Let me just catch us all up. If you are following along from week to week, you’ll know that last week we saw how God’s plan always included you and me. The Lord has a place for us in his kingdom. The Lord is calling His children home, He’s calling us home. And in us, His purpose is being revealed. God was calling “His people” from all those areas where “we were called, not His People.”
My big idea today is this; our relationship with Christ/Christian walk hangs on the balance of believing in Christ and desiring to be like him. My prayer today is that together you and me, we will be focused on relationship with Jesus and from that will come the demonstration of our righteousness to the world. That they will come to know Christ because they have known you and me. If you have you Bibles today will you turn with me to Romans 9 starting in verse 30.
What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumbleRomans 9:30-33
and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections/points in order to share them with you today. Let’s take a look at my first point.
We Have Become Righteous Because We Believe In Jesus.
What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal.Romans 9:30-31
It seems like Paul just goes for the throat with his fellow Israelites. He is saying that Israel’s false pursuit for righteousness only resulted in their own demise. Paul continues to recognize that any goodness we have comes through God’s gift of grace and not something we naturally possess.
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.Romans 7:18
Let’s talk about faith…
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.Hebrews 11:1-2
The Gentiles did not know God and were not pursuing God, yet they found Him and attained righteousness by Faith. And the Israelites who pursued the law as a way to righteousness fell flat.
We know that the law was given to demonstrate the a parallel in morality. To show the difference between right and wrong. We are not accredited as righteous because of our ability to do good or please God in any way.
We have hijacked this parallel and used it to develop a system of self-righteousness. It becomes about how good we are and not the goodness of God. The issue is, this is what we demonstrate to others by our attitude or by our actions. Do you remember this Parable of The Pharisee And The Tax Collector?
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone 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 by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—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 all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”Luke 18:9-14
Have we become a church of self-righteous Pharisees? Missing the mark because we missed the love relationship in Christ Jesus. Have we pursued the law/Christian traditions and missed the righteousness of Jesus Christ? Or have we attained it through faith in Christ Jesus. I’ll move on to my second point.
Don’t Trip On Your Own Religion
Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”Romans 9:32-33
Discrepancy (Nomos: defined as law or custom) between the Law meaning The Torah/the Pentateuch (The Law of Moses) which when properly interpreted calls for faith and the Law meaning the commands does not. It demands works.
This illustration of the stumbling stone denotes a person (Israel) walking and she is so focused on her goal that stumbles and falls over the rock that is right in her path. In a state of shortsightedness Israel, so focused on the demands of the commands trips on her own traditions and totally misses Christ the promised Messiah.
He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. 15 Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.”Isaiah 8:14-15
I know we have all watched as someone walking with a cell phone misses a step and falls or otherwise lands themselves in a mess because they were focused on the wrong thing. The enemy of your soul has set a snare that continues to trap the church. Our purpose is to attract other to faith, by our faith and the peace of Christ given us by his love and our love for one another. Is that what we present. Or are we tripping over of own religiousness. “…and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
Our relationship with Christ/Christian walk hangs on the balance of believing in Christ and desiring to be like him. We have become righteous because we believe in Jesus. We must not trip on your own religion. Call to action—Don’t let comparison, traditions, or even other Christians be a stumbling block in your relationship with Christ.
Let’s move all of our junk out of the way so we open our hearts to Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and He has something wonderful for you today? Will you call on him today? Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today.
Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late. It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today.
Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me.
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’