Big Idea of the Series: This four-week sermon series wrestles with the common statement: “Christianity isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship.” Christianity, by default, is a religion in the common definition of the word. The answer, then, seems to be less about losing our religion than finding a pure one. The aim of this series is to explore what it means to have a pure and un-defiled religion by considering elements like our motives for religious activities, obedience, humility, hypocrisy, and authentic community.
Text: Hebrews 10:19-25
Big Idea of the Message: Our faith must be based on a personal relationship with Jesus, but that doesn’t mean we can do it alone. Pure religion takes place in an authentic community of believers.
Sermon Ideas and Talking Points:
- American individualism has emphasized a personal relationship with God to the point that many people who call themselves Christians think church is optional. But intentional Christian community is a nonnegotiable part of being a healthy and effective believer. “Christianity is not a religion for solitude and solitary. The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.” – John Wesley
- This article from Christian Post says, “Satan’s primary goal in the thousands of his various attacks on us is to take down our faith…His primary goal against the church is to fragment the formidable force of united faith and isolate believers, weakening the church and making individuals more vulnerable,” http://www.christianpost.com/news/4-ways-to-fight-satans-favorite-weapon-166921
- The devil is like a lion, looking for someone to devour (see 1 Pet. 5:8). This video shows how lions like to hunt by isolating a target. The first rule of the Safari: always stay with the group! The same rule applies to believers. See here: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/worlds-deadliest/deadliest-lions-zebra?source=relatedvideo.
- One way to overcome the possibility of deceiving ourselves into a false sense of religiosity is to live in holy community. We all need authentic relationships with others who will speak the truth of God’s Word into our lives even if it’s not what we want to hear. But we can only be held accountable to the depths that we really want to be. If your church has a small group ministry, be sure to mention it this week and provide an easy way for people to access information about joining one.
- Consider passing out individual candles (like one would use at a Christmas Eve candlelight service) as people walk into the service. At the close of your service, take a moment to light those candles and have people in each row light the person’s next to them. Alone we may produce a little flame, but when we shine together, we can light up an entire room. We are better together in the Kingdom.
Hebrews 10:19-25 Amplified Bible ® (AMP)
A New and Living Way
19 Therefore, believers, since we have confidence and full freedom to enter the Holy Place [the place where God dwells] by [means of] the blood of Jesus, 20 by this new and living way which He initiated and opened for us through the veil [as in the Holy of Holies], that is, through His flesh, 21 and since we have a great and wonderful Priest [Who rules] over the house of God, 22 let us approach [God] with a true and sincere heart in unqualified assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word]; 24 and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, 25 not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.
- What is one thing that stood out to you from this week’s message?
- What are some of the reasons people you know have left church?
- Why is it easy to sometimes believe that we can be a Christian without being a part of the church? Is this true?
- Why is church vital for Christians?
- How can I pray for you?
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P.S. I look forward to Seeing you inside the next weeks Sermon
Text: Amos 5:11-27
Topic: Worship, Motives
Big Idea: We can perform all the religious acts we can think of, but if we are doing them for show, God will reject them. God doesn’t require our perfection, but He does desire pure hearts and honest motives