THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 7-4-04
LESSON TITLE: "IMPORTANT DOCTRINES OF GOD: THE DOCTRINE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS"
"In the beginning - God - created the heavens and the earth!" This morning, it is before this awesome, great and mighty God which we assemble - to praise, laud and magnify His wondrous name! Will you approach His Almighty throne with me in prayer at this time!
Let me thank you all for joining us this morning. And let me say a special hello today, to our viewers in the Tecumseh, Missouri area. We thank you for making the Living Word program a part of your offering to God, as we join together to worship our God each Sunday morning.
May I further encourage those in this area to visit with the faithful congregation of our Lord which meets there - the Dawt Church of Christ. Please take advantage of the opportunity even this morning to worship with this congregation as they assemble for Worship at 10:30. I know these brethren would love to have you for a visit so please join them for worship to God every chance you get. If you need any further information about this congregation feel free to contact their minister Wayne Stewart, at (417)284-3349.
Well, it's already time to praise our God through song. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "O Worship The King!"
(SONG # 1)
In John 4:14, Jesus told the woman of Samaria that there was a water that everyone needed to know about! In fact, Jesus told her that, "...whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." Wow, what a powerful water this must have been! And what was the woman's response? In verse 15 we read, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." You see, this type of water even sounded great to the Samaritan woman. But what was Jesus talking about? He was talking about Himself.
How blessed we are to have a savior who is referred to as "living water," and the "bread of life." Jesus has the ability to spiritually quench our thirst and hunger completely, just as bread and water can quench our physical needs.
So what is our part to play, as those who already have the "living water" and the "bread of life?" In Revelation 22:17, we read, "And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." As the bride of Christ, let's proclaim to the world the very same truth which Jesus did. Our Lord is the "living water" that all men need in order to quench the great thirst of our spiritual lives! So, just as we have come to the water to drink, let's give everyone else the same blessed opportunity. Have you responded to the "living water?"
This morning, we will continue our discussion on the "Important Doctrines of God." Our specific message of the day is entitled, "The Doctrine of Righteousness?" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will return and lead us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Purer in Heart O God."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you," Matthew 6 and verse 33. In these blessed words of our Lord Jesus, we see something that stands out, I believe, that usually refers to as the concept of being able to know that God is there and we must seek Him.
But another idea that really stands out there as well is the fact that it says, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." Today, we want to talk about the doctrine of righteousness because God is righteous. There are many passages that we could turn to this morning to understand that God is righteousness. In fact, He is the very concept, the very idea, He encompasses the fullness of what righteousness is all about. If we are to consider what righteousness is, then we must consider God.
Another word that we often consider in relationship to righteousness is unrighteousness. If you have righteousness on one side, then you have unrighteousness which would be completely the opposite on the other. If God be righteous and good and pure and holy and perfect and so on and so forth, then the opposite of anything good or godly would be unrighteousness.
Well the Bible continues then in various places to tell us about the great righteousness of God. We're going to look first of all in the book of 1 John looking to chapter 3 beginning in verse 7 as it first reminds us that God is righteous and then it reminds us of our part in righteousness. There beginning in verse 7 of chapter 3 the Bible says, "Little children, let no one deceive you, he who practices righteousness is righteous just as He is righteous." We find here that the one who does the Will of God and does not sin... He says, "Don't be deceived. If you do God's Will, if you practice righteousness, then you are like God who is righteous." One of the things that we are supposed to do as Christians is the fact of imitating Christ. Paul said that in 1 Corinthians 11 or rather verse 1 of chapter 11, and isn't it there that Paul emphasized the fact that we are imitators of Christ. As His dear children we do those things that prove that we strive to be more like Him because He is so good and perfect and righteous. Can we be perfect? No. Can we strive for perfection? Yes, to be the best that we can be. That's the idea here. "Let he who practices righteousness understand that he is righteous because God is righteous."
