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Be Perfect!

Grace Religion Works Salvation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2020-05-28

Scripture: Matthew 5:48

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

"'Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.' When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, 'Who then can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'" (Matthew 19:24). 

God issues rules and commands not because He expects that we will be able to keep them, but because it is the only way to show us how far we all fall short. When God appeals to rules and laws it is to teach us that we shouldn't rely on rules and laws. 

APPLICATION

We naturally associate faith with religion, Yet, one of the remarkable things about Jesus' ministry was that he was always at odds with those who were the most religious. That's because, more often than not, religion focuses on what we have done for God. 

Jesus, on the other hand, focused on what God has done for us. He understood that religion is really about faith in one's self.  Rather than trust in human effort, biblical faith trusts in the mercy and forgiveness offered to us in Christ. 

Sadly, too many fail to see this. Blinded by their own pride, they end up self-righteously clinging to the rules. What these people fail to see is that God uses religion as a tool to create a dilemma that no religion can solve.

But the humble will see how they fall short and will begin to search for something more. They will turn from the hypocrisy they experienced in their own failed efforts to be good enough and search for grace.

And that's when, just beyond the condemnation of the Law, they find the mercy and acceptance of the Temple. That's when, just beyond Jesus' words “be perfect ... as your Father in Heaven is perfect,” they find a perfect Savior who goes to the cross to exchange his perfection for their sins (Matthew 5:48). 

Those who go beyond religion find grace, while those who get stuck in legalistic religion remain condemned by their own failures to uphold the legalistic demands of their religion.  Instead of ever saving themselves, they become trapped in the fruitless effort of trying to save themselves.  

CHARLIE HEBDO Says Don't Pray for Paris

Prayer Religion Hardness of Heart

Source: “Charlie Hebdo cartoonist doesn’t want you to pray for Paris” By Lindsay Putnam, posted NEW YORK POST, November 14, 2015

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-11-20

Scripture: John 14:27

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

In the aftermath of the 11/13/15 terror attacks in Paris, which left at least 129 dead and hundreds more injured, social media was set afire with the hashtag #PrayForParis. While some find the sentiment edifying, comforting, and even uniting, not everyone appreciates the gesture.

Take for example the response of Joann Sfar, a cartoonist for CHARLIE HEBDO, the French publication which was itself the victim of a radical Islamic terror attack back in January 2015 in retaliation for its satirical cartoon depiction of the prophet Mohammed.

Friends from the whole world, thank you for #PrayForParis, but we don’t need more religion! Our faith goes to music! Kisses! Life! Champagne and joy! #ParisIsAboutLife.

APPLICATION

In this post-Modern, post-Christian era, even our offers of prayer are rebuffed as unhelpful and unwelcome. Rather than seeking peace through prayer, Sfar believes that religion itself is the cause of conflict and strife—that if only we could free the world of religion, we would at last find peace (not to mention Kisses! Life! Champagne and joy!).

The maleficent agenda of these hateful power mongers who seek world domination in the name of religion have succeeded in re-labeling and redefine faith itself as the enemy.

In the face of such bold-faced rebuff, we will pray for you all the more, CHARLIE HEBDO!

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Flash 'Mass' Mobs Bring Crowds Into Churches

Church Health/Growth Evangelism Religion

Source: "'Mass Mobs' Are Filling The Pews At Detroit's Catholic Churches" By Carol Kuruvilla, posted HUFFINGTON POST, 10/12/2014

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-10-20

Scripture: Acts 2:46 ; 1 Corinthians 3:6

Author: Carol Kuruvilla / Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

"With all the fervor of a typical 'flash mob,' faithful Catholics in Michigan are joining 'Mass Mobs' to fill the pews at often-empty church buildings and breathe new life into the community," reports Carol Kuruvilla of the HUFFINGTON POST:

Their latest target was St. Florian Catholic Church in Detroit, which according to NPR sees only about 200 churchgoers for a noon mass. That kind of crowd can leave the 107-year-old church, with a capacity for 1,500, more than a little empty.

But after 'Mass Mob' organizers spread the word on Facebook, last Sunday's noon mass attracted between 1,800 and 2,000 people, according to the group's social media account. NPR reports that the huge crowd brought in $19,000 -- 10 times more than an average Sunday -- to the church's collection plates.

APPLICATION

Unfortuanately, a flash mob comes and goes in a "flash." This isn't real growth. Facebook campaigns may be able to draw bodies into buildings, but only God makes His church grow.

"Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:46-47).

"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow" (1Corinthians 3:6).

New Study, Religion Doesn't Make You Righteous

Religion Righteousness Regeneration

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-10-20

Author: BeliefNet / Macrina Cooper-White / Illustration Ex
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I Know What You Did Last Sunday

Religion Hypocrisy Peer Pressure

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-06-19

Scripture: Galatians 1:10 ; Matthew 6:2

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The Ruins of St. Paul's Macau

Spiritual Death Religion Authenticity

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-04-07

Scripture: John 4:23

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Not Everything Personal Is Private

Religion Faith Witness

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-10-11

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:2

Author: Editors, HOMILETICS Magazine
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Loving Church Not God

Religion Atheism Ritual

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-10-07

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:5

Author: James Kelly
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Jewish Dealers Refuse to Sell Drugs on the Sabbath

Religion Hypocrisy Legalism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-09-17

Scripture: Matthew 15:7

Author: Illustration Exchange
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The Ministry of Adoption

Religion Sacrifice Adoption

Contributed By: Rod Crowell | Date Posted: 2013-07-03

Scripture: James 1:27

Author: Rod Crowell
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