Are you Religious OR Redeemed? #ccot It's all about Jesus

Are YOU
    Religious?  Or…..Redeemed? 
                                                                      By Pastor F. M. Riley
                                                                                    August 24, 2015

    “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  2 Corinthians 13:5.

   “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”  2 Peter 1:10.

Introduction
    The churches and the ranks of Christianity today have among them many unsaved church members; lost religionists “professing” to be what they really are not.   I am not making an unjust judgment against any individual or group, Matthew 7:1-5.   Rather, I am simply pointing out the same truth spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in Matthew 7:15-20; “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Folks, overall the “fruits” being produced by the churches today are abominable, Galatians 5:19-21. 
     Sadly,  the churches and ranks of Christianity today are filled with worldly, immoral, people; compromisers, back biters, false accusers, betrayers, haters and despisers of good and those who are good, greed, lust, and every other sinful practice one can think of or even imagine.  Read the inspired description of “last days” Christianity for yourself  in 2 Timothy 3:1-9.  Yet all of these people “profess” to be “Christians.”  Sic!   
    Read for yourself the description given to this “church age” by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in Revelation 3:14-19.  The Lord Himself said that the churches and people of this Laodicean church age make Him sick to His stomach, and that He is going to vomit them out.  Folks, since this is the final period in the church age, and we are fast approaching the end, then will YOU be one who is vomited out into the terrible Tribulation period that follows this church age, or will you be taken to glory in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of all true believers?  Read  Revelation 3:10.  Are you truly saved and ready for the coming of the Lord, or are you just one among many “lost religionists” in the churches today?    The time to answer this question, and determine your ultimate destiny is RIGHT NOW!   In this study, I am going to do whatever I can to help every reader to know the sweet assurance of eternal redemption in Christ…..
    [1]    Religion says “Do”……
   One of the most outstanding characteristics of this present Laodicean church age is the insistence on doing, doing, doing, so-called “good works” in order to merit one’s salvation. 
    Laodicean  preachers stand in the pulpits today and boldly proclaim that one MUST be baptized,  MUST  observe the Old Testament Law, MUST   pay their tithes, MUST   faithfully attend every service of the church,  and MUST  live a clean, moral, life in order
to be saved,  and  in order to  remain saved.  They proclaim this in spite of the fact that
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the inspired Word clearly states that men and women, boys and girls, are not saved by any works that they do.  Read it for yourself in Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:4-7, and many other similar passages.
    Redemption says “Believe”…..
    In spite of how much some of these “works for salvation” Laodicean preachers and lsymen  exhibit  hatred  for anyone who dares to disagree with them when discussing  the way of salvation,  the Lord Jesus Christ Himself set forth a glaring example of salvation by   faith alone in the account of the repentant thief who died on a cross  next to Christ at the time of the crucifixion, Luke 23:39-43.  Every honest reader of God’s Word knows that the Lord Jesus promised that repentant thief that he would be with the Lord in Paradise that very same day.  Folks, only true believers went to Paradise under the Old Covenant   
of Law, and that thief certainly confessed his belief in Christ as he hung and died on the cross that day.  That repentant thief was in no position to be baptized,  to faithfully attend church services, to pay tithes, or to do any “good works” to merit his salvation.  All that repentant thief could do was BELIEVE that Christ was indeed the Son of God and the Savior of all who will believe.  And none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself clearly promised the repentant thief that he would be with the Lord in Paradise that very day. 
    And isn’t this exactly what is stated again and again in the Scriptures?  Only believe!
John 3:16, 3:36, 5:24, Acts 8:37, 16:31, Romans 10:8-13, and many other Scriptures too numerous to list. 
    While religion says “do,” redemption says “believe.”  Which one are you depending upon for the salvation of your eternal soul?
   [2]    Religion says “work”…..
    I once was in the employ of an elderly woman whose church membership was that of a certain religious denomination.  While in her employ, I attempted to witness to her about the Lord. Jesus Christ.  Her emphatic reply to me was, “I know I am going to haven when I die, for I have been  working for thirty years to get there.”  End of conversation!  She was hearing no more.  Her mind was totally closed!, She would not listen to anything more that I had to say about placing one’s personal  “faith” in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.   This occurred  many years ago, and the woman long ago passed into eternity.  But eternity where?      
    Redemption says “rest”…..
   The Lord Jesus Christ Himself issued a clear invitation to the lost to come to Him and be saved in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy  laden, and I will give you  rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest for your souls.” 
    I urge our readers to carefully study Hebrews 4:1-11, noticing that the thing which keeps anyone from entering into God’s “rest” is their own “unbelief.”   This passage of inspired Scripture also plainly states, “For we which have believed do enter into rest…..,” 4:3. 
    While religion says “work,” redemption says “rest!”  Which one are you depending upon for the salvation of your eternal soul?
     [3]   Religion says “I must struggle to overcome”…..
    Multitudes of religious people in the churches and ranks of Christianity today are
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struggling  to overcome their own  fleshly  lusts, their love for the things of this world, and their own pride of life, and are miserably failing as they depend on their own strength, intelligence,  and arm of flesh.  Such religious people do not realize that they are already under a curse from Almighty God.  Read it for yourself…..
    “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord,” Jeremiah 17:5. 
    Redemption says “Through faith in Christ I am already an overcomer”…..
     The Lord Jesus Christ Himself explicitly told His believing disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.
    Folks, every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is also an overcomer.  Read it for yourself in 1 John 5:1-5, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him. 
    By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.
    For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.
    For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
    Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”  Glory hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!
     While religion says “I must struggle to overcome,” redemption says “Through faith in Christ, I have already overcome.”  Which one are you depending upon for the salvation of your eternal soul?      
      [4]   Religion says “Look at me”…..   
      Have our readers noticed how many people in the churches and the ranks of Christianity today are promoting self,  always struggling to achieve  a prominent position in the church?  They want the people to look to them for leadership, as if they had some special appointment from the Lord.    They  struggle to be in the lime light, to be seen of men, and looked upon as leaders, or the leader of the entire church body.  There are many pastors and preachers guilty of this SIN today, but it is certainly not  limited to preachers and pastors.   Many laymen in the churches today have convinced themselves that the church couldn’t possibly function without them and their input.  Such an attitude is nothing less than wicked PRIDE in one’s self.   And what does God’s inspired Word say about this?  “Pride goeth  before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,” Proverbs 16:18.  Sasdly, such wicked PRIDE is one of the “marks” of this Laodicean church age, 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Revelation 3:17. 
    Redemption says “Look to Jesus”…..
    “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not,” Ecclesiastes 7:20.
    “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.
    “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith,” Romans 12:3. 
    “And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought  
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to know. 
    But if any man love God, the same is known of Him,” Romans 8:2-3. 
    “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and  is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,” Hebrews 12:2.
    While religion says “Look at me,” redemption says “Look to Jesus.”  Which one are you depending on for the salvation of your eternal soul?  
    [5]   Religion says “Bigger is better,” and “much gain is godliness”…..
    This “false teaching” is explicitly expressed in the boasting of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:17, and is displayed in the huge “mega” churches some preachers have chosen to build today. 
    The inspired Word clearly states, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
    And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.  And be at peace among yourselves,” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13. 
    Folks, I may be dense, but I have never figured out how the people in a church where the congregation numbers 1,000 to 5,000,  or even more, could ever possibly know much about their pastor, or even their class Bible teachers, other than what they hear when attending any given service.  Certainly, there is no way that 1,000 or more people in a church could all meet and speak to the pastor at the end of his message, or ever hope to have a personal one on one visit with him.  So how could they ever come to truly “know” him as he labored among them?  Well…???  In churches this large, the members don’t even get to know one another on a real “fellowship in the Lord and His Word” basis.      
     There was a time in the past, when the Holy Spirit of God blessed a church congregation with many souls saved and people uniting with the church body, causing the church to mushroom in number.  When this happened, those old time pastors usually prayed earnestly for the Lord’s leadership,  and then selected another true man of God to begin a new church congregation in some other part of town or even another town.  They were willing to give up a part of the congregation in order that the gospel of Christ might be taken into new places, and the cause of Christ might be advanced.  Hello!   
     Why isn’t this done today when church bodies swell into large numbers?  Why?  Let’s be honest!  There is far more guaranteed  INCOME for the pastor and the projects he decides   to promote in a huge “mega” church congregation, than there would be if  part of the church was sent out   to establish a new congregastion.   Every honest reader knows that the pastors of some of these “mega” church congregations draw fabulous salaries and live in fine mansions that shame our sacrificial Christ.  Right?  I said, “Right?”
    Redemption says “Obey the Lord’s Commission”…..
   And what did the Lord Jesus Christ have to say to and about His Church?  
    The Lord Jesus explicitly told His church, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost [Spirit] is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me  both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth,” Acts 1:8.  Does this sound like the Lord’s Church was to settle down in one spot and build a gigantic “mega” church”?   Or was it meant to keep on going forth   “into the regions beyond”  and evangelizing the world right until the time the Lord returns?  Well…??
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      Religion says “bigger is better,” but redemption says “Obey the Lord’s commission.” Which of these commands are you listening to? 

