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Scripture Reading: James 1:21-27
1. Part 1: Those who are spiritual shape their minds and lives into the image of Christ, Rom. 8:28-29; Gal. 4:19; Col. 3:10 (Lk. 6:40).
2. While human wisdom often pits being spiritual against being religious. Human wisdom offers an “either, or” approach to the two, but the Scriptures teach the harmony between the two.
3. This harmony exists when one’s heart is turned toward God, in submissive reverence and faithful obedience to God. [Zacharias, Lk. 1:5-6, 8-10; Simeon, Lk. 2:25; Anna, Lk. 2:36-38]
I. WHAT IS RELIGION?
A. Words and Definitions.
1. dĕisidaimŏnĕstĕrŏs (Acts 17:22): Devout, (too) superstitious, dread of deity), timid of demons or supernatural spirit, fear of the gods (Strong’s, BDAG).
2. dĕisidaimŏnia (Acts 25:19): Same sense as Acts 17:22; “In the ancient Mediterranean world δ. refers to concern about one’s relations to the transcendent realm” 
3. thrēskŏs; thrēskĕia (Jas. 1:26, 27): Religious worship; piety; expression of devotion to transcendent beings, esp. as it expresses itself in cultic rites, worship.
B. Religion is a System of Worship and Service to God, Acts 26:5 (Judaism, Gal. 1:13).
-The religious person is a devotee to worshiping and serving God, cf. Jas. 1:26.
1. Religion is God-revealed (old covenant, Gal. 1:14; Heb. 1:1).
2. Religion is also man-invented (idolatry), Acts 17:22.
a. Begins by refusing the true God, Rom. 1:18-21.
b. Develops out of pride and lustful passions, Rom. 1:22-32.
3. Religion may be man-imposed, Col. 2:23. Self-made, will worship, cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-3; Matt. 15:9.
II. WHAT IS TRUE RELIGION? James 1:26-27
A. True Religion is not Hypocritical, Jas. 1:26; cf. Matt. 23:23.
-The religious person is genuine, sincere in his/her faith.
B. True Religion is Nullified by Sinful Conduct, Jas. 1:26; cf. Psa. 34:11-16. Doer of God’s word is “religious,” Jas. 1:22-25.
C. True Religion is Spiritual, Jas. 1:26-27.
1. It is not driven by pride and lust (the flesh, carnal); it is spiritually minded, Gal. 5:16-18, 22-25.
2. Here is where the spiritual and the religious come together to produce a life of joy, peace and faithfulness.
D. True Religion is “Before” God, Jas. 1:27.
1. Directed to God, not self or others: Charity (Matt. 6:1-4), Prayer (Matt. 6:5-8), and Fasting (Matt. 6:16-18).
2. Designed by God for God; We worship and serve the Lord our God (neither angels or men), Matt. 4:10; Rev. 22:8-9.
E. True Religion is Defined by God’s Word (“is this”), Jas. 1:27.
1. Not what men say, Matt. 7:22-23. Acts 17:22-23
2. Revealed in the faith (the truth, the gospel), 1 Tim. 4:1-3.
F. True Religion is Pure and Undefiled, Jas. 1:27.
1. Pure: Guiltless, clean, clear.
2. Undefiled: Not contaminated, unsoiled.
3. Visits the distressed: “to inspect and relieve” (saw, Lk. 10:33 – to know, perceive, understand); Jas. 2:15-16; 1 Jno. 3:16-17.
4. Personal (oneself), Jas. 1:27; Gal. 6:5.
5. Distinct from the world, Jas. 1:27.
1. The spiritually-minded person is religious toward God as he/she lives among men. The religious person is spiritual, not carnal.
2. Cannot shun God-revealed religion and properly claim to be spiritual. Spiritual religion gives heart and life to pious living.
 Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 216). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
 Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 459). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: March 13, 2018