THE GOSPEL WORD RIGHTEOUSNESS
· Today, we are going to talk about a word that you really cannot talk enough about and that is the word ‘RIGHTEOUSNESS’.
· Righteousness is what I call a BIG, HUGE Bible word.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
· Righteousness is one of my favorite words. When you couple that word with an understanding of the authority of the believer, you will become very effective in your life with God.
· Men (just like acceptance last week) have skowered the universe trying to find a way to experience peace and rest in this life.
o Men do not find rest in alcohol,
o They do not find it in education and scholarship.
o They don’t find in being advocates for causes.
§ How many famous wealthy people have you read about that are promoting ‘good causes’, yet you know that their life is far from God.
o Philosophers on planet earth have no rest.
Jeremiah 6:16 (ESV)
16 Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
· I am telling you boldly that people are looking for it – they are looking for peace and rest but only one group of people on planet earth have it!
Romans 5:1 (ESV)
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
· We have it!
o Believers have it!
o Born again folk have it!
o Only the person that is justified or made righteous has it!
· I cannot tell you the value of being able to come home to a house filled with peace.
o DEFINITION: peace – used of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
· Righteousness is what gives it to you.
· Righteousness means simply,…
o DEFINITION: righteousness – rightwiseness; the ‘state of being right’ with God.
o Here are some other words for it; synonyms if you would:
§ goodness, honesty, honor, virtue, uprightness, morality, integrity, justice, blamelessness, ethicalness, purity, holiness.
§ It is closely tied to this idea of being clean.
Job 25:4 (AV)
4 How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
· Clean is what you are in Christ
John 15:3 (AV)
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
· There is a beautiful picture in the New Testament of righteousness, and that is this episode where Jesus ministered to the leper.
o The leper was outside the camp.
o When he came upon a group of people, he had to cry out unclean, unclean.
Mark 1:40–41 (AV)
40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
· Jesus didn’t say be healed, he said be clean. Go, show yourself to the priest or go and be in right standing again with the community.
· When you were unsaved, you were like this leper. You were outside the camp of God. You were unclean in your sins and your iniquities. But when the hand of Jesus touched your life and you were born again, you became clean and accepted in the beloved.
· You know people can make fun of us all they want to (but you are clean, you are pure, you are in right standing and you have peace with God!)
· The media can paint us as people that are not cool.
o They can paint us as contrary and intolerant.
o They even paint us as unintelligent.
o The media does this all the time…
Jude 24 (AMP)
24 Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]—
· Unblemished; blameless; faultless – all of that is in the word righteous.
· Jude 24 is not just a verse about how good we are going to be when we get to heaven!
· “If He cannot present us now unblemished, blameless, faultless, or righteous right now, He certainly cannot present us that way after we die.
o If it takes death to make us unblemished,…
o If it takes death to make us blameless,…
o If it takes death to make us faultless,…
o If it takes death to cleanse us from sin, we are left in an unhappy dilemma.
§ Because death is an enemy
§ Do we really need the enemy to clean us up?
§ Does God need the enemy to make you righteous?
§ No, the truth of the gospel – you are righteous right NOW!
§ You are without fault right NOW!
§ You are blameless right NOW!
What the Bible Says About Sin Consciousness
Hebrews 10:1–3 (ESV)
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
· Do you see these words that I have underlined?
· This is describing the opposite of righteousness.
· Sin consciousness is the opposite of righteousness.
· What is a sin consciousness?
o It is a reminder of sin – it is a reminder of YOUR sins – do you remember some of YOUR sin episodes? – that is sin consciousness.
o In the Old Testament, Israelites would bring sacrifices for sin, but after they finished sacrificing they still had that gnawing guilt on the inside that reminded them of how they had missed God.
· Look here at Isa. 43:25.
Isaiah 43:25 (AMP)
25 I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
· This is description of a righteous encounter with God.
· When a man has a sense in him that he is full of sin, he is afraid of God and himself.
· If you are afraid of God, then you are afraid to ask Him for anything.
o And even if you can muster up the boldness to ask, then you are not quite sure that you will even get it.
· And so, having a sin consciousness or ‘not having a sense of righteousness’…,
o Robs you of your prayer life,
o Steals your communion with God.
§ You won’t have a buddy talk with someone that you are uncomfortable with.
· Now, what happens to believers is that God has declared you righteous legally in the courts of heaven.
· Believers need to understand what that means on earth because the enemy will come and try to ‘remind you of your sin’. He is trying to stir that sin consciousness in you because if he can accomplish that he knows that he can cut your prayer life off.
o And that is the game that is being played between the enemy and the believer. If he can get you to feel guilty about something in your past, he has you. You have got to get past that!
· Sin consciousness is lethal stuff and not to be fooled with. It must be eradicated!
· The enemy knows what a man will try to do with a stirred up sin conscious.
o That is why he keeps trying to show you mental pictures of what you did.
