Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why Should We Be Socially Religious?



Print by Gustave Doré illustrating the parable...


THE GOLDEN RULE
Jas 1:26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless.
Jas 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

4 REASONS WHY THE NT EXPECTS US TO BE SOCIALLY-RELIGIOUS


1. Because It is Pure and Undefiled Religion Before God
A Loveless Religion is a Lifeless Religion
Love your God – Internal Spirituality
Love your neighbor- External Justice, Truthfulness
The Balance: Pure and Undefiled Religion

The Pharisaic Inversion: Impure and Defiled Religion: Defiled by the Self
External Spirituality: Show-offs of religiosity and goodness
Internal Falsehood: Unwashed Vessels, Whitewashed Tombs
The Imbalance: Corrupted and Harmful Religion; double-minded, double-faced, religion that is devoid of faith (James talks of that)
They oppressed the widows…

You can’t have religion from outside in; you need to have it from inside out.
Psalm 51: Truth in the inner parts.

Mother Teresa: The motives of charity: love for Christ. See Christ in each of the kids.

Religion (Gk. Threskia – Ceremonial worship) Worship = Love: That’s the sum of worship. If you had all the rituals and all the ceremonies, but no love; God says that better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted calf with hatred.

1Ti 1:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.

That is the whole purpose of the commandment, the sum of religion.

James 2 asks how we deal with the rich and how we deal with the poor: the test of religion
Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
Jas 2:16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
Jas 2:17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

2. Because Christ Expects us to Have a Generous Hand
But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly (Mat 6:3-4)

He said the Father will reward. Why should the Father reward?? We’ve looked at Teresa’s motive for charity. We don’t do it for rewards, but out of love for Christ.

Illustration: A father gives 50 Rs each to 2 of his sons. The younger loses his 50, so the elder shares his 25 whith him. The father watches it; he then, calls both his kids and gives 25 to each of them, and praises the elder son for his love.

Also, God is not a debtor to any says the Bible: which means that when we help someone, we do God’s work, and He rewards us for that.

In other words, helping the poor is a ministry and work of the Lord that is rewarded directly by God. Why? Because, true giving has no expectations of reciprocity from either the receiver or from any other human. “The left hand should not know what the right hand is doing”. In fact, nothing should be done with the expectation of any reward.

However, you won’t lack people who give in order to have a picture clicked of their generosity. Of course, we need some of these to gain support. But, there were no cameras in Paul’s day; there was a strength in his character that brought in generous gifts at the call of his pen.

But, if you say I don’t have anything, then I’ll tell you the story of Peter and John – Do you have Jesus? If Yes, then give Him out, but in this case it need not be some secret giving. It’s proclamation; for freely you received freely you give.

3. Because Christ Set us an Example of Helping

The Incessant ministry of Healing & Deliverance: Body
The Incessant ministry of Preaching: Spirit
The Incessant ministry of Teaching: Soul
The multiplication of Loaves and Fishes

Faith+Compassion=Miracle

4. Because Christ taught us that the Closed Fist will meet the Closed Gate
The rich young ruler: Unfit to be a disciple
The rich fool: Unwise of making the right use of the blessings of God.
The rich man and Lazarus: Untouched by the feelings of men, eternally separated from God.
The 5 foolish virgins: They never bought the extra oil, perhaps to save money… what fools!

© Domenic Marbaniang, August 2010

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