Summary: Do we follow God as a religion or are we in relationship?
The Sunflower is probably the most amazing flowers God created.
They literally follow the sun.
No I don’t know about you, but one the most amazing things I have seen is a field of sunflowers. Watching one follow the sun through is cute. Watching hundreds in absolute unison follow the sun is actually quite incredible.
Something I found out recently, is that Sunflowers continue tracking the suns direction long after sun set. Through 360 degree’s they ensure that they are always oriented in the direction of the sun.
Their unity is totally dependant on one thing. Their relationship to the sun.
As we continue today along the series of relationships, we are going learn how it is that we can orientate our lives to God, how we can relate to God, and how that brings us into a special unity in relationships with others. Wives husbands children, friends work colleagues, and yes even opposing super 14 supporters.
THE SUNFLOWER CHALLENGE – JEREMIAH 31:33
Last week we looked at the invitation from God. I am your God and you are my people. Jeremiah 31:33
THE PASSION OF GOD FOR THE RELATIONSHIP
Do you remember that God wants us to relate to him. He begs of it us. He wants so much that he gave his only begotten son to get that relationship happening.
CHALLNEGE AND QUESTIONS
What more do you want from a God to get your attention? How much more brightly do you need the sun to burn before you take up the sunflower challenge?
To accept Gods invitation to relate to him. TO RSVP and say God I want that relationship.
I want to orientate my life to you in a relationship that is based on where you are both day and night?
RELIGION VS RELATIONSHIP
To fully understand relationship with God, we must first understand what relationship.
In the context what would the opposite of relationship be?
Well in the context, I think the opposite would be religion.
RELIGION A VS B
A 19th-century Danish theologian identified two kinds of religion – Religion A and Religion B.
The FIRST is “faith” in the name of religion only.
(2 Tim. 3:5 “They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that.”)
It’s the practice of attending church without genuine faith in the living God. Its practice with no personal relationship.
* Webster defines “Religion” as, “a particular system of belief or worship built around God, moral ideals, a philosophy of life, etc.”
Religion B, on the other hand, is a life-transforming, destiny-changing experience.
It’s a definite commitment to the crucified and risen Savior, which establishes an ongoing personal relationship between a forgiven sinner and a gracious God.
There are a lot of “Religions” in the world that has nothing to do with God.
There are a lot of people with “Religions” that will never receive an eternal blessing.
1. OUTSIDE AND NOT WHAT GOD SEES
RELIGION ALONE focuses on the things others can see and forgets that God can see everything about them.
Luke 11:39-40 “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are still filthy--full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside?”
2. WORRIED ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK WANTS TO BE PERFECT
RELIGION ALONE worries about what others may think and wants to be PERFECT.
(Luke 11:42-43 “But how terrible it will be for you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you completely forget about justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things. How terrible it will be for you Pharisees! For how you love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the respectful greetings from everyone as you walk through the markets!”
3. LOOKS FOR LOOPHOLES
Religion Alone finds the LOOPHOLES in the regulations in order to avoid obeying them.
Luke 11:46 “"Yes," said Jesus, "how terrible it will be for you experts in religious law! For you crush people beneath impossible religious demands, and you never lift a finger to help ease the burden.”
4. MAKES HEROES OF PAST REJECTS PRESENT
Religion Alone honors heroes of the past but rejects God’s work in the PRESENT.
Luke 11:47 “How terrible it will be for you! For you build tombs for the very prophets your ancestors killed long ago.”
Religion Alone seeks a academic understanding of the Bible in order to be in CONTROL.
Luke 11:52 “How terrible it will be for you experts in religious law! For you hide the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.” *