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June 22, 2021 6:00 am
You probably heard it said too much of a good thing to be bad for you right will that actually can be true of religious things you see today it's possible to be doing good things like things religious things and yet fundamentally going in the wrong spiritual direction. Stay with me today as we discover how to avoid death by welcome to this edition of the ship and the mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians, the Bible for joining us as we continue our series.
Diabolical agenda for planet Earth, including you, for the next program strips take time to address what made me sick to my sidelining religion so much helpful content of this program. I'm glad you're with us and after the teaching trip will give us more insight into how we can talk with people, hurt by the burdens of religiosity to be sure to stick around for that okay your strip with his message, death by lethal religion based in acts chapter 9 we talked about three specific agendas that Satan has not sorted the scary type demonic things like on movies but subtle agendas that are deceitful kind of agendas that get us off course and we don't even know it. Acts chapter 9 may be the most diabolical and most deceptive of all because it comes packaged in spirituality to talk about agenda number four Jim and Jenna number four is death by lethal religion religion maybe one of the most powerful ways in all the world in the name of God that Satan deceives people, steals their life ruins their relationships warps their thinking about themselves and God. As I was doing the research I came across a little information about lethal injection.
Now you know that this is not about capital punishment in your views on that this is about after the Supreme Court deemed for a season in America that was cruel and unusual punishment.
Lethal injection became actually the preferable way for capital punishment, and I don't know why but in my mind as I was praying I thought I wonder how that works.
That's the rationale that it should be done in a way that's that's kinder if there's a kind way to kill people and I think about how Satan is working. It is a very kind way through religion that destroys people lethal injection has a three step process step one.
It's done intravenously and it anesthetize is the person sodium Penta thought is giving and within about 10 to 30 seconds. A person goes into a deep sleep so the goal is to anesthetize in other words a person's eyes shut and they fall asleep.
The second thing that happens is they give the person of a paralyzing agent. It's called Green Curry and bromide or Avalon. It's a muscle relaxer that's given at a dose that causes the muscles to be paralyzed so the ability to bring in oxygen for life is inhibited in the third stage, then, is a toxic agent call potassium chloride and it's given in a dose to stop the electrical impulses sent to the heart and so the way. Lethal injection occurs is you anesthetize persons, then you paralyze them and then you put a toxin that goes straight to their heart to stop the heart from beating and I want to tell you if you want a profile of how the enemy works through religion. It's that first of all, he has all these things about God and he anesthetize us.
We go to sleep. We become unaware we say God words there's God patterns there's religion without reality. Second you get paralyzed into patterns and patterns that you feel obligated to do that over time become a way of performing before God or so you think, and then finally religion always has this one common denominator.
It will close your heart it will close your heart toward the real God. It'll close your heart toward people. It makes you rigid.
In fact, look at the definition of religion in Webster's it says to acquire a deep conviction of the validity of a religious people leave for practice. That's or the common term but notice the roots.
It's an old French word from Latin religion domains to fear the super natural at the heart of religion is a fear-based and then noticed the French word relink Andre if that's how you pronounce it is to tired to bind up. It has the idea of the state of a life found by Val. In essence, religion is an external set of rules and practices to either merit God's favor or to avoid his or her wrath, depending on the religious system and so the end of the day, it's rooted in fear. Religion binds people.
It ties people up against them on some sort of a performance trap to think if I do certain things at certain times in certain ways somehow all be acceptable by God. Jesus, interestingly, speaks to religious leaders.
If you want open to Matthew chapter 23.
I'm not gonna read the whole chapter.
All that I as a as you open to Matthew chapter 23. I'm going to skip around. But here's what I'm going to do. I want you to hear what the son of God said to the most religious people on the planet. This is what he said to the people that were the most discipline were the most spiritual. They knew the Bible better than anyone else. This is from the very lips of Jesus.
