Having just celebrated the Cross and the Resurrection, I feel it is a legitimate question to ask, "Is Your Religion Adequate?" I don't mean just enough to get saved, but enough for the fullness of Christ to be in your life and for you to be His disciple!
In the New Testament, the word 'Christian' is only used 3 times, but the word 'disciple' is used many times. My emphasis is always "salvation is free and final....but needs to be FULL." You might be like the pastor who was saved in a revival meeting in the church that he was pastoring. The members were stunned, but he said, "I've had the words of a Christian, but not the music."
Dr. E. F. "Preacher" Hallock was my pastor for 4 years while I attended the University of Oklahoma. Early in his ministry, after pastoring for 19 years and completing a Seminary degree, he became convicted that he had 'religion', but not a right standing with God. During an evangelistic meeting where he was pastor, he stood before the congregation and confessed his sins and professed faith in Christ as his Savior.
The purpose of this study is not to cause doubt, but reflection and to be positive about what IS an adequate religion. The word 'religion' is from the Latin word, re-ligio - that which is ultimately binding on you. There are 5 main living religions:
Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judism and Islam. However there are many modern religions, such as worship of man, worship of pleasure, worship of the State and worship of money. Basically what we need is a religion to live by and to die by! I believe that Jesus came, lived, died and rose again, to give us the only completely adequate religion. This is NOT to say that the others are not good in some ways, but that Christ is the adequate one.
The problem with many people and even some Christians, is the
'SNARE OF SUBSTITUTES':
1) Many substitute 'human speculation' for 'Divine Revelation' -
This includes 'hunch theology' which says, "I think" or "I hope"...
then there is 'bunch theology' which says, "Let's follow the crowd"....
then there is 'munch theology' which says, "Let's take the best of all religions".
What we NEED is 'staunch theology' which is Bible based....Christ centered...heart held....life lived...and spirit empowered.
2) Some substitute 'human attainment' for 'Divine Atonement' which includes: the 'gospel of a cause' for the Gospel of The Cross. The first is temporal...the other is Eternal. One deals with symptoms while the other deals with the disease.
In fact, we may have 'reformation' instead of 'regeneration' - nice men instead of 'new' men, the name without the nature. (II Corinthians 5:17) We must minister to people's needs, but ALWAYS give them Jesus, for He is the answer!
3) Many substitute 'religion' for Christianity....or even 'Church-ianity' for Christianity. This may include: 'attending' for 'being'....
'hearing' without 'doing'....
membership instead of discipleship....
maybe even becoming 'spectators' in place of being servants.
Even preachers can become 'politicians' and not pastors, telling people what they 'want to hear' in order to please people, when they NEED to tell people what they 'need to hear'...and please God. We must ALWAYS hold up the Divine Standard and NOT the double standard. We must ALWAYS emphasize 'relationship' more than 'rules'.
THERE ARE 4 THINGS THAT AN ADEQUATE RELIGION MUST ACCOMPLISH:
1) It must have a high concept of God (John 14:7-9; Hebrews 1:1-4)
Tennyson said: "Christ is to man what sunshine is to flowers".
Clement of Alexandria said: "Christ turns all of our sunsets into sunrises".
'Doubting' Thomas said to Jesus: "My Lord and my God".
Peter said: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God".
John said in John 1:11-13: "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not, but as many as received Him, to them gave He power, to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on His name who are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God."
2) An adequate religion must bring Peace to the human heart (John 14:1, 27 and John 16:33)
Adequate peace comes from believing God (fact - feeling - faith) Jesus is the way to God, the truth about God and the life to live now and in Heaven. (John 14:6)
3) An adequate religion must give power over sin in your daily life. (John 16:7-14) Jesus gives a perfect pattern to follow in Himself, and when He ascended, He sent the perfect power in the Holy Spirit....and greater is that power in you, than ANY power in the world. (I John 4:1-4)
4) An adequate religion must satisfy our hearts and our souls in death. (John 14:2-3) Isn't it strange that every year we ask, "When is Easter?" because it moves around from year to year. The most important thing is not WHEN is Easter...but WHY we celebrate it as a Holiday (hopefully, a HOLY-DAY). The date of Easter each year may be uncertain, but the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus are certain!!
(For those of you who might have not read my article published on December 18, 2004, "Christmas, Good Friday and Easter are EVERY day" you might like to read that also.)
When the great writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, was a little boy in England, the lamp lighter would come by at dark, lighting the gas lights along the streets. Robert would holler, "Mama, here comes the man punching holes in the darkness!" Jesus punched holes in our darkness, by His life, His death and His Resurrection.
At the close of a children's Christmas program, all of the lights were to go out, except for the light on baby Jesus in the manger. However that light went out also and the children onstage whispered to those offstage, "You've switched off Jesus! You've switched off Jesus!"
Some of you have never switched Jesus "on" in your life. Others of you may be living in darkness, instead of living in His light. He came to give you Light, Love, Life, Lasting Peace and Heaven!! Don't miss all of this...by missing Him! Keep the switch 'on' with good connections!
Jesus is indeed, the circuit with the power. He changes our heart, our desires, and our actions. I love where you said ,"We must always hold up the Divine standard and not the double standard." May this article really speak to the hearts of those who are not sure if their religion is truly adequate! Blessings, Sharon