Religion Or Righteousness

Acts 17: 16-25

16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.18Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.19And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ Hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;


Even to my surprise Wikipedia reports that there are 38,000 religious organization in this world that call themselves Christians.  Yet there is a downward spiraling state of morals throughout the world. But if I were Satan and I realized the great number of people seeking to serve God was as great as it is then I would find a way to counter that condition; after-all, my job would be to cause as many people to loose their soul as possible.  I would create an option that would let the would-be Christian feel comfortable in their efforts to serve God yet not accomplish what is necessary to actually fulfill that mission.  Just like counterfeit  money, it would closely resemble the real thing but like counterfeit money it would be worthless.  On the day of Pentecost the Church came into existence.  Careful reading reveals that the description contained in the Bible establishes that the first century was specific and distinct; there is absolutely no suggestion that there were multiple churches or differing methods of worshipping God. The Church of the Bible was founded by one person, Jesus.  The practices were ordered by God alone; without the wisdom or assistance of man.  Adherence to God’s established procedures will be how God will separate the false churches from the real thing when He returns for His church.

Ephesians 5: 25-27

25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Many  people believe that it’s enough to be sincere about their religion; but neither sincerity nor religion is an adequate substitute for doing God’s will.  One may be religious about almost anything;  every morning I religiously take a shower;  I religiously take my medicine and supplements; some people religiously do their exercise.  Religiosity is based on what a person commits to do on a regular basis.  It is past time that the world receive the message that just any religion won’t do.  For those who believe that a person will go to heaven just because they claim Jesus as their savior need to know that that is a critical mistake.

Matthew 7: 21-23
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

As in the example in the scripture (Acts 17), people are haply feeling for the truth.  These individuals were so persuaded that there was a God out there that should be worshipped that they not only made shrines to all the gods that they were aware of but they made a shrine to the “Unknown” God.  Paul says that they’re too superstitious.  A better translation of the word “superstitious” is religious. Paul told them that they were too religious.  This is the point of my lesson today; With 38,000 so-called Christian organizations in the world it can be easily said that this world is too religious.  It is filled with religion but woefully deficient of righteousness.  These religious organizations call themselves Christian, but Jesus answers this error in Luke 6: 46 “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”.


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