2018 06 17 Chris Khoury Religion Verses Christianity
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Create DateJune 25, 2018
Last UpdatedJune 29, 2018

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RELIGION VS CHRISTIANITY

 

Chris Khoury - Sermon Summary - 17 June 2018

 

What is the difference between Christianity and religion?

ORGANISED RELIGION SAYS: Man must seek God. Look for God, strive to be good, and in your ‘goodness’ you will find God. Many different religions strive to find God through their own efforts. In their zeal to do this religion establishes rules and laws and binds heavy burdens on people which are impossible to carry. All in a vain attempt to please God. In Jesus‘ day the religious authorities added hundreds of so called ‘laws’ to their religious practice in order to control the people, telling them what to do when, how to do it, what they can and cannot eat, do, and how to live their lives. The problem with this type of religious practice is that the religion, its practice, and customs and traditions become more important than the truth and it superceeds the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

CHRISTIANITY: Claims that God has found us, called us. Christians follow the leading of the Holy Sprit, and are empowered by the Spirit.

 

STORY IN ACTS: As we progress through the book of Acts there are many lessons to be learnt. In Acts 4:1-22 the story highlights this huge gap between religion and Christianity. In fact we can say that religion can sometimes be the greatest adversary to Christianity.

 

WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT? In Jesus’ day and at the beginning of the New Testament church, the religious authorities trembled with rage when Christ‘s followers preached that he was the only way to salvation and eternal life. After the crucifixion of Jesus the religious leaders thought that they had finally rid themselves of the ‘troublemaker’ Jesus!

What they did not count on was the Holy Spirit. He changed everything!

 

Acts 3:3-10 The stage is set. Its a dramatic act. A man is begging for a handout at the entrance to the temple courtyard. He was a cripple from birth. He had begged at this place for many years. Peter heals him.  Peter then begins to teach the people. Telling them about Jesus. Explaining that they were responsible for his crucifixion. (V14-15) “14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong.”

 

THE HEALING Imagine it. In the time it took Peter to reach out and grab the man by the hand and pull him to his feet his useless legs were made whole. Muscle, bone, circulation, strength was restored to the man. He leapt up and began to sing and dance and praise God. This greatly disturbed the authorities and they had them arrested for the night. Acts 4:1-4

Acts 4: 5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. 6 Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. 7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them:

 

PICTURE THE STAGE

Here was organized religion once again in all of their regalia, pomp and ceremony. Everyone who was anyone was present. Their purpose. To intimidate! The supreme court of the Jews, the Sanhedrin had assembled. “Religion” emphasizes tradition, rules, laws, discipline! They found security in numbers. Gathered in a semi circle around Peter and John, along with the man who was healed they are brought forth. And the interrogation began. “By what power or what name did you do this?” Rather than being intimidated the apostles were exactly the opposite.

v8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.

Peter spoke the truth courageously. Not knowing what to do with them the authorities warned them off.  Acts 4:13-16

 

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ORGANISED RELIGION.

  1. Religion lacks the anointing of the Spirit. b. Religion is unmoved by the Gospel message.

 

WHAT ABOUT US TODAY?

  1. We can have all the strappings of religion. Come to church, wear a Jesus t-shirt - sing the latest worship songs - hay we can even pray for the sick - perform acts of service. These things are good and often necessary but our Christianity must go deeper than the superficial. It must penetrate the heart. It needs to be authentic. The Holy Spirit must impact the way we live our lives. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in victory through Christ. God uses us to spread his knowledge everywhere like a sweet-smelling perfume. 15 Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. But to those who are being saved, it has the sweet smell of life, and it brings them life. So who is good enough to do this work? 17 Certainly not those who are out there selling (pedaling) God’s message for a profit! But we don’t do that. With Christ’s help we speak God’s truth honestly, knowing that we must answer to him.

So, we as the blessed, chosen children of God are going from glory to glory.

2 Corinthians 3:18 The Voice (VOICE)

God is at work in you. He is at work in me. But our transformation can be a slow painful process. Be encouraged. Jesus said, I will never leave you, I will never forsake you. I will finish the good work I have begun in you.

We are commissioned by God and in the presence of God we speak the truth honestly.

 

Jesus departed this world (physically) so that the Holy Spirit might descend and live in us. And he does! In you, in me, he spreads the Word. I don’t know what he will ask you to do, say, go. But he will guide you. Be courageous.



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