LOOKING UNTO JESUS
This week, by the grace of God, we are looking at a topic “Looking unto Jesus.” Our first text is taken from the book of Isaiah 8:20. It says, “To the l aw and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” In a nutshell, what that verse is saying is that as far as what you are saying is not in accordance with the word of God, there is no light in you. The Bible says, “Jesus is the only true light that lighteth every man that comes into the world.” It also says that in Him is light and that light is the light of men and it is that light that shines in darkness, and darkness cannot even understand it let alone overcome it.
One thing we should all know, even if we are not Christians is that man is a religious creature. Whenever there is anything to be worshiped, you can be sure you will find men there worshiping the thing. So you should not be surprised when you see men worshiping stones or even rims of tyres or candles or rivers. If you make a list of all the idols that we have in Nigeria alone, you will write a mighty book. Even, if you pick those in only one town, they are sufficient for a big book. So, basically, man is a religious creature. Unfortunately, beloved, much of the tragedies we have experienced in the world can be linked one way or the other to the religious nature of man. This is why we say that Christianity is not a religion. In religion, man believes in the existence of a God, a super being, for whom you have to perform certain rites in order to please. But Christianity is God’s way of seeking to save the lost. The religious act of man has caused him a lot of trouble and it is so sad when you see a lot of people doing things they believe so religiously but they are wrong.
Several years ago, I was somewhere in Harare for a conference. I noticed that every time we sat in the dining hall, a nice lady sat beside me. She would do the sign of the cross and pray quietly over her food. No other person was praying in that hall. She had a large cross over her neck and a rosary and I was impressed. When we got talking, she talked to me about science and all kinds of things and I told her about Jesus. One day, she said, “This your prayer that you have been talking about, maybe we should pray tonight.” I said, “That would be very nice.” We sat down and I called one prayer point. As we prayed, she suddenly started shouting: “Stop praying! Stop praying. Oh, look at these beautiful girls surrounding me.” I said, “Beautiful girls? Where are they?” “Oh, can’t you see?” she said. And I said, “These are not beautiful girls, they are demon spirits, I cannot see any beautiful girl here, but since you say they are here, let them receive the fire of God, in the name of Jesus.” She said, ‘No, don’t harm them.” Here was a religious person following all the rules of religion but yet was seriously possessed by all kinds of spirits.
Religion is something that the devil likes so much because it does not affect him in any way. As long as that religion is lifeless, the devil does not mind, you can do everything you want to do. For example, the devil does not mind if you build big altars and fill them with the bones of dead men. If you have very nice pews and pulpits as long as it is dead men ministering there, the devil does not mind. If you paint the pictures of all the angels on the walls, as far as the people worshiping there are dead, the devil does not mind. If you have doctorate degree in Theology or Masters in Bible Knowledge, as far as you are dead, the devil does not mind.
I was invited to a church many years ago. When I got there, I noticed that they do not pray much in that church. So I said, “In this church, I know that you don’t pray much but today we shall pray differently.” After a very short message, I asked them, “Are you now ready to pray?” They said they were ready. We started to pray but within a few minutes somebody came in by the door and spoke in good English: “Stop it, stop it. We don’t pray like this here. Stop it. Where is the bell?” I did not know him so I tapped one of the ladies who was busy praying and asked, “Who is this man?” “That’s our pastor,” she said, “But me, I’m not going to stop.” I was so embarrassed. The ladies refused to stop. I banged the bench, they didn’t stop. They just went on. When the man saw that they did not stop, he walked out in anger and the next Sunday service, he dealt with them. That time I had gone. The sad thing was that the man who said we should stop praying had problem with his kidney and he died two weeks later. Probably if he had put religion aside and had allowed those ladies to pray for him his case would have been different.