Faithlife Sermons

RELIGIOSITY

Desert Streams Healing Ministries  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 10 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

1. INTRODUCTION

Religiosity is a way of thinking and living that people can be in, or can fall into, yet it is ungodly and can bring much harm to those who are in it, and those who are influenced by it. For our purposes, we need to understand what religiosity is, how it works, and how to get people free from it.
Its one of the most dangerous and effective weapons used by the enemy to thrawt the work of a individual and the church at large.
Its been used disimpower every generation.
It’s focused more on doing right than loving people

2. OVERVIEW

3. Definitions and initial insights
4. RELIGIOUS THINGS PEOPLE might RELY ON TO PLEASE GOD
5. SOME characteristic beliefs and fruit of religiosity
6. more UNGODLY fruit from LIVING IN RELIGIOSITY
7. GOD’S FAVOR AND SALVATION COME THRu faith AND GRACE
8. outward VERSUS inward-BASED RELIGION
9. God is primarily interested in a right heart
10. JESUS IS PRIMARILY INTERESTED IN A RIGHT HEART
11. true religion: caring for others, A PURE HEART
12. SOME POSSIBLE ROOTS OF RELIGIOSITY IN PEOPLE
13. key ministry issues
14. conclusion
15. questions for contemplation & application
16. key personal thought(S)
17. key verse(S)
18. bibliography

3. DEFINITIONS AND INITIAL INSIGHTS

3.1 Definition of religion

1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.[1]

3.2 A basic definition of religiosity

Religiosity is about doing religious things in order to earn God’s favor and salvation.

3.3 A deadly shift

Religiosity shifts the focus from the heart and faith, to externals and works.
Love God = want to do good works
afraid of God= trying to do the right thing to please Him

3.4 Religiosity complicates and corrupts the connection between God and people

Religiosity could be about anything or anyone that comes in between God and the believer to make the relationship between them involve extra steps or requirements (often ritual), and that makes salvation of the person about more than just loving and believing in Jesus, and obeying Him.

3.5 Religiosity within Christianity versus other faith systems

a. In all non-Christian faith systems, religiosity is required by their god(s).
b. In Christianity, religiosity is reprehensibleto God.
(Matthew 23)
c. Religion is primarily about works, but true Christianity is primarily about faith!
Relationship vs religious practise
d. This key difference sets true Christianity apart from all other faith systems!

4. RELIGIOUS THINGS PEOPLE MIGHT RELY ON TO PLEASE GOD

4.1 Some religious activities people might rely on to please God:

Right thing wrong motivation
Romans 14:22–23 NASB95
The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.
You can sin even when doing the right thing
If your motivation for doing it is inpure
a. being associated with religious people
b. doing good works to help people (i.e. acts of kindness, gifts to the poor, etc.)
c. engaging in religious activities (i.e. going to church, observing special religious events, etc.)
d. keeping church rules and expectations(i.e. regarding dress code, religious language, etc.)
e. serving in the church (i.e. as a choir member, teacher, pastor, elder, etc.)
f. witnessing to others about Jesus
g. reading the Bible
h. trying to obey/follow what is written in the Bible
i. reading or studying Christian books
j. praying
k. tithing
This is why Religiocity is so dangerous. Its not determined by what you do, but rather why you are doing it!
Note: All of these things are good and important to do, but they become defiled or bad things when we do them for the wrong reason—i.e. to earn God’s favor and fellowship.

5. SOME CHARACTERISTIC BELIEFS AND FRUIT OF RELIGIOSITY

Note: The following have been taken from a 2018 Charisma News article by J. Lee Grady entitled
“8 Signs You Might Be Battling a Religious Spirit.” (see item 1 in the Bibliography).

5.1 “God is demanding—we need to perform for Him”

A religious spirit views God as a cold, harsh, distant taskmaster rather than an approachable, loving Father. When we base our relationship with God on our ability to perform spiritual duties, we deny the power of grace. God does not love us because we pray, read our Bibles, attend church or witness, yet millions of Christians think God is mad if they don't perform these and other duties perfectly. As a result, they struggle to find true intimacy with Jesus.

5.2 “God accepts us on the basis of our outer lives”

A religious spirit places emphasis on doing outward things to show others that God accepts him. We deceive ourselves into believing that we can win God's approval through a religious dress code, certain spiritual disciplines, particular music styles or even doctrinal positions.

5.3 “We need to follow traditions and formulas to get the right results”

A religious spirit develops traditions and formulas to accomplish spiritual goals. We trust in our liturgies, denominational policies or man-made programs to obtain results that only God alone can give.

5.4 Joyless, cynical, critical; genuine joy and love are threatening

A religious spirit becomes joyless, cynical and hypercritical. This can turn a home or a church completely sour. Then, whenever genuine joy and love are expressed, this becomes a threat to those who have lost the simplicity of true faith.

5.5 Pride and exclusiveness

A religious spirit becomes prideful and isolated, thinking that his righteousness is special and that he cannot associate with other believers who have different standards. Churches that allow these attitudes become elitist and dangerously vulnerable to deception or cult-like practices.

