We’ve been talking about: Origin, Evolution, End of Religion
How God has intervened in human history to get us back on track.
Quite the journey. Introduced you to some big ideas. Hopefully challenged you, hopefully encouraged you.
As a reward how how great you’ve been, harnessed my inner youth pastor, and we’re going to watch a video clip.
We’ve been talking our tendency as human being to set up systems to bridge a gap with God that isn’t really there.
He has accommodated our hard hearts, stubbornness. – Religion for a time.
Finally penetrates human history to say ‘enough. I want to remind you what I’ve always wanted: live well and be embraced by my love.’
End of Religion
It all starts when Jesus comes and has an intervention with humanity. That’s really what it is.
“Surprise! I invited you here for an intervention” – You thought movies.
Steals us from our blindness.
John 5 – Almost like shock treatment to religious conservative. – Helps people ‘get it’.
So shocking – religious have to make a choice. – Either Jesus has to die, or has to be followed. – Can’t just be ignored.
Let’s pretend, 1st century church. House church.
Coming across one of the scrolls written by John would be very precious to us. – We’ve got a copy, we’ve brought it to church.
I’m one who’s asked to be a reader, not everyone’s literate.
Might be some people who are new, hearing these for the first time. – Hearing about this non-religious Jesus. – Grown up in very religious culture.
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. (John 5:1)
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. (John 5:2)
Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. (John 5:3)
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. (John 5:5)
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6)
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:7)
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” (John 5:8)
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. (John 5:9)
Beautiful. – Unusual. “Pick up your mat.” – Who cares about the stupid mat. – You’re used to it, grow up in religious circles.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, (John 5:9b)
Remember: we’re first century jews. We would have all gasped.
Deliberate – 10 top things we’re supposed to do, ‘Don’t work on the sabbath. Keep it holy.
Jeremiah – One way Israel kept breaking that commandment, carrying things on the sabbath. Whole rant “Jeresulam, you keep carrying your personal belongings around on the sabbath like your business is more important than the sabbath!”
“Pick up your mat!”
so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” (John 5:10)
Jesus performs miracles that have an irreligious message hidden in them.
Going out of his way to fight the system.
Old West – new sheriff in town. Your time is up. “Aint room enough in this town…”
This guy is healed, roaming around, getting a lot of attention.
Jesus has put the religious leaders in a weird position. B/C he obviously has some divine power. Using his power to go against their religious ideas.
But he (man who was healed) replied , “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ” (John 5:11)
So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?” (John 5:12)
In their hearts continued to grow hate for Jesus.
Later on, religious leaders find Jesus, want to interrogate Him.
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. (John 5:16)
In his defense Jesus said to them… (John 5:17)
You’d think “Guys! It’s not work! I just said a thing, and I wanted him to clean up after himself. I meant no disrespect.”
“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (John 5:16b)
In your face: “God working – I’m working – Law is stupid.”
Later in conversation:
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39)
All culminates on Jesus. The point is Jesus.
If you look at the bible as the Holy Book that you study to live it out, you’ve missed the point.
You can study the scripture, obsessed with the scripture, live out the scripture, argue the scripture, you’ve graduated to ‘a pharisee’.
But what you aren’t is someone who follows Jesus.
We study scripture so we can get to know Jesus, but then we follow Jesus.
Changes our mindset on how we read every word in the bible. We don’t just find places, read what it says and do it.
In bible college: The bible says it, that settles it, I believe it, let’s do it. – Sounds so good and holy. Us preachers, we love hammering the book, ‘WE NEED TO GET BACK TO THE BIBLE!!!’ Actually the bible is a place where we go to have a supernatural encounter with Jesus. And then we follow Jesus.
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:13)
Ever imagine the bible would call a huge part of it’s own literature obsolete?
The bible isn’t obsolete, the covenant it talks about is obsolete.
Read it with the intention of it pointing to Jesus.
For that, incredible value. Meaning. Exciting.
“The bible says it, that settles it, I believe it, let’s do it.” “What’s my scripture for the day, I’m gonna follow that!” – Obsolete.
The bible is all about contrast. – The change that Jesus brings. We follow Jesus, we don’t follow the book.
Might sound like semantics, but that small mental shift will make a world of difference.
Jesus heals a blind guy.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. (John 9:1)
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)
Interesting – Jewish culture – version of ‘karma’. – Not reincarnation, but if you do bad things, God will cause bad things will happen to you.
Well what if you were born with something bad? – Reason why karma and reincarnation fit together so well. – In a very destructive way of course.
Weird tradition, not in the bible, but it’s in other ancient jewish writings: the ability to sin ‘in utero’. Somehow reject God before being born. Maybe hooking a 6 months, pimping at 7. Something wrong in utero – born blind.
They have a ‘Theodicy’ – theological discussion about the origin of evil.
Never mind that there’s a man who’s suffering who we can help.
Disciples like us want to turn opportunities to help into opportunities to have another discussion.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:3)
Greek – not as challenging – Subjunctive passive tense of “phaneroo” – “to manifest”
SCHOLARS: “Neither. But let the works of God be revealed in him.”
