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Stop Enduring Religion

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers
The Truth Network Radio
May 3, 2024 4:00 am

Stop Enduring Religion

Love Worth Finding / Adrian Rogers

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May 3, 2024 4:00 am

Most of us have had all the religion we can stand; what we actually need is a personal, vital relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In this message, Adrian Rogers shares how to stop enduring religion and start enjoying salvation.

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Known for his unique ability to simplify profound truth so that it can be applied to everyday life, Adrian Rogers was one of the most effective preachers, respected Bible teachers, and Christian leaders of our time. Thanks for joining us for this message.

Here's Adrian Rogers. Turn with me please to John chapter seven, and I begin reading in verse 37. I love to hear the rustle of those pages. Sounds like angel wings fluttering when I hear you turning those pages.

That's wonderful. You can get significant more out of any message if you keep the Bible in front of you. In the last day, this is verse 37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried the same. If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly, that is, out of his innermost being, shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive. For the Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified.

Now, let me give you the background for this passage of scripture. The Jews had many ceremonies and many feasts, but there was one that outdid them all when it came to joy and hilarity and festivity. As a matter of fact, one said, if you had not seen the Feast of Tabernacles, you don't even know what rejoicing in hilarity is.

This feast was a great feast that the Jews would perform. And in the climax of that feast, the priest would go down to the pool of Siloam. And he would fill a golden pitcher with water from the pool of Siloam. And then he would bring that water back and the people would be following him and they would be leaping and dancing, playing symbols and chanting and praising. And the priest would come with that water from the pool of Siloam and he would pour it out there at the altar.

And as he did, all hilarity would break forth. Now, Jesus is watching this. Jesus sees the ceremony. Jesus sees their ecstasy, their joy, their hilarity, their leaping, their dancing, their praising. And on the last day, right in the midst of all of that, Jesus, who was normally quiet, the Bible says of him, he shall not strive nor cry, neither shall his voice be heard in the streets. And yet, at this time, Jesus could contain himself no more. And the Bible says that he stood and he literally shouted, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.

Now, what's all of this about? Well, Jesus saw that ceremony. He saw them chanting from the Psalms, with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation. And Jesus Christ himself was that well of salvation. Every Old Testament ceremony, every Old Testament feast, all of it prophesied the Lord Jesus. All of it portrayed the Lord Jesus.

All of it pictured the Lord Jesus. And there he was, the very water of life, right in their midst. He was right there. They were paying no attention to him.

They didn't even understand him. There they were going through their ritual. There they were going on with their religion. There they were having their feast. And in the midst of it all was the very water of life.

Now, what Jesus knew was this, that after it was over, after all that hilarity, after all that rejoicing, after all of that singing and dancing, Jesus knew that then they would go back to their homes. And all of that would be a memory. They would go back to their old heartaches, back to their own tears, back to their own fears, back to their own faults and failures and foibles. And it would all be gone. Only a memory, only a religious exercise, only a ritual that gave joy for a moment.

No, but would not last. A pitcher of water poured out on an altar. And Jesus said, if you're really thirsty, come to me and drink. What Jesus was saying is, it is time to stop enduring religion and start enjoying salvation.

We've got enough religion. What we need is a personal, vital relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, true salvation with joy. Shall you draw water from the wells of salvation?

What a wonderful, wonderful lesson there is for us here today. Jesus says, come unto me and drink. I have an evangelist friend who was on an airplane one time and a little stewardess came by and said, sir, would you like a drink? And she was talking about alcoholic beverage. I think it was a crying shame they served that on an airplane.

I think it was a crying shame that young ladies and gentlemen have to serve it. But she said to him, do you want a drink? His name was Mike and I like what he said to her.

Mike said to her, no, thank you. He said, I had a drink a number of years ago that satisfied me completely. She said, you did.

Must've been some drink. Well, he said, it was. She said, what was it? He said, well, you serve all these other people and come back and I'll tell you what it was. So she served everybody else and came and sat down beside him, strapped herself in and said, tell me about it.

And he did. That drink is the Lord Jesus who says, come unto me. All ye that labor in a heavy laden, I will give you rest.

