It’s True! It’s Religions Fault

How many times have you heard someone say that religion is the cause of wars and human problems? I have concluded that I agree with that statement. Everything good or bad in this world comes down to religion. Allow me to explain. The official definition of religion is:

1.The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal god or gods.

2. A particular system of faith or worship.

3. A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.

All three applications of the word “religion” are the basis by which each person decides what their world view and behavior will be. The pharisees asked Jesus by whose authority he taught and performed his acts. They were interested in the source of his confidence, power and teaching. They wanted to verify that he had the same god that they followed. Every person has a basis by which they make decisions and have confidence that they’re doing the right thing for themselves and others around them. From a practical standpoint every person is religious because each person has faith in a source of authority that emboldens them to act. It’s easy to see this manifested in the world’s religions. A belief in a supernatural god is the purest definition of religion.

What about the atheists, agnostics and those who proclaim to be non-religious? They also have a source of authority that they trust to give them a purpose in life. They trust the power and wisdom of mankind. They are secular when it comes to a supernatural god having authority over the affairs of this world, but they are humanists (trusting the power of man) when it comes to finding answers about life and behavior. I read a news account where a young man was asked if he had a religion. He responded that he was non-religious. When asked why, his answer was that religion was a way for past generations to explain what they couldn’t understand, but now science has answered so many questions about life. He also believed that modern man has more insight about life, death and successful living. This young man had reduced belief in the supernatural to nothing but myths. Have men found the answers to life’s purpose and truths through science and ideology? There is no substantive evidence that man has the answers to life’s greatest questions. It becomes apparent that trusting the power of man requires faith in a source of authority without proof that it is infallible truth. Religions based on the supernatural have always understood the issue of faith. Man’s efforts to bring stability and peace to the world has failed miserably. There have been more people killed and persecuted in the name of human ideology than those killed to satisfy the commands of a supernatural god.Historically, those who taught that human leadership and government could bring utopia and peace to the world have killed and persecuted millions in trying to bring these about. The communist revolutions in Russia, China and other countries were not in the name of a god but rather in the name of humans that promised utopia, but they brought death. We could talk of Hitler and other dictators who collectively killed and persecuted millions in the name of man’s leadership. The point is this; trusting the power of man’s intellect and commands is a religious act because it is the authority that those who trust in it, base their hopes and lives on.

Mankind has tried to bring peace by two things. The first is religion based on belief in a god that requires people work to earn salvation. This involves obeying commands that sometimes lead to the destruction of those who do not agree with them. Secondly, Man has tried to bring peace through human invention and power. The problem with both efforts is that neither accept the reality of sin’s consequences and that sin cannot be eradicated by false hope or man’s power. The evil that resides in mankind has not been solved by man’s power or ideology.

I am thankful for the gospel of Christ. Among the confusion and darkness there is teaching that does answer the desires of man’s heart. What if everyone were a christian? What if everyone believed that God manifested himself as the Messiah and loved mankind so much that He came as one of us to pay our sin debt so we could  be forgiven. What if everyone believed in the penalty of sin and saw our willful act of rebellion God? What if they sought God? What if everyone accepted Christ and practiced His teachings? What if everyone turned the other cheek, returned good for evil and loved their neighbor as themselves? What if everyone sought the wisdom of God, obeyed Him and loved Him as He has loved us? The world would be a much different place. Time will soon reveal the truth of Christ. The Biblical prophesies have never failed.

I am convinced that everything good or bad comes down to religion. Of what religion are you?

 

 

 

Why are we the target?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Rom 8:36-39)

 

When I began my journey in the ministry over forty years ago I could not have predicted the changes that would take place in four short decades. As a young preacher I rarely encountered people that didn’t understand what you were talking about when you asked them if they were saved. Forty years later it is more of a rarity to find someone who does understand what you’re asking. We are seeing the fruition of decades of intellectual, religious and moral assault on the foundational beliefs of Christianity.

 

The contemporary challenges we face can seem overwhelming. Spreading the gospel becomes more challenging when the society you’re witnessing to is growing more evil with the passing of each day. When you couple that with the challenge of training Christians to stay unspotted from the world you can become easily demoralized. Before we get too discouraged we need to remember the scriptures. The apostle Paul wrote the book of Romans during a time of great wickedness. As the apostle to the gentiles he was sent into a world of idolatry and hardness. His life was always in danger.

