Sermons

Summary: Rules, busy-ness versus a new heart, the Spirit

SUPERFICIAL RELIGION AND SUPERNATURAL REGENERATION

John 14:6 (752) April 28, 2013

INTRODUCTION:

The most popular Rock and Roll song of all time according to Rolling Stone Magazine is Led Zeplins “Stairway to Heaven”. Rewritten by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant…Page said, “It was as if some unknown spirit moved my hand…deep within the song is this line…”Yes there are two paths you can go b y, but in the long run there’s still time to change the road your on.”

Two paths that lead to the stairway to Heaven…and “Hey, don’t stress over which one you choose….in the long run there is still time to change roads.”

I think about those words because it seems Satan uses that ploy, that lie…over and over again….

We live in a day and time when it’s popular to believe….”all roads lead to heaven.” And if you decide you don’t like the road you’re on try another because it’s just as valid!

And for anyone to say that the road they’re on is better or…the only road…”Well, they’re just bigoted or intolerant.

When you look at the other major religions in the world each of them share something in common: in every religion, a teacher (or a series of teachers) prescribes certain paths to follow in order to honor God (or different Gods) and when you follow the path or paths in the prescribe manner you achieve salvation (however) that is described.

In Hinduism, ancient teachers passed down Vedic traditions prescribing the rites and rivals for Hindus to observe….In Islam, Muhammad pointed in the Koran to 5 pillars for muslins to practice. In Buddhism, Buddha’s eightfold path is just one of the 4 Noble truths he taught, alongside hundreds of other rules for Buddhists to follow. In Sikhism, 10 gurus have pointed to one body of teaching as the way to truth and life.

But Christianity is radically different…it stands alone…when Jesus came on the scene in human history and began calling followers to himself…He did not say “Follow certain rules” Observe these rituals and regulations…Perform these duties…instead Jesus said, “Follow Me”

Those two simple words made it crystal clear that Jesus wasn’t interested in being just a rabbi who dispense spiritual teaching….His primary purpose was to call his disciples into a personal relationship with Him…He wasn’t saying, “Go this way to find eternal life” He was saying “I AM the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

The call of Jesus….”Come to me, everyone of you that is burdened and weary and you will find rest…”

But I wonder…is that what the church is still doing…Are we still saying, “Come cling to the person of Jesus for life itself!” …or have we slowly let Christianity devolve into just another choice in the cafeteria line of world religions…follow these rules, regulations, practices and principles for salvation…

David Plat in “Follow me” writes… Hindus bathe in the Ganges River: Christians get baptized in the church. Muslims go to worship on Friday; Christians go to worship on Sunday. Buddhists recite mantras; Christians sing choruses. Sikhs read their holy book and share with the needy; Christians read their Bible and give to the poor.

He says, don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying we shouldn’t baptize, sing in worship, read our Bible, or serve the poor. But I am saying that if we’re not careful, any of us can do all of these things completely apart from Jesus….

Here’s an important truth…

I RULES MAKE YOU TRY HARDER OR PRETEND YOU DON’T BREAK THEM

Regulations and rules dominated Jesus day…these 4 Galileans fisherman who had been invited by Jesus to “Follow Me” were surrounded by a religious establishment that was consumed with rules and regulations…The Pharisees had taken the Old Testament commands of God and had twisted them to become the principle means by which you earned God’s approval…The teachers of the law began to add onto the commands requirements that God never intended…John Macarthur in his commenting of the New Testament writes…Instead of Remembering the Sabbath and keeping it Holy…these add on rules became impossible burdens…

Tailors did not carry a needle with them on the Sabbath for fear they might

be tempted to mend a garment and thereby perform work. Nothing could be bought

or sold, and clothing could not be dyed or washed…Chairs could not be moved because

dragging them might make a furrow in the ground, and a woman was not to look in

a mirror lest she see a gray hair and be tempted to pull it out.

These rules dominated the society in which Peter, Andrew, James and John lived…In a society that said “TRY HARDER”, WORK HARDER, DO MORE…AND BECOME BETTER.

Jesus said, “Follow me”…”Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest…take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt 11: 28-30)

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