Come unto me and drink. But Jesus is talking here about salvation. Yes, but more than salvation.

Because the Bible says that he was speaking of the Holy Spirit, that when people believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, they will receive the Holy Spirit. And then there will be in them a well of water springing up unto eternal life. There will be in them rivers of revival. And Jesus said, out of that person will flow, out of his innermost being, will flow a river of living water. Is that your experience? Is there in you a river bubbling up?

No. Is there in you a satisfaction because you have drunk deeply of Jesus? But more than a satisfaction, are you being a blessing?

Is your life overflowing with blessing? It's an amazement to me. How many people today are trying to find the answer? Some people think that the answer is intellectual. They think if they can just learn more facts, if they can just learn more theology, if they can just learn more history, if they can just learn more of this or that, and so they go from class to class and church to church with their heads getting fuller and their hearts getting emptier, they know that the answer is not intellectual. Others think that the answer is inactivity. If they can just do more, if they can just work harder, if they can just stay busy doing church work.

A busy Christian is a happy Christian, so go to work. People wear their fingers to the bone and sometimes even ruin their domestic tranquility by never being at home, doing this thing and doing that thing, trudging to church every time the doors are open, but still no reality in their lives. Others think that the answer is emotional. We've got this going now, that people who are going to meetings and literally falling on the floor and laughing hysterically or even roaring like lions, barking like dogs, writhing on the ground, lying prostrate, thinking, man, if I can have some great emotional experience, maybe that'll be the answer. And for a while, like those people on the day, the last day of the feast, they have an ecstasy, but tomorrow they have a memory, that's all.

Trying to get back to that state of emotionalism that they were once in, like a person on narcotics, this time it takes a little bigger dose to get as high as they were yesterday. Is the answer intellectual? Is the answer in the activities that we do?

Is the answer in emotionalism? And then there's the answer that the Pharisee has. He thinks that the answer to life is the way that he lives, primarily noted by what he doesn't do.

I don't do this, I don't do that, and I don't do this, and I don't do that. And so the proud Pharisee, as he trims his limbs, he strengthens his root, becomes a bitter hard Pharisee. He has religion, but he doesn't have reality. He does not know what Jesus Christ is talking about. And there are many in America who do not know they have religion, and it's time they stopped enduring religion and started enjoying salvation. It is time that they came to understand what the great heart of Jesus longed for. When Jesus on that last day stood up and cried and said to them what he's saying to you, are you thirsty? Come to me and drink.

Out of your innermost being will flow a river of living water. Now four simple steps. I want you to see what they are. First of all, you've got to understand who the subjects are that he's speaking to. To whom is he speaking? He's not speaking to everybody. He's speaking to thirsty people. He's, there's a big if here. Look at it. Jesus stood and cried saying, if any man thirst.

That's all prefaced by this. Are you thirsty? Well, you say God knows I'm empty. I didn't ask if you were empty, I asked are you thirsty? My car has been empty many times, never once been thirsty.

I mean, I'm talking about the gas tank. Are you thirsty? Are you simply satisfied? You see, they're not a lot of thirsty people today. They're people who come to church on Sunday morning like they've done God a wild favor, but they don't come seeking God. They don't come with a burning blistering thirst. Well, some might have a shallow thirst. Those have a shallow thirst to get a shallow satisfaction. Many are not thirsty at all because they're filled with the stagnant waters of self-love and worldliness.

Well, I'm going to tell you this. I don't know how much of God you have, but I'll tell you, you have all you want. It's not your job to persuade God to fill you. He wants to fill you. Jesus said, blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.

You don't have any more, it's cause you don't want any more. It's not because God somehow has neglected you. You've neglected God. And if you're not thirsty, I would suggest that the very first thing you do is to analyze your life and pray that God would help you to get things in order, that God would help you to see things in reality, that God would give you the big picture, that God would give to you and grant to you a burning blistering thirst, that you would say, I'm done with religion.

No, I won't reality. I am thirsty today for that which is real. The subjects, the thirsty ones. Something else you need to understand. You need to understand the source. Jesus said, if you thirst, come to me.

He was talking of himself. You come to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now folks, you don't come to religion. You don't come to rituals. You don't come to rules.

