Christianity at its core is the end of all religion. In this sermon, Pastor Phil Schaefer teachers on the difference of religion and having life in Jesus.
Religion is man making himself just in the eyes of God. But in Christ, God became a man. In Christ, God and man are united. There is no longer a need for religion because Jesus has made us just in God’s eyes. Jesus has given us life! Thus, Christianity is a new life, not a new religion.
Religion is this: any way that we are keeping record of our merits. Everyone starts this way. Every one of us is born religious. You want to get ‘it’ right. It’s the only way we can understand in our early years. It is not Jesus who condemns us. It is religion that makes us feel condemned. But Jesus Christ is the end of all religion because He Himself was the ANSWER to all religion. Jesus is God’s answer for making us not only right with God but also one with God.
God calls us to do the same work that the Father and Son have been doing since the beginning: to be life, to be a light, to give our lives. Put simply, we are to be a blessing, to bring a blessing wherever we find ourselves. We do good not to gain eternal life but because we have eternal life. Our work or vocation is not to escape; it is to orient ourselves to new life even as we live in this world of sin.
The very essence of Christianity is that man is incapable. There’s the story of the lame man in John 5. Jesus asks the lame man if he wants to get well, and the man replies with an excuse. The lame man doesn’t answer the question. Jesus responds with a command: “Get up!”
This is not just a healing. This is an account of fallen mankind and our inability to heal ourselves. It is an account of the Gospel itself! Pastor Phil believes that this is a prophetic word for someone this morning. For someone who has wallowed in their crippledness for years, the Spirit is saying, “Get up!” Pick up what you’ve been lying upon these years. Stop letting it carry you. You roll it up. Start walking into the new life that Jesus has called you into.
Jesus did not come to help us a little bit. He came to give us new life. His life. Life in Him. But we must be willing to come to Him to have this life. For through the cross, joy came into the whole world. This joy does not depend on anything to us. It is the joy of God’s gift of Himself to us. It is the joy of forgiveness or being called a saint, of God’s grace abundantly and freely given, of getting to be an instrument in God’s hand, of God’s seeking after us, of the Holy Spirit as a seal and promise of God.
This is a joy given to us for the world. Christ dies for the world. He came for this world. He came not to give us an escape from it but to bring life and hope to it. All human achievement is leveled thru Jesus’s death. Christianity is about the achievement of the cross. We worship a crucified man who is also the giver of life.
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