Presentation on theme: "What religion is God? Jesus did not come to start a religion. He came to free us from religion. Religion is known by its rules. Faith is known by its."— Presentation transcript:
What religion is God? Jesus did not come to start a religion. He came to free us from religion. Religion is known by its rules. Faith is known by its deeds. (James 2:18) QUICK RE-CAP
We are called to a living faith. Not converted to a religion. Religion defines who we are & what we should do. That’s actually God’s job. Religion makes love conditional. It empowers it leaders, disempowers its followers, and rejects everyone else. QUICK RE-CAP
The world is asking questions religion cannot answer. The world needs deeds. QUICK RE-CAP
“You are in error because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.” – Jesus, Matt 22:29. QUICK RE-CAP
How should we relate to other religions? “I don't care if people worship turtles or frogs - if they're good people, that's all I care about” - Madonna "I urge one and all to live…as if there is no reward in the afterlife and to do it in a moral way that makes it better for you and those around you” - Hugh Hefner “I read the Kabbalah books and I meditate on them... They are all in Hebrew. I don't understand everything. But it's kind of OK that you don’t…” – Britney Spears
How should we relate to other religions? "From my point of view I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it. I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school… But the reality is that organised religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate” – Elton John.
We used a clip from this film to illustrate that what makes someone ‘Godly’ or Christlike is not the religion, culture, or education but the heart. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” So we agreed that you can be a non-christian but be very ‘Christlike’. Pursuing Christ & embodying his ‘Way’ is everything – religion is superficial.
We took this idea deeper with Muhammed Ali. It’s not the ‘style’ of boxing he learned that made him great…it was him. Plenty people copy styles but few embody the truth their style tries to capture. Religion is the same.
So what about other religions? Our aim is NOT that Buddhists, Hindus, & Muslims to become Christians. Our aim is NOT that gay people to become straight. Our aim is NOT that communism falls so capitalism can rise. Our aim is NOT that government moves more to the ‘left’ or the ‘right.’ Our only aim is that they find Christ. We are not converting people to christianity. That’s superficial. We are introducing them to Jesus, after allowing them to see his reflection in our life.
We are not in a religious race for converts. It’s not a popularity stake or a marketing & recruitment drive. Our conflict is that people anywhere are being short-changed by systems and ideologies that rob them of life, while promising eternity. That’s why they are ‘vain imaginations’ that set themselves up against the glory of god. And that is the only reason to challenge beliefs and traditions (including our own). 2 Cor 10:5 So what about other religions?
We are not in a contest between our religion and other religions. We are in a war with anything that sets itself up against the kingdom of God – the Kingdom of Life. All other vain imaginations make promises they can’t keep. That is the opposite of a life of faith – the life of the kingdom. The life we are to “seek first” Matt 6:33 Other religions in many ways are irrelevant except in that they rob people of life. We are here to help return life to them. It’s about being able to be light inside those systems and help call people beyond them. Romans 12:2
So what about other religions? Christ’s commission was to bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim freedom for captives, release from prison to those in darkness, and comfort those who mourn, to provide for those who grieve – bringing the favour and vengeance of God to society. ISAIAH 61:1-3 He commissioned us to go & make disciples, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that Christ commanded. MATT 28: 18-20 As we do so, these signs are to accompany us: Driving out demons, speaking in new tongues, picking up snakes with our hands & drinking deadly poison without effect – and placing our hands on sick people who get well. MARK 16:17-18
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” - G K Chesterton
“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilisation to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature” - Gandhi “Mr Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?” “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It is just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ” - Gandhi