 

In order to get a grasp on dealing with today’s challenges we must see everything through the eyes of the scriptures. The Bible gives us a look at God’s perspective by taking us back in time through the history of his dealings with mankind. He also teaches us his wisdom by taking us forward in time through the prophecies. There is a great truth that emerges when we see life through a Biblical perspective. Here is that truth: the entire history of mankind, since the fall in the Garden of Eden, has been about mankind rejecting the authority of God, the creator, and his plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.

 

Politically, kings, queens, despots, dictators, Marxists, socialists and communists have opposed fundamental Christianity. Behaviorally, drunkards, drug addicts, fornicators, entertainers and other hedonists have resisted fundamental Christianity. Religiously, there have been false prophets, cults, false religions and many other movements that have condemned Christianity. Even within the scope of Christian sects there have been those who perverted basic Christian doctrines and changed the gospel story from one of grace to works.

 

The greatest threat the church faces in western culture today is the loss of religious liberty and freedom of religious speech. The assault is coming from the movement to grant civil rights protection to individuals who are practicing behavior that the Bible condemns as sinful and destructive. Such protection would be unprecedented considering that it has been historically granted to racial or religious minorities. It’s one thing to protect the freedom of individuals to make behavioral choices but something completely different to elevate  a behavior to civil rights protection when such behavior can be practiced by any gender, race or age. Individuals can choose to not practice this behavior so this signifies that this behavior is not an unchangeable feature or condition.

 

As great as this threat seems to be it is no different than any other threat that Christianity has historically faced. The battle has always been to find a way to silence the fundamental teachings of the Bible. There have been many nations that have provided peace for Christians but it has never been permanent. We are seeing the end of peace for Christians in America. Why is this always the case? Why did Paul recognize this reality during the earliest days of Christianity?

 

Here are some reasons we are “killed all the day long”. First is sin nature. Our flesh is filled with appetites for pleasure and indulgences. The earthly body has been judged and condemned by God. It is corrupted and God has provided a way to escape the judgment, but men would rather sin.

 

Secondly is the pride of life. Men find it offensive to be told they are sinners who need a savior. There is an arrogance in men that prompts them to find their own devices to answer life’s toughest questions. It can be in the form of false religion that requires men to be saved by their own goodness or atheistic science that prompts men to figure everything out without a creator.

 

Thirdly is the power of darkness. There’s not enough to be said about this. As it was in the days of Noah when the world became so corrupted that God nearly put an end to mankind, so will be the last days. The power of Satan grows stronger as people continually practice sinful behavior. Sin causes delusional thinking. The reality of consequences and death can be lost in the fog of sinful behavior.

 

Fourthly is the power of influence. Bible believing Christians have been easy targets. We have not been given instruction by God to form governments, destroy governments, form armies or otherwise force others to receive our message. The tool we have been given to spread the gospel is the power of influence through preaching, teaching and personal testimony. False religions and the lost take things by force or eliminate any opposing views. They soon figure out that they have the advantage with government and law. This does not eliminate the thing they fear the most; the power of the gospel message. The truths of the Bible are still, and always will be the most comprehensive explanation of life. The disciples of hedonism and humanism know that when people are exposed to the message of the gospel they will in large numbers receive it. The greatest obstacle to a world order, where man is glorified, is the truths taught in the Bible.

 

These explanations may seem too simplistic in the face of the world’s complicated problems. We must remember that God’s answers have always been simple, no matter how complicated the problem. We must simply live in obedience to Biblical truths. Looking at life through a Biblical perspective not only explains life but it also provides hope, faith and love. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not even death. Attacking the faith has always been the duty of the wicked, keeping the faith has always been the duty of the believer. Ultimately, God is in charge. There’s nothing we could experience that he cannot provide grace to endure and use us as his ambassadors while we are enduring. According to the signs of the times we may be soon raptured. If Paul could preach hope, love, forgiveness and righteousness in his day, we can do the same today. We do not know what circumstances we may face in the near future but we do know how it all will end. Those who reject Christ can never say that.