1. Joined
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    18 Dec '18 08:45
    My older brother who grew up in the same cult that I did shared this with me and I would like to have your thoughts on it:

    False religion versus the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I write this article with a very heavy heart. I have witnessed and experienced. first-hand. the hurt, heart-ache, depression, despair and devastation that is caused by false religion. I have personally been caught up with many aspects of it myself. A couple of years ago I started seeking God with many tears. Through His grace, God started opening my eyes to see the differences between false Christianity and His precious gospel. These differences are evident not only in real life but also in God’s word.

    The last couple of years I have encountered many religious groups (most of them Christian), where I have seen the same characteristics over and over again. I have a growing burden for the many people being led astray by false religion. I have often cried out to God about this. I am writing this article because I feel God leading me to do something about it.

    Over quite some time I have been writing down the differences that I have been observing between false religion and the true gospel (good news) of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am now documenting these with this prayer. “Oh Lord, please use these truths from your word to open the eyes of those blinded and enslaved by false religion and set them free by your grace”.

    The most obvious form of false Christianity is where people think that they can live as they like and do what they want, as long as they have verbally "accepted" Jesus as their Savior. They however forget that the Lord Jesus is, and has to be, both Savior and Lord of our lives.

    The message of the gospel is clear:

    "...He (Jesus Christ) died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised... ...Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come... ...For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:15, 17 & 21)

    (Please also see John 3:3, Galatians 5:13-2, Ephesians 4:17-5:7, 2 Timothy 2:19)

    There is however a much subtler type of false Christianity, which is so often mistaken for the real thing. It causes so much unnecessary suffering and tears. It is deadly and has devastating consequences. Sadly, this type of false religion deceives many sincere people. (Matthew 24:5, 11&24)

    The differences between this type of false religion and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are described below:

    In religion people try to become acceptable to God by their own efforts. The gospel says the only way to become acceptable to God is through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. (Romans 3:21-25 & 2 Corinthians 5:21, John 3:14-16, Colossians 1:22).

    Religion tries to get man to reform themselves. The gospel says it is God who saves us and changes us by His grace, as we believe in Him and live in obedience to His Holy Spirit. (Romans 1:17, 6:23, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-10, John 3:16, John 11:25, Titus 2:11, I Thessalonians 5:23)

    Religion has many rules that people are forced to keep. The gospel says because Christ loved us and because of what He has done for us, we love Him, want to please Him and obey Him. (Romans 12:1, 1 John 4:19, John 14:15, 1 Corinthians 16:14 & 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Colossians 2:20-23)

    Religion focuses on the external, or on what is seen by man. The gospel focuses on the heart and on what is seen by God. (Matthew 23:25-26, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ezekiel 36:26, Hebrews 8:10)

    Religion is largely based on tangible things (For example works, clothing, ceremonies, "great" leaders, etc.) The gospel is largely based on the unseen (For example the promises of God, faith, love, the eternal, etc.) (Matthew 23:5-7, Romans 8:24-25, 2 Corinthians 4:18, 2 Corinthians 5:7)

    Religion often emphasizes that which is not really important for example human traditions, but neglects that which is of utmost importance, i.e. Love, faith, mercy and justice. Thank God, to our Lord Jesus showing mercy to people was much more important than the traditions and rules of men. (Luke 6:1-11, Matthew 23:23, Luke 15:1-31, 1 Corinthians 13)

    Religion lays heavy burdens on people. The Lord Jesus removes people's heavy burdens and helps them carry His yoke which is light. (Matthew 23:4, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 55:22)

    In religion one has to strive in the flesh and labour continuously. In the Gospel one rests in Christ. (Matthew 11:28-29, Luke 10:38-42, Galatians 2:20, Heb 4:9-11)

    Religion is about doing works by the efforts of the flesh. (Matthew 7:22-23, Galatians 5:19-21) The gospel is about bearing fruit by abiding in Christ. (John 15, Galatians 2:20, 5:22)

    Religion often causes condemnation, fear and despair. The gospel brings hope, peace and joy to all believers. (John 14:27, Romans 8:1, Romans 8:33-34, Ephesians 1:2-14, 1 Peter 3:3-9).

