Is Christianity a religion? Who is the originator of religion?
(John 10:1-10) Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the door keeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again. “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Long before Christ was born, established religions already existed in this world:
1. Hinduism in India 1,000 B.C.
2. Buddhism also from India that spread out to Asia in the 5th to 4th century B.C.
3. Confucianism in Northern China 551 to 479 B.C.
4. Shintoism in Japan 660 B.C.
5. Taoism also in China 6th century B.C.
6. Babylonian is the oldest of all religion.
When I was converted to true Christianity and was born again I began to read the Bible, when I came across Romans 3:10-11: As it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understand. There is none who seeks for God.” I asked myself, “how about those people who sincerely prayed in their devotions every day?” I was born to a religious family which included my Aunt, who devotionally prayed everyday but to idols. She died with that belief. Was she not seeking for God? The Bible says, “THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD.”
When I studied my Bible, I found out that man by nature is a religious being. Religiosity is built-in, in the innermost being of a man. Why? Man has a spirit that is why. One of the functions of the spirit is to worship. When God created man, he was different from the animals, God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, which is the spirit and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7) Our soul will live forever. It will not die.
Man is composed of spirit soul and body:
(1 Thessalonians 5:23) “May your spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Hebrews 4:12) “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit…”
WHAT IS SOUL AND WHAT IS SPIRIT?
SOUL is composing of our:
- Intellect--- The ability to think, to learn and to reason.
- Will--- The power to choose.
- Emotion--- Any strong feeling, as of joy, sorrow, hate or love
SPIRIT has three functions:
- Conscience--- The faculty of recognizing the distinction between right and wrong in regard to one’s own conduct, causing remorse.
- Intuition--- The faculty of knowing without the use of rational process. Something you perceive that you cannot explain through your mind.
- Worship--- The reverend love and allegiance accorded to deity, idol or sacred object of such humble devotion.
Animals don’t have these faculties,only man. Because man has spirit he will worship anything. Aborigines in Australia worship crocodiles. Also, the Egyptians in the Old Testament they worshiped crocodiles, frogs, flies, cows, anything. The New Age Movements worships nature, the “mother earth”. Man by nature worships idols made of wood, stone, gold, silver, anything. Even though how sincere they may be in worshiping, the Bible says, “they are not seeking God”.
You don’t need to teach a fish to swim. You don’t need to teach a butterfly to fly. In like manner, you don’t need to teach a man to worship. It’s innate, built-in or inherent in a man’s spirit to worship anything. Do they seek for God? No! (Romans 3:11) “THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD.” By nature man is a worshipper because of the spirit in him. He is susceptible to worship anything he sees in his eyes which he assumed to have spiritual power.
An atheist says there is no God. An atheist doesn’t believe God so he is not religious, that is what they say. No! There is no such thing as an atheist. An atheist unknowingly worships himself. That’s the reason why they don’t want the name of God mentioned anywhere especially in public places, they are jealous because they assumed to be gods themselves. They say, “I am the captain and the master of my soul.”
The Bible says no one seeks for God. How about the apostles were they not seeking God? (John 15:16), Jesus said to his disciples,“You did not choose me, but I chose you.” (John 6:44), Jesus said, “No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me draws him…” A man will say, “So then, why waste our time in preaching the gospel when it is God himself draws men to Jesus anyway?” Number one reason is that we are commanded by the Lord to preach the gospel. Number two; faith will only come by hearing about Jesus. If no one will preach who will believe? (Romans 10:14) “All that the Father gives me shall come to me and that anyone who comes to me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37) There are those whom God really have chosen and the rest are not on God’s list. Let us just say you are not chosen but if you hear the gospel and you decide to accept Jesus into your life, the Lord will not cast you away.
WHAT IS RELIGION?
Religion is man’s effort to reach heaven and to obtain spiritual consciousness. The initiator is man. While in Christianity, it is God who found man. God is the initiator. It is God Himself who came down from heaven, became a man paid for our sins, and gave us the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
God did not intend Judaism to be a religion. All those ordinances that God has given them were for their own good. Those ceremonials during their festivities were pointing to the cross of Christ and all those signified the coming Messiah. They were hoping for the Savior to come. Even in the Old Testament God was the initiator.
WHEN DID CHRISTIANITY BECOME A RELIGION?
Christianity becomes a religion the moment the gospel is contaminated. (Galatians 5:9) “A little leaven, leaven the whole lump of dough.” Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven or the yeast of the Scribes and the Pharisees.” (Matthew 16:5-12) What the Lord means is that we should be very careful of any contaminated gospel or else Christianity will become a religion.
Religion is man’s effort to do well. There is nothing wrong in doing good works. That is what religion is supposed to be that is why the Government allows all religious organizations (as long as it is legally registered) to be tax exempt. James says in James 1:26-27 that religion is to look after orphans and widows in their distress. The reason why James mentioned religion because Christians at that time in general just tend to be religious but the problem was hypocrisy. So he gave practical advices on things like anger and quarreling, showing favoritism, controlling the tongue, boasting and so on. But in general religion is just a religion that’s what it is. Doing well without Christ is nothing. You cannot enter heaven doing good works without Christ in your heart. That is just religiosity.
Jesus said, “Those who came before me, all types of religions who climb up some other way are thieves and robbers”. The most effective tool that the devil will use in hindering people from hearing the pure gospel of God is through religion. Religious people are closed-minded. It was the religious leaders who instigated the mob for Jesus to be crucified. Through religion Satan the thief comes to steal, kill and to destroy. The originator of religion is Satan. But the good news is that God the Father is the initiator. Through His only begotten Son, Jesus died for our sin to give us the free gift of eternal life.
Jesus is alive; He is a person not a religion and true Christianity is not a religion. It is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Remember that man is by nature a religious being. Even if you are an active member of a church but if you have not truly and seriously repented from all your sins and if you have not heartily accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you are no different from the rest of the religious people in this world. Get rid of all religiosity. You must have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ the only Savior and Lord the Almighty.
It is written in Hebrews 9:27, “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” There is no purgatory in the Bible. There are only two places where our soul will go, heaven or hell. Where does our spirit go then when we die? Ecclesiastes 12:7, “…and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the SPIRIT return to God who gave it.” Don’t worry about the rest of the people who are not saved because of religion. Worry about yourself who have heard the truth if you will not change your mind it is up to you.
Through religion, Satan the thief, comes only to steal and kill and destroy. Jesus said; "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
Continue to read the next topic "MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT"
Sermon by: Bobby Cabonce