We have all heard the song , Give me that old time religion. Today I would like to address some of its implications. The general gist of the song is that if it was good enough for Grandpa, Grandma, Dad, and Mom, it is good enough for me.
Do you realize that if that song had an ounce of truth to it, there wouldn't be any Christians in the world? Just suppose everyone was guided by the deception that the religion of our parents, grandparents, and other ancestors was automatically good enough for us. Everyone would still be of the religion of his/her ancestors, most of whom were pagans. Suppose that when Jesus walked along the shores of Galilee and called Peter, James, Andrew, and John to follow Him, they had responded by singing: Give me that old time religion. Jesus didn't come to reinforce commitment to that old time religion. He came to bring the dead to life. In order for that to happen, people have to change from the religion they were born into to the faith of Jesus.
Do you remember the story of Noah? The Bible says that he and his wife, his three sons and their wives, were the only ones saved from the great flood that covered the earth. What happened to all the rest of the millions of humanity who were on the earth in the days while he was building the ark and preaching the gospel? They were singing, Give me that old time religion.... They were saying, I was born a __________, my parents were ________, and I will be a ________ until I die. And they did. And Hell was gorged that day.
I was born into a religious family. I went to Sunday School and Church. And if I hadn't been converted to Jesus, I would have died in my trespasses and sins. And perished forever.
What am I getting at? This: we don't go to heaven on our parents' shirttails. God doesn't have any grandchildren. Each of us has to come to God honestly and in faith in His Word. But, most of us don't know His Word well enough to believe it. So, we fall back on that old time religion and comfort ourselves in the face of death with the misguided notion that if we just be faithful to the religion of our parents, all will be well with our souls in the day of judgment.
What a mistake! Jesus is an exclusive object of worship. He said, No man comes to the Father but by Me. So, every person who counts on his parents' religion to get him by won't get by. Everyone whose religion is just the external trappings of his parents' religion will perish in the day of the wrath of God. But everyone who personally comes to Jesus by faith in His promises, will not perish but have eternal life.
The kicker here is by faith in His promises. How can we come to Him by faith in His promises if we don't know what He has promised? What has He promised us? How do we know? Did we find it in the Bible, or did we simply believe someone who told us? Are we counting on the old time religion, or are we counting on the integrity of God in the person of Jesus? Folks, we send missionaries all over the world to persuade people to test their old time religion to see if it has the elements of biblical truth in. Are we willing to check out our own?