Sermon Reflections from Sin and Righteousness | Alex Hardt | October 15, 2023
What do you know about righteousness? Biblically, it is right standing with God that comes through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. The contrast between the righteousness we have through Christ and living a life where we are stuck in the rut of habitual sinning is the topic of 1 John 3.
Pastor Alex began is sermon this Sunday with a look at our own counterfeit behaviors. It is important to know a counterfeit when you see one. Are we willing to acknowledge them and turn them over to God? In 1 John 3, John says that continual sinning on our part is not how true believers will act. Those who are pretending to be believers or who are just going through the motions of being ‘Christian’ are not of God. These are sobering thoughts that cause us to evaluate our own walk with Jesus. How do others see me? As a sincere believing Christian who tries to follow Jesus in word and deed or as a phony, a pretender, who says they are Christian but does not speak or act as one who follows Jesus?
John wants us to know that by belonging, or following Jesus, we are children of God. We bear His name, His Spirit and are created in His image. As God’s children we are loved equally, cared for, protected, and taught how to be more like His Son, Jesus. He has truly adopted us fully into His family and we are HIS! I love 1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” God proclaims that we are His children. The reason He gives for us not ‘fitting in’ to the world is that the world does not know Him and we belong to Him. However, we fit perfectly into His kingdom because we do know Him as our heavenly Father. What a great assurance for each of us that our value and worth comes from the Father’s love and belonging to Him.
How does one recognize a counterfeit? With money, the bills can looks so perfect that they are not recognizable except by an expert. God is the expert and knows our hearts so no one can ‘get past’ God, so to speak. Our job is not to waste time trying to root out the counterfeit Christians but to live our lives proclaiming Jesus. We are to put on His righteousness daily and seek to show Him to those around us. What does that look like? It is different for each of us but evidence of our faith and the working out of our salvation will be evident in the fruits of the Spirit that are found in our lives. Galatians 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Are you seeing more of these fruits in your life? Do you see a decrease in your passion for worldly things and an increase in your desire to please and serve God? It does not happen overnight but is a lifelong process as we put on His Righteousness daily and seek to Put Off worldly standards and actions.
Pastor Alex also wanted us to realize that pursuing God in our lives is a destiny making proposition. If we pursue God fully with a heart committed to Jesus and we will be mightily used by God in His kingdom. If we are ‘stuck’ in the world, driven by earthly desires, pleasures and goals, it will lead us to make poor decisions and not be kingdom effective. We have to choose- follow the world and with its goals and rewards or follow God and receive His purpose for our lives and His eternal rewards. The choices we make today affect our tomorrow. Choose wisely. Choose life in Jesus or death.
I pray you will join me in saying, I choose life in Jesus. Joshua put it this way when presenting this same question to the Israelites in Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
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