Religion can put new clothes on the man, but Christ puts a new man in the clothes.
The enmity between religion and the life of Faith has existed since the first man. The Lord accepted Abel and his sacrifice, but not that of Cain. Cain was outraged and discouraged about this. “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked him. “Why is your face hanging? Is there no acceptance for you if you act right? But if you refuse to do right, you have to be careful! Sin is at the door to overcome you, but you must overcome it ”(Gen 4: 4; Heb 11: 4 – NIV). Later, Paul clearly points out the enmity between the son of promise by the spirit and the son of the flesh. At that time, Ishmael, the child born in the usual way, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the Spirit of God. The same thing is happening today (Gal 4:29 – DLB).
It is ultimately the religious system and government of the day that Jesus crucified. This demonic trinity is visible throughout scripture. The antichrist and the leaven of Herod: Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod (Mark 8:15).
PLEASE NOTE! THE FINAL GOAL OF THESE SPIRITS ARE PERSECUTION AND DESTRUCTION or the CHURCH!
Herod had John killed. And the Pharisees had Jesus put to death. The spirit of false religion and the spirit of nationalism justify condemning innocent people to death so that deception can be upheld and carried out. They become the messiah who saves and fixes everything. Throughout history, the people have been crushed by the lust for power of these dictators and rulers who appoint themselves the saviour of man.
THE SATANIC TRINITY
Cush also had a son named Nimrod. He was the first man to rule over others (Gen. 10: 8). Man-worship: Let us build for ourselves a city with a tower, the point of which reaches to the heavens, and we make a name for ourselves. Then we will not spread over the whole earth (Gen 11: 4).
1) THE SPIRIT of the WORLD
Revelation 13: The beast with the ten horns, with the face of the leopard, bear and lion.
The sea is often a symbol of the nations of the earth. The church as a nation of God (1 Pet. 2: 9) stands opposite the nations of the earth. In the nation of God the Spirit of God works, but in the nations of the world the spirit of the dragon works. The governments of the nations are opposed to the government of God. Why do the heathen rage, and the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stand ready, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us! (Ps 2: 1-3). Ten horns means ten crowns (13: 1). The beast has complete power (ten horns and ten crowns). It represents the governments of the earth. It stretches from Nimrod in Genesis 10-11 to the governments of today. In 1 Samuel 8: 7 God saith unto Samuel, hearken unto the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
In Daniel 7, Daniel sees a similar face. He sees the sea in turmoil and four large animals ascend from it (Dan 7: 1-3). The one like a lion, the other like a bear, the third like a leopard and the fourth beast terrible and terrifying and very strong, and it had large iron teeth; it devoured and crushed and trampled the remnant with its legs; and it was different from all the beasts that were before him, and had ten horns (v 7).
Any form of nationalism and self-determination of one nation, at the expense of another, is violence, and an injustice to God’s creation.
WARNING AGAINST THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD
Jesus’ life and ministry are in direct opposition to the world and religious government of the day:
For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36).
Therefore if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much rather clothe you, little-faiths? (Matt. 6:30).
But He turned and said to Peter, Go, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you do not savor the things that are of God, but those that are of men. (Matt. 16:23).
He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and the world did not know Him. (John 1:10).
The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its works are evil (John 7: 7).
He who loves his life shall lose it. And he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. (John 12:25).
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27).
I shall no longer speak many things with you, for the ruler of this world comes, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30).
If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. (John 15:18).
I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. (John 16:33).
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God. (Rom 12: 2).
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom did not know God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. (1 Cor 1:20, 21).
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12).
2. THE SPIRIT of RELIGION
The Beast from the EARTH:
Two horns like a lamb (Rev 13:11). Just as the first animal is a system rather than an individual, so the animal from the earth is also a system and not an individual. He has only two horns and not ten like the beast from the sea. This is an indication of his subordination to the animal from the sea. This animal has limited powers. He looks like a lamb, but when he speaks, he speaks with the voice of the dragon.
The dragon lamb’s modus operandi and purpose are clearly spelled out: “And he exercises all the power of the first beast before his eyes, and he causes the earth and those who dwell on it to worship the first beast.”
The dragon lamb mainly has a religious role to play. He claims to represent the truth and is harmless, but his speech gives him away as an ambassador of satan. In a sense, the dragon lamb is an antichrist or pseudo-christ. He pretends to be an alternative or “other” Christ.
