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Posts Tagged ‘righteousness’

“I Ain’t Never Scurred” Romans 1:16-17

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

If you have ever been ashamed of sharing your Jesus with anybody, this is the message for you.  I hope that Jesus shines in your heart, be blessed. Click below to listen to the message:

“I Ain’t Never Scurred”

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Gospel of Self-Improvement

August 18, 2009 3 comments

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I have always like the song “Man in the Mirror.”  Michael says in the song: “The man in the mirror must make a change.  I think Michael took that literally and began to change himself over the years.  He probably never liked what he saw in the mirror.

In the same way many of us look in the mirror and don’t like what we see.  I like to call it the gospel of self-improvement. In the last year or two, it became obvious to me that religious folk behave just like Michael Jackson. We don’t like what we see, and we carry enormous amounts of guilt for things we did on Monday through Saturday.  We tell ourselves that if we read our bible enough, pray enough, go to church enough, God will love us and accept us and forgive us.  We work real hard at looking and sounding holy, while inside we feel dirty, lonely, and unforgiven.  We put in a lot of work so that in the end we would like what we see.   But we never do, and it becomes an endless, joyless cycle.  We tell ourselves we are beautiful.  We tell ourselves we are smart.  We want acceptance. We want to be right before God.

If Michael says, “The man in the mirror must make a change,” then Jesus says, “The man in the mirror must let ME change him.”  The gospel of self-improvement doesn’t work because you can never be right with God with the things that you do.  Romans 3:10. Our hearts are deceitfully wicked, and we need a Savior to save us from our sins. Jeremiah 17:9.    We are flawed and sinful in our being.  We sin not only in thought and deed, but our hearts are totally messed up.  We need God to provide us new hearts, that will live and love for him. (Jer. 31:31-34) However, unless we acknowledge that we are sinners with sinful hearts and we need a Savior, we can’t move anywhere.

As flawed sinners, God has provided away, that you can be right in the eyes of God, not by doing or working, but by trusting the work that Jesus did on the cross.  Jesus gave us his righteousness and then he took our sin, so that God would love us and declare us right. Romans 4:5-6.  On the other hand Jesus got punished by God the Father for what we did.  So that now, I don’t have to improve myself, in order to get God’s love, I repent from my sin and trust in what Jesus did on the cross, which gives me total and uninhibited access to God.  Romans 5:1.  We can now have an abundant life!  We can now enjoy a life in which Jesus is improving us daily!  Philippians 1:6.  Imagine that!  That’s good news!

Dying to Live Free: Day 5 — Don’t Behave, Believe!

February 16, 2009 Leave a comment

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Have you ever felt like God didn’t like you?  What does it take to be right in God’s eyes?  What does it take for God to smile on who you are?  What does it take to get God’s favor in our lives?  What do I have to do so that God may accept me into heaven?  These are questions that many of us think about from time to time.  Some of us are agonizing over them right now.

 

God helps us to understand how he can call us righteous.

Many people believe that if they do enough good works they will then be qualified to be with God.  Paul in his letter to the Romans kills that idea and says that we are not JUSTIFIED by our works, but we are JUSTIFIED by faith in Jesus’ work on the cross.  (Justification is a God’s declaration from his throne room that we are righteous.  So if God justifies you, he declares you righteous regardless of how full of wrong your life has been.)

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In justifying us, God not only takes our sins and gives them to Jesus to carry.  God then takes the righteousness from Jesus and gives it us freely. (2 Cor. 5:21) God now looks at us and declares us as righteous as Jesus without any work done on our part.  We just believe! We know that Abraham didn’t live a righteous life – he pimped his wife. (Genesis 12:15-20).  But God counted his faith as righteousness.  (Romans 4:4)

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Romans 4:5-6  Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.  However, to the man who does not WORK but trusts God who justifies the wicked (us), his faith is credited as righteousness.

