Presentation on theme: "I HATE RELIGION That sounds strange coming from a preacher of all people. But give me a few moments of your time, and perhaps you will also hate religion."— Presentation transcript:
I HATE RELIGION That sounds strange coming from a preacher of all people. But give me a few moments of your time, and perhaps you will also hate religion.
Introduction Religion (for the purposes of this discussion) is simply "something a person believes in and follows devotedly" (Webster's). Based upon this definition, one could have a religion based upon anything the mind can imagine. So there are many religions in the world today. The usual ones are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Atheism, NASCAR, Hunting, Trucks, and so on.
Introduction So, based on this definition, let me clarify what KINDS of religion we should hate, Because obviously we don't hate them all; (that would just be rude and unfair): But there should only be one religion that we practice. Let us notice come kinds of religion that some may be guilty of practicing.
Self-made religion This is the kind of religion that we make up for ourselves; we do this when we "cut-and-paste" the things/teachings that we like from the Bible, from other religions, from our own personal desires, etc. This is basically like a religious "Art/Science Project", where we gather & assemble the pieces, put them together however we see fit, and then present it to others as “OUR religion".
Self-made religion The only problem with "Art/Science Projects" is that they are usually mere representations of reality. For example, the volcano we made in Elementary School wasn't an actual volcano (to the relief of everyone else who entered the contest, as well as everyone within a 10-mile radius of the eruption); and our self-made religion isn't real either. In fact, it is counter-productive, harmful, dishonest, and unacceptable to God. See Colossians 2:16-23.
Self-deceiving religion This is the kind of religion that we have practiced for so long, we have begun to believe that it is actually true, despite the fact that we know it not to be. It isn't that we are stupid people who don't realize that our religion is phony; (Well, maybe some actually are, if we're being fair or honest).
Self-deceiving religion No, we would simply prefer not to be reminded of that fact; because this, after all, is the religion that we WANT. As an example of this, I actually AM a superhero like Batman. See James 1:26-27.
Empty religion This is the religion that doesn't mean anything to the person who claims to practice it. These people are "going through the motions" for some reason(s), but there is no meaning to it. Maybe they do it to please other people, or maybe they do it for the potluck fellowships. Whatever their reasons might be, this religion is worthless to them.
Empty religion This religion is like the springs without water (2 Peter 2:17) or clouds without rain (Jude 12) If it helps, they are just dressing up like Batman and not actually fighting crime (if you watched the reruns, you would realize that nobody ever hit anybody, but the bad guys still fell down.) See Colossians 2:8
Compartmentalized religion This is the religion that fits nicely into one part/area of our lives, but never affects us as a whole person. We actually make the effort to not allow religion to cross over into other areas of our life. It may not be self-made or empty, but it is equally useless. In actuality, we may be very excited about our religion when we've compartmentalized it.
Compartmentalized religion After all, if we only participate in the encouraging/self-serving parts of our religion/faith instead of actually living it out every day, I suppose it might seem like something to get excited about once or twice a week (or month). See Amos 4:4-5; 5:21-24; 6:1,4-8.
Hypocritical religion Oh, here we go again; the preacher talking about hypocrites. Why are you bothered about this? This is the worst one, right? This goes beyond everything we've looked at so far, doesn't it? This is a person who is actively pretending to be a Christian.
Hypocritical religion These are the people who are responsible for emptying the church pews, right? What is the #1 reason people give for either leaving the Church or never becoming part of it? "Those hypocrites!" Whether this is a legitimate excuse for those people or not (by the way, it isn't),
Hypocritical religion hypocritical religion is something that we all should hate; especially when we see it in ourselves. This is the equivalent of someone turning on the Bat-Signal, only to find out that the guy who shows up is overweight, never works out, and couldn't care less if you get mugged. See Matthew 23:3.
The Reasons We Should Hate These Allow me to also clarify WHY we should hate these kinds of religion that we have been discussing:
They are the enemies of true spirituality We will never actually be the kind of people God wants us to be until we know what that looks like and then decide that we want to be. When we desire anything less, we basically say to God, "I don't really want what you're offering”. Or, “I think I have a better idea." “This simply won't work”. Make up your own responses if you want.
They are the enemies of true spiritual growth One of the drawbacks of these different perversions of "religion" is that we don't get to experience genuine spiritual growth. It is one of the trademarks of a true disciple, and is conspicuously (and quite obviously) missing from those who are "faking it" – See 2 Peter 1:5ff
They are the enemies of evangelism If you haven't noticed, those who aren't Christians (the lost) are usually not super-excited to learn more about the "religions" we described above. If you and I haven't had anyone ask us about our faith recently, it may be because we don't really have one, or we have not demonstrated it in public (1 Peter 3:15) or because we have traded it in for something else (like anything the world offers). True evangelism requires true religion on the part of the evangelist which by the way is every Christian.
They are a cleverly disguised and cheap substitute for true discipleship I'm not sure how Satan convinced so many of us that our man-made "religions" were going to be good enough to please the Lord, but we were fools to believe it (Matthew 7:21ff). Jesus makes it crystal clear what He expects from us, and we should know better than to think that CHURCH ATTENDANCE = DISCIPLESHIP, or YOUTH TRIPS = DISCIPLESHIP. See Luke 9:23-24; 14:25-35
Because God hates them too!!! When we read passages like the ones in Amos (mentioned earlier), we see that God feels just as strongly about these cheap imitations of religion as we are supposed to. If God hates something, I might want to pay attention to what that "something" is, right? To make sure that I am not involved in it. To be able to warn others about it.
Conclusion So, how do you feel about these false/imitation "religions" now? Do you hate them as much as I do? Do you hate them as much as God does? Do you hate them enough to do something about them in your own life – (if necessary) - so that you can help others with the same struggles?