Pastor Carter wrapped up a series entitled ‘Crosswords’. A series designed to help us to discover how what Christ did on the cross impacts our daily lives and relationships. Over the course of the month, the words used were ‘Victory’, ‘Freedom’, ‘Reconciliation’, and ‘Righteousness’
Today, Pastor focused on the term Righteousness and what it means. Righteousness is right standing before God. Its the concept that we have been made righteous and holy only through Jesus Christ dying for our sins. God sent his only son down to earth as a living and dying sacrifice for our sins so that we can achieve true Righteous.
It’s our job that we believe in the Cross, for that is where our success in life lies. its not what we do, its what Christ has done for us. We have to believe in the Cross. There are 6 things that Believing in the Cross does for us in order to achieve Righteous living.
1. Believing the cross is to move from total depravity to totally righteous. WE cant fully understand the goodness of Jesus Christ dying for our sins, and the undying love God has for all of us, until we realize that we are truly sinners and in need of a Savior.
the sermon is entitled ‘I’m Good enough, NOT!’ Because there’s a struggle within all of us, we want to live right, but a lot of us think that in order to live right, you have to always do good things, or perform good deeds. And Righteous living ISN’T solely about that!
Romans 3:10-18 says..
As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous-not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. all have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies. Snake venom drips from their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all. (NLT)
What Paul is saying about the people in that day, whether Jew, or Gentile, was that ALL people were sinners, (v.23 says that ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALLEN SHORT OF GOD’S GLORY) it was so bad, that no body feared God. It’s one thing to fall into sin, but then to sin, and have no fear of God??????
So until we realize that WE ALL are sinners, and that we are messed up and jacked up , and need a Hero to come and rescue us of our pride, sin, shame and guilt, only then will we fully appreciate what Christ did on the Cross.
2. Believing the cross is to focus on what’s done, rather than what I do. Your obedience or disobedience wont change what Jesus did on the cross. He already died for your and my sins. WE have to realize that when we truly believe in the Cross, we are recognizing that what Jesus did is far more important than what we could ever do.
WE often try to impress God, based on some type of performance agenda. Whether its impressing God personally, or try to outdo your Christian friends, pretend to know more of the Word, than you really do, whatever the case may be. Focusing on what’s already done, will keep you humbled and honest, rather than to live like its all about you!
3. Believing the cross is to get Jesus not get stuff from Jesus. Our main objective as Christians, is when we seek Righteous living, we have to understand that we can’t use Jesus as our pimp . We cant seek to want stuff from Jesus. Jesus if you could bless me with a new job, a new gf/bf I’ve been praying. I just need you to bless me with a car, bless me with some extra spending money to go shopping… etc. When I’m self righteous, I just want stuff from Jesus…
Jesus, I just want you. Not anything from you, I don’t wanna use You to my gain, but I want a relationship with You!!!
4. Believing the cross is to value selflessness over selfishness. Being self-righteous will have you on either side of the two extremes resulting from living self-righteous: extremely arrogant or extremely guilty. One, you feel extremely arrogant, feeling like you never sin a day in your life. acting really religious.
Then the other extreme is feeling extremely guilty for the sins that you committed. Feeling too guilty and unworthy of yourself to accept the forgiveness that God promises us through Christ Jesus, receiving and believing through faith. Once again, YOU have to re-focus on what He did for us .
5. Believing the cross is to focus on the internal over the external. Jesus is not concerned with what you look like on the outside. (aside from creating you in His image, being wonderfully and fearfully made) God the father, and Jesus the son of Man is not concerned with the external ( the clothes you wear, car you drive, the house you stay in, etc.)
Luke 18:9-14 says
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, god, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week and I give you a tenth of my income.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying ‘O God have mercy on me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
The Pharisee represents an example of a person who is self-righteous, selfish, concentrating only on himself and the external. The tax collector, however, resembled what a true honest Christian should be. Selfless, focused on how jacked up he was, and how much he needed Jesus Christ in His life. The tax collector humbled himself, yet the Pharisee exalted himself, in which God will then humble him (thats why its important to already humble yourself, as scripture says)
6. Believing the cross brings security over insecurity!
Its not what you feel, but what Jesus did! Take confidence not in yourself, but in the Cross!
You’re not good enough on your own, but with Jesus Christ dying for your sins, you are made righteousness !
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. – 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT)
LORD, I thank you for exchanging my sins for your righteousness. I know now that is by Your death on the Cross that i can live righteous, and that I am not made righteous by my own actions. Lord help me put away any selfishness and self-righteous living in my life. Take away arrogance, pride, shame and guilt from past and present sins that I have committed, and replace it with Your love, your forgiveness, your mercy, and Your truth. Remind me Lord that I cant get into heaven or live by your standards just by my deeds alone, but by my faith in You. Help me to read and live Your word more. Lord I love You and I appreciate You for what You did on that Cross. saving a wretched sinner such as I. Lord i thank You, and I pray that You continue to work in me to spread your Word in the lives of others. In your son Jesus name I pray this prayer, AMEN.