    Religion causes one to strive to please the fellow religious and especially the religious leaders. Religion results in the fear of man. The gospel causes one to love and fear God. It lets one want to please Him, no matter what people think. The gospel sets one free from the fear of man. (John 7:13, John 9:22, Romans 2:29, Galatians 1:10)

    Religion strives for unity through conformity and hence has no room for freedom of conscience. The gospel brings about true unity in Christ, in spite of differences in convictions on secondary matters. The gospel allows freedom of conscience. (Romans 14 &15)

    Religion cannot fulfill the prayer of the Lord Jesus, “Father make them one even as we are one” as religion brings about division. The gospel does fulfill the Lord’s prayer and brings about true unity even between believers of different denominations, as true unity is in Christ alone. (John 17:21)

    Religion causes people to exalt themselves and to want people to honor them. The gospel causes people to humble themselves, to become the least and to honor God. (Matthew 18:1-4, Matthew 23:5-12, John 13:14)

    Religion causes the religious to think they are better and more holy than others. It also causes them to look down at others. The gospel says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3, Matthew 5, Luke 18:10-14).

    Religion causes one to condemn "sinners", not realizing one’s own sinful state. The gospel causes one to love the unsaved, to pray for them and to give one’s life to draw them to Christ. (Matthew 5:44, Luke 15, Luke 18:10-12, Romans 9:3 & Romans 10:1)

    The religious do not associate with people considered sinful. True children of God love sinners and reach out to them in love. (Luke 5:27-31, Luke 15)

    Religion exalts and tries to glorify the religious leaders. The gospel exalts Christ (God) and states that all glory and honor belong to Him alone. (Isaiah 48:11, Matthew 23:8-12, Revelations 4:9-1 & Revelations 5:12)

    Religious leaders often make people believe that only they (the leaders) can hear from God, and common people must receive "God's message" from the leaders. The gospel brings about that all believers live in fellowship with God and hear Him speaking to them through His Holy Spirit and through His word. (John 10:14, Romans 8:14)

    Religious leaders often tell people that only they have access to God and hence they have to pray to God on the people's behalf. In the gospel we only have one mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ and all believers can approach the throne of grace with boldness. Believers are also to bear one another’s burdens and to pray for one another. (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 4:14-16, Romans 8:26, 27 & 34, Galatians 6:2, James 5:13-18)

    Religious leaders often use religion for their own benefit to gain fame, honor, money and control over people. True shepherds of the flock deny themselves for God's people and will often suffer loss for the sake of the gospel and others. They serve God's people in love. (Mark 12:38-40, Matthew 20:25-27, John 10:10-15)

    Religious leaders often force people to follow and obey them. True shepherds desire that people should know Christ, live in a personal relationship with Him, be led by His Spirit and obey Him. (Ephesians 3:14-21, Galatians 4:19)

    Religious leaders often treat people with harshness and abuse them. True shepherds of the flock treat people with meekness and love. (Ezekiel 37, 1 Peter 5:1-3, Matthew 20:25-28, Galatians 6:1-2, Romans 15:1-3)

    Those caught up in religious groups are very much influenced by group pressure. Even their thinking is warped by the group's thinking. (John 9:22, John 12:42). The gospel deals with people as individuals and each person will have to stand before the judgement seat of Christ on their own. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

    Religion often uses force and intimidation to keep its hold on people. The gospel keeps you by God's love and faithfulness. (John 9:22, John 12:42, Philippians 1:6, Hebrews 3:6, Jude 1:24)

    Religion often results in discrimination against, and the harsh treatment of women. The gospel says women are fellow heirs of the grace of God and should be treated with respect. Woman should submit to their husbands and their husbands should love them as themselves. (Galatians 3:28, 1 Peter 3:7, Ephesians 5:22-33)

    Religion brings people into slavery. The gospel sets people free from slavery and makes them sons and daughters of God. (John 8:31-36, Galatians 4:1-7,31, Galatians 5:1)

    Religion is often based on verses that are taken out of context, misinterpreted, added to or over emphasized. (Luke 4:9-13, 1 Timothy 1:3-1, Proverbs 30:6, Revelations 22:19) The gospel is God's truth revealed throughout the Bible of which the essence is the crucified and risen Christ. (Gen 3:15, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 53, John 5:46, John 8:56, 1 Corinthians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 2:2, 2 Timothy 3:16 etc.)
  2. Joined
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    18 Dec '18 08:48
    Religion is often accompanied by deceiving signs and wonders. (Matthew 24:24) The gospel does the greatest wonder of all; it raises those dead in sin to be alive in Christ. The supreme sign of the gospel is that Christ was raised from the dead. The sign of the gospel in our lives is that we love one another. (Matthew 12:39-40, John 13:35, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 1 John 3:11-24, 1 John 4:12)

