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Jesus is Better than Religion

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Jesus is better than religion. He completes the law's requirements and offers true relationship with God.

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A few years ago, a young Millennial named Jefferson Bethke lit up YouTube with a spoken word video that he created titled Why I love Jesus, but hate the Church. At first glance the title would lead you to balk at the idea and become defensive. However, on second thought it would lead you to click on the video to hear what he had to say. Here are a few of his key points that he makes in the video.
What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion? What if I told you voting Republican really wasn't His mission? What if I told you Republican doesn't automatically mean Christian And just because you call some people blind doesn't automatically give you vision?
I mean, if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars? Why does it build huge churches but fails to feed the poor? Tells single moms God doesn't love them if they've ever had a divorce But in the Old Testament, God actually calls religious people whores
Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice Tend to ridicule God's people; they did it to John the Baptist They can't fix their problems, and so they just mask it Not realizing religion's like spraying perfume on a casket See, the problem with religion is it never gets to the core It's just behavior modification, like a long list of chores Like, "Let's dress up the outside, make it look nice and neat" But it's funny that's what they used to do to mummies while the corpse rots underneath
Now I ain't judging; I'm just saying, quit putting on a fake look ‘Cause there's a problem if people only know you're a Christian by your Facebook I mean, in every other aspect of life, you know that logic's unworthy It's like saying you play for the Lakers just because you bought a jersey See, this was me too, but no one seemed to be on to me
Because if grace is water, then the Church should be an ocean It's not a museum for good people—it's a hospital for the broken Which means I don't have to hide my failure; I don't have to hide my sin Because it doesn't depend on me; it depends on Him See, because when I was God's enemy and certainly not a fan He looked down and said, "I want that man." Which is why Jesus hated religion, and for it He called them fools Don't you see so much better than just following some rules Now let me clarify—I love the Church, I love the Bible, and yes, I believe in sin But if Jesus came to your church, would they actually let Him in? See, remember He was called a glutton and a drunkard by religious men But the Son of God never supports self-righteousness—not now, not then
Religion is man searching for God; Christianity is God searching for man Which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own Not based on my merits, but Jesus' obedience alone Because He took the crown of thorns, and the blood dripped down His face He took what we all deserved—I guess that's why you call it grace And while being murdered, He yelled, "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do." Because when He was dangling on that cross, He was thinking of you And He absorbed all your sin, and He buried it in the tomb Which is why I'm kneeling at the cross, saying, "Come on, there's room" So for religion—no, I hate it; in fact I literally resent it Because when Jesus said, "It is finished," I believe He meant it
He went on to write a book to clarify his argument called Jesus>Religion. Here are a few of his points.
“I heard enough sermons to know Jesus died for me, but I also had such a broken and painful life that I figured Jesus wasn’t relevant… I had just enough Jesus not to need him at all.”
“Initially, I blamed God for the pain in my life, but slowly I started to hear the whisper of his grace. I didn’t know it then, but God broke me to fix me because he loved me.”
“Grace isn’t there for some future me, but for the real me. The me who struggled. The me who was messy. The me who was addicted to porn. The me who didn’t have all the answers. The me who was insecure. He loved me in my mess; he was not waiting until I cleaned myself up.”
“Grace isn’t there for some future me, but for the real me. The me who struggled. The me who was messy. The me who was addicted to porn. The me who didn’t have all the answers. The me who was insecure. He loved me in my mess; he was not waiting until I cleaned myself up.”
“If you care more about flaunting your Christian freedom than promoting Christian unity, you’re probably not free. You are actually a slave to your so-called freedom.”
“The truth is, God doesn’t grade on a curve; he grades on a cross… A grace economy is backward to most of us—those who think they qualify, don’t; and those who admit they don’t qualify, do.”
“[The Bible] was not given to us so that we could highlight and underline our way into eternity, but in hopes that we would have a special encounter with our Creator.”
So what is wrong with the Church then? Bethke’s argument is not with God. He’s not mad at God. He’s not walked away from a relationship with God, he embraces it. His issue is with the Church that tries to put God into a religious box and make relationship with God more about keeping a list of rules than pursuing relationship with the Creator through His Son, Jesus Christ.
That’s what we are going to be looking at this morning in the Gospel of Luke as we see some questions that the Pharisees ask Jesus. They essentially ask Jesus, “Why aren’t you religious like we are? Why don’t you perform like we and everyone else do?”
We are going to see this morning, to borrow the title from Bethke, that Jesus is Better than Religion!
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Jefferson Bethke is a part of a group of young Millennials known as the “nones”. Pew Research describes them as
Religious “nones” – a shorthand we use to refer to people who self-identify as atheists or agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is “nothing in particular” – now make up roughly 23% of the U.S. adult population.
So why is that? Why take so much time this morning talking about this before getting into our text? I want to set the stage for you and let you see the REAL world we are living in right now. It isn’t this world that we are in here in the church in this moment. This is how people feel all around us right now. It is the mission field we are called to reach. And the reason that there are so many nones is because so many Christians have been playing church and acting more like the Pharisees than Jesus.

Jesus is Better than....

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The Conclusion:

Jesus brings a whole new covenant of grace and relationship with God

The Resistance:

Let’s just stick to the old ways!
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