You don't come to resolve. You don't even clean up your life and then say, Lord, here it is, fill me. That's one of the biggest mistakes we make. Sometimes we get the idea that we want more of God. We want that fullness of the Spirit. We want that living water.

We want that reality. And we think, well, you know, if I can just clean up my life, if I can just get right, if I can just somehow discipline myself enough, pray enough, study enough, work enough, live clean enough, then I'll be a candidate for the blessing. All that is is a work's righteousness and you'll never, ever make it.

You're like a man in quicksand. The more you struggle, the deeper you sink. If I've ever learned anything and God helped me not to forget it and to keep on learning it, holiness is not the way to Christ. Christ is the way to holiness.

Write it on your heart right now. Holiness is not the way to Christ. You don't work your way to the way He is the way.

Get on it. You don't work your way to the way He is the way. I mean, don't get the idea that if you could live right, God would fill you with the Holy Spirit. You can't live right until you are filled with the Holy Spirit. I mean, if you could do all of those things in order to be filled, why do you need to be filled anyway?

Do you understand what I'm saying? It's like the banker. You want to borrow money? You know how you can get a banker to loan you money? Just go down there and prove to him you don't need any.

Then he'll loan you some. Well, friend, God's not that way. I mean, it is grace. We come to Jesus, to Jesus, just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me. O Lamb of God, I come to thee, I come.

Come ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and worn, come to Jesus. Come to Jesus. Don't wait till you're better.

Don't wait till you're stronger. Bring to him your weakness. Bring to him your fears. Bring to him your failures. Bring to him your heartaches.

Bring it all to Jesus. Jesus throws open his arms to you today and says, are you thirsty? Come to me. Come to me.

Oh, if we could only learn that. I'm not saying that you come clinging to your sin. I'm not saying that you come to him with your fingers crossed behind your back. I'm not saying that you come to him and at the same time intend to cling to Satan in this world. I don't know, but come, come to Jesus. The subjects, the thirsty ones. The source, Jesus Christ himself. The secret, come to me and drink. Look in verse 37. That last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.

Now, what does that mean? How do you drink? You drink by faith. The next verse explains it. He that believeth on me. He that believeth on me. You drink into Christ.

You appropriate, assimilate Jesus by faith. Come and drink. Now, the problem today is this, that many will come this far in this message and be with me 100%, but at this point, they drop out. I don't mean to drop out.

They just drop out. They say, yes, indeed, I am thirsty. Yes, indeed, Christ is the answer, but they never really believe that they dare take what he promises. And so somehow it gets in the margin of the Bible. Somehow it gets in the notebook. Somehow it gets in the head, but it never gets down in the heart.

It is never appropriated. You must drink. You must appropriate that which God has for you, and you do it by faith. Drinking is not passive.

It is active. There comes a time when you take the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and say, yes, he is mine. I claim all that you have for me, Lord Jesus. I believe in you.

I do. Suppose you're on the desert. Let's suppose you've been there for several days. Your body is dehydrated. Your tongue is dry. Your mouth is parched.

Your lips are cracked. You're perishing for water, and you know that you need water. Nobody has to explain to you what water is. Nobody has to tell you that you're thirsty.

You know that. And then somebody comes to you out there in the desert, somehow miraculously appears, and there he is with a tall glass of water. We'll even put a couple of ice cubes in it, put some little beads running down the side of it, tall, cool, clear, sparkling, life-saving, life-sustaining water.

There it is. By the way, what would that man pay for that glass of water? A dollar, two, 10, 50, 100, 10,000, you name it.

Price is not an object. If he has it, he'll pay it, right? All that a man has will he give for his life. You see, that's the mark of a thirsty man. You see these people who've got these side issues and so forth, they're not really thirsty. But when a man is truly thirsty, the price is not an object.

So I mean, you have to give everything to Jesus and yet it is absolutely, totally free. There it is, that glass of water. Now suppose the bearer of that water says to this man, I brought this for you, I want you to have it.

