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Toss Your Religion, and Take Jesus

There is no doubt that the New Testament is filled with stories of religious people who became Christians. Look at Rom. 10:3 “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” This is speaking of very religious people.

In fact, the Apostle Paul testified about his own attitude about “The Jews’ religion” in Gal. 1:13-14 “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”

He is not the only man that “Tossed his religion and took Jesus.”

In John 3:1-12 we have the true story of Nicodemas, a very devout and religious Jew who came to Jesus by night.

Notice some things about him from the Bible:

He was a Pharisee, powerful and influential.

He was a ruler of the Jews.

He is obviously a very learned man, being a Pharisee.

After all he knows; after all he has done; after all he has accomplished; after all the influence he has had on others in his religion, he has not been Born Again. He is not Saved!

With all that he has going for him, he has unresolved issues, unanswered questions and an unsure future. Verse 9, He questions, “How can these things be?”

Imagine being confronted with a truth like that after all those years! Notice in verse 10 Jesus puts him on the spot and makes him realize his condition. “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”

That is like saying, “You mean after all the learning; after all the exposure; after all the teaching and degrees and position, you missed this great truth?”

This happens all the time. We have had so many people over these years of ministry that have been exactly like Nicodemus. Many have been in Church every time the door opens. Many were even involved in the activities of the Church and even taught in the Church.

Three things kept Nicodemus confused, yet religious and lost.

1. Verse 10, “He knew not.”

2. Verse 11, “He received not.”

3. Verse 12, “He believed not.”

Religious people are lost and stay lost for one or more of those reasons. They either have not heard, or have not received or have not believed.

In verse 11, Jesus said, “We speak that we do know…” That is like saying, “If you really know you can really tell.”

I meet people often that claim they know they are saved and on their way to heaven, but upon questioning, they have little clue as to how they will get there.

Nicodemus could not tell because he did not know, because sadly, all he had was his religion.

There were three things that worked on Nicodemus to get him to Jesus and then to genuine Salvation through Christ.

1. First of all, There was the light of his conscience. Something told him that he needed help. His religion did not satisfy his soul. His education did not satisfy his soul. His position did not satisfy his soul. His prominence did not satisfy his soul. His dedication did not satisfy his soul. His conscience told him that he was still lost and empty!

The light of his conscience did not save him. It caused him to know something was missing. He could have ignored it and it was a critical point in his life that night. He could ignore or he could go look for Jesus. He had to battle pride, position, education, friends, family, religion and even Satan.

He was either going to follow the light of his conscience, or continue a life of empty religion.

2. The second thing that worked on him was The light of The Spirit, the conviction of the Holy Spirit. John 6:44 “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” See also John 12:32-36

The still small voice of God’s Holy Spirit troubled his empty heart and told him that his religion was empty, his heart was empty, his works were worthless and his destiny was hell.

Three times in John 3, Jesus mentions being “Born of the Spirit.” vss. 5, 6, 8

If you “decided to join the Church; decided to be baptized; decided to change your ways; decided to turn over a new leaf or decided to become religious”, you are still lost. None of those decisions will save a person. It takes the light of our conscience; the light of our condition revealed by the Holy Spirit, and

3. The third thing that worked on Nicodemus was the Light of the Word of God. Not only did he see the miracles and sense his need, but he heard the Word explained by the Word Himself! Verse 11, Jesus said, “We speak that we do know.” 1 Peter 1:23 tells us that the New Birth comes from the “incorruptible” Word of God. The Bible is necessary in giving the truth of God’s Salvation plan. See Romans 10:1-21

I have seen the progression many times over the years. The conscience is awakened, the heart is convicted and convinced by The Holy Spirit; they hear the Word of God and see themselves as lost and Christ as the only hope…What will they do?

There are three choices:

1. Ignore the conscience.

2. Refuse the Spirit’s conviction.

3. Reject the Word of God, or

1. Believe

2. Repent

3 Receive Christ and be Born Again.

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