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Rites, rituals, customs and religion do about as much as this sign does. They tell you nothing and do nothing for you. They bring you no closer to God.

Rites, rituals, customs and religion do about as much as this sign does. 

Throughout His ministry Jesus confronted the establishment religion and the world. The establishment religion was Judaism. The world was Romanism. Romanism represented all there is to the world. Romans were prideful, full of hatred. They were domineering. They were oppressive. They were polytheistic. They did not care about life except their own. Much of our world today has turned to Romanism in these ways.

Good relationships do not just happen. They take time, patience, understanding, faith and above all two people who truly want to be together.

The establishment religion tried to give God’s chosen people a way out. They were simply trying to get them away from Romanism but they did it through legalism and works not faith. They said, “follow the rules and you’ll be OK.” “If you’re good, you’ll get to heaven.” “If you’re religious and moral God will accept you.” “If you keep the 10 commandments God will weigh the balance and find you OK.” Much of the “Christian religious experience,” has gone the way of Judaism in Christ’s day. Those are works thoughts, not faith thoughts. Even evangelical freedom has it’s rules of conformity and progressive worship.

In James 1:26-27 we find the condemnation of these worldly religious thoughts. Where James has drawn questions encouraging godly works, he plainly speaks of empty faith, claiming faith without works of righteousness. This is partly what Jesus talks about in John 7:18-24. Not only does Jesus question the motives of the Jews and Romans, but the very core of their faith systems.

Many religions, even those who claim they know Christ, have religious rites and liturgies that they claim are worship. Nothing could be further from the truth. No rite, ritual or liturgy ever brought us closer to God. Only our hearts understanding of why it is required, then performing biblically prescribed actions from a heart that desires to serve, turn to, seek, trust, believe and love God is accepted (1 Sam 12:202 Kings 23:252 Chron 22:9Prov 3:5Acts 18:8Matt 22:37). David knew this (Psalm 40:5-1150:7-1551:6, 16-17.)

The question is not how do you do worship. The question is what is your heart doing when you worship. Worship and church attendance are required. Do you want to attend church because you’re supposed to? Or do you want to attend church because you know you need to hear God’s word ministered to your heart?