"It is expedient for us, that one Man should die for the people, and
that the whole nation perish not." John 11:50
This is a dangerous topic to touch on, just ask Jesus, because it cost Him His life at the hands of His own denomination. Our lives as followers of Christ should not be merely about an "identifiable religion" but about a knowable Person, a powerful Re-Creator, Jesus Christ! There's a huge difference, and it makes all the difference in our daily lives.
Why, because religion itself is absolutely powerless, whereas the indwelling Christ empowers us to live above our fallen nature, the powers of darkness within and without. Cultural religion often works against our relationship with Jesus Christ bringing us to itself rather than God and God alone. Religion said that it was, "Expedient that one man should die," rather than jeopardize the religious system that had been set up in place of the indwelling Christ. That system, God's first denominated church became a god unto itself, to the extent that it replaced God in the hearts and lives of the people.
What's happening in the more than 45,000+ Christian denominations in the world is that they are placing cultural religion - their theological beliefs and practices - at the center of their members lives, instead of the loving God behind it all. These religions must remember that it's In Jesus that we live, breathe and have our being, not a system of beliefs or works. Acts 17:28 They need to teach each and every member that they, "Are complete in Him," and Him only! Col 2:10 For example I know so many people that will perform the duties of an elder, teacher, women's ministries, evangelism coordinator and yet refuse to come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their own marriages. They will perform the Boy Scout and Girl Scout deeds and yet refuse the sovereignty of God over their lives in their own marriages. If you would go to these people's homes and live there for 30 days you would be shocked at how the performance at home is completely different then the performance at church. They find their completeness in their religiosity while refusing the sovereignty of God in their everyday lives in their homes. When one performs duties at church and yet refuses the whisperings of God in their personal lives at home behind closed doors, it is obvious that their completeness is not in God.
When your completeness is in God he frees you in your home life. Have you found that freedom?
Let's face it, following religious practices can be a lot more comfortable than coming to the place where we filter our thoughts, words and actions through Christ. When we come to this position; it means that we are no longer in charge and we become so sensitive to the Holy Spirit whisperings through our conscience, according to the Word of God, that the lightest whisper of Jesus becomes the new me. This is what Satan fears. Satan does not fear religion; he fears that religious people will find themselves surrendered and dependent upon the One he removed himself from-God. Satan when he was Lucifer became a front and a fraud and he corrals you into the same pretensions. Professing allegiance to God yet refusing to surrender all your known choices to Him. This is what turned Lucifer into Satan. He would not have this Jesus rule over him. Is that you?
Our enemy will shift your focus away from the cost of coming under God and toward religious norms, rules and practices that are doable and measurable. This kind of religion doesn't produce true life in the soul only religiosity among a particular circle of Christians. These are the gods that we make unto ourselves rather than allowing the living God to have complete access to all in our life.
Satan trembles when anyone comes under the authority of Scripture and subjects themselves to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit empowering them daily to live out the life of Jesus Christ dwelling in them. For this is what identifies them as the true worshipers and followers of God. John 4:23, 24.
So how would Jesus be treated in your church today? I believe I know how He would be treated in my church as well as many others today. He would stand out as a troubler of the system, a revolutionary if you would. He would be treated as a fanatic. Two straight-laced and single-minded for those who want to remain in charge of, "their religion". He would threaten their safety and security in their logos and egos. They would most likely begin to smear Him and discredit Him for the sake of their organization and the conviction of their consciences. John 11:50 We all know that history repeats itself and if we don't learn from the past we will repeat it in the present.
How are you treating Jesus in your daily life? Do you let Him in? Do you allow the authority of Scripture supreme place in all of your life? Isaiah 8:20 Do you let His still small voice have sway? Isaiah 30:21 If we could gather together all your thoughts, all your conversations, and all your actions over the past 30 days - how many of them would have been filtered through Christ and His word and acted on according to His will for your life in the moment? If God called to your heart 100 times in those 30 days what would your response rate have been, 25%, 50%, 75% or higher? How many of us would have even made the 50% mark? If that is the case then each of us have a serious decision to make. Will it be merely religion or Jesus?
Making it the latter,
Jim and Sally