Another truth filled word from Bill Hitchcock
The Sin of Church and Religion
This begins a two part series discussing the sin of religion, church and its leaders. This article focuses on religion and the church. Tomorrow’s article focuses on ministers, preachers and pastors.
Pride is not only about self, it can be about religion too. Every religion has pride in itself and in its word to the exclusion of God and His word. A religion has formulated some doctrine, some code, some belief or standard that it follows. Or as Merriam Webster dictionary puts it religion is an, “organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods”.
The fallacy is that these organized systems of beliefs and ceremonies invariably come from man, are of his creation, and not from God. People are taught church and religion and are not taught God, the Bible, Christ and Him crucified.
Why is this? This is a sin, a heinous sin. And an adherent to that faith will consider his faith as “the” faith to the exclusion of all other religions and to the exclusion of the Bible itself! That’s pride, and it also has nothing to do with God and his word.
Think about it. Who was the greatest detractor of Jesus Christ? It was the church and religion. The prideful Jewish leaders, the Pharisee, Sadducees, church elders and scribes were the ones who sought to kill and destroy Jesus and His word.
“And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.” Luke 6:7
It was the religious elite that accused Jesus of being demon possessed.
“And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.” Mark 3:22
The church and religion were blind to Jesus and the power of God.
“And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he (Jesus) taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?” Luke 20:1-2
The church sent religious leaders to dispute the Son of God speaking the word of God.
“And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.” Mark 12:13
We find that the church and religion were people pleasers and depended upon the government to exercise church will.
“And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them. And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.” Luke 20:19-20
“And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.” Mark 11:18
It is very important to stress that it was the church and religion that wanted to “destroy” Jesus Christ. Jesus and His word had reached the people and the church was afraid of losing its adherents, of losing its power and control and of losing its revenue stream.
The epitome of man’s religion and the church clashing with the will and way of God happened in the land of Gennesaret.
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” Matthew 15:1-3
The, “tradition of the elders” was nothing more than church and religion. The religious leaders were asking Jesus why he didn’t follow their church doctrine.
Even the head of the government and the military understood the situation. He knew that the pride of the church and religion was the motivating cause in their attempt to eliminate Christ and the word of God.
“But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.” Mark 15:9-10
Nothing has changed.
There is a simple test for all of this; the Bible! Compare church doctrine to the Bible. Compare a religion to the Bible. Eliminate inconsistencies.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21
The conflict between religion and the church with Jesus Christ is a conflict between the devil and God.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
The church and religion attempted to destroy and kill Christ. They succeeded in crucifying Him, but that was all part of the game plan from the start.
But here is the point; what has changed? How does church and religion compare to Jesus Christ and God’s word as in the Bible? Not church doctrine. Not some religious precept. What does the word of God say?
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17
“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:31-32
Judgment is nothing more than overlaying God’s attributes and characteristics upon us. Anything inconsistent with that overlay is a sin and must be eliminated.
Don’t worship a church or a religion or its leaders. Worship God! Believe only in His words and not some manmade version of it.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
Tomorrow we pick back up on the subject but shift the focus towards church leaders.