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(The Definition of religion)
SCRIPTURE Jas 1:27 NOVEMBER, 2017
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
SUBJECT THE DEFINITION OF 'RELIGION!!!'
The message for this month is one that should be of interest to everyone that calls themselves a Christian.
It has to do with explaining exactly what being 'religious' is, and not only that, but how that plays in to the mistaken notion that somehow we are supposed to separate our Christianity, from our daily lives, in relation to the public, in this nation.
There is a mistaken belief that when dealing with public matters, we are to lay aside our 'religion', and not try to impose our 'religious' beliefs, on others.
This belief, comes from the erroneous interpretation that part of the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution addressing what is called a 'separation of church and state.!!'
Well, let's look at what the definition of religion' is, according to the bible.
The subject verse says that pure religion[undefiled], in the eyes of God, is To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
What is being described here, is a lifestyle choice, telling us to do something.
What this means is, a person who calls themselves a Christian, should adopt this type of lifestyle, or philosophy. Meaning they adapt their way of life according to what it is they profess to be.
If, a person does not do that, then, Jas 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
The gist of this scripture is, as a Christian, we should take control of our mouths, by watching what we say, and how we say it.
When addressing the sin/wickedness and wrong doing of others, there is a right way to do it, and that is in Love.
But, it goes further than this.
Not only are we to control what we say, but also, what we do. Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
As a Christian, we are admonished by God to live our lives according to how God directs us to, and not as man dictates.
When a person decides to turn their lives over to following Christ, they are effectively agreeing to discard their old ways, and accept a totally new lifestyle.
It can be said that if a person does not do this, or make an honest attempt to do it, then, they haven't really accepted Christ.
Now that I have given you a brief look at the definition of what it means to be a Christian, from a biblical standpoint, let's look at the definition of religion, according to the world, point of view.
While most of us, would say it, 'religion', has to do with the worship of God, gods, demons and the like, that is only part of the story.
The reason I say this is because, a major part of the definition of religion, as put forth in almost every dictionary, is conveniently overlooked.
1 a the state of a religious
b (1) the service and worship of God or the supernatural
- a nun in her 20th year of religion
(2) commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes,
beliefs, and practices
3 archaic scrupulous conformity conscientiousness
4 a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
If you will notice the above definition of religion, you will see that I highlighted parts 2,3, and 4. I left part  alone, because just about everyone understands, and accepts it's view on that area concerning God, gods, spirituality and the supernatural.
On the other hand, however the highlighted parts, are hardly ever commented on, because very few people even know that they exist.
Looking at part 2 above, we see that religion, is also defined as a 'personalized set', or 'institutionalized system', of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.
What this is saying, is that any time a person chooses to adapt their way of living, to go along with what they have determined is the way they want to live their lives, that has become their 'religion.'
Part 3 goes on to say scrupulous conformity conscientiousness is another part of religion.
This means that you set certain priorities, goals, and limits on your life, as to what you will, and will not do, or in the case of an institutionalized system, they set those things for you, and you follow them. In other words, you conform to that way of living and doing things.
Part 4 brings in to the mix, a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.
This part, basically sums up the entire definition of 'religion' by saying anything that you choose to believe, whether it is a cause, a principal, a group of beliefs, and practices, that you feel so strongly about that you begin to live according to that belief, has become your religion.
Now, if you will notice, when I gave you the biblical definition of 'religion', it basically said the same thing. We are to live our lives, according to the principles, and limits that God has put forth for us.
Romans 12:2 above, along with scriptures like Rom 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, direct us to change our way of thinking, or doing things, so that we can obtain Righteousness.
When the scripture mentions scrupulous conformity, it is talking about essentially being rock hard, steadfast, and immovable, meaning you can't be convinced to change your ways.
Certain dictionaries follow up with examples of religion, that most of you know nothing about.