5.6 Judgmental towards sinners

A religious spirit develops a harsh, judgmental attitude toward sinners, yet those who ingest this poison typically struggle with sinful habits that they cannot admit to anyone else. Religious people rarely interact with nonbelievers because they don't want their own superior morals to be tainted by them.

5.7 Rejection of progressive revelation and change

A religious spirit rejects progressive revelation and refuses to embrace change. This is why many churches become irrelevant to society. They become so focused on what God did 50 years ago that they become stuck in a time warp and cannot move forward when the Holy Spirit begins to open new understanding. When religious groups refuse to shift with God's new directives, they become "old wineskins," and God must find more flexible vessels that are willing to implement change.

5.8 Self-righteousness, anger at those who oppose religiosity

A religious spirit persecutes those who disagree with his self-righteous views and becomes angry whenever the message of grace threatens to undermine his religiosity. An angry religious person will use gossip and slander to assassinate other peoples' character and may even use violence to prove his point. Jesus, in fact, warned His disciples: "There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he's doing God a favor" (John 16:2b, MSG).

6. MORE UNGODLY FRUIT FROM LIVING IN RELIGIOSITY

What occurs when your under the influence of Religious Spirit?

Personally

6.1 Neglect of one’s heart (because all that is important is performance)

6.2 Pride and self-righteousness when people feel they have succeeded in their religious works

6.3 Fear, condemnation and defeatwhen people feel they have failed in their religious works

6.4 A focus on one’s own natural talents and abilities instead of the Spirit and His gifts and abilities

6.5 Tiredness and burn-out from the heavy burden religiosity can bring

6.6 Frustration and disillusionment because of not being able to connect with God and His Life

6.7 No sense of God’s love, kindness and goodness; no love for God or others

6.8 Hypocrisy and the living of “double lives” (i.e. a religious life and a secular life)

Corporately

6.9 God’s love, power and glory are not revealed to or through the Church, and so the Church is not healthy and does not grow (Gal. 3:5)

…words or actions without the power or substance that should accompany them—describes one meaning of religiosity see
2 Timothy 3:5 NASB95
holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
[Authority in Prayer, Dutch Sheets, Bethany House, 2006, p14]

7. GOD’S FAVOR AND SALVATION COME THRU FAITH AND GRACE

7.1 Religiosity is about trying to earn God’s favor and salvation through doing all the right religious activities. Religiosity is about doing rituals and religious works.

7.2 Religiosity is about working and performing for God as opposed to working with Him.

7.3 Just as legalism is a wrong way to try to obtain God’s righteousness and salvation, so also religiosity is a wrong way to try to obtain these.

7.4 The only right and acceptable way to obtain God’s favor and salvation are through accepting them from God as grace gifts upon putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ.

8. OUTWARD VERSUS INWARD-BASED RELIGION

8.1 OT religion in Israel was often outward-based, but NT Christianity is primarily inward-based

a. In the Old Testament, religion was so often largely an outer and physically-based thing—i.e. laws written on stone, the tabernacle, temples, physical rituals, etc. (it should be noted though that even in the OT, God was primarily concerned with people’s inward state)
b. New Testament religion is much more inner and spiritually-based in that the laws of God are written on people’s hearts, people themselves are the temple of God, worship of God is to be done in “spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:23), and so on.

8.2 Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled all of the outer requirements so that we don’t have to

a. The apostle Paul wrote the following in regards to this:
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Col 2:16-17 NIV)
b. Paul seems to be implying here that the most important issue is not the religious rituals but rather one’s personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! He seems to be saying that the former religious rituals all pointed towards Jesus Christ, and that Jesus fulfilled them all.

8.3 The NT outward things flow naturally when we are rightly connected inwardly to God

a. There are outer and physical expressions of religion in the New Testament era, but right and true physical expressions flow out of right and true inner and spiritual realities. (Jam. 2:18)
b. Generally speaking, right outer and physical expressions of true religion flow naturally and spontaneouslywhen we are rightly connected to God! This is the whole point of what Jesus was saying in John 15:1-8 (i.e. the Vine and the branches).

8.4 So our focus should always be primarily on inward things

a. For this reason, we should always be primarily concerned about our own inner health and that of the believers and non-believers around us!
b. It is a strategy of the evil one to try and get our focus away from the heart and onto externals. We must take care not to fall into his trap! (cf. 1 Sam. 16:7, 2 Cor. 5:16-17)

9. GOD IS PRIMARILY INTERESTED IN A RIGHT HEART

9.1 God rejectedthe religious rituals of the Israelites because their hearts weren’t right before Him.

So we can see that a right heart is more important to God than religious rituals!
a. God rejected the sacrifices, sacred assemblies, and prayers of the Israelites. He called on them to cleanse themselves of evil deeds, seek justice, and help the oppressed. (Is. 1:10-17)
b. God rejected the Israelites who were seeking Him out, seemingly eager to know His ways, asking Him for just decisions, seemingly eager for Him to draw near to them, and fasting and humbling themselves, but they were not sincere…
He called on them to humble themselves all the time (not just on special occasions), loose the chains of injustice, set the oppressed free, share their food with the hungry, and provide the poor wanderer with shelter and clothing. (Is. 58:1-7)

10. JESUS IS PRIMARILY INTERESTED IN A RIGHT HEART

10.1 Jesus rejected the religious rituals of the Pharisees, scribes, and teachers of the law because their hearts weren’t right before Him. So a right heart is more important to Jesus than religious rituals.