· What will a man do who has a stirred up sin consciousness?
o They will try to quiet the conscience.
o And they will slip over into performance mentality, what we talked about last week.
o They will do things like…
§ Going to church more,…
§ Giving money,
§ Saying prayers,
§ Doing good deeds,
§ Giving up pleasures,
§ Fighting bad habits,
§ Get over into self-denial of legitimate things in life
§ Get over into self-abasement.
o They are trying to quiet that gnawing condemnation they sense with good works.
· This is what happened to Martin Luther.
· Martin Luther received a great move of God, a great revelation of righteousness. It changed the course of church history.
· ILLUSTRATION: Martin Luther
o According to a letter written by Martin Luther’s youngest son, Dr. Paul Luther, and preserved in the Library of Rudolstadt, Martin Luther (1483-1546) related to his family the story of his conversion. He acknowledged with great joy that it was while he was visiting in Rome that he came to the knowledge of the truth of the gospel.
o It happened this way. As multitudes have done, Luther, then a young Saxon monk, lashed by a tormenting conscience and heavily burdened with a load of sin, was ascending the Sancta Scala, or “holy hstairs” (twenty-eight broad marble stairs claimed to be the very steps Jesus walked on when sentenced by Pilate in Jerusalem) on his hands and knees, repeating his prayers on each step in hopes of receiving the promised indulgence of the church. In his zeal he had come to make the ascent, hoping thus to be rid of his burden and obtain the favor of God, when suddenly the words of the prophet Habakkuk came forcibly and incessantly to his mind and heart, “The just shall live by faith.”
· All of which brings us to this point that we need to clarify.
o There are two kinds of sin consciousness:
§ There is the one the sinner has.
§ There is the one the underdeveloped believer has. (they act the same)
· Underdeveloped meaning their mind is not renewed to the truth of righteousness.
· Now, you are sharp enough to know that everything that is in the Bible is not necessarily working for every single believer.
o The things of God are not automatic.
o Bible promises that God has provided for us do not work automatically just because you are saved.
o Not everyone that is saved has healing, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit even though it is promised.
o Not everyone that is saved has their needs met, even though that is promised etc.
· As far as heaven is concerned, you are the righteousness of God. There are absolutely zero issues between you and God.
· God is holding nothing against you.
· But whether or not you walk in that reality is up to you.
· Heaven may have an opinion but it’s your opinion that determines what you walk in.
· As a man thinks in his heart so is he no matter what heaven thinks!
· Now finally let’s look at how righteous people act.
The Righteousness of Faith Speaks
Romans 10:1–3 (ESV)
1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
· Let’s break this down…
o vs. 3 – two kinds of righteousness – God’s righteousness or God’s way of being declared right with Him and man’s way of being declared right with Him.
Romans 10:6–7 (ESV)
6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
· vs. 6 clues us into how the righteousness which is of faith (the other kind of righteousness) operates.
o This is a measuring stick for us to know where we are in our understanding of righteousness.
§ Notice it. ‘The righteousness which is of faith (or which comes by believing) speaks.
· Here is a side note: you can always locate where someone is just by hearing them speak.
· You can find out what a righteous person – a person who really believes that they are righteous – sounds like by listening to them speak.
· What do they say?
o Verse 6-8 tells us what they say
o All people grounded in righteousness talk this way.
§ What is the first thing that they say? – ‘who shall bring Jesus down from heaven? Remember that Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand.
§ QUESTION: do we need Jesus to physically come down from heaven and save us?
· A person understanding righteousness would not need Jesus to physically come down and help them. They know that that are clean, they know that they are in right standing.
· They know that they are empowered sons of God. Little sons of God do not THE Son of God to come down to save them because real sons of God are already on the scene!
§ QUESTION: Do we need Jesus to physically come up from the deep again i.e. do we need Him to come back to the earth to die on the cross again and be raised up again just so that we can have peace?
§ No! We don’t need the physical body of Jesus to solve the sin problem because we have His Word instead!!!
· What is all this saying to me – Please get it!
· If I am righteous – my sins are completely wiped out. God treats me like I have never sinned. If I no past because old things are passed away, then I in my earth walk am in the exact position that Jesus was in His earth walk. Jesus had no sin, no guile was found in His mouth.
· How did Jesus handle problems? He handled it as a righteous man would handle it.
· How did Jesus handle devils? – with “it is written.” A righteous person speaks the Word.
· How did Jesus handle sickness? He spoke to it.
· How did Jesus handle the storms and the waves? – He spoke to them.
o He didn’t say, ‘Father I need you to come down here and deliver me out of this mess’.
o No, He spoke to the waves.
o He spoke to demons.
o He spoke to sickness.
o He spoke to the fig tree.
o He spoke to mountains.
o Now, act like He acted.
§ Doing so is what gospel righteousness is all about.