Look around today and there are literally thousands of different religions. There are many who have become so confused about religion that they have just thrown up their hands and walked away from it altogether. Others are caught up in the many lies and deceptions of the devil regarding religion and are not even aware of it. Some are struggling to find their way out of the religious maze but don’t know which way to go. So, how do we go out about finding our way out of the religious maze?
1. You have to want out. A lot of people are satisfied with where they are religiously. They don’t want anyone telling them that they may be in the wrong. They refuse to test their religion or consider anything else but what they have always believed. Some would not change even if they found out that it was needed. Sadly, there are many who just want to be free to believe and live as they please. So they will always be trapped in the religious maze.
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
Have any of you ever heard something bad about your child and you didn’t want to believe it? No matter what evidence was presented or how many witnesses testified to it you were not going to believe it because you didn’t want to believe it. Just because we don’t want to believe it doesn’t change the fact that it is true.
This is so when it comes to religion. Some do not want to know the truth, so they never find their way out of the religious maze.
Jesus said, “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God…” (John 7:17).
Do you really want to do God’s will or are you determined to do what you want to do? Instead of giving up our sins we try and justify or rationalize our sins. Well, its not that bad. It won’t hurt anything. I could be doing something worse. Or, everybody else is doing it so it couldn’t be wrong.
Sometimes we just try and ignore our sinful ways or hide them. Some don’t go to church or read their Bibles because they don’t want to be reminded about it or exposed for it and have to change their ways.
“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:19-21).
So, we need to examine our hearts and ask ourselves, “Do we really want to know the truth? Even if it hurts? Even if I have to admit that I have been wrong all these years? Even if I have to change my ways and quit doing some things that I should not be doing? Even if it involves commitment, responsibility and sacrifice?
How many had rather believe, practice and live as they have always done or as they choose than accept the truth and submit to it even if it means they are going to have to make some changes?
To find your way out of the religious maze you have to want out!
2. You have to learn the way out. You are not just going to stumble onto the right path. Don’t think that you can just go on your own and somehow happen to find the way out. It’s not going to happen! Jeremiah realized this and wrote, “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
You cannot rely on your feelings to get you out. I cannot tell you how many times I have talked to people about religion and they will say, “I know I’m saved because I feel it in my heart!” Feelings are deceptive. The heart cannot be trusted. Jeremiah 17:9 reads, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” The wise man wrote, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
You cannot trust others to give you the proper directions. Many completely rely upon what others say…their pastor, their priest, their church, their parents. John warns, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
If you want to find your way out of the religious maze you have to learn the way out. Jesus said, “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (John 6:45).
Paul wrote, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romoans 10:17). He told Timothy, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
Paul also wrote, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
It is clear from these passages that if we want to find our way out of the religious maze, we must learn what God teaches in the Bible. Paul warned that “some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons… they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).
We must be like the fair-minded Bereans who “received the word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Do not believe anything that you cannot see for yourself in the Bible! Do not listen to anyone who dares contradict the Bible! As Paul wrote in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true but every man a liar!”
To find your way out of the religious maze you have to learn the way out.
3. You have to take the steps necessary to get out. It is not enough to want out and to learn the way out, you must take the steps necessary to get out. I have heard people say, “Just believe in Jesus! You don’t have to do anything to be saved or to get to heaven.” That’s sounds good, but does it sound like what the Bible says?
Listen to these verses: According to Matthew 7:21, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” According to Hebrews 5:9, Jesus “became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” James wrote, “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?... faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead… a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:14, 17, 24).
If we truly believe in Jesus as our Savior, then we will trust Him enough to do what He says to do to be saved! We will repent of our sins (Luke 13:3). We will confess our faith in Him (Matthew 10:32-33). We will be baptized (literally, immersed) for salvation (Mark 16:16; John 3:5). These are the steps we must take to find our way out of the religious maze!
Look with me in the book of Acts chapter 2 when the gospel was first preached in its fulfillment. In verse 37 the people asked, “What shall we do?” Now notice the Bible answer. It was not, “Just believe in Jesus! You don’t have to do anything to be saved.” No, they were told, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” There was something they had to do!
Read on with me in verses 39-42 and 47. When we, today, hear the same gospel they heard, respond in the same way they responded, then we are added to the same church to which they were added. Not some man-made church or modern denomination but the church Jesus said He would build (Matthew 16:18), the church of the Lord that He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28), the church you can read about for yourself in the Bible. When we take these steps, just like those we read about in Acts 2, we will have found our way out of the religious maze!
As long as we continue to trust Jesus enough to follow Him, He will lead us home to heaven (John 14:6). Without Him we are all lost in our sins but because of Him we can be forgiven and set free from sin to live for God and join Him in heaven in eternity! That’s the good news…how that Christ died for our sins, was buried and on the third day rose again (1 Cor. 15:1-3)! That’s the love of God, to provide a way for us even though it cost the blood of His Son to pay for our sins (1 John 4:9-10).
Still, to find your way out of the religious maze you have to take the necessary steps to get out.
There was a woman whose father always told her, “If you ever get in a blizzard, follow a snowplow.” One day she found herself in a blizzard and sure enough she spotted a snowplow and followed it. She kept following the snowplow for quite a while. Finally, it stopped, and the driver got out and said, “Lady, I just got done plowing at K Mart and I’m on my way to Walmart. You can follow me if you like.” She was following but she wasn’t getting anywhere.
Let us not just follow “some way” but the real way out, the only way out of the religious maze…Jesus!
Have you come to Him in obedience to the gospel? Are you following Him, today?
Northwest church of christ
6059 Azle Avenue Fort Worth, TX 76135 817-237-1205 firstname.lastname@example.org northwestcofc.org