Here it is. Now suppose you were to get out your notebook and you say, let me get this down, da-da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da-da, it's water, it's necessary, you brought it for me, there it is, you want me to drink and so forth. And you begin to make notes and think about it and so forth. And he says, yes, but now drink. Oh, you're saying, water, that's what I need.

Boy, that sure is cool water. Clear, da-da-da-da-da-da. Well, you know, I don't think I'm qualified to do that. I don't think I ought to do that.

And I'm wondering what's wrong with this person. Why will he not by faith and obedience appropriate that which is offered to him? There comes a time when you need to, D-R-I-N-K, drink. There comes a time when you need to believe him and say, my heart is thirsty for the blessing. I will receive the Lord Jesus. I take him now, I take him by faith. I appropriate, I assimilate, I believe, I receive. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. I receive you, I drink into you.

I do and I do right now. Now, we've talked about the subjects and the source and the secret. Let's talk about the supply. I love this part. Listen, verse 38, he that believeth on me, as the scripture has said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. Not only will there be an income, there will be an outflow. There will be springing up in you a river of revival, a river of blessing.

Now, here's the problem. The Bible says, as the scripture has said, Jesus is quoting the scripture. Did you know that you can get your concordance and try to find this scripture in the Old Testament, you can't find it?

That's interesting. Jesus said, as the scripture has said, out of his belly, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. And yet, you don't find that verse in the Bible. Does that mean that Jesus was wrong? Of course not.

He's never wrong. What he's referring to, I believe is not a verse, but he's referring to a number of verses and that's the sum total of them found in Ezekiel 47. So just turn to Ezekiel 47, because all that Jesus is saying is based on this as the scripture has said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.

Jesus is saying that when you are filled with the Spirit, when you're saved and filled with the Spirit, your life is going to be overflowing with joy, it's going to be overflowing with praise, it's going to be overflowing with testimony, it's going to be overflowing with service. Are you a normal Christian? I didn't ask if you were an average Christian. The average Christian is not a normal Christian.

He's subnormal. Well, we need to make a difference between average and the normal. You'll find the normal in the Bible.

You'll find the average on Sunday morning in church. Are you a normal Christian? What is a normal Christian? A normal Christian, one who stopped enduring religion and started to enjoy salvation is one, not only who is having his own needs met, but is able to meet the needs of others. He has not become merely a reservoir. He has become a river. Now, most folks come on Sunday just thinking, boy, if I can just get a blessing.

I mean, if I can just have my needs met, boy, how wonderful it would be if I could just have my thirst assuaged. How many of us say, oh, God, I want to be a blessing. I want the outflow of my life to be a river of revival. Well, let's see if we can learn the secret in Ezekiel chapter 47. Here's a prophecy, I believe, of what we're talking about. This passage is very interesting. Here's a vision that Ezekiel saw, and I believe that Jesus was talking about here.

After what he brought me again to the door of the house. Now, the house that he's talking about is the temple of God. And every Old Testament temple, or the temple in the Old Testament, was a picture and a prophecy of the believer today. The Bible says that we are temples of God. Now, remember this, in the Old Testament, God had a temple for his people.

In the New Testament, God has a people for his temple. That Old Testament temple, just like that Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles, it's a picture of things to come and of spiritual things. And so, after what he brought me again to the door of the house, the temple, and behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward, for the forefront of the house stood toward the east and the waters came down from under the right side of the house at the south side of the altar.

Now, notice the mysterious source of this river. It's coming out of the temple, out of the temple. There comes a mysterious river and it flows right past the altar. It always does.

It always does. The altar speaks of Christ crucified. And if you want that river of living water to flow out of you, it will always forever flow past the altar, past the cross. What is the cross?

It is a gigantic eye crossed out. No longer I, but Christ. Out of my innermost being, out of the house of God, which house I am, out of the temple will flow a river.

That's the mysterious source of it. I want you to notice the marked course of it, verses two through six. Then he brought me out of the way of the gate northward and led me by the way unto the other gate, by the way that looketh eastward. And behold, there ran out waters on the right side.

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured 1,000 cubits. And he brought me through the waters. The waters were to the ankles. And he measured 1,000 cubits and brought me through the waters. The waters were to the knees. And he measured 1,000 and brought me through. The waters were to the loins.

