Summary: Pastor Aubrey looks at the rules that make up religion and its trap to pride, servitude to death & hell
John 3:1-11 Why I H8 Religion
Theologian Karl Barth was lecturing to a group of students at Princeton. One student asked the German theologian "sir, don’t you think that god has revealed himself in other religions and not only in Christianity?" Barth’s answer stunned the crowd. With a modest thunder he answered, "No, god has not revealed himself in any religion, including Christianity. He has revealed himself in his son."
Here we have a deeply religious man visiting Jesus yet his heart has been stirred his own religious convictions is not enough he sees in Jesus something more, notice his questions, he firstly recognize, the fact he has come to speak with Jesus (1-2) he sees Jesus as a teacher come from God (v2) the miraculous signs. Jesus steps right to the heart of the matter (3). “You must be born again” reaffirms (5-8).
1. Religion teaches if I obey ( the gospel teaches god loves you)
V1 now there was a Pharisee a member of the Jewish ruling council.
If you obey, this that and the other then God will love you... If your obedient to Gods laws and ways then God will love you that’s where religion takes us. If you think and act like this then you are merely religious.
The truth of the matter is that god does love full stop! (God demonstrates his love whilst we were yet sinners). If we are continual striving for obedience to make God love us then we have not understood the work of redemption and we are going to lack any assurance and be the most miserable of people (have you noticed how miserable religious people are?) .
God is not some harsh task master, but a loving father. - And because god unconditionally loves you, you can reciprocate that love that god has for you with obedience to his ways, even though you make mistakes you know his love is consistent.
• So as we fall in love with Jesus, our hearts change and we want to keep his commandments. Paul calls this the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5) .
• Tim keller puts it this way: "religion is — I obey so I can be accepted. The gospel is — I am accepted so I can obey."
2. Religion teaches two types of people ( the gospel teaches we are all sinners)
(3) Tell you the truth no one can enter the kingdom of god unless he is born again
Religious people, always teach there are two types of people the good and the bad - it’s like the old gangster films or the westerns where you have the good guys and the bad guys . The bad people are always others - the finger always gets pointed at others.
Instead the gospel teaches that were all bad – we have all sinned – there is no distinction – and this is a real problem for religious people because they don’t seem themselves as bad in fact they consider themselves as good people, decent people, respectable, pillars of the community, they fail to see their sin.
Think about it, it was the religious people who rejected Jesus and crucified him - they wouldn’t accept his way they failed to address their need and still today religious people fail to see there need and reject the gospel – because they are good religious people.....
3. Religion teaches good works are enough . ( the gospel teaches its all about grace)
Often when I ask people the question, “if you were to die tonight and you were to stand before God in heaven and he asked you why I should let you into heaven? What would you say?” The overwhelming majority said, because of my good works.
Reader’s digest recently asked the great fighter Muhammad Ali what his faith meant to him. Ali replied: "[it] means [a] ticket to heaven. One day we’re all going to die, and god’s going to judge us, [our] good and bad deeds. [if the] bad outweighs the good, you go to hell; if the good outweighs the bad, you go to heaven. Source: sermon central staff. Citation: face to face with Muhammad Ali. Interview by Howard Bingham, reader's digest, December 2001
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of god--not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) God also says, to him who is thirsty I will give to them without cost......
• When our family go out to restaurants or a cafe or pub lunch, Danielle will often ask me to go and get some water, but she doesn’t mean bottled water she means get some tap water because it’s free. I always feel embarrassed asking for this water... Because they really want to sell water to you...but its free and so is our salvation we simply have to ask....