Faithlife Sermons

Making Religion Real

Hebrews  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Every person should practice religion on the basis of a relationship with Jesus for two very important reasons.

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Karl Marx said, “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.” Marx was only partially right. I would say it like this. The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of false, empty religion. In fact, religion can lead to genuine joy and happiness, provided it is real religion. Prayer is a religious activity. Gathering for worship is a religious activity. Reading Scripture is a religious activity. These things can bring joy and gladness or they can be boring, empty, and fruitless. Religion is a good thing provided it’s the real thing.
Today I want to talk to you about making sure your religion is the real thing. Turn in your Bible to . Brief Recap. Read the text.
Religion is about connecting with God. Religion that truly connects you with God gives joy and life. Religion that doesn’t connect you with God is empty, boring and ultimately pointless. So the question is: What makes religion the real thing? The short answer is Christ. Christ makes religion real. That means all of your religious practices should flow out of a relationship with Jesus. Today I want to show you two very important reasons why real religion must be based on a relationship with Christ.
What comes to mind when you think of the word religion? Is religions good or bad? Why? There have been some who said they did not like “organized religion.” What do you think that means?

I. Christ is the minister of a better system.

I. Christ is the minister of a better system.

We have such a high priest as described in . He is in heaven, in the true presence of God to offer sacrifice for our sins. He’s not like the earthly priests who served in an earthly temple that was just a copy and shadow of the real thing. They served under a system of worship that pointed to the real thing inaugurated by Jesus. This means that even the best religion apart from Jesus is just a copy. That is why His ministry is more excellent.
Model of loaded F-150 vs. Real Thing. Without Jesus best ever have is model. Religion that doesn’t actually connect you to God is no better than toy truck that can’t take you anywhere.
How can a person who engages in some of the practices of the Christian religion still just be involved in a shadow of the real thing?
Read ? Why did Paul not stress the importance of these Old Testament religious rituals? How does Christ give substance to religious rituals?

II. Christ is the mediator of a better covenant.

In citing the author points out God’s promise to make a new covenant with His people. It would not be like the previous covenant that relied on their works to maintain a proper relationship with Him. The law would be in their hearts not just on stone. All of God’s people would know Him personally. They would have the relationship with God that He desired. In His abundant mercy He would forgive their sins. The new covenant and all its blessings was established by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a covenant that depends on His righteousness not ours.
Read , . Why couldn’t Levitical Priests make people right with God? Why was the old covenant weak and useless? How is Christ a better hope?

Big Idea: Christ makes religion real.

Religion is about connecting with God. Only Jesus can make that happen for you.
Prayer
Confession and repentance
Bible intake
When your religious practices flow out of a relationship with Christ:
Public worship
Private worship
When your religious practices flow out of a relationship with Christ:
Instead of a hopeless attempt to get to God, religious practices become a meaningful way of living in relationship with God.
Instead of boring rituals, religious practices become a way of fueling and energizing your Christian life.
If you are not a Christian you must be born again.
If you are a Christian think of these things as the way you live out your relationship with Christ and fuel your Christian life.
Prayer
Religion is a good thing provided its the real thing. What about you? Is your religion the real thing?
Confession and repentance
Does your perspective regarding your religious practices need to be adjusted? If so, how? What do you think is the primary view the public has regarding the need for/importance of religious rituals? Compare and contrast that with the correct view.
Bible intake
If you were going to explain to an unbeliever why their religion wasn’t just as good as yours, what might you say?
Public worship
Private worship
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