    Tragically, religion makes you spiritually blind and yet it makes you convinced that you can see. (Matthew 23:16-17). The gospel opens the eyes of the spiritually blind and, praise God, it can even open the eyes of those blinded by religion. (John 9:39-41, Acts 9:1-18)

    The religious are very confident that they will enter heaven, their confidence being in their works. The true children of God also have confidence, but their confidence is in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross alone. The Holy Spirit also bears witness within their hearts that they are children of God. (Matthew 7:21-23, Romans 8:18-17, 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, Philippians 3:8-9, Galatians 6:14)

    The religious are convinced that they have God's spirit. The Bible however says test the spirits. Not all are from God. The gospel says all of God's true children have God's Holy Spirit. (1 John 4:1, Romans 8:9,14-17, Galatians 4:6)

    Religion deceives many. The mystery of the gospel is grasped by only a very few. (Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 24:11, Mark 13:6)

    Those caught up in religion are very zealous to make coverts and will go to large lengths to do so. Sadly the Bible says they make them twice as much children of hell as themselves. (Matthew 23:15). The Lord Jesus humbled himself even unto death in order to seek and to save those that are lost so that they can be adopted as God's very own children. (Luke 19:10, Philippians 2:6-8, Ephesians 1:3-14, Titus 2:11-14)

    The religious of the time strongly opposed and rejected our dear Lord and Savior and nailed Him to the cross. (John 15:24-25). They also strongly opposed the believers and unknowingly persecuted the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. (Acts 9:1-5). The gospel is about embracing the rejected and crucified Savior. (John 1:11-13)

    When one forsakes religion and takes hold of the gospel, persecution by the religious will almost certainly follow. (2 Timothy 3:12, Matthew 10:16-25, Acts 9:20&23)

    The religious persecute the true children of God. The true children of God love their persecutors. (Matthew 5:44, Matthew 10:17, 18, 21 & 22, Acts 5:40, Acts 7:57-40)

    Religion results in hypocrisy and lies. The gospel results in honesty and truth. (Matthew 23:16-22, John 18:37)

    Religion appears very good on the outside. But inside it is rotten to the core. (Matthew 23:25-28). The gospel appears to be foolishness to those that are perishing. But to those being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

    False religion is demonic and from hell. (Matthew 23:15, John 8:42-44, 1 Timothy 4:1, 1 John 4:1-3, 1 Corinthians 10:20) The gospel is the gift of God unto salvation and leads to heaven. (Romans 1:16, Romans 6:23, 1 Corinthians 1:18)

    Religion brings death. The gospel brings life. (Romans 6:23, Colossians 2:13&14,

    The Lord Jesus pronounced 7 wows on the leaders and those who proclaim false religion. (Matthew 23). The Bible says blessed are the feet of those who proclaim the good news of the gospel. Isaiah 52:7

    Paul forsook "religion" and counted it as dung for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. (Philippians 3:2-11).

    Sadly, those who trust in their works (religiosity) and do not have a relationship with Jesus (are not known by Him and do not know Him) will end outside heaven. (Matthew 7:21-23, John 17:3)

    Religious groups often have their own rules or revelations by which they measure truth. Tragically these "measuring sticks" of theirs are false as they are not based on God's truth but rather the traditions of men and doctrines of men or demons. Hence, they falsely discern truth. We should pray for discernment and test everything with God's word. (Proverbs 16:11, Proverbs 20:23, Mark 7:1-13, Luk 6:1-11, John 9:16, Philippians 1:9-11, Hebrews 4:12-13, Acts 17:11)

    Sadly those caught up in religion are so convinced that they are right, that they do not even want to consider the possibility that they might be wrong. (John 16:2) The Bible however says we should test and proof ourselves if we are truly in the faith. We should also test all doctrine by the scriptures. If we seek God with all our heart we will find Him. (2 Corinthians 12:5, Acts 17:11,1, Thessalonians 5:21, Jeremiah 29:13)

    Sadly those caught up in religion often close their ears to the truth of the gospel and choose to harden their hearts against God's Spirit. (Acts 7:51& 56)

    Tragically an individual and even a congregation can start in the Spirit with the true gospel and yet, end up in the flesh in religiosity without having noticed the transition. (Galatians 1:6-9, Galatians 3:1-5, Hebrews 2:1-4)

    May God have mercy on all of us and save us from religiosity and give us the grace to know Christ, to abide in Him, to live in a living relationship with Him, lovingly obeying Him in all that we do.