Now on the other hand, the verses go on, verses 8 and 9, to show us that opposite side of righteousness again. It says, "He who sins is of the devil and the devil has sin from the beginning. For this purpose the son of God was manifest that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin for His seed remains in Him and He can not sin because He has been born of God." Here we see a step up, an added idea really added to righteousness. Not only do we not sin, but as he says here that we are those who are the seed of God who can not sin. Why? Because we are striving to be righteous. We are striving to be godlike. You see the idea is that God is good and righteous and holy. There is no sin in Him. In fact, in 1 John chapter 1 and verse 7 it tells us there that," As God is the light that we must be in the light," but the concept is further illustrated there that, "in God, there is no darkness at all." So if God is light and He is righteous and there is no sin or darkness, then as striving to be like God, what must we show? The same thing. We must strive not to have unrighteousness or sin or problems or things that might again cause others to see that we are not of God, rather than that we are lights of the world, rather than we being cities on the hill, those who can't hide ourselves because we are striving so much to be like our God. So God is righteous and we must be righteous and those who are righteous do not sin because those who are born of God do not sin because God does not sin. There's no sin. There's no darkness in God whatsoever.
So you and I, as those who strive to be righteous, strive to be those who are godlike. You and I, as well, strive to be like Jesus because the Bible tells us that Jesus as well is righteous. In fact, the same book, 1 John chapter 2 and verse 1 tells us that "Jesus is the righteous one." He is the one who is the advocate for the Father and he actually says there, "Who is the righteous one." Yes, we see that Jesus, our Father, the Spirit, that God is righteous. He is good. He is pure. He is holy. He is all that is right and therefore you and I must strive to not only do the same, but to be the same before Him.
Now as those then who know God, as those who are striving to be righteous like God and understand that He alone is righteous, that He is goodness, that He is kindness, that He is gentleness, that He is love and so on and so forth, all those things that show forth the spirit and the attitude and the characteristics of God. We as well must be those who pursue righteousness. That means that we are actively striving to accomplish that which is good, that we are actively striving to accomplish that which is pure and holy and good.
This is the very same thing that Paul was telling the young evangelist there in 1 Timothy. In fact, in 1 Timothy chapter 6 and verse 11 we find that Paul says this: "Oh man of God flee these things and pursue righteousness." It goes on to mention things such as godliness and faith and love and patience and gentleness. He mentions further things as well there, but in all of these again he encompasses those things that are good, those things that are godly, those things that are righteous. Righteousness is a part of attributing things in our lives and showing forth in our lives who God really is. When someone looks to my life and the things I do, when someone looks at the things I say they should see God and that I am one who is pursuing righteousness. Why? Because I love righteousness. I love righteousness because I know God is righteous and I know that as God is righteous that as His child I must strive to demonstrate the qualities of those things that I have learned from my Father above.
So now as we understand God being righteous, we being the followers of God who love righteousness and strive to pursue it, what then might be a clearer understanding of what righteousness encompasses? There are several things that the Bible tells us that are involved in being righteous. How do I demonstrate them in word and deed, my righteousness (the righteousness that we are discussing here in relationship to God.
I want you to turn with me at this time to the book of James. We find as well James dealing a lot with matters of faith. In fact, probably one of the best books that we have in the Bible that clarifies for us the concept of faith and obedience to God. Isn't it interesting that it is this same writer, James, in James chapter 2, who helps us to understand that righteousness is involved in faith as well as the concept that we will now see of obedience, the concepts of being able to be those who truly are obedient believers in God. Read with me if you will from James chapter 2 in verse 23. The Bible says, "And the scripture was fulfilled which says Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness and he was called a friend of God." Abraham being referenced here by James, being referred to as one who was a believer in God. Well you and I know that the belief of Abraham was much more than just saying, "Oh yeah, there's a God, " or just saying, "Certainly God exists." The belief that Abraham is given and really is referenced to throughout scripture is an active belief of obedience, an obedience that we'll talk further of in just a moment in specific concepts and ideas of righteousness, but at this time notice the great faith of Abraham, the belief that was demonstrated in places like Hebrews 11. It is by faith that when he was told to take up all that he had and go to another country, that he did so. His belief produced. It showed action. So what do we learn then as it says here that Abraham believed God. Notice then what it accounted him before God and cost him to be accountable before God as a righteous one. You see his belief caused him to be considered as righteous. Obviously then belief is encompassed in righteousness. Belief unto obedience. Belief unto action. Belief unto, as it says here, a friendship with God. Isn't it wonderful to think about the idea that we have a friend in Jesus, that we have a friend in God and that as He is righteous and we strive to be seen and found righteous that we have that friendship that is based on our true love because we believe in Him? Oh yes it is beautiful to be able to know that we have a friend in Jesus. But not only that but the obedience that as well is encompassed there, that is clear, the concept of how we must obey as those who truly are righteous.
