LET’S PLAY – RELIGION
A message to which the Lord opened my eyes years ago. I have been teaching it wherever invited. It is for all who are entangled in religion. There are many prominent religions in the world like Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, etc. Too many Christians, what they follow may also be a religion called, “Christianity.” They may be sincere in what they follow. However, sincerity does not mean they are correct in what they do and teach.
It brings forward a religious mentality towards salvation, redemption, church, the forgiveness of sins, etc. The religious attend meetings and fellowships, shout, sing, dance, hear a sermon, meet friends, give their offerings and are back home, feeling happy and blessed.
A closer look, however, reveals they are back to their old lives. There is no transformation and neither do they bear fruit. It seems they are happy with what they do: attending, warming the chairs and benches, and back.
For several years, I was caught up into these ceremonial and ritualistic understanding of church and Christianity. I thank God who delivered me and desires to deliver us all from the traps of religion.
God initiated the restoration of a relationship after the fall of man. Jesus Christ completed the reconciliation by His death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit is the seal of that reconciliation.
Ephesians 1:13 — And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.
Religion is often fueled by works. Anything done outwardly to please God in terms to be saved or stay saved is works. Religion teaches you to do things to get in Christ. True Disciples of Christ do things as a result of being in Christ.
SURVIVE OR THRIVE
The Israelites came out of Egypt but Egypt was still rooted and ruling in them. The teaching of the apostolic and prophetic around the world is dominion over the earth. However, there can be no dominion in the earth if there is no dominion over self and carnality.
Many people desire revival in religion. The desire is good but they think amiss. The spirit-filled church should be the center, and source, to revive others. There can be no revival in and through religion. You cannot be revived by religion. You can only survive in it. But, in Christ, you don’t survive—you thrive.
A NEW PHENOMENON
A dead religion binds dead people and likewise, dead people love dead religion. I am not speaking of physical death but spiritual deadness. Similarly, religion blinds you to the truth and so you believe what you follow is true. The spirit of Christ which is the truth of Christ can alone give life and make you alive.
Religion is not a new phenomenon. It began with Adam and Eve covering themselves with fig leaves after they disobeyed the Lord God.
Genesis 3:7 — Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
The first Adam tried to lift himself from guilt and shame by sewing fig leaves and making a covering for him and his wife. He tried to hide his shamefulness and cover his sinfulness through his now fallen understanding. This is one of the main reasons religion is man-centered, and not God-centered.
Adam and Eve both together sewed fig leaves and made a covering for themselves. The reason this was a man-centered work is that God was not involved nor did He approve their covering. God then, covered them with the skin of an animal, symbolizing the covering of their sin. The animal was the medium to a relationship between God and man.
THE ONLY MEDIUM
Today, Jesus Christ, the slain lamb, is the only medium to a restored and reconciled relationship between God and man.
1 Timothy 2:5 — For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”
THE QUESTION OF LIFE
Religion does not give life for it does not possess life. Christ is LIFE! Religion is not based on a relationship with God. It is merely based on rituals and traditions giving you a picture of having a relationship with God and pleasing Him.
Life with Jesus Christ is a relationship. Our love, grace, and compassion toward others must be birthed from a relationship with Christ. He desires a relationship with you today. Religion cannot save, Jesus Christ saves!
Introspect your heart and check if you are the one who is burned out by religion? Are you frustrated by it? Are you searching for the refreshing of your soul because you have dried up in your spiritual walk? Are you praying for revival?
There is good news. God’s well will never run dry. He is the “REVIVALIST” and the very best in business. Revival begins in the heart of God and manifests in the lives of men.
John 7:37 — “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
Religion is man-made and hence cannot quench your thirst. If you are thirsty, come to Jesus! He is the source of living waters. The drink is free and ‘on the house’. There is a continual supply in Christ which never runs dry.
BODY OF WHO?
Do not be bound by religion. The Church is the body of Christ. It is not an institution or an organized religious order although the church must meet and function in an orderly manner. It is a living branch of the Vine. The church is not the body of any religion or a religious leader. She is the blood-purchased body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:27 – – Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
John 15:5 — I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Jesus has made us free to serve Him and the other members of His body. He desires to liberate us from religious Christianity—which is an organized religious order trapping you in a cycle of guilt and condemnation as you try to work it by rituals and ceremonies. Fear and ignorance are also tools to keep people bound.
You are free to follow and obey Jesus, free to love God and to love your neighbor, without being bound by the spirit of religion.
There are two kinds of people in the world. Firstly, the ones who are in Adam and the other, the ones in Christ. Likewise, there are believers who belong to a religious and ritualistic church, (which is another church) and the others are people who are the church in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
There are sincere people following another jesus, filled with another spirit and obeying another gospel. These are deceived by the spirit of religion which the accuser uses to accuse the people of God.