This is his view of what religion does how diabolical it is. Then Jesus said Matthew 23 verse one to the crowds and to his disciples. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees. They sit in Moses seat so you must obey them and do everything they tell you, but do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. Now listen to what he says religion does they tie heavy loads and they put them on men's shoulders. Everything they do is done to be seen by men. They love the place of honor. They want the most important seats in the synagogue skipping down verse 13 woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites, you shut the kingdom of God in men's faces, you yourselves do not enter and you will not let those who are trying to enter to enter what you teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites, you travel over land and sea to win a single convert and then you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourself. These are not column words. These are not nice words. These are not Jesus, meek and mild. This is Jesus attacking what's diabolical and what religion does to the human heart. He goes on is this is what really happens. Woe to you blind guides. Later he calls them blind fools. Then he says you blind men will you teachers of the law on the Pharisees, you hypocrites, you give 1/10 of your spices of your meant of your deal that you have neglected the far more important matters of the law, justice and mercy and faithfulness. Woe to you teachers along Pharisees, you hypocrites, you clean the outside of the cup but inside your full of greed and self-indulgence, blind Pharisees, you hypocrites, you look like whitewashed tombs, which are beautiful on the outside but on the inside your full of dead men's bones, and everything unclean on the outside. You appear to people as though you are righteous, but on the inside your full of greed and hypocrisy and wickedness and then it's just like Jesus went off and he said you snakes you fight verse. How will you escape the condemnation of hell and then he says I am sending you prophets. I'm sending you wise men and I'm sending you teachers. Teachers and Wiseman of the truth of love and life, and this is the prediction he makes some of them you will kill and crucify others you will flog in your synagogues and you will pursue them from town to town so upon. You will come the judgment of all the righteous men all the way from Zachariah to bear a Kia all will come upon this generation are in a value as of the strongest words are anywhere in this book. Those are from the lips of Jesus about religion and no one is immune over time to becoming religious. You can even make up your own religion. Secularism is a religion. Humanism is a religion. So here's the question I want ask and answer. What's the difference between dead religion and a living relationship with God. What's the difference between a dead religion in the living relationship with God, and I want to suggest acts chapter 9 will give you a very clear picture of what to do is I'm gonna read to acts chapter 9 but I want you to think more like a a movie viewer than someone sitting in a church listening to the Bible being read. Because the structure of the Holy Spirit is instructed. Luke what you see is again to be a C number one and the a C number two in the intermission and then this can be a C number three in a C number four tomorrow to find is that there's there's this contrast. This can be the contrast is going to speak about the most religious man in the old at the time the greatest intellect the greatest Pharisee of the tribe of Benjamin circumcised the eighth day, a Pharisee, according to the law, faultless Saul of Tarsus. The first half of this chapter will be Saul story.
The second half will be about a fisherman, a regular guy named Peter whose blown it and struggled but he's following Christ passionately and what the authors going to do is going to say here is Saul's life. This is what religion doesn't looks like and here's Peter's life.
And then right in the middle he's gonna say here's the key.
Here's the point.
Here's what I want you to get so open your Bibles to acts chapter 9 but you need to follow along C number one. The movie has begun. We pick up the story. Meanwhile, Saul was breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priestly asking for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so if there were any one found there who belong to the way the early Christians recalled that they were the way they said, Jesus is the way whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem testing near Damascus on his journey. Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
He fell to the ground he heard a voice say to him, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me. Who are you, Lord. Saul said I am Jesus whom you are persecuting replied now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do the men traveling with Saul stood there speechless. They heard the sound but they didn't see anyone. Saul got up from the ground and when he opened his eyes he could see nothing so they let him by the hand into Damascus, and for three days. He was blind. He didn't eat or drink anything. I will learn later, he praying during this time, his world is turned upside down Damascus by the way, is about 140 250 miles from Jerusalem. Menisci is zealous. This guy is sincere. He sees these people following Jesus and he thinks it's ruining Judaism that he wants to go get him and so he gets these letters and see number one murderous threats. He was there standing as a young man. A people put the coach down here and Stephen was killed and he got gas. I'm gonna get Steven and all the rest of him and he's willing to travel is probably by day so it's probably a 7 to 10 day walking trip to find these other quote Christians not called that. Yet the discolored followers of the way and thank him a light. He realizes that persecuting these Christ followers is actually Jesus and he realizes that he's now been messing with the God of the universe and for three days.
