Jesus most definitely did not come to start another religion…
Religion, by definition, is what man does to try to earn favor with God; while Christianity is something which the Bible says CANNOT be earned:
“For by grace (unmerited favor) you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)
The gospel message is God’s offer to have our sins forgiven and to be reconciled back into His family.
This happens, not because of anything we do to earn it; but it happens because of God’s love for us (John 3:16).
Listen to this first message that Jesus gave to a synagogue congregation, when He first started His ministry, here on earth:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus also said of His mission here on earth:
The Voice (VOICE)
[Backstory: The Pharisees are frequently around to challenge whatever Jesus says and does, but He always gets the better of them.
Once again, Jesus turns what the Pharisees say inside out.
They think blindness is a curse that evidences sin, and they think vision ensures knowledge and understanding—even concerning spiritual matters.
Instead, the Pharisees’ confidence in their vision and discernment make them unable to see the truth about Jesus.
Ironically, they have blind trust in their sighted leaders; and by refusing to believe in Jesus, they are the sinners—not the blind man.]
1 Jesus speaking: I tell you the truth: the man who crawls through the fence of the sheep pen, rather than walking through the gate, is a thief or a vandal.
2 The shepherd walks openly through the entrance. 3 The guard who is posted to protect the sheep opens the gate for the shepherd, and the sheep hear his voice.
He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When all the sheep have been gathered, he walks on ahead of them; and they follow him because they know his voice.
5 The sheep would not be willing to follow a stranger; they run because they do not know the voice of a stranger.
6 Jesus explained a profound truth through this metaphor, but they did not understand His teaching.
7 So He explained further.
Jesus: I tell you the truth: I am the gate of the sheep. 8 All who approached the sheep before Me came as thieves and robbers, and the sheep did not listen to their voices.
9 I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be liberated, will go in and go out, and will find pastures.
10 The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance!
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep in His care.
12 The hired hand is not like the shepherd caring for His own sheep.
When a wolf attacks, snatching and scattering the sheep, he runs for his life, leaving them defenseless.
13 The hired hand runs because he works only for wages and does not care for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me.
15 As the Father knows Me, I know the Father; I will give My life for the sheep.
16 There are many more sheep than you can see here, and I will bring them as well.
They will hear My voice, and the flock will be united. One flock. One shepherd.
17 The Father loves Me because I am willing to lay down My life—but I will take it up again.
18 My life cannot be taken away by anybody else; I am giving it of My own free will.
My authority allows Me to give My life and to take it again. All this has been commanded by My Father.
[Note: Jesus loves to explain truth through everyday things like vines, fruit, fishing, building, and shepherding, as He does here.
He is a master communicator. In this metaphor, Jesus is the shepherd.
Eventually He becomes the sheep as well. On the cross, He is destined to become the innocent sacrifice that makes all future sin sacrifices and burnt offerings unnecessary.]
“I had a debt I could not pay,
He paid the debt He did not owe,
I needed someone,
To wash my sins away.
And now I sing a brand new song,
“Amazing grace” all day long,
Christ Jesus paid the debt,
That I could never pay.”
Does any of this sound like a religion to you?
The way to be right with God, according to every religion is by earning your way.
It is based on works, not grace.
Christianity, on the other hand, is different from every religion in this one respect: ALL other religions in the world (including Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism) state that you MUST EARN the right to be reconciled with God, through your “good works.”
For them you are measured and rated by what you do in this life (by your good deeds or bad deeds), and this is what determines your eternal destiny.
Christianity, on the other hand, is completely different from this; and it is NOT a religion at all!
“The difference between Christianity and every other faith in the world is that all religions are about man trying to reach up to God; whereas Christianity is about God reaching down to man.”
From Reinhart Bonnke’s official page:
Jesus did not found a religion, a way to God. He is ‘the way the truth the life’.
Apart from baptism and the Lord’s Supper, He imposed no observances, no rituals, nothing that normally constitutes a religion.
To compare the Christian faith with any others is a very unequal undertaking, like comparing fish and fowl.
Jesus simply set things going in the world, and in peoples’ hearts, something like a river of new energy.
You can’t call a river ‘a religion’. Christ does not impart ‘religious experience’ in the popular sense, as when sightseers creep in awe round a cathedral full of shrines to the dead, or are affected by high ritual.
If anybody thinks Christ’s presence has the same effect as stained glass and ‘the dim religious light’ their ignorance is not bliss.
Jesus talked to a woman in Samaria drawing well water, and promised her ‘water springing up into everlasting life’.
Well water was flat. Fish can’t live in wells.
Living water, cascading in white foam over a rock fall, is full of oxygen.
It seems to me that so much pleasure on offer today is second hand, stale, bottled, canned, or stored stuff like old movies, television full of repeats.
People can’t live on a diet of film.
Jesus does not bore us with the same old thing, with routine church performances.
There’s a creativeness in it all – the Spirit of God is moving, not static.
We don’t come to church for the religious atmosphere, but for the heavenly winds to stir us.
That sort of service ruffles some people – wind and fresh air does also, but is a very healthy thing.
This is food for thought. God bless you. REINHARD BONNKE
Come join the Adventure!
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
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