These were called to display the majesty, power, and glory of God but now are deceived and blinded, living a life of circles, trying to reach out to God and please Him. Religion seeks to give answers to spiritual things whereas, Jesus Christ is the ANSWER!
The truth is bitter to swallow. This reveals a present and terrible case of bondage, blindness, and deafness in religious Christianity. When God called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light, a newly liberated believer can wander helter skelter for years and never discover the purpose to which he/she is called.
This is the prime reason they do not bear fruit. We should not only know Christ for His gifts, signs, wonders, blessings, miracles; but we should have a deep relationship with Him, knowing His mind, His will, His desires, all through His Word and Spirit.
Matthew 7:22-23 — On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’
Matthew 7:22-23 — Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, all of you that work iniquity.
This passage does not say they did not know Him. Jesus declared that He does not know them. This is a warning to all who use the name of the Lord to bring His works and acts to bless and deliver people but internally, they are carnal and live a phony life.
The Galatian church is an example for us which had entangled again in religion. Moreover, you can easily find yourself being made free in the Son of God, only to become entangled again by the yoke of bondage through the deceitfulness of religion.
WHAT CAN YOU OFFER?
I say this with all love and humility not to shun you down but to lift you up as a mature son/daughter in Christ. In India, there is a proverb very often used to refer to a person, saying, “This one is not washed by milk.” I have been told this statement, “Do not try to teach us, you are not washed by milk either.”
Water and Milk in various religions are used for purification purposes and this is where this statement holds effect. My reply was simple, ” Yes, I am not perfect and I am not washed by milk but I am washed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ – the Son of the Living God.”
The Lord is not interested in anything you offer other than yourselves, and your lives and hearts. What could you offer God other than this which will please Him?
Your money, charity, offerings, buildings, candles, incense, garlands, rituals, traditions, gold, silver, strength, influence, and wisdom cannot save you. God is not interested in any of these.
1 Peter 1:18-19 — You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ.
Neither can power, miracles, signs, wonders, prophecies, systems, fasting, etc, keep you saved. God may use some of these to bless His people but over and above, He is interested in you. You cannot buy salvation nor his blessings.
As religion cannot save, it seeks to buy salvation and the blessings of God through outward deeds. The nature of religion is bondage, decay, and corruption. It spreads itself through fear and lust. Your lifted hands and bowed down heads are useless if your hearts are not right with God. Your words are empty if your hearts are not in union with Him. Examine your heart and life.
SYSTEMS OF WORSHIP
You must check if your worship sessions are to exalt Jesus or to display your talents. Our talents, if not used to glorify Jesus, glorifies us. Worshippers must know that God desires His worship in spirit and truth.
The old covenant worship system or the Davidic worship system used instruments as a means to worship. In the new covenant, your instruments, sound systems, lights, smoke, etc. are not a necessity as they do not change lives. The new covenant is all about our hearts submitting to His heart in oneness with His spirit, and this is true worship. Offering our bodies to God as a living sacrifice is acceptable and true spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1 — I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Music in itself is not evil. It is not a creation of satan but of God. However, satan uses it to lead people astray. He uses it to deceive people. We must always discern when we worship the Lord with music and musical instruments, whether we are worshiping God through music or do we worship music itself.
I am not against music or the use of instruments and other things during the fellowship, although, I would gently remind again that it is a matter of our heart and will; our internal being and anything external being used to enhance our time with the Lord is welcome, however, it must not become a compulsion.
People bound in religion, try to please God through outward behavior modifications, neglecting the much essential inner transformation. Jesus used the word hypocrites for people like these.
God in the old covenant worked outside man. This is why He did many mighty works, signs, and wonders to demonstrate His power and heart for His people. They looked for confirmation of His presence, His being, His power through the external works He did.
In the new covenant, He works inside of us. He works inside out! The bondage could also be self-righteousness, hypocrisy, false humility, pride, legalism, criticism, and rebellion.
People are often criticized as condemning others when they speak against such norms. We do not condemn anyone. We want to help. Help people reach maturity in Christ. A child cannot remain a child forever. The parent will always desire that their child be healthy and grows. No parent would be happy to see their child not growing, physically or mentally.
Galatians 4:19 — my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!
The Holy Spirit is sent to guide us into all truth. We are called to grow spiritually, mentally and be healthy in the body. STAND FAST in the liberty wherein Christ has made you free. You don’t need to be burned out by religion! Watch him work. He is waiting for you to ask so He can move. It is never too late, too long, and you are never too far—gone for God! Let Jesus give a new meaning to your life. Be free and live free in Christ!
Galatians 5:1 — For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.