He doesn't eat, he doesn't drink. He's trying to make sense of it all seen number two.
The big change in Saul's life, picking it up in verse 10, in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. And the Lord called to him in a vision, Ananias. Yes, Lori. He answered the Lord told him go to the house of Judas on straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus name Saul, for he is praying in a vision he seen a man named Ananias come in place his hands on him and restore his site.
Lord Ananias answered I've heard many reports about this man and all the harm that is done to the saints in Jerusalem and he's come here with authority from the chief priest to arrest all who call upon your name, but the Lord said, Ananias, go this man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel, and I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. Then Ananias went to the house and he entered it and placing his hands on Saul. He said brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He is sent me here to you so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately something like scales fell from Saul's eyes and he could see again and he got up and was baptized. After taking some food.
He gained his strength and Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. In a word, he was converted in a word, he realized that the Yahweh of the Old Testament that the angel of the Lord that the Messiah is Jesus and all that knowledge and all that wisdom. He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He was trained under the top Pharisee of the day secular writer save the apostle Paul. He was the greatest intellect in all of the culture in the first century, and now this man is just had this charring relationship.
He's gone from a religious person, literally without fault to someone that has met the living God personally things in the change before C number three and four comes, there's there's an intermission, imagine you know when you watch a television show and you know the cameras on and maybe there's this couple and their walking on the beach and are talking about maybe getting married and this and that and then the camera shifts and there's this couple sitting at the kitchen table talking about their daughter and whether they should be marrying this guy in what this is unit we don't think about it, but the cameras are shifting and these things are happening at the same time. Now what Luke is going to do is he's gonna say this amazing thing happened in this man's life and in the intermission. I want you to see that it had real impact it had impact short-term and long-term effects.
Luke is going to gloss over a period of time and skips what Paul talked about his three years in Arabia where he went and spent personal time with God and then as though the camera comes back to the main story he comes back and zeros in and says now this was Saul, and religion. Now here's Peter in relationship.
Let's read the intermission together picking it up. Verse 20. So what happened to them at all. Want to begin to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the son of God. All those who heard it were astonishing ask, isn't this the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on his name and hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests. I mean, they are just like wiping their eyes on are you kidding me yet. Saul grew more and more powerful, and he battled the Jews living in Damascus by proving Jesus is the Christ keys Messiah keys the long-awaited one.
He's the one Isaiah 53 for told he's the one that will be born of a virgin. He's the one all those passages Paul likely had nearly all the Old Testament memorized and all those passages and all that learning all that religion and all that discipline. Now he's looking at it through a brand-new lens through the lens of Jesus who he's met. Notice what happens next. After many days had gone by the Jews conspired to kill and but Saul learned of their planning day and night. They kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill them, but the followers took and by night and they lowered him in a basket through the opening in the wall. Later, when he comes to Jerusalem. He tried to join the disciples but they were afraid of him, not believing he was really a disciple, but Barnabas took him and brought them to the apostles and he told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and the Lord spoken him and how in Damascus.
He preached fearlessly in the name of Christ seated have distant experience is experience led to a calling. His experience led to behavior that demonstrated he had a change of mind that lead to a change of heart that led to a dramatic change in mission in his life as a Barnabas is guys you can trust the sky, believe me I've seen him not seen him preach now keys on our team. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. He talked and he debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill and when the brothers learned of this day took him to Caesarea and sent them off to Tarsus now. Every now and then looked at this about three or four times he'll not only have an intermission, but you have a commercial and what he does in the commercial as he stops and gives a progress report so you know were now in acts chapter 9 it's always, stops and says oh by the way, member Jesus was assented in chapter 1 members of the church was born in chapter 2 member all this miracles the growth of the church than the persecution by the way, let me give you an update on how it's all happen and so he gives us progress report in verse 31, then noticed the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace will their number one enemy just became the number one advocate, it was strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, and it grew in numbers living in the fear the Lord and if you're in your own Bible circle the word the church and I just want you to notice its singular the church where Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. This half reads see there's a lot of local expressions, but the church it's it's all of us. They look different than us and they they may worship different than us and they may view a few minor things different than us, but the church the people to follow Jesus and loving and were all in this together now see number three as Peter was traveling about the country. He went to visit the saints and Linda there he found a man name. I needless a paralytic who'd been bedridden for eight years. I need as Peter said to him, Jesus Christ heals you get up and take care of your Matt immediately on the us gets up at all those who lived in Linda and Sharon saw him and he turned to the Lord.
