[SW068] 11/18/12 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2012
“Why God Hates Religion”
God hates religion, but Christianity is NOT a religion. What??!! Read, and then shout, “Hallelujah!”
Isaiah 1:11 “ What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?”
Says the LORD.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle;
And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.
12 “When you come to appear before Me,
Who requires of you this trampling of My courts?
13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer,
Incense is an abomination to Me.
New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies —
I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.
14 “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts,
They have become a burden to Me;
I am weary of bearing them.
God hates religion! He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to put an end to it.
Understand this — Christianity is not a religion. What??!!
It is not a religion,
but a completion.
When we come to Christ, we cry, “Abba, Father, the Holy Spirit testifying with our spirit that we have become a child of God
and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:15ff).
It begins not with a vow,
but an 180-degree turn toward Christ, NOW.
Just as Zaccheus turned immediately (Luke 19:8),
when Jesus called him by name
and said He must stay at his house “today.” Oh! He wants to come to YOUR house, TODAY! He wants to dwell there!
It is not a change only as deep as your skin,
but a completely changed heart, a change deep within.
The old goes, the new comes, and
we become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17),
born from above — a spiritual rebirth (John 3:7)!
It is not a life spent in rote learning,
but an experience wrought by an inner yearning.
It is not knowing about Christ, knowing “the facts,”
but knowing Him intimately (Ephesians 5:27, etc.), and doing His acts,
. . . and even greater (John 14:12)!
It’s not a series of “do’s and don’ts,”
but your heart and lips saying, “Unless it’s God’s will, I won’t.”
“Behold, I delight to do Your will, O God . . . ” (Psalm 40:7-8)
My heart desires and is prompted to do nothing but obey!
It is not a pain, a chore and a bore,
But a life praising Christ, who opened heaven’s door (John 10:9),
and heaven in our souls right now and more and more!
It’s not just saying prayers
or lifting up our hands in the air,
But continual communion,
with a God who is LIVING!
That is praying “without ceasing!” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
It is not attending and critiquing a Sunday service,
but Christ’s own heart in you so you are His servant. (Matthew 20:26-28), not for you to be served, but to serve Him, to minister to Him.
It is not just one hour, one day a week given,
but in your soul, heaven — 24/7!
It is not singing in a choir,
but your old nature placed on a funeral pyre. (Galatians 2:20)
It is not Bible study in which you weigh and compare,
but beholding the face of Christ Jesus there,
until you look like Him here. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
It is not one of many paths to eternal life,
but the only way, made by Christ’s sacrifice. (John 14:6). The Son of God means what He says and says what He means!
It is not simply to “make a decision” for Christ,
but to make Him Master, Owner, Lord of your life!
It is not a philosophy or some truth you confess,
but a treasure for which you’ll sell all to possess. (Mathew 13:44)
It is not insurance against hell’s fire,
but a heart set ablaze with the Spirit’s holy fire (Matthew 3:11). He has come to baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire!!! O, Refiner, come!
It is not simply admiring Christ,
but a heart filled with His love, and inside us, His life!
(Romans 5:5, John 17:26)
It is not that Jesus is our example,
but that He gives us His Spirit, heaven’s sample (Ephesians 1:14),
and it’s for the praise of God and Christ’s glory!
It’s not something out of His disciples’ imagination,
but Christ, God’s promise to Abraham, a blessing for all nations!
(Genesis 12:3, Galatians 3:16)
O church, O seeker . . .
I am blowing the trumpet:
In many churches, religion has taken the place of Christianity!!!
God hates religion because:
It is all outward appearances,
while the heart is filled with dead men’s bones and unclean things. (Matthew 23:27)
It is disobedience to His Word.
Christians are “a sinful nation,” just as Israel and Judah were in Isaiah’s day.
He says, “Be holy,” and we say “No, but we will do what we want,
what seems right to us.” (Jeremiah 42:14)
It is a form of godliness while denying its power to transform. (2 Timothy 3:5)
It is “going through the motions.”
Our hearts are not in it.
O church, when you see it, you know the words Christ speaks are for you:
Mark 7:6 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘ THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.” (Isaiah 29:13)
O church, when you see that your whole head is sick (2483, full of malady, anxiety, calamity, and grief) and your whole heart is faint (1742, troubled) [see Isaiah 1:5],
When you see that you are weighed down with sin, pulling it behind you as if with cart ropes (Isaiah 5:18),
When you have come to the end of yourself,
when you are ruined, undone, (Isaiah 6:5),
and see that Christianity is not at all what you thought it was
or what you were taught it was,
When the wall you’ve been leaning on has fallen over (Isaiah 30:13, Ezekiel 13:14),
When you know you are in spiritual famine and drought,
because the Lord has sent His army of locusts to devour your “religion,”
REJOICE! It is in His mercy that he has revealed this to you! His mercy is here for you TODAY! What’s been spoken thus far may sound like bad news, but all words from God are good news because they are life-giving words! These words will give life to you, if you receive them!
Rend (tear) your heart and not your garments (robes)!
Mourn from the depths of you, not just so you “appear” to be spiritual!
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted —
comforted by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit!
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled!
Even now! Even now! Even now! Do not outwardly mourn, but from your very heart! Mourn the condition of your soul which you now see! Mourn that you have been duped all these years into following “religion,” when Christianity is a completion!
Even now! Even now! Turn to the Lord!
Joel 2:12 “Even now,” declares the LORD,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Joel 2:13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity. (NIV)
O pastors and leaders who belong to God and minister to the Lord face-to-face, read and obey Joel 2:17-18:
Joel 2:17 Let the priests, the LORD’S ministers,
Weep between the porch and the altar,
And let them say,
“ Spare Your people, O LORD, [and the church]
And do not make Your inheritance a reproach,
A byword among the nations.
Why should they among the peoples say,
‘ Where is their God?’”
18 Then the LORD will be zealous for His land [and the church]
And will have pity on His people.
Then read His promise. Join Jeff and me and many others and weep for her:
Joel 2:25 “Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten,
The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied
And praise the name of the LORD your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
Then My people will never be put to shame.
27 “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel, [and the church]
And that I am the LORD your God,
And there is no other;
And My people will never be put to shame.
Oh, it will come about after this! He will deal wondrously! He could have written us off, but wonder of wonders, His arms are opened wide to receive us!
It will come about after this! After what?
After you rend your hearts, O church, after you weep, O pastors and leaders,
after you see you are ruined and undone, O church,
listen to what will come about!
Joel 2:28 “It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
29 “Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Will be delivered;
O church, He will pour out His Spirit in your ruined, undone hearts,
and exchange those hearts for His!
Christianity will no longer be your religion, but your completion!
You will cry “Abba, Father!” and you will know it is true,
and the world will take notice that you have been with Jesus,
and they will come to Him.
Beloved, do not be fooled. They will not come to your “religion.”