Building on the Ruins of Religion – Part 2 of 5

shutterstock_112086005RELATIONSHIP AND NOT RELIGION

I’ve heard it said religion is man’s approach to God, and a relationship is God’s approach to man. I must agree. The Encarta Dictionary defines “religion as:

(PLEASE NOTE: any Bolds, UPPERCASES, Underlines, or [bracketed area comments] are added by me.)

“(1) people’s beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life (2) a particular institutionalized or personal system of beliefs and practices relating to the divine (3) a set of strongly-held beliefs, values, and attitudes that somebody lives by. (4) an object, practice, cause, or activity that somebody is completely devoted to or obsessed by.”

This last point confirms it is not just the pursuit of a god or a spiritual practice that constitutes one being religious; it can also be found when a person religiously pursues his or her own selfish goals. Such a quest is what causes men to stop acting as servants and begin acting as lords. These next passages show ministers operating outside the parameters of servility are not functioning to the capacity they should within the Church of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 20:25-28
(25)  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
(26)  But it shall not be so among you: but WHOSOEVER WILL BE GREAT AMONG YOU, LET HIM BE YOUR MINISTER;
(27)  And WHOSOEVER WILL BE CHIEF AMONG YOU, LET HIM BE YOUR SERVANT:
(28)  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Mark 10:42-45
(42)  But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
(43)  But SO SHALL IT NOT BE AMONG YOU: but WHOSOEVER WILL BE GREAT AMONG YOU, SHALL BE YOUR MINISTER:
(44)  And WHOSOEVER OF YOU WILL BE THE CHIEFEST SHALL BE SERVANT OF ALL.
(45)  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Luke 22:25-27
(25)  And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
(26)  But YE SHALL NOT BE SO: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and HE THAT IS CHIEF, AS HE THAT DOTH SERVE.
(27)  For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I AM AMONG YOU AS HE THAT SERVETH.

Acts 20:35
(35)  I have showed you all things, how that so LABORING YE OUGHT TO SUPPORT THE WEAK, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE.

Romans 12:10
(10)  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor PREFERRING ONE ANOTHER;

Romans 15:1-3
(1)  We then that are STRONG OUGHT TO BEAR THE INFIRMITIES OF THE WEAK, and not to please ourselves.
(2)  Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.
(3)  For EVEN CHRIST PLEASED NOT HIMSELF: but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

Galatians 5:13
(13)  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but BY LOVE SERVE ONE ANOTHER.

Galatians 6:1-2
(1)  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
(2)  BEAR YE ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS, AND SO FULFILL THE LAW OF CHRIST.

A Midrash found in Noah BenShea’s book Jacob the Baker, includes the following astuteness:

“The furthest a wise man can travel is to the border of his ignorance.  The furthest a wise man can see is to the beginning of his blindness.” 

Jesus gives us Truth by which we can know the correct path of life. This same Truth also opens eyes blinded to issues that transcend mere mortal understanding. The Bible says Jesus is the Truth, and through that Truth, all men are MADE free! The issue at hand is whether men and women are actively  MADE free by this Truth in houses where this Truth is found.

Part 1 of 5 | Part 3 of 5

 

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