Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


By Dr. James Modlish
(These outlines are in rough draft format)

Outline Eighteen

Religion versus Relationship
(James 1:26,27)



The word religion or religious only appears seven times in the entire Bible (three in our text). That seems odd for a Book that is generally recognized as the most religious book in the world. Five are negative and two are positive. Clearly, the Bible doesn’t emphasize religion---then what does it stress? Philippians 3:10 points to a relationship. Paul wanted to get to know all he could about Jesus Christ, even His sufferings.

This relationship thing is explained with a variety of analogies; let’s consider a few:

1. A Father Everyone is familiar with “Our Father” – (Luke 11:2, 9-13)

All good things come from God. Some people hinder the relationship by spending more time in blaming the Father than thanking Him.

It’s never the Father Who throws cold water on the relationship, but us. Jesus reminded them they were evil…that fact being true throws everything into a different light. (Reference the Prodigal Son)

Sometimes the good gifts are hidden waiting the discovery of the searcher. The story is told of the graduate who received a Bible from his grandmother and never opened it to find the title to a new car within its pages. And then there was the father who disciplined his son by sending him to the attic only to spend the night in the attic with the child.

2. A Mother - (Gal. 4:26)

Heaven, the home of God and the saints, is compared to a mother.

A mother found under her plate one morning a bill made out by her small son, Bradley, aged eight. The note read: Mother owes Bradley for running errands, 25 cents; for being good, 10 cents; for taking music lessons, 15 cents; for extras, 5 cents. Total: 55 cents.

Mother smiled but made no comment. At lunch Bradley found the bill under his plate with 55 cents and another piece of paper neatly folded like the first. Opening it, he read: Bradley owes Mother: for nursing him through scarlet fever, nothing; for being good to him, nothing; for clothes, shoes and playthings, nothing; for his playroom, nothing; for his meals, nothing. Total: nothing.

My spiritual mother charges me nothing for untold services and blessings, and ultimately gave Heaven’s Jewel for me!

Years ago a young mother was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying her tiny baby in her arms when she was overtaken by a blizzard. She never reached her destination and when the blizzard had subsided, her body was found by searchers beneath a mound of snow. But they discovered that before her death she had taken off all her outer clothing and wrapped it about her baby. When they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had mounded her body over his and given her life for her child, proving the depths of mother love. Years later that child, David Lloyd George, grown to manhood, became the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and without a doubt, one of England’s greatest statesmen.

No wonder we are told to set our affections on things above---Mom’s House.

Mom’s house was always characterized by:

1. Free access
2. Familiarity
3. A loving welcome
4. “Eat something”
5. Comfort

3. A Friend - (John 15:14,15)

Friends share confidences; my Friend Jesus has preserved an entire Book of secrets and has given me the Holy Spirit to reveal them to me.
From childhood Albrecht Durer wanted to paint. Finally, he left home to study with a great artist. He met a friend who also had the same desire and the two became roommates. Both being poor, they found it difficult to make a living and study at the same time. Albrecht’s friend offered to work while Albrecht studied. Then when the paintings began to sell he would have his chance. After much persuasion, Albrecht agreed and worked faithfully while his friend toiled long hours to make a living.

The day came when Albrecht sold a wood carving and his friend went back to his paints, only to find that the hard work had stiffened and twisted his fingers, and he could no longer paint with skill. When Albrecht learned what had happened to his friend, he was filled with great sorrow. One day, returning home unexpectedly, he heard the voice of his friend and saw the gnarled, toil worn hands folded in prayer.

“I can show the world my appreciation by painting his hands as I see them now, folded in prayer.” It was this thought that inspired Albrecht Durer when he realized that he could never give back to his friend the skill which had left his hands. Durer’s gratitude was captured in his inspired painting that has become world famous. And, we are blessed by both the beauty of the painting and the beautiful story of gratitude and brotherhood.

My Friend will one day exalt and make well known any sacrifices I have made in His behalf. Have you come to think of Jesus Christ as your best Friend—one Who will overlook your weird idiosyncrasies and love you anyway? Were not His hands mutilated for my benefit?

4. A Brother - (Prov. 17:17)

Does Jesus consider us brethren? Luke 8_19-21 Will your brother cover your back? He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Of course, for this relationship to be fostered, you may have to put yourself at risk for His benefit.

The three Hebrew children were at great risk when they refused to worship the image---real freedom came in the fire. Who was the 4th Man?

Who covered Daniel’s back?

5. A Bride - (Eph. 5:30-32)

The most personal and intimate of all relationships. Explain. 

What are you involved in --- a religion or a relationship. And how is a relationship initiated?


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