Thankful 5's

Living Invitations Part 5

May 29, 20170 Comments

This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Living Invitations”.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

We are in a series called Living Invitations. Last week we started talking about hospitality. This week we are going to be looking into the importance of taking a stand for our neighbors by taking some time to look at the armor of God in Ephesians 6.

Scripture Reading

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Let’s continue our discussion on the armor by talking about

1. The breastplate of righteousness

Ephesians 6:14 (NIV)
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,

The breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate covered the body of the soldier from the neck to the thighs. It was used to protect the heart. The righteousness of God will keep our hearts soft. Self-righteousness will make us hard hearted. His righteousness will help us to be more selfless, self-righteousness will make us more selfish.

2. His Righteousness vs self-righteous

Luke 18:9-14 (NIV)
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Self-righteous – arrogance or performance

Those who trust in their own righteousness also despise (Greek, exoutheneō) others. This word means to “count as nothing.”

3) Living in His righteousness

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Righteousness could be defined as “being right with God”

We have to live this out before the world. We get right with God in Christ and then we try and live by doing what is right, by doing the next right thing. We are not perfect and therefore we do not need to run around pointing fingers of judgment.

Let’s look quickly at an encounter Jesus has so we can see what living in His righteousness looks like.

John 4:7-10 (NIV)
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

If you only knew the gift of God, (living water, eternal life, grace) and that all you need to do is ask and He will give it. Jesus is telling this woman that God’s dealings with humanity are on the basis of grace. Our relationship with God is not about what we do, but on what God is willing to do for us.

When Jesus looked at sinners, he saw past their sin and saw the beauty of their potential. He never condoned sin, but He didn’t let sin be the focus. He didn’t label people by their sin.

Jesus was able to do this because He exemplified the grace-filled life. Jesus loved people and people knew it. Being around Jesus made people want to change, to deal with their own brokenness and to live lives that would please Him. They responded to His amazing love which is what true righteousness looks like because true righteousness…is displayed in love. It doesn’t take sin lightly, but understands that people are only really healed from their brokenness as they engage in a relationship with Jesus.

4) We all desperately need the grace of God

It is by His grace that we are able to have relationship with Him. It is not by anything that we have done. Not because we are performing well, but because of His grace.

Galatians 2:21 (NIV)
21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Not understanding our constant need for the grace of God will cause us to become self-righteous and judgmental and not care about people, which was the hallmark of the Pharisees.

We cannot, we must not look down on others. While they may be sinners, they are certainly not beyond God’s forgiveness.

We stand against the schemes of our enemy on behalf of our neighbors becoming the righteousness of God by understanding our own desperate need for grace and loving others with His extravagant love.

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