So get this quick snapshot and so we have the apostle Paul, on the one hand, a religious man walking ready to kill people and he's blind and when he ends up being blinded by the light of truth, he becomes an invalid and they walk him into Damascus.
Now the author wants you to know that's what happens with religion. People who think they can see are actually blind and then hear someone who's in need and is paralyzed physically and notice how carefully the text says Peter says in the name of Jesus. It's the person it's the power it's the living relationship and then he says this little phrase, take up your Matt. Now it's similar to when Jesus said, take up your map at this phrase is a shade different when we see that I read that because it's a paralytic. We often think it's about taking up your Matt and walking which it could be, but the primary use alter the New Testament of this little phrase is that you can now get up you can live you can do something. Open your Matt and eat get strengthened so that you can begin a new life seen number four Peter is about 10 miles from another city called Joppa as we pick up the story in verse 36 in Joppa, there was a disciple named Tabatha, which translated means Dorcas, who was always doing good in helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died in her body was washed in place in the upstairs room lit. It was near Joppa. So the disciples heard that Peter was in. Linda and I sent two men to him an urgent please come at once. Peter went with them and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room and all the widows were standing around crying and showing him the ropes and the other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room. Then he got down on his knees and he prayed turning toward the dead woman, he said.
Tabatha get up.
She opened her eyes and seeing Peter, she sat up he took her by the hand and helped her to speak. Many call the believers in in the widows and he presented her to to them alive. This became known all over Joppa and many people believed in the Lord in the notice. This final line, Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with the Tanner name Simon that you need to remember that Peter was a really good Jewish boy and Peter's category see this religious but he was open and he heard Jesus and he knew the passages about the Messiah and he was open, rather than his rules and his patterns. He wanted to explore and he watched him and he Saul and he listened and he solved the authenticating miracles and Peter becomes a follower not a perfect follower. He betrays Jesus he struggles and he's restored and is loved and and he begins to be one of the leaders of the church, and pretty soon now it goes to Samaritans he was tapas little boy you paid Samaritans if their grades don't mess with them totally different culture.
And we learned in the last chapter, he starting to to teach and realize that God loves them even though it breaks through his religious narrow, bigoted view of life and now Joppa actually is in an arena that is very highly Gentile populated. So now Peter's doing stuff that good Jewish boys don't do. And here's the kicker. Luke lets us know he staying with the Tanner.
The rabbis and the day will talk about a Tanner is an unclean person, you don't go to a Tanner you don't stay in a Tanner's house.
You don't get near tears. What tanners are is they would take animal skins and go through the process of what you do from animal skins either to make a leather coat or they would make leather things that you could drink out of but it was a smelly hippie thing that usually on the edge of town and Luke wants to be sure that we understand that this follower of Jesus is breaking the taboos of Judaism and because of personal relationship in life. He's with the Tanner and undesirable and unclean person there seen one scene to scene three and seen for.
Here's what I want you to see this is a picture of dead religion versus living relationship and acts nine is a study of contrast will join insurance to this application. Just a minute you've been listening to the first part of his message, death by lethal religion from a series diabolical. Satan's agenda for planet Earth, including you, Satan's mission for every Christ follower is simple, total destruction.
