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1 Corinthians 9:11
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Relationship With Jesus
The Key To Effective Ministry

Section 4, Chapter 5

The Damnation of Religion

Chapter Illustration

Page 1 of 2 pages

Study Questions:

  1. keeps us from entering the kingdom of God?
  2. What is required to enter the kingdom of God?
  3. What is the fruit of self-imposed religious programs?

horizontal rule

JESUS DEPENDENCE IS
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is learning to surrender to the personal dictates of Jesus’ Lordship over our lives in attitude and action and the beginning of His character building in our lives to conform us to His image,70 which is the beginning of Jesus making us dependent on Him rather than ourselves or our own religious programs. Walking in the Spirit then is a further development and maturing of what it means to be Jesus-dependent in our relationship with Him and to know what is truly His voice.

WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
IS LOOKING TO JESUS
FOR OUR NEEDS

Jesus loves us and has an intimate individual personal plan and purpose for our lives, but this plan and purpose can only be revealed and realized as we grow in our understanding of dependence on Jesus for every detail of our lives.

Josh McDowell in his book, More Than a Carpenter, states, "Jesus Christ is actually a name and a title. The name Jesus is derived from the Greek form of the name ‘Jeshua’129 or Joshua meaning ‘Yehovah-Savior’ or ‘the Lord saves.’"19/11 Jesus is our Savior and Jesus is our God. He is God and He is Savior.71 His name means literally what it says, that Jesus is our salvation in every way and in every respect. We are not to look to ourselves or to anyone else for the answer to our needs, but to Jesus alone.

The Apostle Peter states in the book of Acts, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12). Peter means this quite literally when he says no other name. Why are we not saved in the name of Buddha? Because the word "Buddha" does not mean Yehovah is Savior. It is not just the word "Jesus", but what the word Jesus means. It means that God who became flesh, man, in the person of Jesus Christ, is our only means of salvation and sanctification and the only answer to any of our needs. This is confirmed in the Old Testament in Isaiah 43:10-11,

"‘You are My witnesses,’ declares Yehovah, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no El128 formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am Yehovah; and there is no Savior besides Me.’"

In this passage God, Yehovah, tells us plainly that He and He alone is God and that there is no God besides Him. Not only does He tell us this but He also tells us that there is no Savior besides Him. Therefore, for Jesus to claim to be our Savior He is claiming to be Yehovah God. The Jews understood this and is why they had him crucified.

Any presence of self-dependence in any form keeps us from being able to enter fully into the kingdom of God. Jesus said in Matthew, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 18:3). What does it mean to become like children? Up to a certain age children cannot support or decide for themselves. They are totally dependent on their mother and father to make the right decisions and for all other necessary food and provisions. All of Satan’s temptations are centered on getting ourselves focused on ourselves and self-dependent, but Jesus wants us to one-hundred percent depend on Him for what decisions to make in life and for all of our needs mentally, physically, and spiritually. He wants us to look to Him not ourselves or others.

This is what is wrong with humanism. Humanism according to Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer is,

". . the system whereby man, beginning absolutely by himself, tries rationally to build out from himself, having only man as his integration point, to find all knowledge, meaning and value."20/17

Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." (Jn 14:6).

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. . . . I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." (Jn 10:1, 9).

We usually want to think of these sayings by Jesus as referring to our salvation only, but Jesus said knowing God and knowing Him, relating to Him in every area of our lives, is eternal life.72 Entering the kingdom of God requires making Jesus our exclusive provider for everything, everything we need.

The Apostle Paul said, "for ‘Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’" (Rom 10:13). Whoever acknowledges to Jesus that He is the only answer to their needs will get their needs met. Jesus wants us to look to Him and not ourselves to correct and change us into what He wants us to be. Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew,

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." (Matt 11:28-30).

Jesus does not want us striving about our needs or problems, but He wants us to rest in Him, looking to Him and trusting Him to take care of all our needs in His time and way. This is what walking in the Spirit is all about, learning to be Jesus- dependent for anything that concerns our lives whether it be in relation to Jesus, ourselves, or others.

CHRISTIANITY IS NOT
A RELIGION

Christianity is not a religion. Outside of moral law, it is not a set of laws, codes, or ethics that all believers must follow. It is not a religious program that you go through and in the end come out quote unquote spiritual. Christianity is individ-ual separate personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The only thing that Christians have in common is the Lord and source of what they are: JESUS! Jesus is the center of Christianity and the common denominator of Christianity. Every Christian is a different numerator with a common denominator: Jesus!73 Jesus did tell us to go out and make disciples and teach men all He commanded us, but what Jesus commanded us was that He is the way, the truth, and the life; that no one can come to the Father accept through Him,74 and all of the rest of his teachings teach us what that means and how to practically live that out. We cannot come to the Father through a religious program nor can we gain the Father’s approval by completing a religious program. This is because self-initiated religious programs stem from the soul: man’s reason and his emotions; not his spirit through the Holy Spirit.

This does not mean that religious programs do not have value in their proper context and emphasis. I myself have been through several religious programs that Jesus led me into through His Spirit and have benefitted greatly, but not for the purpose of approval or to be spiritual or to try and change myself in my own strength. We can only gain the Father’s approval by basing our life actions as a result of relationship with Jesus. The key statement here is Jesus’ initiative, not our initiative.

When Peter was on the mountain of transfiguration, where he saw Jesus transformed momentarily into His former glory while conversing with Elijah and Moses, his first thought like most of ours was to build a monument and start a new religion. Peter said to Jesus, ". . . Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." (Matt 17:4). We can call it, "the religion of the three tabernacles."

God the Father seeing the waywardness of Peter’s thoughts immediately came down in a cloud and gave Peter the following response, ". . . This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; hear Him!" (Matt 17:4-5). The Father quickly put the focus back onto Jesus and Jesus alone.

Discipleship training then is teaching people how to be focused on Jesus and be Jesus-dependent, not us-dependent: soul-dependent. Discipleship training is also teaching the disciple how to discern what is truly Jesus’ voice, which is what this book is all about.

Being spiritual then is being Jesus-dependent: Holy Spirit dependent through our spirit. The greater you recognize your dependence and need of Jesus, the more spiritual you are.

Well meaning Christians who put together discipleship programs which demand certain disciplines that do not result out of relationship with Jesus or are Jesus inspired for a purpose other than gaining God’s acceptance, end up getting people focused on themselves, on the strength of the soul, the problem, and not on Jesus their solution.

Those who become convinced that their particular program that is not focused on Jesus is the answer to man’s needs rather than relationship with Jesus, become intolerant of other Christians who do not meet up to their so called spiritual standards. The Apostle Paul gave a response to this kind of attitude. He said,

"For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding." (2 Cor 10:12).

In another passage Paul said,

"The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God." (Rom 8:7-8).

Being in the flesh in this context simply means to try and solve our problems through the strength and reasoning of our soul and flesh. It is self-dependence, self- strife, humanism. Paul puts it another way in the book of Colossians,

"These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence." (Col 2:23).

Study Questions
Continued on page 2
Bibliography & Notes
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