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Overcoming Bad Experiences in Religion. Have You Been “ Burned by Religion?”. Bad Religious Experiences Are not Unique to Modern Times (e.g., Matthew 23; Jeremiah 6:14-15). Jesus Provides True Healing from the “Scars” of Bad Religion!.

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Overcoming Bad Experiences in Religion.

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Overcoming Bad Experiences in Religion.

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Have You Been “Burned by Religion?”

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Bad Religious Experiences Are not Unique to Modern Times (e.g., Matthew 23; Jeremiah 6:14-15)

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Jesus Provides True Healing from the “Scars” of Bad Religion!

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Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)

28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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Overcoming with Christ: Authoritarian Leadership.

  • Many religious leaders today care about their positions of power more than they do the people! (e.g., Matthew 23:1-10).

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True Spiritual Leadership According to Jesus.

  • Honorary titles, popularity, and having servants (or followers) do not make a person a great spiritual leader (Matthew 23:6-10; 20:25-28).

  • A true leader will serve the people and maintain his humility before God and men.

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Matthew 23:11-12 (NASB)

11 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 "And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

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NO ONE has a right to “lord it over” our faith or have dominion over us!

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1 Peter 5:2-3 (NASB)

2 Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. -- cf. 2 Corinthians 1:24

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Overcoming with Christ: “Cold Legalism”

  • Many turned off by religion when obedience is emphasized to the neglect of grace and love.

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Everyone, without exception, needs God’s grace to be saved!

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Overcoming with Christ: “Cold Legalism”

  • No one is ever “good enough” by the good works they do to enter Heaven without grace (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:23; Titus 3:4-7).

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To be right before God or “justified”, we must …

  • Have Faith in Christ: Romans 5:1 (NASB) Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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To be right before God or “justified”, we must …

  • Do works of faith:James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.

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To be right before God or “justified”, we must …

  • Receive the grace of Christ: Titus 3:7 (NASB) that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

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Overcoming with Christ: “Cold Legalism”

  • Genuine Christians will not merely judge each other, but will love one another by offering needed help and support!

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John 13:34-35 (NASB)

34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.“

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Overcoming with Christ: “Blind Conformity”

  • Expected to accept the teachings of the church, leadership, or the preacher without question or careful study.

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  • How many times have you been “Shut Down” when you have had legitimate questions and concerns? (e.g., John 9:24-34).

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  • People who ask questions and desire the truth should be commended, not condemned!

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2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

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Acts 17:11 (KJV)

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

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  • Though false doctrines are many, God’s word can be understood! (Ephesians 3:3-5; 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:14-16).

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Overcoming with Christ: Disappointment in a Leader.

  • Many feel devastated to such a degree that they become unfaithful and depart from the living God!!!

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Misplaced Faith!

  • They had put their faith in the wrong person!

  • They obeyed God’s law not out of love for God, but out of fear or loyalty to men!

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  • When people put their faith in men and do not hold them accountable to the Scriptures, their faith will be overthrown!(2 Timothy 2:16-18; Matthew 15:13-14)

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For an Unshakeable Faith, Put Your Faith and Trust in God!

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Psalm 37:5-6 (NASB)

5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. 6 And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your judgment as the noonday.

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Overcoming with Christ: Improper Church Discipline.

  • Church discipline is too oftennot carried out in the right manner.

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  • When church discipline is done properly, God’s will is fulfilled and blessings come as a result!

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  • Helps save the erring brother’s soul(2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; Hebrews 10:26-31; 1 Timothy 1:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5).

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  • Helps save the church(1 Corinthians 5:6-8; 1 Timothy 5:20).

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  • Respects and obeys the authority of Christ(2 Thessalonians 3:6; Colossians 1:18; 3:17).

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“Unfair” Church Discipline?

(1) Even the most mature Christians make mistakes (James 3:2; Romans 3:23).

(2) Be honest and repent of any sin of your own (1 Timothy 5:21; James 1:22-25) .

(3) If you are unfairly judged, testimony from others may be necessary (Acts 9:26-28).

(4) Respond with Wisdom and Love(2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).

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2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 (NKJV)

14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.-- cf. 2 Corinthians 2:8

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Overcoming with Christ: Strife and Division.

  • Since the beginning of the church, there have been divisions among churches (e.g., 1 Corinthians 1:10-15).

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Love for God and His Word is the Answer!

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  • Our firstimpulse must not be division, but the desire to study the Bible together with the goal to find the truth and then stand for the truth as one!

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John 17 :20-21 (NASB)

20 "I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one . . .

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Love for God will also mean love for one another.

  • Love is an essential bond or “glue” that holds people together in unity.

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Colossians 3:14 (NASB)

And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

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Galatians 5:13-15 (NASB)

13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.

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  • Our first duty must be to God, regardless of how other people behave or treat us in this life!

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1 John 4:21 (NASB)

“And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”

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Overcoming with Christ: Unfriendly Cliques or Factions.

  • Some churches are plagued by Cliques = clannish groups of people who only spend time with one another to the exclusion of others (e.g., James 2:1-5; 1 Cor. 11:17-22).

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  • Cliques or factions are condemned as a work of the flesh!(Galatians 5:20)- Involves favoritism or partiality also condemned (Romans 2:11).

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  • Love the approval of God, not the approval of men(e.g., John 12:42-43).

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2 Timothy 4:16-17a (NASB)

16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17a But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished…

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In response to cliques, seek friendships with brethren who are spiritual, not carnal.

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1 Corinthians 3:3b (NKJV)

“… For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”

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  • Spiritually-Minded Christians will receive all members of the Lord’s church as family and treat them as important and valuable to God and His work! (Matthew 12:46-50; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

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1 Corinthians 12:21-23a (NASB)

21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor…

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1 Corinthians 12:25 (NASB)

“that there should be nodivision in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.”

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No Matter What Bad Experiences a Person Has Had in Religion, May That Person not Blame God!

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Romans 8:31-32 (NASB)

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

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Romans 8:35 (NASB)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

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Romans 8:36-37 (NASB)

36 Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

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Romans 8:38-39 (NASB)

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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