We carry some much baggage through life. What we need is a revelation of God’s righteousness. Our burdens are removed from us by His perfect forgiveness. Matthew 5:48; Psalm 23:6
Speaker(s): Pastor John Love
Sermon # 11506
11:00 AM on 7/15/2018
Mt. 5, I’m going to share some thoughts this morning that we’ve been talking on Grace Hour about finding rest in God.
We’re familiar with that invitation from Jesus in Mt. 11. Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for you will find rest for your souls. That is something that alludes a lot of people in our world today. People can’t seem to find it. I think it’s because of the great restlessness that lies in the heart of every human being. We won’t find true rest unless we find it in Christ. I can imagine Jesus saying those words and people listening to him. Come to me. There’s not a lot of different ways you come to me if your heart longs for rest or you’re looking for peace. If you want to isolate your past. Come to me. Those boys trapped in that cave in Thailand. They didn’t find those boys and say you have several options. Stay here and live the rest of your lives in the cave. Try to dig your way out. Wait for the water to evaporate and you can walk out and crawl out. No option. One way out and they took it and it resulted in them being saved or delivered. Same with God. There is only one way. It’s Jesus. All roads lead to heaven. Really? You could go down one of those roads and it says sorry, dead end. Ever go down one of those roads? Your wife told you it was the wrong way but you know better simply because you are part of the male species! How many times have men offered to give up the wheel to their wives. Would you like to drive? We get completely lost and say let’s pray and not talk about it anymore!
Mt 5 I read the Sermon on the Mount after I came to know the Lord.
I read Mt. 5:20. I thought about that and thought to myself how can I known if my righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees? I kept reading to the sixth chapter verses 14-15. I thought here I am. I have to have a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees. Based on what Jesus said about them, they were not good people. Then I got to this passage and that means if I don’t forgive, I can’t be forgiven.
Then Mt 5:48. I’m sure when you read it for the first time, you didn’t celebrate. Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Oh, so all God wants me to do is be like him. I closed the Bible and said I’m cooked, done. It’s over. I don’t stand a chance. I won’t make the grade. Be ye perfect? Wow. I think of those words of Jesus. You come to me. The moment we met Christ was the moment our burdens were lifted. In so many churches, people go to some ministers and hear the preacher and their burdens are increased. Their burdens are greater. When they get in the pulpit, they listen to a man with all kinds of credentials and his name is Dr. Do Better. That’s what he keep telling them. You got to do more, be more devoted to Christ, more faithful to God. And on and on it goes. Jesus said you come to me and I’ll lift your burdens. It’s as if he saw the human race carrying burdens he knew they couldn’t carry, burdens of guilt and shame, a past we couldn’t shake. A reputation people will not let us forget. That’s the way we live our lives sometimes. Sometimes we have a moment of failure and the devil takes advantage of that moment of failure and says I think we should build a shrine and think about it and reflect on it and it becomes a burden we are unable to bear. Don’t we do that? There is no way to get through life unless we have a Savior. That’s what Jesus came to do. He didn’t come to show us a better way. He didn’t come to reveal to us this is the quality of life you should live. He did not come to tell the world to be kinder and nicer or practice random acts of kindness. He didn’t come for that. He came for one reason: he came to die so we might live. He came to take our burdens from us so we won’t have to carry them. We have a Savior who came to remove those burdens. The essence of forgiveness is whatever it is you’ve done, it’s out of sight and removed, carried away.
I love the Lev. 16 scapegoat. The priest would come and he would take his hand and place them on this scapegoat. Don’t we need one of those in life? We have it in Christ. By doing so, he would transfer the sins of all the people onto that goat. A fit man, a healthy man would take that goat and lead it out into the wilderness into an uninhabited land and lead it to a place no one would see it and it would never return again. Picture of when God places all our sin and guilt and shame on Christ at the cross and removed it forever. I could imagine the children of Israel gathered around when the priest transferred their sins on that scapegoat and wait till it disappeared in the horizon. A celebration when they saw their sins disappear forever. Everyone went home feeling so good because their sins were atoned for, gone. It’s like the way I used to feel as a young person when I went to confession as a not so very good Catholic. I’d go into that booth and confess my sins – not all – the guy knew my mother! I’d rather face God than the wrath of my mother! He’s say, say these prayers. I felt a little lighter. I realized I’d walk down and do the same things all over. I felt good I was able to confess them. Jesus does so much more. He comes in with a cleansing. He takes them away, buries them in the sea of forgetfulness and separates them as far as the east is from the west and casts them behind his back. He wants us to go through life without carrying these kinds of burdens. I get the idea P. Schaller doesn’t take a lot of stuff with him when he travels. I don’t travel well. I take too much and ¾ of my suitcase I don’t touch. I could have had a nice small bag. It’s always because of this phrase, “just in case.” I have a good friend, David Hill. He says where is your “just in case” bag? Just in case I need something. I might need something but usually I don’t and I take too much with me. What if the bag is lost? Once we traveled to Hungary for New Year’s Eve service and British Air lost the bag. I got to the church and said I just have my travel bag. They said we have some clothes upstairs. I put them on and felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger! I thought I should preach here all the time. I felt like the stiff pastor. One of the Hungarians said where did you get those clothes? They were upstairs in the room. You shouldn’t have preached in those clothes! I waited for my bag and then went out and bought clothes and then my bag showed up. Now I had more bags to bring home! You know what the bags are we carry? Bags called yesterday, regret, fear, anxiety; bags that carry inside of them the worst case scenario. The only way to live our lives free from those burdens is if there is revelation of righteousness. That is what God gives us. He gives us a revelation of righteousness. Not a righteousness we have to produce. God knows we cannot produce a righteousness he requires.