Unlike God's plans for you which are rooted in grace and love. Satan wants to wreck your relationships isolate you from God and turn you into an ineffective Christian but with God's help, we not only have the power to oppose Satan's tactics, we can actually defeat them through the series triple teachers to recognize Satan's diabolical schemes and defend ourselves against his evil intentions. This is such an important topic so we hope you'll make the time to be with us for this entire series for complete series information and resources discounts for diabolical just go to LivingontheEdge.org or call triple late. 333-6003 Apple listeners Special offers ship regardless of the obstacles we've dealt with over the last year and 1/2 Living on the Edge is been very active, serving people around the globe who find themselves in restricted countries without Bibles or Christian resources would you take just a minute to tell us what's been happening all day but I do want to be careful and these are close countries but I do want people to catch the magnitude of what God is done. I mean, for many of us I mean I've got a stack of my on my nightstand of about 45 books another stack at my office and most of us have all kind of books or can go online and literally get anything we need on any topic. It's a very different story when I get to go to a rural area or I get to train someone by way of technology who's in the rural mountains or areas where if there caught with something that's Christian there in big trouble and what I will tell you is to date we have printed and translated with training for leaders over 1.5 million books. And that's just in one part of the world. Several thousand elsewhere and many many other languages. I want you to understand our passion is to help Christians live like Christians yes in America yes in your family yes to provide resources and small group but everywhere in their language words so difficult I can't even explain to you what it's like to get in front of a group and teach them and them literally hold a book and see tears flowing down their face because this is the only Christian resource they have other than maybe a portion of the Bible and we given the book I give them my sermon outlines and I give them tucked in there. It sorta how to lead a small group and we spent a couple or three days with them and then they go back and do what we could never do. And so, thanks so much for making that happen and I want to tell those of you that think I'd like to get in on that you can do it now and it's a great time order crate story trip it's been humbling to see God work well if you're already partnering with us financially, thank you for Chip just cheered as part of your story to and if you're looking for a way to make a difference. Let me suggest that partnering with us would be a great way to do that. Especially right now because, thanks to a handful of donors.
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I can't help but think that some of you are thinking to yourself, you know, I have a friend I have a mate. I have a mom and dad. Maybe it's a Sunday beat somebody at work. Or maybe someone in the neighborhood and you just think to yourself, you know, if I could just if I could just get them to go to church if I could just get them to to read the Bible.
If I could just get them to do something where they would really begin to see what the Christian life is all about.
Then everything would be okay. I mean, I'm sure if they could just see it they would get it. But the fact the matter is this many, many people see religious activity exactly the same way as the apostle Paul Saul religious activity. They sought as a means by which through their performance, dedication, sincerity and religious activity they could win or earn God's favor. The apostle Paul absolutely thought he was on God's team doing God's work when he was killing Christians and his mindset was this performance orientation is a what I want to say to you, maybe this message got the first half today get the second half owner next broadcast. Maybe the greatest thing you can do is go to the website I download the MP3 or or get the series Harvey want to get it and just put it in the hands of someone to say you know something you not thought about it and there's so much of religion that is so distasteful get on their side of it and instead of defending Christianity and trying to explain away all that crazy stuff you see it TV and and all the bad experiences they've had, once you get on their side is that you know something yet. I've really noticed that even among sincere, committed, even Christians.
There's a lot of stuff out there that is totally totally opposed to the real Jesus the rural Bible and the real love of God and I heard this message and I love you listen to it because it talks about the difference between really lethal religion in living relationship and I like to get your thoughts on it, and given the discourse, and on the MP3 or download the notes for free and just be their friend and listen to it and let them vent a little bit and it's okay to get on their side is that you know something I would be totally against wackos like the apostle Paul was but look what happened when he met Jesus and then you get to talk to them about a living, loving relationship.
The eternal God, wouldn't that be an awesome opportunity. Maybe God will use you like never before and we would love to be of help. Just before we close our mission at Living on the Edge is to help Christians live like Christians. One of the ways we do that is by giving away free resources. So when you hear a message. That's especially helpful. We hope you'll pass it on to others. They are easily shared from the chipping remap, or by forwarding the free MP3s from our website. LivingontheEdge.org and don't forget to include a note about how it made a difference in your life will be sure to be with us again next time when we continue our current serious shift of the entire team here.
This is a very thing. Thanks for listening to this edition of living all the