#6 The “Names of God” Series
(The Lord our Righteousness)
TEXT: Jer. 23:5-8 Col. 2:6-3:4
INTRO: Have you ever met someone who likes to remind you or tell you how spiritual they are? They can do this in many different ways:
1. By pointing out how unspiritual you are, or at least hinting at it.
2. By telling you how much they give to the Lord, or how many gifts of the Spirit they possess, etc.
3. By telling you of how close they are with some giants of the faith, Billy Graham, David Wilkerson, etc.
4. By telling you how many different important positions they have held in God's work or the Church.
We cannot win succeed by attaching ourselves to the wrong source!
ILLUS: In Actions
Speak Louder Than Words, Herb Miller writes: Two
The professional jockey remounted quickly and rode on to win the race. Returning triumphantly to the paddock, the jockey found the farmer who had hired him fuming with rage.
"What's the matter?" the jockey asked. "I won, didn't I?"
"Oh, yea," roared the farmer. "You won all right, but you crossed the finish line on the wrong horse."
In his hurry to remount after the
fall, the jockey had jumped on his competitor's horse. Success is meaningless unless we are in
the right. -- Judy C. Knupke,
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is our Righteousness, not our works, nor the gifts we possess, nor our friendship with giants of faith, it is our relationship to Jesus, the Lord our Righteousness!
I. RIGHTEOUS RULER Jer. 23:5-8
A. Right Living Jer. 23:5-6
1. Since no man since Adam had lived sinless, how could man become “righteous” before God?
ILLUS: If we or the world could be saved through human kindness or clear thinking, Jesus either would have formed a sensitivity group and urged us to share our feelings or would have founded a school and asked us to have discussions. But knowing the ways of God, the way of the world, and the persistence of human sin, he took up the cross, called disciples, gathered the church, and bade us follow him down a different path of freedom. -- William H. Willimon, Leadership, Vol. 10, no. 4.
a. It was going to require something unique.
b. No regular stuff would work.
2. A ruler who will live right. No one has completely done this before, but God promises that someone will; a ruler who will live righteously.
a. Before God.
b. Before man.
3. He will be wise.
4. In his day there will be salvation.
5. He will be the “Lord Our Righteousness.”
6. He will bring us into right relationship to God. (This is the idea of Righteousness: a right standing before God.)
7. This destroys the idea that righteousness can be achieved by our own deeds or works, it will be accomplished through a relationship through this ruler.
B. Restored Life Jer. 23:7-8
1. As great as the deliverance of Israel from Egypt was, this Ruler’s deliverance will be even greater!
2. The former gave Israel a new land, the latter a new life! Moses led them toward new property, Jesus would give them a new position.
a. The former glory will be nothing compared to the latter.
b. The new righteousness from the new ruler will greatly outdo the old righteousness.
c. It won’t be our efforts or wealth or position that get us into this new life, it will be the “new ruler” Himself that will do this.
ILLUS: A person may go to heaven without health, without riches, without honors, without learning, without friends; but he can never go there without Christ. -- John Dyer (1699-1757) -- Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entry 9792.
3. Restored life for all who accept this righteous ruler ... JESUS CHRIST!
II. RIGHTEOUSNESS RECEIVED Col. 2:6-15
A. Received the Lord Col. 2:6-7
1. Jesus is not only the starting point of righteousness, but the continual flow of it! Col. 2:6
2. We cannot be righteous without Christ! Only His robes of righteousness are large enough to cover our filthy rags.
ILLUS: In the day of horse and buggies, a father went to the school house to pick up his three children ages 9, 11, and 17. As soon as he had them in the buggy -- just before he stepped in -- probably out of fear of the storm, the horses bolted and took off in the blizzard. Hours and miles later, when he found his children, the 17-year-old girl stood over the dead and frozen bodies of her brother and sister ages 9 and 11. Sobbing uncontrollably, she collapsed into his arms. When she had regained her composure, she explained to her dad that she tried to take her big, heavy coat and wrap it around them all. But she said, "The coat wasn't big enough."
The blood that Christ shed on the cross was big enough to cover all of your sins and mine -- all your lusting, all your lying, all your cheating, all your hatred, all your own faults. -- R. Larry Moyer, "Right Smack in the Middle of Sin," Preaching Today, Tape No. 148.
3. We must always depend on Christ to keep us in right standing before God!!
4. He is to be Lord of all my life or He is not Lord at all in my life!
5. He is my constant source of righteousness!
a. Not my good works, efforts, positions, etc.
b. This is what produces thankfulness, He has done it! (Otherwise I could thank myself!) 2:7b It is Christ’s garment of righteousness that we wear, not out own.
