Jesus moment

Vineyard Verses – Part 17

This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “Vineyard Verses”.

You can listen to the study by clicking here

Scripture Reading

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NIV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

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.

1) Becoming 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.

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!”

Grace is a gift of God

Ephesians 2:4-10 (NIV)
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

And because of this gift of grace to us, we are to be a people of grace, not a critical hypocritical people.

We are called to be witnesses, not judges.

We recognize the fact that all of us desperately need God.

2) Our tendency towards being self- righteous

Mark 2:16-17 (NIV)
16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the “sinners” and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

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.

Until we come to grips with our own brokenness, we will not be able to effectively stand against the enemy on behalf of our neighbors. We are born broken. From our earliest stages in life our main concerns are pleasure and avoiding pain. We live in a fallen world and sin abounds and all of us have sinned in the pursuit of pleasure and pain free living.

The sin scale is the invention of the self-righteous. On this scale we have arbitrarily determined that some sins are very bad and some sins are not so bad. Usually, our own sins are not so bad while other people’s sins make us shake our head and go tsk, tsk, tsk. For example, the self-righteous sin scale tends to see gossip as a tiny little sin and yet it is one of the sins dealt with most often in scripture. Gossip is extremely destructive and ruins lives, families, and churches. However, most people engage in gossip regularly because they don’t think it is a big problem. These same people then self-righteously judge people who they perceive are worse on the sin scale. Sin is sin.

There is a statement that has been going around for quite a while in Christendom that probably many of us have said without giving it much thought because it sounds right. Here it is. “Hate the sin, love the sinner”. The problem with this is that when you think about it, it has self-righteous undertones. Think about it this way. If you are relating to someone based on that statement, do you think they are feeling loved? They are feeling judged and you are most likely treating them as some sort of less than person. It has a hint of hate that is saying, “I am better than you because I don’t engage in the sin you are involved in, and my own sin is just not that bad”. When we are operating under the “hate the sin love the sinner banner” we have most likely labeled the person by their sin and it is coloring how we relate to them.

So what do we do? How are we supposed to relate to the broken? We relate to them from our own brokenness. Which is where we connect with point 3…

3) True righteousness

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

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.

We are becoming the righteousness of God by understanding our own desperate need for grace and loving others with His extravagant love.

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