Preparing for Worship // July 23, 2017

Preparing for Worship // July 23, 2017

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Mankind has made some incredible things over the centuries: the pyramids, the Parthenon, and the great wall of China, to name a few. More recently, we’ve learned to make spaceships, computers, and skyscrapers (One of my favorite things about living in Charlotte is the skyline and the fact that you can see it from just about any direction as you enter the city). There are even things, like beaches, that are both naturally occurring and man-made, and many man-made beaches are even more beautiful than the ones that are not man-made. There are many man-made creations that make our lives easier and better. But man-made religion is not one of them. Man-made religion is a toxin that destroys. In our passage this week, we see Jesus once again confronting the Pharisees for the way that they twist God’s law to make it into something it’s not, into something that they want it to be.

In our passage this week, we see Jesus once again confronting the Pharisees for the way that they twist God’s law to make it into something it’s not, into something that they want it to be. They were great at adding their own laws to God’s law, while at the same time lessening God’s law by making it purely a matter of the actions and not the heart. The reason this is so toxic, the reason all man-made religion is toxic, is because it leaves us with the belief that we can do it on our own. It convinces us that we, of our own ability and power, can be perfect and earn God’s favor.

But the truth is that we cannot even meet our own, man-made standard, much less God’s. God demands perfection of thought, word, feeling, and action, which none of us can ever achieve. Rather than looking to yourself, rather than looking to the religion that you make for yourself, look to the religion that God has made. The only way to God is the way that God Himself has made. Jesus Christ, who perfectly fulfilled all of God’s requirements, paid the penalty that we deserve because we have disobeyed the righteous law that God has given us. As we come to worship this week, let us look to the freedom that is found in following God’s religion, the freedom that is found in Jesus Christ. If you are trusting in Jesus Christ, then the requirements other people place on you and the requirements that you place on yourself do not matter. All that matters is that God accepts you because Jesus has perfectly kept the requirements of God’s law on your behalf.

THE WORD

Scripture: Matthew 22:15-23:39
Sermon: The Case Against Man-Made Religion

SONGS

Come Thou Fount (Traditional)
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Good Good Father (Housefires)
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In Christ Alone (Keith and Kristin Getty)
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Lead Us Back (Sojourn Music)
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Song of Preparation: Simple Gospel (United Pursuit)
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Song of Response: Thy Mercy (Sandra McCracken)
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