Lots of places in the bible – describe Jesus’s healing ministry describes as ‘healing those oppressed by Satan’.
Basically, ‘healing time’.
Walks over – stops half way. Disciples “what’s he doing? I don’t know, power gotta come, or something. Give him a minute.” Instead of healing, bends down, picks up some dirt. Disciples “ok…” Spits.
(Never see this scene in stained glass. Always lamb around neck, two fingers up).
Starts to mix spit and the dirt. Disciples: “This is not going well.”
Starts to walk over to blind guy, with mud. The guys blind. He doesn’t know!
Disciples “oh my god.” Rubs mud in eyes. Is he healed? No.
“You gotta get some people to lead you over this pool. “The pool of Siloam.”” – Wash off.
Across town. – Walking – Create a scene. He’s got mud in his eyes. – Dramatic.
He’s making a point.
We read on, what day of the week you think this is? – Sabbath.
Sabbath – lots of stuff you can’t do.
Tradition of the elders – written down hundreds of years later. – At the time of Christ – “Oral torah” – Similar to churches – lots of stuff you can’t do, not written, just understood.
We can now read the mishna. – Tons of stuff you can and can’t do on the sabbath.
Attempting to heal anyone with any remedy on the sabbath is wrong unless it’s an immediate issue of life or death. If they can wait one more day, they should.
Anointing someone with anything. Not allowed.
Also: making of any dough or clay. Kneading of bread. – Reminds Israel of making bricks in Egypt.
Actual line from the mishna “You allowed to add water to your breakfast porridge, but you’re not allowed to mix it on the day of the Lord.” – Pour it in there, hope it seeps up somehow, but can’t mix it.
Jesus, spitting on at least 3 religious traditions.
It’s all over. This whole thing is over. I’m in authority of the whole system. Going through town, bragging about breaking the rules.
Lots of pools in Jerusalem. – Story goes on to show it was a festival time “Sukkot” – sue-cot. (Like coal) – One particular parade – From temple – pool siloam – back.
Go down – That particular pool – Bless the water, make it holy – take water from that pool – parade back to the temple. – Libation ceremony – Pour out liquid as an offering to God.
Jesus says “Wash there.” Muddy the water Be healed.
Be forced – to make a CHOICE
He was Irreligous yet Supernatural so people had to decide what they thought.
Religious leaders had to reconcile this, so they decided that he was using the power of Satan.
Not just Jesus subtly challenging religion, breaking all this rules – irreligious statement.
He has the authority. He’s making a statement that it’s over.
Amazing statement. You could call it ‘good news’ – early christ followers did. “Gospel”.
We can celebrate this – joy & freedom
Sad thing – us – drop the ball – communicating this to others.
Jesus died on the cross not just for our SIN but for our RELIGION.
Ephesians 2 & Colossians 2 – The law was crucified to the cross.
The whole old covenant.
Jesus Christ was the final sacrifice.
For our sin, shame, religion.
Beautiful, good news message.
Sad: Followers of Christ followed it for a time, then ‘This is so great that we should make a religion out of it!’
Make our own:
Rules, Rituals, Routines, Holy Places, Holy Men –
Make a power broking system where men have to come to us to get access to God. If they disobey us, we can cut them off, as the keeper of God!
March against people, Kill people – until everyone “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
Turn it BACK into the thing Jesus came to destroy.
But it’s in the name of Jesus, so it’s tricky. – Crafty, sneaky, – serpent is still at work, and he is.
We at Believers Center want to be followers of Christ who acknowledge that huge parts of our Christian heritage missed the boat.
To be a follower of Jesus is to be someone who is free from your past.
(Close – band)
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (Symbolic – struggle – heartache) (Revelation 21:1)
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Kings) (Revelation 21:3)
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22)
Temple was the symbol of the religious establishment. – Where sacrifices took place.
Where we’re going (this new city) looks a lot like where we came from (the garden). Did you notice there was no religion is the garden? Special Holy Institution, Holy mantra to make God appear.
Where we’re going there is no temple, because God Himself is the temple.
We’re living in intimacy with God. Wrapped in Him.
We created religion. We did. It was never God’s plan. It was never God’s heart. He wanted to live in relationship. But we got off track. We bought the lie. We believed that God was far away, when He wasn’t. Thank God for Jesus. He came and put an end to the systems that we built and reminds us that God is here. This is the end of religion.
Close, communion. – (Pass it out.)
Take inventory – own heart.
Think about the ways that you can subtly fall into religion.
- Thinking you’re good enough because of all the good stuff you do
- Thinking you’re not good enough because of all the bad stuff you do.
Either case: relating to God based on your own goodness. As your eat the bread, drink from the cup – I want it to be symbolic of you just stopping and resting.
It’s not because of me, it’s because of you, and I know that you’re here with me, even now.
Maybe you feel like you’re close to him, maybe you feel far from Him, but just stopping and saying ‘You are here.’