Tuesday, October 19, 2010

EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE RELIGION

EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE RELIGION
A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing

“Then they asked Him,
‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ 
Jesus answered,
‘The work of God is this:
to believe in the One He has sent.’”
John 6:28

            The religious want religious answers.  This answer from the lips of the Son of God did not satisfy the religious then, and it will not satisfy you if you want religion now.

          Religion seeks but never finds, because religion rejoices in its own activities, and in the search itself.  Religion wants prescriptions, and lists, and tasks.  Religion wants a clear outline of “minimum standards”. 
          Religion desires a physical house of worship and a creed and an organization.  Religion desires structure and rules. 
          Religion is never the answer, because religion exists to create more structure, and more requirements, and sustains itself through order and repetition. 
          The religious want to do things religiously, which simply means to do something over and over to earn a feeling of absolution or worthiness. 
          The religions of the world exist by teaching that without their religious structure and adherence to their many requirements, no man can know God.
          Religion is what people get when they get what they want. 
          Jesus didn’t come to give what people want, but rather what they need, and what they must have if they would inherit eternal life with God the Father.

          In this chapter of John, we find Jesus teaching the people in the synagogue at Capernaum.  This was a church, which was full of religious people.  What He said to these people, who were decent, God-fearing men and women (in their own eyes), upset them and caused many of those who had been following Him to desert Him.
          Jesus told them that the work of believing in Him was the only thing required to work the works of God.     
          Jesus stated here the backbone of all we do as True Believers.  Jesus is the Bread of Life whom we eat, and the Water of Life whom we drink.  He is all we need in this life, and we literally hunger and thirst after Him, and He alone satisfies.  When Jesus calls His sheep, His sheep know His voice and follow Him.  They won’t follow anyone else, because they recognize only Him as the Great Shepherd.
          Jesus assures these religious people that eternal life comes only through believing in and feasting upon Him, and that Life comes only through belief in Him.   Jesus gives us Life, and we live only because of Him.  There is no religion in this, no possibility of doing anything ourselves that will save us, and this powerful message of belief alone being the work that God requires is what turned away the crowds.
          Jesus alone will satisfy, and His Spirit indwelling us is our Teacher, and the Father lives in us when we believe in Jesus.  God is with us and in us and works through us if we truly believe, but only if we truly believe.  And here is where the waters get muddy for religious people.
          We have been taught so many wrong things, even in the so-called “evangelical churches” who claim to follow Jesus—things that are religious nonsense and not Truth from the Word of God—that many of us are wholly confused about the Word of our Lord Jesus when He speaks like this.
          What does it mean to believe?
          We are taught that it means we agree with God that Christ died for our sins, and that in order to go to heaven and be part of the family of God we must believe that He is Lord and confess that we are Christians.
          Yet Jesus says that even the devils have that kind of belief.  Are they going to heaven?  Do they belong to the family of God and have fellowship with the Father and with His Son?  Are they filled with the Spirit of God and led by the Spirit of God?  Do devils have anything in common with Christ?  If you know Scripture, you know that is not true.  Satan has nothing in common with Christ.  Nor do his followers.
          Yet we claim this easy belief as the way to heaven.
          Jesus Himself required true belief, which is to renounce the world for His sake, and to give up everything and follow Him.  That means, for we religious people, that no religion or religious observance will save us.  That means that Jesus is the Way, not religion.  Jesus meant what He said, and said what He meant, and there is no way other than the Way.  He is the Gate, and it is Narrow, because we can only pass through it naked, without religious baggage. 
          Eating his flesh and drinking His blood means becoming like Him even in His death, so that we can follow Him in His resurrection.  Jesus spoke many times of being the Bread of Life, and the Water of Life, and that those who love Him above all, and follow Him even unto death, would find Life now, and be resurrected after their earthly death to live with Him eternally.

          Religion kills.  Religion imprisons.  Religion deceives.  Religion takes people to hell by the trainload.  All man-made religious structures stand worthless and condemned since Christ.   
          The ekklesia of God, the Holy Nation, the Household of God, the Family of God, His Treasured Possession, is made up, not of those who seek religion or religious experience, but those who believe in Jesus with a saving belief, an empowered belief that comes when God the Father draws a person to Jesus.  Nobody can be part of this true Body of Christ on earth except he or she be drawn by the Father.  These called and chosen know Jesus’ voice, and will not follow religion, or any other shepherd.  His sheep know Him, and follow Him only, doing the things He does, having His mind, being led and empowered by His Spirit.
          Does any of this sound like your religion?  If you list your religion as Christianity, and say you are a believer in Jesus because you go to a Christian church building and participate in the activities and services, and because you sometimes read your Bible and even pray, and that makes it so, then you may be entirely deceived, as the religious Jews were in their day.  If you think you are saved because you believe in the “basic principles and precepts” of the Bible, and believe that Jesus is the Christ, please listen. 
          Perhaps your deep discontent, which you express to nobody but your own inner self, is because you know you are not truly experiencing the Christ-life, and abiding in Christ, but are just being a religious ‘Christian’!
          Many of us have been raised in this religion.  Many of us were caught in this religious trap.  Many of us are hearing the voice of Christ, the Word of Christ, for the first time, calling us out from this empty life of observance and spectatorship. 
          Come with us on the only adventure worth having in this life, the Life of Christ lived in us, the fullness of Christ growing in us, the Way, the Truth, and the Life lived out through us.
          If you truly believe, your life will be Christ’s, and He will live in you, and His Spirit will empower you to live a life of love and sacrifice for others as Jesus did.     Remember, even the devils have religion!

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