Summary: Your religion, is it superficial or is it supernatural?
Your religion, is it superficial or is it supernatural? You’re going to find two kinds listed here in James chapter 1 beginning in verse 26: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:26–27). James chapter 1, verses 26 and 27.
These are serious times in which we’re living, and I am convinced that we are facing one of three things: either the blackout and the annihilation of civilization as we know it; or the second coming of Jesus Christ; or else a global revival. One of three things. And, I pray God that we can see a global revival. And, there’s nothing in the scripture that says we cannot have a great spiritual awakening of gigantic proportions before our Lord comes, and there seems to be some straws in the wind. There seems to be a going in the tops of the mulberry bushes that tells us that God is up to something.
But, I want to say ladies and gentlemen, that we who are saved—we who are born again—need to be living and keeping with the urgency, and the emergency, of these times. And, we need in our lives, and we need in our churches, and we need in our faith, a reality, real religion.
And, so we’re talking today about real religion—not religion that is superficial—but religion that is supernatural. And, so our text today breaks itself very logically, and very easily in two divisions. First of all, I want you to see the dangers of superficial religion, and then secondly I want you to see the delights of supernatural religion.
I. The Dangers of Superficial Religion
Now, look at the scripture here. James chapter 1 and verse 26, and you will see the dangers of superficial religion. Look at verse 26: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain” (James 1:26).
A. It Lacks Reality
Three dangers of superficial religion are mentioned here. The first danger is that it lacks reality. It lacks reality. Look at it: “If any man among you seem to be religious.”
Now, there are some many people who only have a form of godliness. They have a name that they live, but they are dead. And, their religion is only an illusion. It’s only something that seems to be, but there is no reality to it, and there’s nothing worse— mark it down—there’s nothing worse than religion without reality. Oh, it ought to be real to you. It ought to be vibrant to you. You ought to have a know-so, not a hope-so or a maybe-so salvation. You ought to have a know-so salvation.
Too many Christians are like question marks when they ought to be exclamation points. Too many Christians are doubting Christians when they ought to be shouting Christians. Too many Christians are only seeming Christians when they ought to be sincere Christians. Too many Christians cannot say, “…I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). For faith is a faith of a calm assurance. Now, I have Ms. Geraldine Smith over here who’s amening me this morning. Where are you Geraldine? Right there, now. OK, we’ve heard from you. That’s enough, I need to cool you down and warm them up. So, we thank God for her, we think God for her. She gets excited about these things, and some of you need to get excited about a know-so salvation.
Now, listen friend, your salvation, your salvation ought to have reality to it. It ought to have reality to it. You ought to say, “I know that I am saved.” You see, James chapter 5, verse 13: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life…” (1 John 5:13).
If you want sometime, something that’s fun to do, get you a Bible that you don’t mind marking—and by the way you shouldn’t mind writing in any Bible. There’s nothing wrong with that. Some people think it’s sacrilegious to write in the Bible. It’s not. You take those Bibles and wear them out, and then get you another one and wear it out. And, brother, a Christian that has a Bible that’s falling apart generally has a life that’s not falling apart. And, you just take your Bible and every time you come to the word know— K-N-O-W—in 1 John, you just draw a circle around it. Take a red pen and draw T word—know, know, know, know, know—over, and over, and over again. Oh, there is to be the assurance of your salvation.