If Isaiah 64:4 is true, all of our own righteousness are as filthy rags. Think of that. If that is what our R looks like, what do our sins look like before God? We can’t produce that kind of R. We need a revelation of R. Think of what R is. Occasionally we are able to do what is right. Some predominantly do what is right. Do any of us always do what is right? No.
Rom 3:10, none are righteous, not even one. In God’s economy, there is no room for a relative R. The world looks at other people and says I realize I’m not such a great person but I look at this person and clearly I’m better. That’s a relative, comparative R. Sometimes you can look at others and condemn yourself. In God’s economy, there is no room for a relative R.
God sets the standard and it’s so high, Mt 5:48. It’s perfection. A perfect R. That’s what it takes to enter into God’s kingdom. That’s what it takes to make you and me acceptable inside of God. God points to himself and says this is what R looks like.
God is R and his decrees are R in Rom 1:32, Rom 2:5, Rom 8:4 his requirements are R.
Dan 9:16 his acts are R. He is right in everything he does. Opposite of us. Most of the time, we are wrong in everything we do. We are almost clueless.
We discover what Paul discovered in Rom. 7:18. I realize in my flesh dwells no good thing. Relatively speaking, can we do some good things? Of course. Man is capable of doing good things, great things, but incapable of doing anything good that would make him righteous in the sight of God.
You offend God’s law in one point and you are guilty of breaking all of them, James 2:10. We shared recently that’s like getting pulled over by a police officer because you exceeded the speed limit, 60 miles in a 20 mile zone. Okay. You’re right. Did you know I visited an elderly couple yesterday in a nursing home? Oh, you did? Not only that, I was able to make a couple dozen brownies for a church group. You did that too? Forget it. Have a nice day. Isn’t that wonderful. Here’s your ticket! See you in court. It doesn’t matter if you kept some of God’s laws. If you violate one of them, you are guilty. The whole world is guilty before God. The law was given because God knew we were a little crooked so we would straighten up. That’s not what it says! It’s given so everyone would shut up. Whole world would be guilty and every mouth would be stopped. Stop talking about our own goodness. When it comes to R, God says look at who I am. He is perfectly right and we are so wrong. The invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb is reserved for people who are without any sin and have to have a R that is acceptable before God. I think when God saw that dilemma, Jesus stood up and pleaded with his Father. Punish me for their sins. Give me the penalty for their transgressions. Treat me as you would have to treat the sinner because of your R character. That’s what God did.
1 Pet 3:18 on the cross was the just one, the one who never sinned. Can you imagine that? In his mind, heart, words, attitude. Mary, not being a perpetual virgin, Jesus had brother and sisters. What was it like to sit around the table with Jesus? I’ve had those situations in my family growing up. My father had to make our kitchen table. He was gifted. We would sit around that table and from time to time not everyone gets along. Pass this. No, get it yourself. You should get it for me. Do you think you’re God? Imagine Jesus. Do you think you’re God? I suppose his answer was, I am! And they all fall back at the table! I can’t imagine a perfect life. Through the cross, think about it. Through the cross, God has made a way to make people right with him.
Rom 3:21. At the cross, we can unburden ourselves of everything we don’t need to carry through life. God doesn’t want us to carry unnecessary burdens. You can carry a burden to win the lost, share Christ with coworkers but don’t carry the burden of guilt and that sack of rocks that remember our past. His was a rescue mission not only to save us but so we would be burden free as we move through life. Sometimes we carry too much baggage.
Sometimes it’s the sin that easily besets us in Heb 12:2. Once Christ removes it, the journey becomes so enjoyable. I love the way the journey is characterized by the psalmist.