Those include, but are not limited to racism, environmentalism, animal rights, fascism, communism, liberalism, conservatism, homosexuality, sado-masicism, political correctness, capitalism, socialism and the list goes on.
Some other religious practices that most people overlook, are people that are sticklers for being punctual for work and appointments. Other people have a real attraction to certain sports, and particular teams.
One dictionary listed hockey, especially in Canada as being a religious practice of certain die-hard fans. They live, eat and breathe hockey. The same thing can be said about soccer. Fights, and outright brawls have been started over someone speaking negatively about a team.
My point is, no matter which way you cut it, all of us have our own set of values, that we live our lives by, that fit the definition of religion.
Now, with that being the case, why do you think it is that we only hear about anything referring to Christianity being considered for a law, as being a violation of the first amendment, concerning religion, while at the same time, all these other religions, are readily accepted for supporting legislation??
The answer is very simple. It is an attack on Christ.
Why do I say that???
Because, if you think about it, the First Amendment of the constitution, concerning 'religion', is called Separation of Church and state.'
Well, what is the word Church referring to??
Why not synagogue??? Why not Mosque???
It is because the world has no problem with any other 'religion', as they call it, but Christianity.
All these other religions are tolerated, because they are not as offensive as they see Christianity as being.
It, is the only lifestyle choice that openly challenges the world to turn from their wickedness, before they end up in hell.
The world doesn't like that because their 'religion', the things they believe and like to do, the things they have adapted as their lifestyle, makes them feel good, and Christianity, takes that away from them.
So their response to it, is to shut it down. Put it in a closet somewhere where no one can be reminded that it exists.
In public places, especially those places designated as government run, they want all symbols that are there to remind us of its [Christianity] existence, removed.
Any piece of legislation that is being considered to be passed in to law, in any local, state, or federal administration, has to be examined to see if it has any references to any thing that can be related to Christianity. If it does, then it is to be rejected, if it offends them.
That is their religion.
Funny thing is, they will support it if that same legislation can be shown to benefit them. They only oppose it if it punishes them for what they like to do.
An example of this would be something like feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, or some other charitable action that is outlined in the bible as being the Christian thing to do, they have no problem with.
But, when you want to address what they are doing as being 'sin', and you put that in to legislation, then, all of a sudden, it is to be rejected.
That is their religion.
Like it or not, even if you are an avowed dyed in the wool atheist, that is your religion. You can't say you are not religious, because doing so identifies your religion.
When I hear people talking about how they are not religious, guess what?? That is their religion.
Now, if you take the biblical definition of religion, and compare it with the dictionary definition of it, they both agree that it is how you live your lives that determines your religion.
This is the main reason the constitution was worded the way it was, because back then, the definition of religion was as it is today.
The framers knew that with all the different beliefs and lifestyles that people lived, if congress passed laws supporting each one, then this nation would be in a mess. Because one person's religion, could conflict with someone else's, causing confusion, and possibly trouble.
No person walking the face of this earth, is without being religious, because the full definition of it covers all actions that one might take as their lifestyle.
So, in a nutshell, just because you may believe something, does not make it your religion. It only becomes your religion when you begin to adjust your lifestyle to go along with that belief.
Example, I believe a man named Mohammad lived at one time, and is the founder of Islam, but, that doesn't make it, Islam, my religion. It would only become my religion, if I began to follow the dictates of what he, Mohammad said I needed to do.
Notice what the bible says in the subject verse. It directs us to do something. In fact one verse in the new testament says Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Some of you go to church every time the doors open up, and you sit there listening to the choir and the sermons, and may even give a hallelujah, or amen to every thing you hear inside the church. Then you get out, and the rest of the time, you live like the devil.
You are playing church!! That is your religion.
Christianity[undefiled] requires a 24/7 commitment of not only hearing and reading, but doing what God, through Jesus Christ says you need to do.
And one thing you need to do, is stop supporting politicians that reject what Christ says is right and wrong. Or are you playing church???