 

 

Ordinances and rituals, like circumcision, baptism, Lord’s Supper, cannot save you.  Just BELIEVE! (4:9-12)

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Paul then lets us know that no ritual can save us or make us righteous before God.  He talks about how Abraham believed in God and God called him righteous.  He says that God called him righteous before he got circumcised.  (Hopefully, you know what this is; but if not here is the wikipedia link — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circumcision). Circumcision was a sign to everybody else of what God had already done for Abraham.  God counted Abraham’s belief in Him as if he was righteous..  Baptism is no different.  Baptism cannot save you; it is just a sign to believers of what God should already have done on the inside of you.  (Romans 6:1-4).  We do it out of obedience to Jesus, not because it can save you.  You are born again, set free, and declared to be a righteous saint from the moment you believe in Jesus.  You are justified by faith!

 

The law can’t justify you either.  Don’t Behave, Believe! (4:13-25)

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 Look, the law, the Ten Commandments, or any other good thing that you come up with can’t really save you.  In fact, the Bible declares that the law is like a mirror to show us how imperfect we are.  Like a mirror, the law can’t fix those imperfections it just sits there condemning you.  (The mirror can’t put your lipstick on right or brush your hair.)  That’s why if anybody tries to be righteous by keeping the law – you end up not succeeding.  The law was never designed to save you, just to show you where you are wrong. 

 

 

Romans 4:14-15  For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath.  And were these is no law there is no transgression.

 

 

 

Because we are sinful, and fall short of the God’s standard, Jesus came and lived a righteous life on earth, died a horrible death, and was resurrected, so that if we believe in him God counts his work, his righteousness towards us.  That’s good news. 

 

Romans 4:23-24 The Words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to who God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

 

So if you want God’s favor in your life, if you want God’s love and approval, if you want to be righteous in the sight of God – don’t behave, just believe in him. If you have never believed in Jesus, you can do that now!  And if you do trust in Jesus, then you are a saint before God!  Throw your hands up and give him praise!

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 See you next week as we jump into Romans 5 – The War is Over.  Paul will begin to answer some questions about some of the special privileges of a Christian.


Dying to Live Free: Day One — The Gospel

January 16, 2009 10 comments

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Here’s what I’m thinking, kinfolk:

Paul begins to write a letter to some people he has never even met — the Christians in Rome.  He greets them and lets them know what his letter is going to be about in these few words (Romans 1:16,17):

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel,

for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,

            the Jew first and also to the Greek.

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;

as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

 

The word Gospel translates the Greek evangelion, which is another way for saying  ‘good news’, was so full of power that Paul was not ashamed to share it.  In the Old Testament the gospel is the message of the coming kingly rule of God. (Pss. 20:10; 68:11; 96:2;Is. 40:9; 41:27; 61:1).  They, Israel, were waiting for a King to come and save them.  In the New Testament, Jesus brings in the Kingdom (Mark 1:14,15), and through his life, death, and resurrection, He makes membership in the kingdom available for anybody who would trust him.  Paul’s so excited about this good news and the power contained in it to save people from Satan’s kingdom.  And for most of the letter, Paul tells us why this news is so good and how this righteousness of God is available to anybody, no matter how unrighteous they maybe.  NO MATTER HOW MUCH DIRT I’VE DONE, GOD DECLARES ME HOLY!!!!

 

All of this got me to thinking about the time that I was sitting in a class about the gospel.  After the teacher finished describing what the gospel was, somebody in the class asked, “Well sir,  I hear what you are saying, but what is so GOOD about the good news?”  This news is supposed to be exciting and people have been waiting for this since the beginning of time.  People have NEEDED it from the beginning of time. However, it was a question that got me thinking about what the Bible said about it and then it got me thinking about my own life.  Why was this good news to me?  Was this on the same level of winning a million dollars?  Or marrying Angela Bassett?  Or taking over the world?  I had to do some serious soul-searching and life evaluating.  

I’m curious, why is this news so good in your own life?