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FBCWest 614 | How the Righteous Live

How the Righteous Live | Poster

Recorded On: 07/07/2024


Hymn # 149 “God of Our Fathers”
SCRIPTURE READING – Ephesians 4:4 - 6

Giving of Selves and Our Offerings
OFFERTORY MUSIC – Prudence Hungate

Praise and Worship
“House of the Lord”
“Promise Land (Glory Hallelujah)”
“Behold the Lamb”

Proclamation of the Word
Message by Pastor Joe
“How the Righteous Live”

“Love Is War”
“Lord’s Prayer (It IS Yours)”

Sermon Notes
Romans 1:17 Quoting Habakkuk 2:4
Genesis 15:1 – 5 God’s promise to Abram
Genesis 15:6 Abram’s response and God’s response to Abram’s response
Hebrews 11:1 & 2 Approval by God is faith
Hebrews 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to please God


Transcript of Service

Some of those popular books and bookshops are self-help books. People are always trying to improve their lives, whether it's to become rich, to influence friends, become, make friends. There's always people seeming to want to better their lives. However, they rarely talk about and look at how to live and be righteous. There is a book that talks about that and how to live that way and I'll become that way. Let's see what a righteous person lives.

But the reason why I'm doing this series is kind of twofold. One, I know that the number of years that I have left in my ministry is less than the number of years I had previous to my ministry so that I know that time is shorter than it was, although God may give me many many more years with the opportunity to preach and so I may and hopefully do have other book studies. The second reason is that even though my time may be shorter, it seems that the world is less and less willing to hear the truth and wants to discover its own truth or ignore the truth and so I know that there is less opportunity to share the truth and so the point of this series is to take several, if not single, one or two verses of the Scriptures that has this particular point and then maybe use some other Scriptures to emphasize that point because I believe that the Word of God still changes people and I think it still changes people, those who are His and those who are not yet His, to be His and so I'm hoping that you will take this opportunity as we go through some of these and most of these verses that will go through in these series, you'll probably know well. But I hope more than that you know them well, that we live them well, that these verses have in fact changed our lives and the reason why I picked this particular verse first and if you have your Bibles and you should turn to Romans chapter 1 verse 17, the reason I picked this verse is that there was a priest who tortured himself because he was a sinner and he couldn't see how that he as a sinner could ever be righteous enough to be accepted by God and would physically and mentally torture himself trying to prove that he was worthy and could never come to that conclusion until he read this verse and after reading this verse and after understanding this verse, not only did it change him, it changed a generation. He put some points of disapeuts on a church wall, on doors, he later formed what we call the Lutheran Church because he no longer believed that we are saved by the things that we do but by the one who saved us by faith and so in Romans chapter 1 verse 17 it says this, "For in the righteousness of God," now I want you to notice it's in the righteousness of God. God is the one who is righteous. So in his righteousness he is determined this, "it is revealed from faith to faith as it is written but the righteous man shall live by faith." So God's righteousness, it's not God's display of anything other than who he is.

It's not his exception, it's in his righteousness he revealed that the way that a person is to live is by right faith. So he says he revealed it. So the number one thing we need to understand is what we come to this conclusion is not because we thought it up, it is not through the logic of man that this is developed, it's the righteousness of God is revealed to us from faith to faith.

Those who have faith must reveal it to those who are going to have faith and who have faith, it is revealed. It is not objectively observed. So it says as it is written Paul here quotes an Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk,

which should give us a clue that the determination by God how a righteous person lives is not subject to change. There are those who came up with the philosophy and I don't want to miss but in essence a dispensation. God had this plan, then he had that plan, then he had another plan and finally he threw all those out and he decided that the plan now is Jesus and faith. No, the Old Testament reveals to us through the prophet and we're going to see even later earlier than that that it's always been God's plan is for righteous people to live by faith. It's not oh the law didn't work and so therefore he kicked out the do's and don'ts and said no we're supposed to live by faith. No, God's plan has always been that we live by faith. So he says as it is written so he quotes, "But the righteous man..." Now what is a righteous person? A righteous person is someone who is morally correct or justified. A person who is virtuous without guilt or sin. This is the type of person so this is the person that we're talking about. A person who is righteous. A righteous person shall not should not maybe kind of on and off. The righteous person shall, this command, we shall live what do we mean by live? We're not to conduct ourselves by faith. We're not to to have a plan and be controlled. It is to be our life. Our life is faith. It is what sustains us. It's what keeps us going. It's what feeds us. It's what invigorates us. It's what keeps us alive. Just as Jesus had told us that we are His branch where to be in Him as the vine that He sustains us by abiding in Him. Abiding Him means we live in faith. That's how we live by faith.