    May God also have mercy on those of us who preach, that we may be led by God’s Holy Spirit to preach God’s truth. Oh, that we would not be guilty of leading people astray.
  3. Standard memberKellyJay
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    18 Dec '18 09:33
    @dj2becker said
    Religion is often accompanied by deceiving signs and wonders. (Matthew 24:24) The gospel does the greatest wonder of all; it raises those dead in sin to be alive in Christ. The supreme sign of the gospel is that Christ was raised from the dead. The sign of the gospel in our lives is that we love one another. (Matthew 12:39-40, John 13:35, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 1 John 3:11-2 ...[text shortened]... y God’s Holy Spirit to preach God’s truth. Oh, that we would not be guilty of leading people astray.
    I think you can have people faithful to a good church and still miss the Lord, it
    does not have to be a cult though that is bad. I believe this is one of the reasons
    why the tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, all manner of sinners were getting right
    with Christ long before the more “righteous” priests, Sadducees and Pharisees. It is
    because we must acknowledge our sins and need of Christ, before we would turn
    towards him. This would mean within some churches and bodies of believers, there
    are going to be those who think they have no need of Christ having never given
    their lives to Christ. They feel they are just fine as is they go to church and partake
    in religious deeds, forgetting that is just like the people who crucified Jesus, not
    like the ones who turned to Him for His grace and mercy.
  4. Joined
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    18 Dec '18 09:41
    @kellyjay said
    I think you can have people faithful to a good church and still miss the Lord, it
    does not have to be a cult though that is bad. I believe this is one of the reasons
    why the tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, all manner of sinners were getting right
    with Christ long before the more “righteous” priests, Sadducees and Pharisees. It is
    because we must acknowledge our sin ...[text shortened]... t like the people who crucified Jesus, not
    like the ones who turned to Him for His grace and mercy.
    Agreed.
  5. Subscriberdivegeester
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    18 Dec '18 11:37
    @dj2becker said
    My older brother who grew up in the same cult that I did
    Was he @Romans1009 by any chance?
  6. Joined
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    18 Dec '18 12:273 edits
    @divegeester said
    Was he @Romans1009 by any chance?
    No. Whatever gave you that idea?
  7. Subscriberdivegeester
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    18 Dec '18 12:36
    @dj2becker said
    No. Whatever gave you that idea?
    Oh I don't know, just something that popped into my head...
  8. Joined
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    18 Dec '18 12:37
    @divegeester said
    Oh I don't know, just something that popped into my head...
    Any thoughts on the OP?
  9. Subscriberdivegeester
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    18 Dec '18 13:20
    @dj2becker said
    Any thoughts on the OP?
    None really other than me suspecting that your brother was Romans1009.
  10. Standard membercaissad4
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    18 Dec '18 15:27
    @dj2becker said
    Any thoughts on the OP?
    I think you need professional help.
    Immediately.
  11. Subscriberdivegeester
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    18 Dec '18 15:28
    @caissad4 said
    I think you need professional help.
    Immediately.
    Because of the OP, or generally?
  12. Standard membercaissad4
    Child of the Novelty
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    18 Dec '18 15:34
    @divegeester said
    Because of the OP, or generally?
    Yes
  13. Joined
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    18 Dec '18 16:17
    @caissad4 said
    I think you need professional help.
    Immediately.
    Thanks for your opinion.
  14. Standard memberSecondSon
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    18 Dec '18 16:51
    @dj2becker said
    Religion is often accompanied by deceiving signs and wonders. (Matthew 24:24) The gospel does the greatest wonder of all; it raises those dead in sin to be alive in Christ. The supreme sign of the gospel is that Christ was raised from the dead. The sign of the gospel in our lives is that we love one another. (Matthew 12:39-40, John 13:35, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 1 John 3:11-2 ...[text shortened]... y God’s Holy Spirit to preach God’s truth. Oh, that we would not be guilty of leading people astray.
    Very well written dj. Kudos to your brother. Better than I could have done by a long shot. 👍🏽
  15. Standard memberSecondSon
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    18 Dec '18 16:53
    @dj2becker said
    No. Whatever gave you that idea?
    Divegeester didn't read it.
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