Summary: Religion which is man-made brings insecurity, but a Relationship with Jesus brings confidence.
> When I was a young man, I would frequently hear, “I’m gonna lose my religion!” Normally, this was said at a time of stress and frustration.
> Gallup took a poll on “Religion” in January of 2007, the results of which seems to me to be a little contradictory in nature. When asked “do you believe that religion can answer all or most of today’s problems or is it old fashion, some 60% said it can answer (25% said old fashion)”. However, on an earlier question in that same survey only 27% wanted religion to have MORE influence and 32% wanted religion to have less influence. Might I suggest that the result of this survey might mean we need to begin by “defining our terms?” What is religion? James 1:27 says this; “pure and undefiled religion is this, to look after the orphans & widows & keep one’s self unstained.”
> Yet it was religion and the religious which crucified Jesus. You see, my conviction is that Jesus was not about religion at all; rather He was about relationship, and a specific relationship at that. He desires to forge a personal relationship with each of us, which causes us to “lose our religion”, give us a connection to the Father, and gives to us a confidence in our future.
> Modern day religion, by its very nature, causes insecurity. Consider this, religion says, “if you perform well, get the dos and don’ts right, live up to your potential, then “maybe” you’ve done enough and you’ll get into heaven.”
> The Relationship says this; “Come to me all who are burdened (with sin) and heavy-laden (with guilt) and I will give you rest. Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things you do not know. Whoever comes to me, I will in no way cast them aside. God loved the world so much that He sent his one and only son, so that through Him the world might be saved.
> Religion creates insecurity and a right relationship creates security. Which sounds better to you? (Call the TITLE AND TEXT)
> This morning, from this text, let’s see what happens when we “replace our religion with a personal relationship”. (Re-read verse 17a.)
> Did you hear that? When He is in us and we are in Him, His love is perfected (finished, completed, fulfilled, and accomplished) in us so as to give us “confidence in the day of judgment.” Wow. To think, we can face the judgment of God with confidence instead of concern, security instead of uncertainty, and assurance instead of anxiety.
> So if I replace my religion with a relationship, what happens? What can I expect? Remember, confidence.
1) I am Confident of my Connection with God. Were I to sum up John’s message in this letter, it would be “to know” or maybe “to be confident.” One of the really great benefits about replacing my religion with a relationship is this; through Jesus I have access to the Heavenly Father. Hebrews 4 tells us that because we have Jesus as our High Priest who is interceding for us, we can approach the throne of grace with boldness and find mercy and grace. The only way into this throne room is to know the right person, we need to get a handle on one spiritual truth about spiritual & eternal security, “it’s not what you know, it who you know”. (Salvation’s Call) There are at least 3 attributes which result in this connection;
a) I become Spirit-filled. Verse 13 repeats the concept John gave us in 3:24. He has given us from His Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit of God resident in your soul, there is no confidence and there is no connection because there has been no conversion. Some will cry; that’s a judgmental statement! Maybe, but it is also a Biblical principle. Spirit-filled is not an option, it is a characteristic, a quality, and a “requirement.”
b) I become a Verbal Witness. Candidly, this truth frightens more people than we can imagine. Yet, the scripture leaves little room for missing the point. Look at verses 14-15 and see 3 words, “seen”, “testify”, and “confesses”. The words used so closely together leave little room to be misunderstand. When I replace my religion with an authentic relationship, I become a walking poster child of the goodness of God.
c) I become a deep believer. A deep believer? What’s up with that? I both “know” and “believe” in His love.
> It is one thing to say we love God and we know His love, but it is another thing entirely to base our life on the truth of His word.
> In this day of cell phones, most if not all of us, know the weak feeling of saying, “can you hear me now?” Most have even said, “I’m in a bad area; let me call you on a land line.” With a wired connection, we have confidence in our connection.