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Loving Church Not God

Religion Atheism Ritual

Source: Various

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

Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:5

Author: James Kelly
2

ILLUSTRATION

"We love all the incense, the stained glass windows, the organ music, the vestments, and all of that. It's drama. It's aesthetics, It's the ritual. That's neat stuff. I don't want to give all that up just because I don't believe in God."

- James Kelly, church-going Episcopalian from Washington, D.C.

APPLICATION

Of course, the incense, the stained glass windows, the organ music, the vestments, the drama, the aesthetics, the ritual, etc., are all intended to point us to God. Why would anyone want the but not the real thing? Perhaps the answer is found in the fact that ritual has the capacity to make us feel better about ourselves without demanding any real change.

"They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!" (2 Timothy 3:5, NLT).

Asking The Wrong Question

Love for God Motivation Legalism

Source: preacherpollard.com

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2020-08-16

Scripture: Hebrews 10:25

Author: Neal Pollard
8

ILLUSTRATION

  • I’ve never heard the avid fisherman say, “Do I have to go back to the lake?”
  • I’ve never heard the shopaholic say, “How often do I have to go to the store?”
  • I’ve never heard the committed sports fan say, “How many games do I have to watch?”
  • I’ve never heard the foodie say, “How often do I have to try a new restaurant or dish?”
  • I’ve never heard the head-over-heels-in-love say, “How many times do I have to see him/her each week?”
  • I’ve never heard the devoted mom say, “How often must I hold my baby?”

APPLICATION

We’ve lost the battle when our sermons, articles, and classes center around answering the question, “How often must I assemble? How many times a week do I have to come to church? Are Sunday night and Wednesday night mandatory?”

How unnatural for a disciple, a committed follower of Jesus who is in love with Him and who has such a relationship with Him that He is priority number one, to approach the assemblies in such a way! MustHave to? You see, the question is wrong. The mentality and approach is where the work needs to occur.

When Jesus and His Church are my passion, the thought-process becomes “I get to,” “I want to,” and “I will!” Neither parents, grandparents, spouses, elders, preachers, siblings, nor anyone else should have to get behind to push the one who has put Jesus at the heart and center of their lives.

"Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25). 

Be Perfect!

Grace Religion Works Salvation

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

Scripture: Matthew 5:48

Author: Illustration Exchange
5

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.  

Drawn to the Well

Legalism Calling God's Love

Contributed By: Gabriel Carnes | Date Posted: 2019-03-29

Scripture: John 4:14 ; John 10:27

Author: Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
10

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The Law of Love

Legalism Love (Divine) Reconciliation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-03-19

Scripture: Galatians 5:14

Author: Illustration Exchange
6

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Don't Turn Your Back on the Manger

Spirituality Christmas Circumstances

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-12-13

Scripture: Luke 2:12

Author: Illustration Exchange
11

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Church Bans Fat People From Leading Worship

Grace Legalism Church Health/Growth

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-11-16

Scripture: James 5:16

Author: Illustration Exchange
10

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Intrinsically Good

Fruit of the Spirit Character Spirituality

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2016-10-14

Scripture: Romans 12:9 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:13

Author: Thomas Bevers / Illustration Exchange
3

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The Homeland of the Bribe

Motivation Grace Legalism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-09-20

Scripture: 1 John 4:18

Author: Illustration Exchange
8

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No Wedding License For You!

Marriage Love (Divine) Legalism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-09-16

Scripture: Ephesians 5:25

Author: Illustration Exchange
7

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