Now faith only needs to be a little bit as the scripture says to move even mountains. But I have come to the conclusion that as we live by faith our faith becomes more clear and more sharp and more focused. So that's how we live because we go from not being what we were but who are we becoming. So I'll give you a really bad example. There are songs that we have sung and words that I've even said that as long as I have breath I shall praise the Lord. Not true.

Not true in the sense of it's not totally true. My wife no longer has breath but she is still praising the Lord. You see my faith has become even more sharp and focused by the circumstances that I now live in. The faith that I have that God says to be absent from the body is to be present with Him is now sharply more focused because I know that more now than I did before. I live by faith. I don't live by the old faith. I continue on and renewing that I'm living I'm sustained by that faith. Now what is faith? Now that's the problem that so many people have. They think faith is assumption. If I believe something hard enough it'll happen. That's not faith. That's being stupid. I can wish and believe and believe and believe that I can win a Formula One race. Not going to happen. I'm too old, too slow, too big. The reason why I could win is if God Himself said, "Hey Joe, I know you're too old, too slow, and too big but you're going to win a race." Then that's faith because I respond to what God tells me, what God promises me. That is faith. To believe something that God has not told me is not faith. It is assumption. It is what I want. It is what I desire. It is make believe. But when God says this is going to happen, then it is going to happen. So I want to show you an example of this. And so if you'll turn to Genesis chapter 15 starting with verse 1, it says this. "After these things the Word of the Lord came to Abram and a vision saying, "Do not fear Abram. I am a shield to you. Your reward shall be very great." So God is making a promise to Abram. He's saying, "I'm going to protect you. I'm your shield. I'm your protector. There's no arrows. Nothing is going to harm you because I will be there and as a result you're going to be greatly rewarded." And Abram said, "Oh Lord God, what will you give me since I am childless and the heir of my house as LAAs are of Damascus?" Abram is basically saying, "So what?"

Because after I'm dead and gone, some other person, not of my lineage, not of my blood, will inherit. So it doesn't matter how much you give me, it's going to go to somebody else. It's not going to go to my family because I'm no longer around." And Abram said, "Since you have given no offering to me, one born in my house is my heir." So notice a couple things. He understands that he has no heir. He still kind of blames God. "You didn't give me anything." Or maybe there's a reason up to this point God is not giving you an offspring so that he might show who he is. He didn't say, "Since up to this point, you've not given me an offspring." "Then behold the word of the Lord came to him." Notice, "Behold, the word of the Lord came to him." He didn't say, "Oh, because God said he's going to reward me, therefore I'm going to have a child." No. He's going to wait to hear what God has to say and what God has to say is this. "This man will not be your heir, but one who will come forth from your own body. He shall be your heir." So he goes, "You think you understand the circumstances. You think you understand what's happening, but you don't, because I have plans for you that I'm just now going to reveal to you." He took him outside and said, "Now look towards the heavens and count the stars if you're able to count them." He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." So he takes Abram outside and goes, "Look." Unfortunately we don't understand the vastness of this promise because we have what we call light pollution. We only see a few stars. Do you ever have the opportunity to go out when it's truly dark? You can see the vastness of space and the innumerable amount of stars.

