Spiritual but Not Religious

Text: Romans 10:1-3

 

I.         The paper had an article discussing how denominations were wrestling with a growing dissatisfaction with religion. In particular the focus was on people viewing Christmas as purely a secular holiday, but what caught my eye was this statement:

            A.        “... many young people these days consider themselves spiritual but not religious. They might believe in God or another ‘force outside themselves,’ but they don’t sit in pews on Sunday.” [Michael O’Connor, “Is Christmas a religious holiday? Just half say yes,” Omaha World-Herald, 19 December 2013].

            B.        It was a strange coincidence because that same day I was asked by a preacher what to say when told by someone that they were “spiritual but not religious.” He had never ran into that attitude before.

II.        What do we mean by “religious”?

            A.        The word religion

                        1.         It comes from the Latin, meaning to re-align; that is, to change your beliefs to align them with another

                        2.         Religion is a set of beliefs, observances, and moral code

            B.        All religion is not bad - James 1:26-27

            C.        Some people look down on “organized religion”

                        1.         It means they don’t want any set rules, codified in anyway

                        2.         By the very nature of the statement, they are saying they don’t want a Bible. They want to make up their own rules as they see fit.

III.       What is meant by a spirituality that doesn’t include religion

            A.        Often people will claim that each person should have his own personal relationship with Christ

                        1.         It doesn’t matter what church you attend, or whether you attend irregularly or not at all.

            B.        But what this means is that the individual chooses what he wants to believe and follow.

                        1.         It is the creation of a new “god” who is indifferent to his worshipers, who accepts the worship that the individual decides to give, and relates to the person as the person decides.

                        2.         Since what individual A wants in his god is different from B, each person is creating a personal idol.

                                    a.         It is no different than the household gods we read in the Bible.

                        3.         Isn’t it strange that people’s gods always agree with them. They are always sure that their god approves fo their behavior.

                        4.         The result is always creating a god in their own image - Romans 1:22-23

                                    a.         If you ever heard someone say, “Well, my God wouldn’t ...”, that is someone who has a God in his own image.

                                    b.         That is why we are commanded - I Peter 4:11

IV.      Can you be a Christian without religion?

            A.        Christ taught that one God, demands everything from each person - Matthew 22:37-38

            B.        God organized a religion and expects people to follow it.

                        1.         Christ established his church - Matthew 16:18

                        2.         It founded upon laws - I John 5:2-3

                        3.         It is through following the laws, you have a relationship with God - I John 2:3-6; John 14:15

            C.        The church is the fullness of Christ - Ephesians 1:22-23

                        1.         When people are saved they are added to that church - Acts 2:47

            D.        God also established that Christians in a local to assemble as a church

                        1.         Not to forsake the assembling - Hebrews 10:24-25

                        2.         We see examples of Christians assembling - Acts 11:26

                        3.         Though violating the Lord’s Supper, note the terms used in I Corinthians 11:17-20

            E.        The purpose of the local church is for the members to edify each other - Ephesians 4:16

                        1.         Such can be seen in the acts of worship done together - I Corinthians 14:26

                        2.         Edifying fellow Christians is never considered by those who claim to be spiritual without being religious.

            F.        Since the church is commanded, and we see that it was commanded with reason, can anyone claim to follow Christ while disobeying Christ? - Luke 6:46

V.        Christianity is about dying to self and serving others

            A.        Died to self - Galatians 2:20

            B.        Looking out for the interests of others - Philippians 2:1-4

            C.        Those claiming to be irreligiously spiritual place self above all else.

            D.        Let us instead be humble servants of the mighty God - I Peter 5:5