In 95 n.C. false religions in collaboration with the imperial officials intoxicated the people. The emperor was worshiped with great ceremony under the supervision of the government officials. The dragon lamb shakes the people’s focus from God and places it on the world system of the day. It is not uncommon to see the religiosity of governments. Die Britte sing: “God save our gracious Queen / Long live our noble Queen / God save the Queen / Send her victorious / Happy and glorious / Long to reign over us / God save the Queen.” The Russians refer to “Holy Mother Russia”. To be a Slav is to be Russian Orthodox. Being a non-Orthodox slave is seen as a betrayal of Slavic culture. In old South Africa we sang: “We will live, we will die, we for you, South Africa.” In Ireland, the war between Protestants and Catholics is deeply rooted in bitterness. The dragon lamb painted red crosses on the shields of soldiers in the Middle Ages and supported the governments while committing the most horrific atrocities. 
WARNING AGAINST RELIGION
The spirit of the world is easier to distinguish because it is in direct opposition to the values, methodology and working methods of the Kingdom. Distinguishing false religion is much more difficult because it tarnishes the desire and need that people must please and glorify God. It is terribly sad to meet beautiful believers who have fallen prey to a sect, a religious group that focuses on methods, rites and rules based on the Word, but without the spirit of Christ.
Virtually the entire NT’s apostolic letters were written to warn against deception; false Christs (Mark 13:22); false teaching (Eph 4:14), false prophets (Matt 7:15, 20; 1 John 4: 1); false apostles (2 Cor 11:13); false signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2: 9).
HOW DOES OUR COURSE KEEP IN TRUTH?
Foundation of Christ: Truth is a person! Keep as examples of sound words the things you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 1:13). The purpose of all ministry is to see Christ fulfilled in every life (Gal 4:19; Col 1: 28-29; 2 Cor 11: 2; 1 Cor 2: 2; 2 Pet 1: 8; Eph 4:13) . Persevere in the teaching of the apostles: (Acts 4:42) To fight vigorously for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3); cling to the teachings as I delivered them to you (1 Cor 11: 2); stand fast and observe the precepts which you have been taught, either by word or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15); good doctrine of which you have become a follower (1 Tim. 4: 6); one who clings to the trustworthy word that is according to the doctrine, that he may be able to admonish with sound doctrine as well as to refute the adversaries (Titus 1: 9); Tit 2: 1).
Fruit of Righteousness and the Holy Spirit: If you possess all these things and keep increasing, you will know our Lord Jesus Christ with zeal and with fruit (2 Pet 1: 8); Then bear fruit that befits repentance (Matt. 3: 8); Thus every good tree bears good fruit; but a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matt 7:17); Thus shall ye know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:20); But now that you have been set free from sin and have become servants to God, you have your fruit for sanctification and finally eternal life (Rom 6:22); filled with the fruit of righteousness which is through Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God (Phil 1:11).
The anatomy of an accurate faith life it is: – acts of justice: We are engaged in a struggle to maintain our faith. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you also were called and made the good confession before many witnesses (1 Tim 6:12); I fought the good fight; I finished the race; I kept the faith (2 Tim 4: 7). The focus of satan and the world is to make you doubt. From the beginning, Satan asks, “Did God really say that?” And when he tempted Jesus, “If you are the Son of God. . . Therefore, we must also constantly test ourselves whether we speak and act in faith or not (2 Cor 13: 5). For only faith can please God (Heb 11: 6). That which is not of faith is sin! (Rom 14:23).
JESUS EXPOSES RELIGION:
Jesus shows and proves His love for mankind, the sick, the lost, the rejected by their community, the women, the lepers, the sinners and the tax collectors. But he shows no mercy to the religious: Matt 23:13; Matt 12:34; 15: 7-9; Mark 7: 6-8; Matt 23: 15-16,23-33; Luke 11: 42-44; 13:15; Jn 8:44.
There are good traditions and doctrinal truths (1 Cor 11: 2; 2 Thess 2:15; 3: 6), but the traditions of man, therefore the culture and world and world view of man, are dangerous ( Matt 15: 2, 3, 6; Gal 1:14; Col 2: 8; Mark 7: 3, 5).
- Religion lives from the framework of a photographic image of God. While in terms of relationship, I live a movie.
