What would happen if you didn’t perform the rituals? Do you think God would get upset, do you believe it would disturb and frustrate Him if you didn’t show up to church at exactly the same time next week, sit in exactly the same place, pray basically the same prayers over and over and over.
All religious organizations repeat these same routines every weekend, and many that still consider themselves evangelical do nearly the identical thing. They call them traditions, but they are nothing more than emotionally charged events, meant to stir the heart without the fear and grace of God, they are rote routines and God is not listening. The children of Jacob fell into the same pattern, and God told them, “Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.” (Isaiah 1:14) There was no heart in them, they were simply repetitive phrases, and it takes little wisdom to see the growth of this impersonal ideology towards our Lord today.
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matt. 6:7) They believe because they repeat the same words and phrases over and over again that God will answer them, possibly it is a misconstruing of Luke 11:9 where we are told because of His continuous knocking the man opened the door and gave his neighbor bread. Counting beads, repeating continuous words, filling in the blanks appropriately after the pastor speaks first, all these and more are nothing but a form of works, of believing that for much speaking they will be heard. If Jesus said that the Pharisees who did so were not being listened to, (Matt. 6:5) what makes these individuals in these types of institutions think that the Lord is listening to them?
He’s not, He listens to the heart, and these traditions and regulations that are mandated are not from the heart that is worshiping, but from the one that is seeking favors from the Lord. They are nothing more than good luck charms, words that are meant to keep those who adhere to them in bondage, if they are not acted upon, favors will be withheld. These are all instituted by man using the Word of God as a basis, twisting them into a form of quasi-religious obligations meant to keep the wrath of God at bay at the least, but at the core they are nothing more than man-made rules and regulations that will place upon the non-participant a form of shame within the congregation. “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matt. 23:4)
Very little changes, when the weak are in need of a leader, there is always a man that will step into that position, one who usually claims to have special knowledge of the oracles of God, one who is extremely humble, pious, and ruthless at the same time, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Anti-Christ were present in the days shortly after our Lord’s return to heaven after His resurrection, (1 John 2:18) they have always been here and always will, until the man of perdition is revealed. They are nothing more than cult leaders, but they wield in certain places enormous power. These agents of principalities and powers are not to be trifled with, though we are to fear no man, pain is the greatest exercise of their power, disloyalty to them comes at an extremely high price.
Brainwashing, as we call it in this age, is the prevalent employment of their trade, and the one who is not well versed or studying in depth daily the Word of God will be found by them to be easy prey. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” (Prov. 8:13) And these individuals who run these idol worship organizations are evil indeed. They are leading silly women captive, (2 Tim. 3:6) they are trapping those who are easily deceived, they are an abomination in the eyes of Almighty God, and they will pay a high price for their rebellion against the Most High.
It is difficult to witness about the truth of God to those who are and have been deceived in such a way, they have been taught out of another book, and their faith is just as strong as yours, although it is faith in wood, stone, and demons. Man has set up, with the help of Satan many times, religious organizations whose sole intent is to keep people in bondage, to keep them from the truth, for they are well aware that the truth will set them free. (John 8:32) Those who follow as the Word of God the religious rituals and traditions set by man instead of the Word of God will find themselves with no excuses when their day arrives, blindly following the blind is no excuse, not doing the research yourself is not a viable excuse.
Fear has always been the key, and the simple minded are easily frightened, promise excommunication or whatever terminology the religious organization uses, and the debater can usually be silenced, bring up known deeply personal things of the past, and they can generally be made to stay in line with the required precepts. Shame is a great deterrent to absenteeism.
Try to reach them if you can, but do not put much faith in the fact of their repentance toward their known religion, almost all of them promise something as long as the requirements have been met, and the fear of losing out on these false promises runs deep within them. The god of this age has blinded their minds, (2 Cor. 4:4) Christ is the only One that can open them, if He desires you to be the messenger, go willingly, remember the words of Ananias and then recall what happened to Paul after the scales fell from his eyes. Until they stop breathing, there is hope.