I think Paul again, as we looked at earlier, addressed this but this time in the Romans letter. In fact in the book of Romans chapter 6 if you'll turn there beginning in verse 16, we find here again another reference to the righteousness required of God and righteousness as is demonstrated and displayed in our lives. Verse 16 begins, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey you are the one slaves whom you obey? Whether of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness. But God be thanked that though you are slaves to sin, you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine of which you were delivered and having been set free from sin you have become slaves of righteousness." Notice here the concepts that are tied to righteousness. Slavery, that we have become slaves to goodness and perfection. Why? Because we love God. We're lovers of God. We pursue righteousness because righteousness is of God and all about God.
But here he says something further in verse 16 that we have read, that obedience leads to righteousness. What makes you obedient? What makes you do what God has asked you to do? Your belief. You first have to learn and to hear and once you believe, it is that belief then that must be seen in obedience. Belief that produces obedience as in Abraham shows forth righteousness, the righteousness of God. And notice again here that he clarifies that it is the complete opposite, the other end of the spectrum from sin. God, goodness, righteousness, that which is obedient, that belief that produces all on one side and then on the other hand, that which is contrary to God, that which is sinful, slavery unto sin. Well when we became Christians early in Romans chapter 6 it tells us that we put away the old man of sin and we become a new creation, a new creature. The old sin has been put away. Verse 7 says, "We are freed from it." And now we are those who are the sons of God striving for righteousness through our obedience which demonstrates our belief and furthermore as we have read here that produces in you and I that which is slavery unto righteousness. Slavery under God. And who better than the one who purchased us with His own blood? Jesus Christ. Why does God own us? Because He purchased us with the greatest possession that could have ever existed on this earth, the very blood of God in the flesh, Jesus Christ.
So we are slaves to righteousness once we have obeyed God. We have submitted ourselves to an ownership, an ownership that God hath paid dearly for with the blood of His son and thanks be to God that we have that ability to be known as righteous.
I would also like to encourage us in Matthew 25 with what Jesus said in relationship to those who are righteous and the reward that will be theirs. If we want to have eternal life, if we want to go to heaven and which I know all of us watching the program this morning do, then we certainly want to be righteous. Why? Because it is here that it is addressing the righteous. In fact, verse 37 says, "Then the righteous will answer Him and they will say, "God, when have we not seen you in prison or not seen you hungry and then we didn't give it to you?" He's talking with the righteous, those who are believers unto action. Then he says, "Because they did not help some who are around them, it was as if they had not helped Jesus Himself." What was the outcome? He says, "If you don't through obedience prove your belief by helping others, he says there that "you will be passed out," in verse 46, "into everlasting punishment." But notice the 2nd half of verse 46 after he says, "These will go away in everlasting punishment who claim to be righteous, but yet they are not." The end of verse 46 says, "But the righteous will be and go into eternal life."
You see if we are righteous, it's not something that is really asked of us in an empty way or in a way that will not produce. It is asked in a way that gives us an opportunity for eternal life, to live forever, to be in heaven with God, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and those who have gone on before as we all will stand before Him and be judged and be found either worthy or not worthy. I want to be among the righteous. I want to be among men like Abraham who because of their obedience again, because of their belief and obedience were given the title of being righteous. I want to be like men such as Noah who in 2nd Peter 2 and verse 5 were referred to as "preachers of righteousness," who as those in Hebrews 11 and verse 7 again Noah being referred to as "an heir of righteousness." Why? Because of his obedience, his reaction not just his knowledge of, but his reaction to his belief in God.
Oh yes, how blessed we are to know a God, to understand His Will and to have clearly identified for us that He is a righteous God and therefore knowing such how blessed we are to have the opportunity not only to pursue that righteousness and to know it, but then to demonstrate it in our belief through obedience everyday in our words and our deeds knowing that if we are faithful to the end that we will have that eternal life as the righteous ones and live forever and eternally with a God who is righteous and who will always be righteous and what a perfect place to live, and the only place that is eternally righteous, Heaven. We hope we are all a part of that time and place.
(SONG # 3 - "Sinners Jesus Will Receive!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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As God is righteous, may we strive to be more like Him every day, so that all may know and see that we are truly His son's and daughter's in the faith!