10.2 Jesus spoke against them for:

a. not practicing what they preached (Matt. 23:3)
b. putting heavy burdens on people and not helping them with these burdens (Matt. 23:4)
c. making everything they did a show for others so as to gain their praise (Matt. 23:5)
d. making lengthy prayers for a show (Mk. 12:40)
e. seeking out places of honor (Matt. 23:6)
f. wanting people to acknowledge them and call them “Rabbi,” a title of honor (Matt. 23:7)
g. wanting to have the most important seats in the synagogues and at banquets (Mk. 12:39)
h. financially exploiting vulnerable people—i.e. widows (Mk. 12:40, Lk. 20:47)
i. shutting the kingdom of heaven in people's faces; not entering into God’s kingdom themselves, and not letting those enter who want to (Matt. 23:13)
j. going to great lengths to win converts and then making them into greater sons of hell than they were at first (Matt. 23:15)
k. misleading people in their application of God’s laws (Matt. 23:16-22)
l. being hypocrites who were outwardly clean but inwardly filthy (Matt. 23:25-28)
m. abusing and killing God's true messengers (Matt. 23:29-36)

11. TRUE RELIGION: CARING FOR OTHERS, A PURE HEART

11.1 Two NT writers (Paul and James) had this to say about the nature of true religion:

a. Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. (1 Tim 5:3-4 NIV)
b. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (Jam. 1:26-27 NIV)

11.2 In other words, true religion involves having a pure heart within, and loving deeds without.

12. SOME POSSIBLE ROOTS OF RELIGIOSITY IN PEOPLE

12.1 Religiosity in people’s family or church or culture of origin (i.e. generational religiosity)

12.2 Being pressured or pulled into it by others (i.e. by church members, pastor/priest, culture, etc.)

12.3 Not having come to know God in a personal way through a personal faith in Him and baptism in the Holy Spirit, and so thinking that being religious is the best one can do (cf. the disciples of John the Baptist that Paul encountered in Ephesus, Acts 19:1-7)

Teaching our kids to do what is right, instead of how to know God for themselves

13. KEY MINISTRY ISSUES

Gods love for us is based on who He is rather than what we do!
13.1 Try to discern the way(s) the ministeree is trying to earn God’s favor and salvation through religious things.
13.2 Try to discern how religiosity got into the ministeree (i.e. generational? cultural? church teaching? etc.)
13.3 Try to discern the lies the ministeree is believing about being religious.
13.4 Try to discern the ungodly fruit(i.e. pride, failure, condemnation, shame, sin…) that came into the ministeree life via the religiosity.
13.5 Forgiveness (i.e. given by ministeree to those who brought him/her into religiosity, and asked for by the ministeree for religiosity he/she has engaged in and perhaps even promoted in others).
13.6 Repentance from religiosity (i.e. renouncing it and the ungodly beliefs/practices associated with it)
13.7 Breaking of ungodly person-ties and generational iniquity related to religiosity, including deliver-ance ministry(i.e. spirits of legalism, works, performance, bondage, judgement, failure, curse…)
13.8 Seek for God to bring truth to the ministeree where there have been lies.
13.9 Filling of Holy Spirit (i.e. freedom, grace, rest...)

14. CONCLUSION

Religiosity is about doing religious things to earn God’s favor and salvation. It is about shifting the focus from the heart and faith to externals and works. There can be any number of things that religious people rely upon to please God and obtain His favor. There are a number of lies and ungodly fruit that can be associated with religiosity. Old Testament religion in Israel was largely outward-based, but New Testament Christianity is to be primarily inward-based and Christ-centered. Religiosity is about doing works, but true Christianity is about receiving God’s grace through putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible gives us evidence that God in the Old Testament was primarily interested in a right heart (i.e. as opposed to religious rituals), and that Jesus in the New Testament felt the same way. The apostles Paul and James wrote that true religion is about having a pure heart within, and about caring for the needs of others. There are various ways by which people come to live in religiosity.

15. QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION & APPLICATION

15.1 In what ways have you and/or your ancestors relied on religious things to please God?
15.2 What were you and/or your ancestors hoping to get from God by doing these religious things?
15.3 What lies were connected to your religiosity?
15.4 What ungodly fruit has come to you and/or your ancestors because of living in religiosity?

16. KEY PERSONAL THOUGHT(S)

17. KEY VERSE(S)

17.1 Religiosity doesn’t work—faith in Christ does; Jesus is the fulfillment of OT religious rituals
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Col 2:16-17 NIV)

18. BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. “8 Signs You Might Be Battling a Religious Spirit,” J. Lee Grady 5/24/2018 https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/71261-8-signs-you-might-be-battling-a-religious-spirit?utm_source=Charisma%20News%20Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_c
[1] Taken from Dictionary.com based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary © Random House, Inc. 2010
Related Media
Related Sermons