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February 10, 2008 AM


HEB 5:12-14

INTRO: Of what do you think when you hear the word "righteousness"? Does this word bring to your mind a number of possibilities? If so, I would say you are not alone! In fact, as you study this word in the Bible, it may become a little confusing since it does seem to go in several directions. "Righteousness" is, of course, a very important Bible word and subject. And I discovered that one of the ways in which the scriptures are described is "the word of righteousness" (Heb 5:13). If you keep in mind the extensive use exploration and revelation of "righteousness" in the Bible, this expression becomes very appropriate. This morning think with me about several directions in which this expression takes us.

    1. Isa 45:21 - "...a just God and a Savior..."
      1. God is absolutely right, just and fair
      2. in all His ways He is consistent with His justness and holiness
    2. Ezek 18:25-29 - The accusation: He is not fair!
      1. for ages this has been the assertion of humanity ... God is not fair
      2. but look at what God says through the prophet
      3. it is mankind out of spiritual control that makes such a wild assertion!
      4. truth? God is absolutely righteous, just, fair ... always
      5. He never "bends the rules" - that's just a fact
    1. Ps 119:138,172 - His commandments are righteousness
      1. here is another aspect of the use of this word in scripture
      2. in His absolute fairness God reveals what He expects of humanity
      3. Rom 1:16,17 - the gospel most assuredly reveals more than the justness of God - it reveals what God requires of us
    2. Deut 6:24,25 - A definition of righteousness?
      1. clearly, Moses understood "righteousness" as it applies to mankind
      2. what God commands is "for our good always" - worth our remembering!
      3. so, what "shall be our righteousness"? "do all these commandments" - righteousness apart of His commandments is not righteousness
    3. Rom 10:1-1-3 - Notice the importance of "knowledge" here
      1. without knowledge of God's righteousness they were "lost" to God
      2. religious, zealous? yes, but their righteousness could not substitute for the righteousness God reveals and requires
      3. man's ways cannot and will not replace God's ways
    4. Acts 10:34,35 - Two prerequisites of pleasing God
      1. reverence and obedience
      2. "righteousness" here is vastly more than good works, morality, sincerity
      3. to please God requires keeping His commandments from a heart of genuine reverence ... and the word of righteousness informs us of what those commandments are ... so, Acts 10:48 - or, 1 Cor 14:37
    5. Rom 4:23-25 - Our faith accounted to us for righteousness
      1. what impels one to obedience? belief in the saving work of Jesus and His resurrection (I like the expression in v. 21 "being fully persuaded")
      2. but faith comes via the word of righteousness (Rom 10:17)
      3. and faith must join with obedience if we are to be declared righteous (so, Rom 6:17,18)
    1. Ps 96:13 - The psalmist declared the ultimate judgment of God
      1. but notice "with righteousness" - here we see again the justice of God
      2. no fear of any inequality or bending of the rules - justice
      3. but notice, too, "judge...the people with his truth" - once again the word of righteousness comes into view (so, Jno 12:48,49)
    2. Mt 7:21-23 - A picture of the judgment
      1. why were these evidently good people rejected?
      2. could they claim that God was unfair ... His ways "unequal"?
      3. we see here the absolute consistency of God in judgment ... they word of righteousness had apparently been ignored, there was no obedience (recall Rom 10:1-3)

CLOSE: You and I will one day arrive at the great judgment of God. To meet our righteous God without having been concerned about the word of righteousness will make the meeting most unenjoyable for us.  Have you conformed, are you conforming your life to the word of righteousness?

Cecil A. Hutson

10 February 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)