Jeremiah 23:6 – The Lord Our Righteousness – Sermon Part 1
The Lord Our Righteousness
“In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
‘The Lord our righteousness.’ Jeremiah 23:6
Many of you probably enjoyed watching some of the Olympics on TV recently. The strength, speed, precision, endurance, and agility that those athletes exhibited was truly amazing, wasn’t it? I don’t know if any of you watched the archery competition or not but the archers were incredibly accurate. They would stand virtually motionless for several seconds as they aimed at the target 70 meters away. Then they’d shoot their arrow at speeds of over 300 kph and in less than a second, the arrow would invariably hit the target. Even these incredibly accurate guys failed to hit the “bull’s eye” every time. They received 10 points for every arrow they shot into the “bull’s eye” which was right in the center of the middle circle on the target. The best archer at the London Olympics was Im Dong-Hyun of South Korea. Out of 72 arrows, with a possible score of 720, Im scored 699. Though Im was the best in the world, even he could not score a perfect 720.
Just as archers often miss the “bull’s eye”, no matter how hard we try, in our lives, we also “miss the mark” with our words, actions, and thoughts. Whenever we “miss the mark” in life, the Bible calls this “sin”. A sinless life would be one that never misses the mark.
1. Today, we’ll be considering the topic of righteousness, in particular, the Lord’s righteousness. It’s increasingly difficult in the world today to get basic agreement on what is righteous behavior. In other words, we can’t even agree on what the “bull’s eye” is for various situations in life. For example,
a. Many would contend that aborting a baby who is malformed and has little chance of a normal life is the right and merciful thing to do. / Others would argue that protecting the life of the unborn is always right regardless of health concerns.
b. Many couples today opt to live together before marriage to make sure that they are compatible with one another before making such an important commitment. / Other couples believe that maintaining purity before marriage is of paramount importance.
c. Many have a strong conviction that having sexual relations with someone of the same sex is always wrong in any context. / Others have the conviction that it’s a personal choice that’s just as right as a relationship between a man and a woman.
2. In addition to the basic problem of disagreeing on the ethical “bull’s eyes” of life, there’s another problem. The world’s standards are constantly changing. What was “wrong” with our parent’s generation is now “right” and vice versa. Trying to live a righteous life by society’s standards is like an archer trying to hit the bull’s eye when the target is being randomly moved about while he takes aim.
3. The Bible speaks to this issue of the world’s shifting standards
a. What’s morally right and wrong in life is a constant. It doesn’t change based on the whims of culture or just because we turned another page on the calendar!
b. Isaiah 5:20?Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
4. Definition of Righteousness – Being perfectly conformed to all the demands of the Law. Freedom from guilt or sin. Looking back to our example of the archer, to have a perfect score, the archer would have to hit the “bull’s eye” on every shot. If he missed on even one shot, he could not have a perfect score. Similarly, James 2:10 says…
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. James 2:10
So, we are all guilty before God, but….
5. God is totally Righteous
The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.
a. Every act that God has ever performed has been a righteous act.
b. Every Law that God established is a righteous Law.
c. All His commands that He gives us are righteous.
d. 1 John 1:5b …God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. God isn’t 99.5% righteous. Every part of God’s being is 100% righteous and all that He does is righteous
6. One of God’s righteous acts was the creation of the universe. After He had created the world and all that is in it along with the stars and everything in space, He made the observation that all that He had created was very good.
a. In all of creation, the last two things that God created were the man and the woman. Mankind was the pinnacle of creation. They walked and talked with God in the garden that He had made for them. They were friends with God. God created them in His own image, gave them rule over all the rest of His creation, and gave them an eternal soul that they might forever enjoy fellowship with Him.
b. God placed but a single restriction on the first man and woman. There was a tree placed in the garden that they were forbidden to eat its fruit. One day, God’s enemy, Satan tempted the woman, Eve, to eat the fruit. He lied to her and tricked her into eating it and she gave it to her husband, Adam, and he also ate the fruit. This was the first time that people “missed the mark” of obedience to God and sinned.
c. The friendship that they originally had with God was broken by sin and the resulting relationship looked like this.
d. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
e. But they weren’t the only ones to sin. Their sin has been passed on to all of their descendants, except one. The whole human race has been plunged into sin.
7. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23
a. So, every single man and woman in all the world has sinned against God. I have, you have, we’ve all “missed the mark”. Because we are sinners and God is perfectly righteous, the friendship that man once enjoyed with God is broken.
8. Man tries various ways to get back to God and restore the relationship with Him that was broken by our unrighteousness. The most common way that man tries to bridge the huge gap between God and himself is
9. Good works. Man thinks if I can just be good enough, maybe God will accept me.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; Isaiah 64:6a
Even our supposed “good works” are filthy rags to God and cannot eliminate our sin which causes the separation. So good works can’t possibly restore our relationship with God.
10. Good morals
Without a right relationship with God, even our attempts to do good come from wrong motivations in our heart.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
11. Philosophy Worldly wisdom and philosophy have no value in restoring our relationship with God since the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. 1 Corinthians 3:19
12. Religion Another way man tries to reach God is through religion. The world has many religions. Buddhism, Daoism, Hindu, Islam, and Judaism. Religion is man trying to satisfy God through worship, sacrifice or good works. Religion may offer some good moral advice, but religion cannot remove our sin. Only God is capable of doing that. Man doesn’t need more religion. He needs a Savior!
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
One day we’ll die, but we’re not like the birds, fish, snakes, and other animals. When they die, that’s it. They cease to exist and their bodies simply return to the soil. But remember that God made us in His own image, so we have an eternal soul. Therefore death is not the end for us.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, Hebrews 9:27
Now in an earthly court, the judge is required to render a just decision. If the defendant is guilty, then the penalty, as set forth in the law, should be handed down. If the judge allowed criminals to go free without punishment, he would be considered a horrible judge. After we die, the one who will judge us, of course, is God. He is a perfect judge, the ultimate judge. All of His judgments are totally just and He certainly doesn’t allow those who are unrighteous and break His Law to simply go free. God’s righteousness demands that our sin be punished.
Matthew speaks of this punishment.
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘ Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; Matthew 25:41
The accursed ones mentioned in this verse are everyone who is unrighteous. But as we saw earlier, we have all sinned. Yes, that’s true and everyone who has “missed the mark” and continues in sin will be cast into hell! Describe hell.
· Terrible suffering and agony worse than we can possibly imagine
· No second chance
· Complete loneliness
· Utterly hopeless
· Hell is forever
WOW! That is really bad news! Friends, there is no worse news than being sentenced to spend eternity in hell.