Pure ReligionBro. David Chancellor
11/4/2001 11:00 AM
1. There is vain religion. 2. There is pure religion. We should be concerned that we have a pure religion. Many people are content with just being religious. There is an absence of purity today. "If any man seems to be religious, but his religion can't bridle the tongue - he's deceived." What is spoken reveals the heart. He gives us the definition of pure religion. He describes a practical way of living. 1. To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. 2. To keep himself unspotted from the world. Just visiting isn't what was mentioned here, but "in their affliction." These didn't come out on top, but were poor, outcast, and downtrodden. These aren't the ones that can rise to the top. Become a participant in their affliction. This goes against human nature. Humanity wants that position of acceptance. Pure religion is not about social acceptance. Our outlook should be changed to "how can I give of myself to others." We should live to benefit others. It is not just fatherless and widows, but the downtrodden, and poor. We're not out to just win the middle class, but also those that society has thrown aside. "To keep himself unspotted from the world." As you begin to reach out to others, it is still easy to be influenced by the attitudes of others.
As we reach out to others, there will be those who would try to influence our outlook toward others. There are many attitudes out there that are not in agreement with pure religion. Being "unspotted with the world", has more to do than with dress. Putting on enough clothes ought to come naturally, yet more time is spent on this. What is your attitude toward others? To keep unspotted, you'll have to watch what you think, and how you are affected by others. It is not a religion of do's and don'ts, but there is something for us to do.
1 Peter 2:20-23
A lot of our troubles in this world are of our own creation. We need to be able to take our own faults patiently. But, when we do good and suffer for it, it is acceptable with God. If you need an example, look up to Christ. Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ." We should follow in his steps. The "in crowd" bumped heads with Christ constantly. Yet, Christ didn't sin and had no guile in his mouth. Guile is duplicity - saying one thing and meaning another. Christ didn't play politics. There is WAY too much politics in religion. There were no doubts about where Christ stood. If we walk as pure as God would have us to, our presence won't build up that which is wrong. Christ was out to help people. He was there to make their condition better. Reviled - hard, insolent speech. He talked to them plainly, but it wasn't hard and insolent. God hasn't called us to give back as bad as we get. The stories we hear should grieve our heart. Someone going to hell won't make heaven better for us. We should desire to see lives changed. We shouldn't want to put others down. We can still call right right and wrong wrong without calling someone by name and "skinning their hide." Jesus forgave, although he could have threatened. He came to help. What does our religion produce? Are we here to help or to destroy? Our calling is to follow in his steps. It will work on us from all angles and we need to be settled to go God's way.
We need to be careful who we look down on. We are to "despise no man." Christ contended with the devil. He didn't accuse the devil of anything. Many people try to destroy the accuser. Many people bring "railing accusations." They try to destroy another's credibility to build themselves up. Christ didn't work this way and neither should we. We could corrupt ourselves by the things we say. We need to be careful how we talk. Railing and reviling are the same thing. It is important how we live if we are to be a child of God.
One day we want to stand before God without fault.