t already figured it out, I believe very firmly it is possible for a person to be religious and still lost without Jesus Christ.
When I was a teenager I read a book, How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious. When I read that title, I thought, “Is that possible? Can you be a Christian without being religious? And, I am convinced that yes, it is very possible to be a Christian without being religious. It is also possible to be religious without being a Christian. Paul is writing about people here who were highly religious–his Jewish brothers and sisters. They had a zeal for God, but yet he said, “I am so burdened for them because they don’t know Jesus Christ.”