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In 1971 John Lennon (of ‘The Beatles’ fame) wrote and released a song called “Imagine”. No doubt the song reflected some of the issues with which he was dealing personally. The song is an invitation to imagine a world very different from the one he lived in.

As the song unfolds it becomes obvious as to where he would place the blame for the condition of the world of his day. Even though there has been almost 45 years of ‘water under the bridge’ since Lennon wrote that song, some things (despite the incredible changes in technology), remain unchanged.

“Imagine there’s no heaven……No hell below us…..It’s easy if you try.”

Here’s the first clue. Living a life that is free from the very existence of such a place as heaven, let alone any interference or influence of heaven in the present or future. Similarly, our lives would be free from the reality of “hell” and the prospect of eternal damnation if we put one foot out of place.

“Imagine there’s no countries…it isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for and no religion, too.

“….and no religion, too”

there’s the second clue:      

It’s obvious that Lennon places a fair proportion of the blame for the condition of the world squarely at the feet of religion. Now I’ve got to say to you that I agree with Lennon on that point; how much better off we would be if we didn’t package and promote religion.

Of course, by “religion” I mean those belief systems that are the product of human endeavour to reach out to God using rules, regulations, duress, false promises etc. to control the behaviour of people and to keep the masses under the authority of self-appointed leaders. Some critics refer to this as “organized religion” or the “religious establishment”.  If that’s what Lennon meant, then he has my vote!

In New Testament times you might be referring to the Pharisees or Sadducees who, while there were individual exceptions, were those who used organized religion in ways that drew the most stringent criticism and from Jesus Christ. He preached, practised and promoted a lifestyle based upon revelation, not regulation. In other words, He called and invited people of all kinds to follow Him.

By “revelation” I mean the supernatural activity of God’s Holy Spirit revealing the true nature and character of Jesus. Here’s a case in point.

Then he (Jesus) asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Matthew 16:15-17 (NLT)

To put that another way, Peter’s conviction or declaration was not the result of human ingenuity and ability but it was the result of divine revelation.

At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!  “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.Matthew 11:25-27 (NLT)
(End Part 1)

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