Summary: My relationship to God is more than and deeper than all of the elements of religion together. In fact, religion can get in my way of really knowing God.

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No other time in history has there been such advancements in technology. Our communications have never been better and yet…

People are father apart today than any time in history.

It would be hard to imagine another time in history when people were more confused, morally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The sad part of it is this has seeped into the Christian church. At no other time in church history have heresies abounded as they do today and accepted by the majority of people even Christians.

Few people check out what is being taught today by preachers with the plain teaching of the Word of God.

I like what the Scripture says concerning the Christians in Berea.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

We live in such an age that we must check, recheck, check again, and compare Scripture with Scripture because there are many heresies out there. Heresy on the surface has truth and says what is true, but what they do not say is what makes them dangerous.

I believe the problem can be summed up in one word: Religion.

My relationship to God is more than and deeper than all of the elements of religion together. In fact, religion can get in my way of really knowing God.

To lay a foundation for this today I want to show you what Jesus said about the religion of his day and how he condemned it.

“And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you” (11:39-41).

Religion can only deal with external things. Even though things in the outside look clean, the inside may be absolutely filthy.

Then Jesus pronounces six woes on religion.

1. [42] “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

2. [43] Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

3. [44] Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

4. [46] And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

5. [47] Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.

6. [52] Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

The thing keeping us from being all that God wants us to be are the accouterments of religion. Somehow, someway we must rise above the tyranny of religion and discover the freedom we have in Jesus Christ.

This can only be done through an aggressive interaction with the Holy Spirit. Such an interaction that will lift us above the human elements that is so important in religion to that divine element of fellowship and communion with God.

The parable before us is concerning the inner light (33-36). This, of course, is in reference to the work of the Holy Spirit deep within my heart. Anybody can change their behavior on the outside. It is called behavioral modification. Only the Holy Spirit can penetrate the soul, which was created in the image of God.

This light, as I mentioned, refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. I want to emphasize that it is in the life of the believer, and not the unsaved person. The Holy Spirit cannot penetrate the unsaved person because of the rebellion of sin. The person that has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and is born again of the Holy Spirit, is the only one that can receive this work of the Holy Spirit deep within their heart.

That is what I want to focus on today.

There are two basic sections of this “inner light.”

1. Revelation…

2. Illumination…

It is these two phases of the Holy Spirit within the heart and soul of the believer that is responsible for the relationship that we have with God. Apart from these two things, it would be very difficult to have a continuing relationship with God.

Let me mention this, this work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer is contradictory to all the elements of religion. Religion controls a person from exterior pressure. Christianity controls the person by the “inner witness” of the Holy Spirit.

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