And God's saying, "If you could count those, you could count your heirs." Abraham responds this way, "Then he believed in the Lord and he reckoned it to him as righteousness." He believed God. The statement that God made, even though he was an old man and he's going to get much older before this promise ever starts to be revealed, he believes him. All too often we wait to make God prove something rather than saying, "God, if you've said it,

that settles it." As I commonly say, and because you've heard it said, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it, that's wrong. God said it, that settles it." It doesn't matter whether I believe it or not, God does what God says God is going to do. That settles it. Abraham decided that he would believe God. And then God did something miraculous. He reckoned. He accounted. It's like a bookkeeping ledger. In essence, you take all of the failures and sins and inequities that Abraham ever committed. It would be bankrupt. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. As I say, we have so sinned and we've fallen short of the glory of us, let alone the glory of God. But God, because of faith, reckons it, accounts it, changes a ledger from one who is bankrupt to one who is a child of the King and is reckoned to him as righteousness, as to be morally correct, perfect, justified without sin, without guilt. Now I want you to understand something. All those people who keep telling you that God keeps changing his plan, well this is really, really, really early in the book. Written by Moses, who was the quote, unquote, "lawgiver." People say, "Well, you're supposed to do all these things and don't do all these things." You know, there's no dancing foot on a praying knee and you can't play cards and you can't do this and you can't do that. And there's all these rules and regulations that we're supposed to follow. And God goes, "You can follow all those rules and they may or may not be good for you,

but those rules and regulations keeping them will not make you righteous. Faith makes you righteous."

It is the righteousness of God that accounts to Abram and to you and me, righteousness. We are righteous because of faith. Now, what is faith? We've jumped to Hebrews chapter 11 verses 1 and 2. It says this, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the convictions of things not seen." He

goes, "It is the assurance." Abram wanted to have heirs so that how God blessed him, he could then pass that down to his descendants. And he now had the assurance of those things that hoped for. And notice, "And the convictions of things not seen." It's more than just hope. I hope I hope I hope, no. Abram at that point was convinced when God said it was going to happen that it was going to happen.

So, when we have shaky faith, we're not convinced faith. We need to be convinced that when God says something, he does what he says and says what he does. We need to have that conviction. "For by it, men of old gained approval." Notice again, it isn't following the law. The law tells us we're sinners. The law never makes us better than we are. Most sure we can maybe avoid some gross sins and maybe modify. I watched the program yesterday on Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Franklin decided, because he always wanted to better himself, so he wrote out a bunch of attributes to do things like not waste time and money. And he listed a bunch of things that he'd done. And then he listed like a calendar. And if he messed up, he would mark the mess up. And then as he was going, things kind of got better and better. And he didn't mess up as much. And those 12 things that he had listed, he had almost done really well. So, he was so thrilled with it that he showed his friend, "Look, these 12 things that I have done and I've, in essence, threw my character and attitude that I was able to accomplish." And his friend says, "But you left out one." And he goes, "What is that?" And he goes, "Humility." Then Abraham, then Benjamin, towards the end of his life said, "I suspect that if I were able to actually become humble, I would be proud of the fact that I was humble." But that's kind of how we are. We are so excited that we accomplish certain things and we make ourselves a little better, but we don't truly change. And God wants us to be like Him. And how we become righteous is to believe. So notice there's two things. How is it that we become righteous? We believe God. How is it that we maintain and we live by faith? In Galatians, Paul chastises the Galatians because he says, "You started out in faith, but now you start trying to follow the law." And all too often in churches, we're all trying to prove that we are sanctified and better and holy as opposed to saying, "I'm going to trust God." The circumstances may tell me that there's no reason to trust Him. Though He slay me, I will trust Him. I will believe Him. And the last verse is also found in Hebrews chapter 11, verse 6. It says this, "And without faith, it is impossible." It is not possible to please Him. You can live the most holy life anyone has ever lived. And without faith, you have not pleased God because you still have not matched His righteousness, His holiness, His perfection, His glory. We only please God by operating and living in faith. All too often, as I often share, I've been faithful to the Lord several times. Hopefully someday we will say, "Today at 1047, I live by faith. 1048, I live by faith. 1248, I live by faith. 848, I live by faith. As I lay my head down, I live by faith. As I get up, I live by faith. I live by faith because that is what a righteous person does, and God has sent His Son to make me righteous." So let's no longer say, "Oh, but I'm a sinner." Yes, we are. It became, "Give us faith that we might be righteous." And that ought to change our lives. That ought to change our attitude. That ought to change our perspective. That ought to change our trajectory. That ought to be like the words when read by

Martin Luther. Wait a minute. You mean I've lived a religious life, not a faithful life? I have wasted my time. I'm no longer going to waste my time. And I'm going to do, as the Lord has instructed me, I am going to live by faith. And all God's people said.

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