Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Out of Religion...Into Relationship

1 John 1:6-7 “So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his son, cleanses us from all sin.” 

I have found that most of us will gladly say we accept Jesus as our Savior, but reject Him as our Lord. In other words "the forgiveness part sounds good, but I can't let Him tell me what to do, it's my life". Friends this does not work. To say we know God, but to continue living for ourselves is hypocrisy and God will eventually expose it and judge it.

“Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?
Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
Matthew 7:22-23 NIV

See we tend to create a God of our imagination. One that will accept us based upon the good we have done. And we will justify those beliefs by comparing ourselves with the world around us. The problem is the world is fallen and God says to compare our self to Him only, by looking into the righteous mirror of His Word, looking at the life of Jesus.

When we understand that His standard is total perfection in our attitudes and relationships, even our thoughts, we will see and acknowledge our need for a savior. In other words, we must be perfect, and be willing to rely upon that total perfection to hold up under God’s holy scrutiny, or we must believe in and rely upon a savior who is perfect. His name is Jesus, and His work is completed. He has already provided forgiveness for every sin you have or ever will commit. He has provided healing for every sickness or disease that will ever try to come upon you. He has anticipated every single need you will every have; spiritual, physical, financial, emotional, and relational. He loves you and desires for you to call upon Him to be your Lord and Savior. Then He wants to teach you, through His Word, to cooperate in agreement with Him; so that you may live, by the power of His Holy Spirit, the abundant life of an overcomer that He has already provided for you.

The real goal here is to do exactly what God called me to do. Bring His people out of religion (self-effort, performance based acceptance) and into relationship with Him. This is the meaning of life.

John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” KJV

If it makes you a little uncomfortable that's ok. God wants you to stop listening to your fleshy mind and instead surrender to the Mind of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “...if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” KJV

So having accepted this gift from God - I have (out of a grateful and loving heart of gratitude) accepted the task that comes with the gift: to reconcile people to Him.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” 2 Corinthians 5:18 NIV
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 NLT

Therefore as a Christian, I do not leave Jesus at church when I leave the service on Sunday. The very name Christian implies that Christ is in me, so he goes where ever I go, and He is first and foremost in my life. He cannot be excluded from any aspect of my life. He can never be asked to take a back seat, or to be quiet, or to be politically correct. That is as absurd as the painting telling the painter to be still and be quiet.

 When God created man, He made him perfect. However, when corruption entered in through lust (sin), it poisoned us and brought enmity between us and God. There was nothing we could do to help ourselves. Then God, in His mercy and by His grace, sent His son to redeem us, to restore us, to heal us. Glory to God!

The goal here is to challenge you to call upon God for some real answers about your condition. Allow His light to shine into all the dark places of your soul. Allow the Word of God to tear down any religious mindsets that cause you to judge anything other than your own personal relationship with the one many of you already call your Lord.
Is He?

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