Afterward he measured a 1,000. And it was a river that I could not pass over for the waters were risen. Waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. What a mysterious river. It keeps getting wider and deeper and it has no tributaries.

It just keeps rising up. This is the course of the river. In 500 yard increments, first of all, the water's ankle deep, then it's knee deep, then it's waist deep, and then it's water that engulfs and overwhelms water to swim in.

And then the writer of this passage of scripture says in verse six, "'Son of man, hast thou seen this?'" Is there a river revival flowing out of you at first, ankle deep, then knee deep, then up to the waist, and then a current that picks you up and sweeps you along. You'll never get more of the Spirit, but He needs to get more of you. I mean, some of us this morning are ankle deep. You're satisfied? I hope you move to knee deep. Some are knee deep.

Are you satisfied? I hope it'll move up to your loins. Some of you have seen this up to this far, but I pray God today, there will be a river flowing out of your life that will engulf and sweep you and all that comes with it along with it. There's the mysterious source of this river. There's the marked course of this river. There's the mighty force of this river, and I wish I had more time for all of these, but I want you to see what happens when this river begins to flow. Look, if you will now in verses seven through nine. And when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. And He said unto me, these waters issue out toward the east country and go down into the desert and into the sea, which being brought forth into the sea, the waters will be healed.

Now, those of you who've gone with me to Israel, you're going to be blessed right now because this is going to make more sense to you than anybody else. But if you were to go to the temple mountain, and if you were to stand and face the east, I believe I'm facing east right now, you would be looking out to the desert and you would be on the Mount Moriah, 2,700 feet above sea level. And then the terrain would begin to drop down, down, down, down, down, down, down to sea level. But it would keep on dropping down, down, down, down, down, down to the lowest spot on earth, 1,300 feet below sea level, the dead sea with its dead leadened waters.

Now this is what He's talking about. He said, I saw the temple. I saw a river come up. It flowed past the altar and it began to go down through the desert, down through the wilderness, down, down, down, down, down to the dead sea.

That's what He saw. And I believe that Jesus Christ was talking about this when He said, as the scripture said, out of His innermost being will flow rivers of living water. And what He is saying is this, and please listen, there will be life where there was once death when the river begins to flow out of you.

And then look, if you will, in verse 10. Look at it now in verse 10, and it shall come to pass that the fisher shall stand upon it from Ein Gedi, even unto Ein Galem, and they shall be a place to spread forth nets. Their fish shall be according to their kinds as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. There'll be as many fish in the dead sea as there are in the Mediterranean. There will be life where there is death. There will be success where there's failure.

How many of us have wanted to be fishers of men? But we're fishing in dead and leaden waters. And the problem is not with the dead sea.

The problem is with us because we've not poured into it. A river of living water. Thirdly, there'll be fruitfulness where there was barrenness. Look, if you will, in verse 12. And by the river upon the bank thereof on this side and on that side shall grow all trees for meat whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed. It shall bring forth new fruit according to his months because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary.

Is your life a fruitful life or a barren life? Galatians 5 verse 22 speaks of the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Is there a river flowing out of you that causes fruitfulness where there was once barrenness? And last of all, there will be health where there was once sickness.

Look in the last part of verse 12. And the fruit thereof shall be for meat and the leaf thereof for medicine. Well, I'm telling you this old sick, deadly world, this barren desert meets life. It needs the fruit of the Spirit.

It needs healing. Our world is sick. There is a dead sea out there. And Jesus said, if you thirst, come to me and drink and you'll be satisfied. But more than that, there'll be in you a river of living water. Where there was death, there'll be life. Where there was failure, there'll be success. And where there was barrenness, there'll be fruit.

And where there's sickness, there'll be health. Son of man, have you seen this? Let's pray. Oh God, seal the message to our hearts. And I pray today that many thirsty souls will come to Jesus and drink. Amen. If you would like to learn more about how you can know Jesus or deepen your relationship with Him, simply click the Discover Jesus link on our website, lwf.org. For a copy of this message or additional resources, visit our online store at lwf.org or call 1-800-274-5683. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-03 07:06:09 / 2024-05-03 07:19:49 / 14

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