This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Oct 3rd 2021 by Lasya D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
CREATING A COUNTERCULTURE – PART 4. Lasya D
CREATING A COUNTER-CULTURE PART 4
Q: How many of you have experienced hunger for something specific after a meal? ice cream, something sweet, coffee, saunf, or something else… Our appetites are so distinct and are developed by our culture, our habits and our own propensities.
Today we will look at what Jesus says Christians need to have an appetite for. We are in a series on the beatitudes in Matthew 5 where Jesus is introducing this upside down inside out kingdom of God. We have dealt with issues of heart attitude - Poverty of spirit, meekness, mourning - but today we change gears a little and talk about the appetites of a Christian. What should we long for? What does God bless? What longing does he satisfy?
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
a. What is righteousness? Simply a right relation with God and man- Illustration with legos.
i. Positional righteousness- the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God
Romans 3:23- 25 “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
We cannot be made righteous by our works. In fact in Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags”
Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23 - Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Gospel presentation - Romans 1:17 “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
ii. Personal righteousness - integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting
This does not come by striving but by yielding - in surrender.
1 Peter 1: 14-16 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”
Work out your salvation with fear and trembling
Illustration of the court disposal of cases - If you have put your faith in Jesus for your salvation you are justified - there remains no record of wrong against you - but if you have been justified by faith, the outworking of that is sanctification.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”
iii. Public righteousness - justice or the virtue which gives each his due
This is righteousness in the land - we live in a time of rampant unrighteousness - murder, rape, human trafficking, dictatorship, corruption, persecution of believers, war, and all forms of sin. The very worst attitude we can take as Christians during this time is to be content in the fact that we are going to heaven and let the rest of humanity go to hell. Have you heard the phrase Rome was burning, Nero was fiddling. Let’s not be Nero. In the cause of Justice, let us not be apathetic or accusatory, but let us be ardent.
Isaiah 9:7 “He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
Let’s run this race with the shoes of the gospel of peace and the breastplate of righteousness and take hold of that for which Christ has taken hold of us.
b. Why righteousness?
i. Because he himself is righteous and we are called to be like him.
Jeremiah 33:15 “in those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”
Psalm 119:137, 138 and 142 “You are righteous, Lord, and your laws are right. The statutes you have laid down are righteous”
ii. It is a facet of his kingdom
Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.”
Psalm 119: 142 “they are fully trustworthy. Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.”
When righteousness - right standing with God and man is establish in our lives, we become trustworthy. When that is the foundation we can actually build a life on it that pleases God.
iii. It is of primary importance to God
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” All the blessings of God flow through a right relationship with God.
Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”
Amos 5:23-24 “Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Not that God despises worship, but we need to do that in tandem with righteousness - position, personal and public righteousness.
2. Response - Hunger and Thirst
to crave ardently, to seek with eager desire; those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened
All of us hunger and thirst for something! What do you hunger and thirst for? Validation, recognition, security, comfort - let's think about what drives us.
The person who doesn’t hunger and thirst is the one who is 6 feet under.
But by the grace of God we have been brought from death to life! In fact even when we are unwell, we have trouble with hunger. So it is a sign of spiritual health when we hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Colossians 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”
It is important what we long for. The Psalmist says in Psalm 84: 2 “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” Psalm 63:1 “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Can you see the intense desire - the longing to see God? For his Righteousness, his Kingdom… that is the hunger and thirst that God responds to.
What do we do to grow in this hunger and thirst?
● Pray for the nations and these issues (the spirit will himself intercede through us with groanings too deep for utterance). There are only 2 things mentioned in the bible where heaven responds to something man does - when a person turns to Jesus (Luke 15:7 “n the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!) and when saints pray (it rises as incense to His throne- Rev 8:3 and Psalm 141:2). If the prayers of the saints are as incense before the throne, let us saturate the air of heaven with the smoke of our incense. Let us be persistent in prayer.
● In your area of influence, be diligent and watchful about righteousness - remember progress not perfection.
3. Reward - Shall be satisfied
What is the reward of hungering and thirsting after righteousness? That we will be satisfied. Psalm 63:5 “I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods” Since righteousness is not of man but of God, we cannot satisfy ourselves. But when we hunger and thirst after righteousness - he promises to satisfy us. Psalm 104:28 “when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” St, Augustine said “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you”
So how does he satisfy us?
a. Past - The wrath of God was satisfied on the cross - so when we place our trust in Jesus, our longing to be right with God is satisfied - not because of righteous deeds but by faith. Isaiah 53:11 “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.” The one who can satisfy is He who has satisfied himself in the work on the cross - so there is no wrath that remains towards those who put their faith in Jesus. Romans 8:1 - 2 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
b. Present - Psalm 23: 3 “He guides me along the paths of righteousness” Titus 2:11- 13 “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” He satisfies us not only in salvation but in sanctification by giving us the grace that is required - he not only buys us the car but also fills up the fuel.
c. Future - But on this side of eternity we will never experience utter satisfaction for our hunger and thirst for righteousness - because sin and injustice still plague this world. Which is why Jesus says in John 4: 13 -14 “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
We can be wearied by the unrighteousness and injustice in the world. But we await a saviour from above and it is only in His presence that this becomes clear to us.
The Psalmist felt this way when he says in Psalm 73: 3 “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. V.13 “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning. Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant- I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”
Revelation 21: 4, 6 “ ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 22: 1 - 3 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.”
On that day our longing will be fully satisfied and until then we need to continue to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.