ILLUS: Like wearing an expensive coat, you put it on ... then you act like what you’re wearing -- like wearing a mink coat, notice how the person acts ... like royalty and rich, we put on Christ's righteousness and we should act the part ... hold our head up high and live what we wear! Our behavior should be different, our dignity is found in Christ! – Dennis Marquardt
c. Don't disgrace this beautiful garment of righteousness.
d. Joseph wore the "coat of many colors" and his brethren became mad and jealous ... it was a coat his father had given him and later was instrumental in God's plan for Joseph's life.
e. That coat changed Joseph’s life, so should the coat of Christ’s righteousness change ours.
B. Rejecting Lies Col. 2:8
1. The world judges goodness by what it sets up as the standards of goodness.
a. It's philosophies change from generation to generation.
b. It's ideas of morality change constantly (sexuality, murder, convenience rules).
c. It's traditions are empty of giving satisfaction.
2. As God's people righteousness cannot and must not be determined by this world or its standards, but by Christ and His Word!
ILLUS: We've lost sight of the fact that some things are always right and some things are always wrong. We've lost our reference point. We don't have any moral philosophy to undergird our way of life in this country, and our way of life is in serious jeopardy and serious danger unless something happens. And that something must be a spiritual revival. -- Billy Graham in a speech at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary's Founder's Day (April 4, 1989). Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 9.
3. We are to reject this world's thinking and standards that don't line up with Christ's!
a. Even when this world makes its standards sound so reasonable.
b. They may even be logically convincing ... but they are still lies if they contradict the Word of God!
c. Ever met a liar that is convincing? (Satan is good at it!)
C. Righteous Life Col. 2:9-15
1. Christ has it all! Col. 2:9
ILLUS: Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out, and your dog would go in. -- Mark Twain, Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 2.
2. In Christ we have it all. Col. 2:10
a. All the righteousness we need we have in Christ.
b. Christ Jesus is our righteousness.
c. In Him we are accepted and clean!
3. In Christ the work of righteousness is complete! Col. 2:11-15
ILLUS: There is a difference between religion and salvation. Religion is man trying to do something for God -- salvation is God doing something for man. -- Croft M. Pentz, The Complete Book of Zingers (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1990).
4. Praise God we have a righteous life!
a. We can live free from condemnation!
b. Now we overflow with thankfulness. Col. 2:7
III. RIGHTEOUSNESS RULING Col. 2:16-3:4
A. Regulations are Lifeless Col. 2:16-23
1. Religious motions don't give us righteousness! Col. 2:16
ILLUS: The repeated promises in the Qur'an of the forgiveness of a compassionate and merciful Allah are all made to the meritorious, whose merits have been weighed in Allah's scales, whereas the gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales. -- John Stott in Authentic Christianity. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 1.
a. Unlike other religions that require you to “earn” your righteousness, we receive ours in Christ as a gift!
b. Jesus paid the price for our righteousness.
2. They Old Testament laws and practices were all shadows of truth to be found in Christ anyways. Col. 2:17
a. The temple
b. The sacrifices
c. The festivals
3. Don’t let others fool you by making you believe they are more righteous than you. Col. 2:18
a. In Christ we are all righteous together!
b. We are either in Christ or not, righteous or not, Saint or sinner!
c. False humility is really covered up pride!
4. The one who brags on his righteousness has lost touch with God! Col. 2:19
5. Quit trying to be righteous by what you do, rather do because you are righteous in Christ! Col. 2:20-23
a. Regulations won't control sinful appetites.
b. Righteousness will control sinful appetites.
ILLUS: Spiritual authority flows not from titles and positions but from a life that is genuine. -- Wayne Jacobsen, pastor, Leadership, Vol. 13, no. 1.
c. This is the secret to overcoming a sinful habit, quit trying to do it by law and regulations, rather let Christ's righteousness be your strength!
B. Resurrection Living Col. 3:1-4
1. Set your hearts on things above!
a. Don't live in such a way that you have to be ruled by the things of this life.
b. Take away fretting over this life.
2. Christ is our life ... resurrection life begins now -- not just in the future.
ILLUS: Somebody asked a Christian, "Are you saved?" "In what tense?" was the strange retort of the Christian. "What do you mean?" "Well," said the Christian, "salvation is in three tenses: it is in the past: 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost' (Titus 3:5). Here is salvation in the present: 'Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and ... by which also ye are saved.' The Greek word “sozesthe” is inadequately translated in the King James Version. It should be 'ye are being saved' (1 Cor 15:2). Not only were we saved in the past, but we need salvation continuously. Finally there is salvation in the future: 'Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him' (Rom 5:9)." Is your salvation in all three tenses? – SOURCE UNKNOWN
a. We are alive in Christ, not dead in sins.
b. Resurrection life flowing through us now!
CONCLUSION: The bible teaches us that Christ is our righteousness, not our works, nor the gifts we possess, nor our friendships with giants of faith, not our positions in the church, it is our relationship to Jesus ... THE “LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS!” (Jehovah-Tsidkenu)