Introduction: As Genesis is the book of beginnings here in our story we have the beginning of false religion as seen in man’s attempt to build a tower to heaven or a gate to God.
Man is by nature incurably religious. Every man worships something. In every culture throughout history that fact has been established. From the sun, moon and stars to the earth, the seas and all creatures therein man has worshiped and continues to worship to this very day. Out of man’s innate need to worship and to alleviate his guilty conscience the various religious systems of the world have come.
I want to look at false religion as exemplified here in the story of the Tower of Babel and then contrast it with true religion as revealed in the Bible.
I. False religion is man centered. a. Originates with man. They said to one another, come let us make bricks… (Born out of man’s thoughts and views of what god is like.)
b. Accommodates man. Come let us build ourselves a city, and a tower who’s top is in the heavens… (Makes him feel good about himself, his ideas and accomplishments. Pleases man, family, culture etc.)
c. Glorifies man. Let us make a name for ourselves… (Makes man the measure and the goal of all things.)
II. False religion has a system of works through which the individual finds favor and acceptance with God. a. Hinduism- Way of Works, Way of Knowledge, Way of Devotion
b. Buddhism- Kill no living thing, do not steal, not adultery, no lies, do not drink alcohol or take drugs, eat moderately, avoid what excites the senses, do not wear adornments, do not sleep in a luxurious bed, accept no silver or gold.
c. Islam’s five pillars- The creed, prayers, alms giving, fasting and pilgrimage to Mecca.
d. Judaism- Adherence to the 613 commandments of the Torah
III. False religion leads to spiritual confusion. a. God: is there one unknowable God like Allah or 330 million gods like in Hinduism, or no god at all like in Buddhism?
b. Morality and Ethics: Can I kill someone for not believing in my god or am I to never kill anything at all?
c. The After Life: Do I go to paradise where I’m greeted by 70 virgins waiting to grant my every wish for all eternity or do I lose my individuality being absorbed into the universal spirit?
d. Forgiveness: Do I need a sacrifice to approach God or do I trust that my best efforts are going to be acceptable to him or her or it?
e. All religions do not teach the same thing!
IV. True Religion a. God Centered vs. Man Centered
1. Originates with God- In the beginning God… And God said… For God so loved the world that He gave… God was in Christ reconciling the world… The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
2. Focus’ on God- His nature, love, power, grace, will, ways, wrath, judgments etc.
3. Glorifies God- (God is the measure and goal of all things. You are worthy O Lord to receive glory, honor and power. For you created all things and for your good pleasure they are and were created.)
b. Faith vs. Works
By grace you are saved through faith… It is the gift of God… Works are not the cause of salvation but the effect. We don’t work for salvation we work from salvation.
God: Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord… He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. Morality and Ethics: You shall love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The After Life: I Am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me though he may die shall live again and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Forgiveness: This man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever sat down at the right hand of God… If we confess our sins He’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteous.
V. Grace- Grace is unique to the Christian faith. What is grace? Grace is God saving people not because they’ve earned it or deserved it, or even because they’ve made an honest and sincere effort at attaining it, but on the contrary; God saves those who have merited wrath, who deserve punishment and damnation, and He saves us through the merits of another; Jesus Christ. “Now to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” That’s true religion! And something that no mind of fallen man has ever imagined!
That’s why you’ll never find it anywhere outside the pages of this book!
Closing: There is today and always has been an attempt to contaminate the true religion with the false. Beware of an emphasis on man’s traditions, man’s philosophy and wisdom, man’s works and needs. Hold fast to God’s word, God’s grace, God’s love and God’s glory.