- Religion tries to do things to get to God, while relationship lives from the reality that I am already with Him, and He in me.
- Religion is human-oriented; relationship is God-directed.
- Religion keeps the rules out of guilt and fear; relationship keeps the rules spontaneous and of course out of love. In religion, the rules drive you; in relationship love drives you.
- Religion is powerless against the flesh: people who have a form of godliness but have denied its power. Also turn away from these people (2 Tim 3: 5). These doctrines do have a semblance of wisdom with their self-made religion, such humility and strict control of the body, but they have no value in curbing the sinful passions (Col. 2:23).
- Religion focuses on small commands, to avoid doing the big commands: You let go of the commandment of God and cling to the handed down use of people. He further told them: You understand the art well of putting aside the commandment of God and maintaining your handed down customs. Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother” and, “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” But you say, “Someone may say to his father or his mother, ‘Any gift you could get from me is korban,’ that is, a sacrifice to God. And so you allow him to do nothing for his father or his mother at all. Thus you deprive the word of God of his authority through your handed down customs which you in turn handed down. There are also many other such things you do (Mark 7: 8-13).
- Religion argues; battle questions waste time and keep people busy without doing anything godly. Beware that no one takes you away from Him by theories and arguments that are misleading. These are things that are based on the tradition of men, on legalistic religious rules and not on Christ (Col 2: 8).
- Religion focuses on the magical power of objects: You know that you were not redeemed from your inherited meaningless existence with perishable means such as silver or gold. On the contrary, you have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb without spot and without blemish (1 Pet 1: 18-20).
- They are always opposed to any form of emotion and religion that does not take place according to their own rules and methods – Mary (Matt 26: 6-13; Mark 14: 3-9; Luke 7: 36-39; John 11: 2) .
- Read Luke 11: 37-54
- v 13 They themselves have no relationship with the Lord (Luke 11:42), but disregard the righteousness and love of God.
- v 16 Duplicate standards
- v 23-24 Focus on small points of contention about methods and rituals, but do not live in obedience and accompanying fruit.
- v 25-26 Focuses on outward things, but can do nothing to the heart.
- v 28 Hypocrite, false, hypocritical (Luke 12: 1). Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is their hypocrisy.
- v 28 Contempt for the law. . . the heart and the depth of the law. . . like Jesus who understands and preaches the true meaning of the law.
- v 43 Love the prestige of people.
- v 46 Put unbearable burdens on the people, but do not fulfill them yourself.
- v 52 For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not go in, and those who did go in did hinder them.
- Exclusive, elitism: Luke 11: 37-42; 45-53; 12: 1-2; Matt 10: 26-33
- In essence, false religion is human-centered and therefore there is always competition, comparisons, rivalries, carnal displays and fear of people. If you are afraid of people, you could fall into the trap (Prov. 29:25). Nevertheless, even many of the members of the Jewish council came to believe in Him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not openly confess, so that they would not be banished from the synagogue; for they preferred to be honored by men rather than by God (John 12:42, 43). Everything they do, they just do to be seen by people. They widen the prayer band around their foreheads, and the tassels on their garments. They love the places of honor at feasts, and the foremost places in the synagogues, and being greeted on the street by the people and addressed as “rabbis” (Matt. 23: 5).
- Focus on the outward appearance as evidence of divine power: Religion can put new clothes on the man, but Christ puts a new man in the clothes. You clean the outside of cups and plates, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness (Luke 11:39). Do not let yourselves be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings. The good lies in the fact that the heart is strengthened by grace, not by eating habits. Those who adhered to these practices did not benefit from it (Heb 13: 9). They forbid people to get married and to eat certain kinds of food. But God made the food so that those who believe and have come to the knowledge of the truth can use it with thanksgiving (1 Tim 4: 1, 2).