Ps 23:6 surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. Goodness and love unfailing will be with me all my life and your house will be my house forever. Another translation says goodness and mercy chases after me every day. That’s like goodness and mercy are God’s swat team, sweeping in and removing our insecurity and fears and removing all the rocks we carry. Put them down. God is the Good Shepherd out front leading us. Goodness and mercy come up from the rear. We got your back covered. Surely. Certainly. Not maybe or possibly or I have a hunch or an idea. It says count on it. Bank on it. This is a certainty God wants you to experience in your life. Even if some of those steps get off track, goodness and mercy help you to get back on track. David wrote this psalm and is credited with saying you can have the sure mercies of David. Don’t we need mercies in our life every moment? Whatever the failure, the fault, whatever causes us to get distracted, whatever removes us from the life of faith God wants us to experience, anything that would get us off track, God says I want you to get mercy.
I have the confidence it will always be there and rejoice against judgment in James 2:13.
Mercies will be new every morning in Lam 3:22. James was the half-brother of Jesus. He described God as one who has never slightest variation or shadow of inconsistency. No variations with you. No shadow of inconsistency. Our moods may shift, but God’s never will. Our emotions may fluctuate but God never lives in his emotions. God’s mind never changes though our minds may change. That’s incredible. That’s why he called us from before the foundations of the world. He saved us before time began. He had to call us before time began. Once he saw what we were like, we’d never be called by God. He knows what he was getting into when he saved us that we would fail to show forth the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. The possibility we would bring reproach on his name. We would muddy his name from time to time and it didn’t stop him from choosing us. You chose. When we were born. There was a possibility our mother said can’t we get a trade in? No, sorry. You can’t. You’re stuck with them. What about when you are chosen? God knew what he was getting in when he called me and you and chose you and me. I know about the weakness and frailties and inconsistencies and stubbornness and rebellion. I can see the backsliding coming but none of it stops me from choosing them.
That’s why it says in 2 Tim 2:13 what a promise. If we are faithless, God remains faithful. That’s the nature of our God. He’s a sure God. Look what follows, goodness and mercy. God knows we need both. Goodness to supply our every need and mercy to forgive our every sin. Goodness to provide and mercy to pardon. These are the escorts for God’s flock and we make up that flock. All the days of your life. Not some of them. A brother said last night I love the way God uses the word ALL. He can back it up. All spiritual blessings. You’ll get ALL. Goodness and mercy will be there ALL the days of your life. They will be there ALL the days. All things will work together for my good. He means it when he says it. What kind of days will we face? Line up the adjectives: long, hard, difficult, perilous, dark, exhausting, days when the doctor gives us the bad news when the test comes back and not what we hoped would be. Days for some moms with little babies. Days when you have to go to a dead end job. Days of loneliness. Where is God during those days? He’s following you. He’s with you. Truth is as old as Genesis.
Ge 3 Adam and Eve sinned and marched into the presence of God. No!! Adam looked and Eve looked at Adam. Let’s get out of here. We’ll find a tree to hide behind. God is looking or following after them not to condemn but to cover them and forgive them and express his grace and mercy. Moses could tell you about the mercy of God. 40 years in the wilderness. After 6 months in the wilderness, he must have come to the conclusion I am done, finished. I thought I could deliver the children of Israel but I murdered a man and can never go back to Egypt. 40 years later, God followed him to the desert. You think that’s a bush burning and not consumed? That’s God following you for the last 40 years. Jonah, fugitive on the boat, that’s not a storm. That’s God. That’s not a giant fish. That’s God waiting for you. Disciples on the boat in the storm. Who came to them walking on the water? It was Jesus who followed them. He’s always been doing it. The Samaritan woman is not alone in life. That’s Jesus following you. I have to go there because there is someone who doesn’t know my goodness and mercy.
I want goodness and mercy to settle deep in their heart. I want them to know not their sins, their past, but put down their burdens and live a life of freedom, hope, joy, health. John exiled to Patmos. I’ll follow you to Patmos and give you the most extensive revelation of the glorified Christ any human being received. Lazarus, I’ll follow you in the tomb and bring you out. Peter denying his Lord. Peter, someone is on the shore and made breakfast. Jesus followed him to the ocean, the sea.
He will never stop following you and me. Those escorts, goodness and mercy, will follow you all the days of our lives. Not only do we have a perfect R that gives us a seat at God’s table in eternity, in this journey we don’t have to carry the rocks of guilt and shame. We can have the confidence surely goodness and mercy will be there. They are God’s dynamic duo and they get the job done. When it happens like it happened with Ray Korowski in the presence of God, he’ll be escorted by goodness and mercy. A lot of people at Greater Grace need us. We will get back to escorting God’s people and we’ll do it like we did for you, Ray, all the days of your life.
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