See part 1 of this sermon on Jeremiah 23:6.
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
So let’s have a quick review….
We have all sinned against God. We cannot eliminate, cover up or make amends for the sin in our life. All of our efforts fail. One day we will die and stand before God’s judgment. If there is any sin in our life, we will be cast into hell to be in agony forever with no hope of relief! Thankfully, there is a solution. We can’t solve our sin problem ourselves, but one of the greatest truths in the Bible is that God loves us! He loves us so much, that at tremendous sacrifice to Himself, He freely offers us the only solution to our problem of sin!
Just over 2,000 years ago, God sent Jesus Christ, His only son, into the world on the mission to provide the costly solution for our sins.
Jesus’ mother was Mary. When He was born, he was a little baby just like we were. He ate, he slept, he played, he worked and he grew up just like us. Jesus was fully human – 100%. But there was a big difference. When Mary became pregnant with Jesus, she was not married. She was engaged to a man named Joseph. Now, Joseph observed that Mary was pregnant, but knew that he and Mary had not had sexual relations, so he concluded that Mary had obviously had sex with another man. Not wanting to marry that kind of woman, he decided to send her away, but the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him that Mary was pure in this. She had not had sex with another man. The child in her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was to be called Jesus, which means Savior, because He would save His people from their sins. So Jesus was not only fully man, but He was also fully God. Because God was His Father, He didn’t inherit sin like the rest of the human race. Jesus never lied, was never selfish, never lazy, etc. He was always loving, gracious, humble, and serving. Jesus never even had a bad motive or a wicked thought. Jesus led a perfect sinless life. Because He was a man, He was able to represent us. Because He was God, He was able to save us.
What did Jesus do to save us? Well, if you know a little about Jesus’ life, you know that He was a great teacher, in fact, the greatest teacher who has ever lived. Yet, merely trying to follow Jesus’ teaching does not save us. That would simply be trying to overcome our sin with good works and we’ve already seen that good works cannot possibly save us.
Another thing we observe about Jesus’ life is that He performed extraordinary miracles.
1. Jesus walked on the water. To be perfectly honest, I’ve actually walked on water too, but there was one big difference. The water that Jesus walked on wasn’t frozen solid like the lake I walked on.
2. Another miracle that Jesus performed was also out on the sea, but this time He was asleep in the back of the boat. A tremendous storm blew in with great waves crashing into the boat. The storm was so great that His disciples, who were experienced fishermen, feared for their lives. They awakened Jesus. Instead of responding to their fear of the storm, He rebuked the wind saying, “Hush, be still”! The wind ceased and there was a great calm.
3. One of my favorites is the time when Jesus had been teaching a large crowd of over 5,000 men plus women and children all day. It was late and the disciples urged Jesus to send the people home so they could eat. Jesus inquired what food they had on hand. They reported there were 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish! Jesus instructed the people to be seated, thanked God for the food, and began breaking and distributing the loaves and fish. Soon, everyone had something to eat, everyone was satisfied and there were 12 baskets full of leftovers!
Jesus performed these and other extraordinary miracles. The miracles demonstrated that He was God but they actually did absolutely nothing to take away sins.
Another aspect of Jesus’ ministry was that He healed people.
1. A man with a withered hand came to Jesus and Jesus restored his hand.
2. There was beggar who was born blind, and had never seen the light of day. Jesus gave him his sight.
3. A good friend of Jesus called Lazarus died. When Jesus arrived in the village four days after Lazarus was buried, He went to the tomb, accompanied by many of the local villagers. He instructed them to remove the large boulder that sealed the tomb and then in a loud voice said, “Lazarus, come forth”. Lazarus walked out and Jesus instructed them to remove the grave wrappings in which Lazarus had been buried.
Healing people and restoring physical life also certainly demonstrated that Jesus was God, but still did nothing to remove sins. More was necessary.
The ultimate sacrifice had to be made. Jesus Christ had to give His life on the cross.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 1 Corinthians 15:3-6
But wait a minute, the Bible says that the wages for sin was death, but Jesus never sinned, so why did He have to die. Excellent question, and that’s why this is such Good News! Jesus was indeed sinless, but the passage we just looked at stated that Jesus died for OUR SINS!
Then they buried Jesus. While Jesus was alive, He not only told in detail how He was going to die, but also boldly declared that the grave could not hold Him.
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” Matthew 20:18-19
Jesus kept His promise and after three days in the grave, rose from the dead!
So, it is the cross of Christ and the power of His resurrection that is the bridge that leads from death to life!
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24
Friends, you can’t say now that you don’t now how to be saved. You’ve heard it here this morning. So to believe is what remains. For those who believe, Jesus promises eternal life, no guilty judgment since His death already paid for our sins, and finally that those who believed had already crossed over from death to life. But the question is, “what does it really mean to truly believe”?
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:9-10
The first thing we see is that’s it’s not just a casual thing or merely an intellectual assent. To raise your hand or pray a prayer means nothing without a decision to follow Jesus with your life. To truly be saved requires a definite act of commitment. It says that you must confess Jesus as Lord. That means that you acknowledge Him as your Master and will obey His commands. Someone would not be willing to make that kind of commitment unless they truly believed in their heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. So that’s what it means to believe!
Jesus made numerous statements to indicate that following Him was serious business.
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26-27
To follow Jesus with our life means that our love for Him should be so powerful that our love for others and even our own life looks like hatred in comparison.
So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Luke 14:33
We can’t follow Him while at the same time holding things back from Him. He wants our total commitment!
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. Luke 9:23-24
Following Jesus requires current sacrifice. We must deny ourselves and be willing to suffer for Him. This passage also shows what happens to those who are unwilling to deny themselves to follow Jesus. They will lose their life (that is, they will go to hell), but those who lose their life (that means to deny themselves) for His sake are the ones who will be saved.
Jesus Christ demonstrated how much He loves us by submitting to great suffering and even sacrificing His life for us on the cross. He has clearly demonstrated in numerous ways that He is the Son of God. He freely offers you forgiveness of sins, deliverance from the eternal torment of hell, a purposeful life here on earth and an eternity in heaven to enjoy His presence. He created you and has the best possible plan for your life. To enjoy these benefits, you must repent of your sins (that means to turn away from them), trust Him with all of your heart and live your life for Him.
In closing consider Jesus’ supreme sacrifice.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
That’s how we can have righteousness – Christ’s righteousness!
I’m going to ask the music team to come up to sing our closing song, Immediately following the service, I’ll be up front to speak with you if you would like to make this decision or learn more about what it means to follow Jesus Christ. Also, at The Fountains, I plan to be available at one of the tables following lunch, if you have questions about the message, want to discuss it, or are ready to trust Christ with your life.
See part 1 of this sermon on Jeremiah 23:6.