- Methods, methods, and more methods: Therefore do not let anyone prescribe to you what you should eat and drink, or that you should celebrate the annual feasts or the new moon feast or the Sabbath day. It is all but the shadow of what was to come; the reality is Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in such humility and in the worship of angels and who pretends to have seen all kinds of visions deceive you with it. Such a person exalts himself over what he thinks in his own vanity, and he does not hold on to the head, to Christ. From Christ grows the whole body, supported by the joints and bound together by the muscles, as God causes it to grow. You died with Christ and are therefore dead to the legalistic religious rules of this world. Why then do you still live as if you belong to this world? Why do you obey all kinds of precepts such as: “You must not touch this!” “Thou shalt not put thy mouth to it!” “You may not touch it!”? It’s all about things that are meant to be used and perish, and these are just commandments and doctrines of men. These doctrines do have a semblance of wisdom with their self-made religion, such humility and strict control of the body, but they have no value in curbing the sinful passions (Col. 2: 16-23).
- They are more concerned with keeping the rules than really helping people. They show more love for their rules than for the condition of man. The Pharisees watched Jesus to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath day so that they could accuse Jesus of it (Mark 3: 2).
- Pride and Pride: For the sake of people who were sure that their own case was right with God and who looked down on others, Jesus told this parable (Luke 18: 9). This self-righteousness eventually leads to pride and isolation.
WORSHIP THAT GOD DESPISES
The Lord accepted Abel and his sacrifice, but not that of Cain. Cain was very angry and discouraged about this. Why are you so angry? the Lord asked him. Why is your face hanging? Is there no acceptance for you if you act right? But if you refuse to do right, you have to be careful! Sin sits right at the door to overwhelm you, but you must overcome it (Gen 4: 4; Heb 11: 4).
Bring your thanksgiving offering of leavened bread. Feel free to brag openly about your voluntary sacrifices! You Israelites love to do this (Amos 4: 4-5).
I would rather see a flood of righteousness, an honest way of life like a stream of water that does not stop flowing (Amos 5:23).
You sing trivial songs to the sound of the harp and fancy yourselves to be great musicians like David (Amos 6: 5).
What have I many sacrifices to you? asks the Lord. I am full of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fodder; the blood of bulls and lambs and goats does not stand by Me. If you come to appear before Me, who asked you to trample on My courts? Bring no more of your vain oblations; I loathe your incense offerings. New moon festivals, Sabbath observances, the proclamation of feast days: I do not tolerate celebration with injustice. I hate your new moons and festivals. They are a burden to Me, I am tired of it. If you stretch out your hands in prayer, I will close my eyes to you. Even if you pray much, I will not listen, for your hands are stained with blood (Isa. 1: 11–15).
There are lyres and harps, tambourines, flutes, and wine at their parties. But they take no note of what the Lord does, they do not see his deeds (Isa. 5:12).
Thus, saith the Lord: These people say they belong to Me. They honor Me with their mouths, but their hearts are far from Me. And their worship consists of nothing more than human commands and traditions (Isa. 29:13; Matt. 15: 9).
WORSHIP WHICH PLEASES GOD
But there is something I’m looking for: a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say. Your acts of worship are acts of sin: Your sacrificial slaughter of the ox is no different from murder the neighbor; Your offerings for worship, no different from dumping pig’s blood on the altar; your presentation of memorial gifts, no different from honoring a no-god idol. You choose self-serving worship, you delight in self-centered worship — disgusting! Well, I choose to expose your nonsense and let you realize your worst fears, because when I invited you, you ignored me; when I spoke to you, you brushed me off. You did the very things I exposed as evil, you chose what I hate (Isa 66: 1-2 and Ps 51:17, 19 – Message).
Nay, is not the fast that I desire, then, to release the unjust in prison, to take away the yoke of men, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with those who are hungry, to give food and shelter to the poor and wandering, to give clothes to people who need it, not to turn away from fellow human beings who need your help (Isa. 58: 6-7 – NLV).
For I desire and delight in dutiful steadfast love and goodness, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of and acquaintance with God more than burnt offerings (Hos 6: 6; Matt 9:13; 12: 7 – Amplified Bible).
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in a close relationship with the Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh (Phil 3: 3).
HOW DO WE DEAL WITH THE SPIRIT OF RELIGION?
However, we did not give in to their demands for a single moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be upheld for you (Gal. 2: 5).
The age-old strategy of the enemy is to infiltrate the church with the falsehoods, human-oriented wisdom, that sounds right. . . but do not understand or respect the spirit, system, and mode of operation of the kingdom-government system of God. On the contrary, they mock and ridicule what is holy.
Only the Holy Spirit can reveal the True Jesus and lead us to follow Him on a daily journey of self-denial, self-crucifixion and resurrection in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior!
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