Conclusion
    Dear readers, I could write several more pages setting forth the many errors and outright sins in the churches and ranks of Christianity today brought about by those who are “religious” rather  than  “redeemed.” .  But if I did, it would only amount to the same theme; many “professing Christians” in the churches and ranks of Christianity today are “religious,” but they are not truly saved.  So why continue to point out the same truth over and over again?  In just what I have written, those readers who are going to deal honestly with the Scriptures, have surely gotten the picture.  Some real evangelism desperately needs to take place in the churches today, so that the lost church members can become true saved believers.   Pastors, are you listening?
    In past years I have preached in many revival efforts all over this nation, and have seen hundreds of souls come to a saving knowledge of Christ.  Folks, like it or not, many of those I have personally seen saved, were already members of their local church.  I thank God for their salvation, but it is glaringly obvious that the modern “ministry” is failing to do their job, when their own church members are standing in need of salvation in Christ.     
    If any reader of this study is made to realize that they are not really saved, and start seeking the Lord for true salvation, my time will have been well spent in writing out this study.  I would urge every lost, unbelieving,  reader to pray for God’s mercy and guidance, and  seriously study John 3:3-7, 3:16, 3:36, 5:24, 14:6, Acts 4:12, 16:30-31, 20:21, Romans 10:8-13, Ephesians 2:8-10, and Titus 3:5.    
     If any reader has doubts about their salvation, then feel free to contact me.  I will study God’s Word with you, pray with you, and help you in any way I can to receive the sweet assurance of your salvation, 1 John 5:13. 
    Folks, our Lord Jesus is SOON coming to resurrect and rapture His people to glory.  I don’t want a single reader to be “left behind” when the resurrection and rapture occurs.  Please, as our text Scripture says, “Examine yourselves” and “make you calling and election sure.”  I want to meet every reader in glory.  Please don’t disappoint me!

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    Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written
    My heart felt thanks to all of our readers who have sought the Lord in prayer, and have chosen to support this ministry with your prayers and gifts.  Thank you so much.
    Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to:  Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or I can be contacted by email at:   fmr7sngn@centurylink.net
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