Hardline religion

Many people enjoy a dislike of “religion.” Hence the popularity of the spiritual but not religious identity … which is often the slogan (of sorts) for the pro-Jesus, anti-church mentality.

Religion is equal to rules. Rules are equal to standards. Standards are equal to responsibilities. Responsibilities are equal to religion. Hence the exodus of many “churches” and their relationship to any perceived hint of hardline religion.

Somehow people have managed to convince themselves that a relationship with Jesus is not based on any sort of hard-line – because Jesus was anti-religion, right?

Granted, Jesus took extreme issue with the religious leaders of his earthly day (a religion, mind you, that ultimately revolved around and pointed to Jesus – Luke 24:22, Galatians 3:24), but Jesus’ issue wasn’t with religion in general – his problem was with the way they practiced their religion by blurring hard-lines created by God! (Matthew 15:1-9, Matthew 23, Mark 3:1-5, Luke 14:6, John 5:10-16) And such an issue was nothing new (Amos 8, Jeremiah 23).

So before you think being against hardline religion makes you pro-Jesus (or vice-versa), keep these teachings in mind: Continue reading

#balance, #error, #jesus, #religion

Visit means more than stopping by

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27 NKJV)

In the above verse, the word translated as “visit” (from the Greek word, ‘episkeptomai’) means much more than “stopping by” to see someone for the sake of seeing them. The idea of “stopping by” (which we may associate with the word, “visit”) is nothing close to the idea or intent the scriptures have in mind.

Episkeptomai means (according to my personal breakdown), “to inspect, examine with our eyes in order to help, benefit and look out or provide for.”

In other words, God’s intentions aren’t for us to simply visit someone who needs help to see how they’re doing, but rather to visit someone to see how we can help.

Turning a blind-eye to the problems of others may be easy, but turning a blind-eye may be due to symptoms caused by giant spiritual beams (Matthew 7:1-5) that are keeping us from seeing the things that lead to pure and undefiled religion before the eyes of God.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25 NKJV)

#greek, #personal-application, #religion

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5-8-2017 Useless “Religion”

“Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you’” (Acts 17:22-23 NKJV). “Religion” literally means “fearing some deity,” in this case, idols. Some people are “very religious” about the “gods” of: power, sex, money, sports, themselves, or things. “Worship without knowing” the God of Heaven and Earth and the Bible is vain. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#religion, #worship

Atheistic argument proves too much

“Proving too much” is a philosophical phrase applied to an argument that seems to make a valid point until you realize the point is so broad that it is not able to remain true when the obvious is pointed out. There are variations on the exact phrasing of the definition, but the point is always the same – you prove too much and the result is you prove nothing.

I recently read an on-line article that discussed the feelings of some atheistic parents after one of their children embraced religion. As with most on-line stories there was a comment section, and as with most on-line stories involving atheism and any form of faith the comments were predictable to say the least.

Out of all the comments, one stood out to me – but it wasn’t original to the commenter. I have seen roots of the comment (which was presented as a passive argument in this case) used multiple times. And unfortunately I am sure it will continue to be used despite the fact the comment proves nothing by proving too much. In fact, the “challenge” of the comment can be logically answered with fewer words than it takes to propose the argument.

The argument under consideration is Continue reading

#atheism, #philosophy, #religion

The yeast makes a difference in the bread

Doctrine isn’t that big of a deal…so says the school of thought from which some of our “tribe-less” brothers and sisters have graduated.

The whole idea (or should I say bleached out doctrine?) isn’t new, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less wrong.

When someone says that doctrine is an antiquated and useless topic, they just don’t know what they’re talking about. They might know what they’re saying, but they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Jesus once told his disciples to, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6)

Now, what kind of bread producing substance was Jesus talking about? It was the spiritual kind: “Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:12) It’s along the same spiritual idea (only in a positive sense) that Paul had in mind when he told Timothy, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.” (1 Timothy 4:6)

You see, the yeast truly makes a difference in the bread that we spiritually eat; so don’t get sandwiched in the thought that says doctrine is a dirty word.

#bread, #doctrine, #religion

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2-12-2016 “Religion Doesn’t Matter–We’re All Going To The Same Place”

In a city “given over to idols” (Acts 17:16 NKJV), The Apostle Paul said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious” (Acts 17:22 NKJV). They were religiously wrong, not believing in Jesus Christ, Who said, “”He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 NKJV). Paul preached in Ephesus to men who had been baptized in John the Baptist’s baptism: “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:4-5 NKJV). They had believed in Jesus, but been baptized for the wrong reason. Everyone is not going to the same place, regardless of their religion!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #religion

Where walking with God leads to

Walking with God…I think I know someone with a blog by that name.

Anyways, despite the realities of the green grass and still waters of Psalm 23, walking with God is anything but a leisurely stroll through the park. It can very well lead to the via dolorosa.

That is why walking with God takes faith, conviction of heart, humility, devotion, self-denial and self-control.

Walking with God led to Enoch being translated into Heaven (Genesis 5:24), walking with God is what separated Noah from his generation (Genesis 6:9), and walking with God is what led to Abraham blessing his descendants (Genesis 24:40).

As a matter of fact, it’s only our walk with God that will cause us to bless others and be distinguished from this world and ultimately leave it to be with God just like Abraham, Noah and Enoch. So it’s worth our time to pay attention to how these three walked with God.

Did you walk with God yesterday? Do you plan on walking with him today?

The Bible clearly teaches where waking with God leads to, and that leaves a pretty clear picture of where standing still will get us.

Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:3-5)

#christian-living, #religion, #walking-with-god