Have you ever noticed, at least in the South, that there is a church on every corner? Any county may have several hundred churches of various types. At the same time, the jails
are over-flowing, lawyers outnumber fleas on a dog’s back, and new court houses keep going up. This puzzles me. (I’m being facetious of course.)
Isn’t it amazing that the apostle Paul and the other apostles turned their world upside down for Jesus Christ, while ours is being flushed down the toilet? Yes, I know that crime and decadence were rampant back then too, but are we today having the impact on our society for Jesus that they did? If you look at what is on the outside, maybe we are, but when you look past that to what is on the inside, you realize we are not. Jesus said, “"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:25-28) Is it possible that these words of Jesus could be directed to us also? Without a doubt, they are.
Exactly what is the difference between “Christianity” and “religion”? We could go on all day about the differences, but simply put, religion rests its essence in the efforts of man, while Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Christianity is not a religion, and never can be. Neither can religion be Christianity. They cannot co-exist under the same hat, and the time is soon coming when Jesus Christ will separate the sheep (Christianity) from the goats (religion).
There is much activity being displayed religiously, but that is about it. Pool parties, walking tracks, gyms, picnics, pizza parties, fireworks, sports events … pick your poison. This is only a wee sampling. Entertainment seems to be the norm. Everybody wants to get in on the act, and that’s just what it is … an act.
Instead of sermons that convict the heart of sin and bring one to true repentance, the pulpit masseur soothes the guilty conscience bringing sighs of relief. The aisles are no longer filled with those who come to Christ, but now make room for dancing. Some have their own special seating area, and you had better not sit there. The poor and uneducated are shunned, while the affluent and special ones are welcomed. Anger rises in the business meetings, usually over nothing. Tears of conviction and repentance have been turned to tears of convenience. The uplifting of Jesus, the Savior and Lord, is now reserved for self, while long, sad faces sing “Jesus Saves” and “Victory in Jesus”.
Is the air-conditioner working? The seats are too hard! I’m going to lose my seat at the restaurant, if we don’t get out of here! Her hat is in my way! Wasn’t that message wonderful … whatever it was? The game is going to start any minute!
"So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Most of what is seen in the religious community today does appear righteous to men, but is it? Jesus didn’t think so, and He is the final authority. Yes, religion is on the rise, probably as fast as the national debt. Christianity is rapidly declining, but here is the good news, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Satan is throwing all he has at trying to smother out the true Church, and it seems success is in sight. It isn’t going to happen though, because Jesus said Satan will not prevail against His Church. There will always be the faithful few, the true Church, until Jesus comes for them and takes them home.
Atheists say they have no religion, but they are a religion unto themselves. They actually get very anger at people who believe in what they say they do not believe in. So why get angry, if you don’t believe it anyway? It doesn’t make sense. I believe that God created the world. You do not. So why should that bother you? I believe that the same God who created the world, dwelt in the flesh among man, and His name is Jesus. You do not. So how is that hurting you?
Are you a person of faith? What does that mean? Unfortunately today, it is primarily used as a politically correct term to cop out on faith in Jesus Christ. It is used liberally by those who want to sound nice, but not affirm any faith in Jesus. Their faith is in faith. Now that makes sense. And again, their faith is often in themselves. All of this is religion. It couldn’t be further from true Christianity.
I do not know when Jesus will return for us (the Church), but I do know that many signs are upon us today. They are swarming around us like bees on a hive, and the sign of the false church (Laodicea) is very prominent. Religion is encompassing this earth in many forms, as it has so often before in time. The number of those who seek Christianity over religion is dwindling down to a trickle. It could be any day that the last person will come to Christ to complete His Church. Then we will hear His shout to go to Him. The dead in Christ will rise first, and we will meet them in the air to meet our precious Savior. In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, Christianity will be removed from the earth and religion will be allowed to have its way. But it doesn’t end there. God will draw to Himself a new class of Christians called Tribulation Saints from the muck and mire of religion during a period called the Tribulation. Sadly, it will be a thousand times more difficult then to be a Christian than it is now. They are tribulation Saints indeed.
So why not shed your religion now, and put on the cloak of Christianity provided by Jesus Christ, while it is much easier to do so? He is the only way … period. You may try all the religions you want, but the gaping mouth of Hell will still swallow you whole.