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Matt. 5:17-20 HE PATH TO TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS
Intro: Ill. Barna Report: 88% of all Catholics and a vast majority of
Methodists and Presbyterians believe if people are generally good and do good things for
others in this life, that they can earn a place in Heaven when they die. Among Baptists,
the figure was 27%. This was the attitude of the religious Jew during the time of Christ.
People believed that good living and good works combined to guarantee salvation. Sadly,
many in our day seem to have the same misconception concerning salvation and
We live in a very religious age, where we are surrounded by many people
who think that they can and must earn their way into Heaven by being and doing good.
Perhaps, there are people in this room today who believe this same way. If what you were
counting on to save your soul was wrong, wouldnt you want to know it? In other
words, if what you were trusting to save you wouldnt, would you want to know? Anyone
in his or her right mind would!
In verse 20, Jesus says that a certain level of righteousness
is necessary before we can ever hope to enter Heaven. Today, I would
like to tell you about the path to true righteousness. My purpose
in preaching this sermon is to challenge you to look closely at your
relationship with God so that you might know if you are truly saved,
or simply deceived. My prayer is that the Holy Ghost will speak to
hearts so that we all may know where we stand with the Lord.
I. v.20 GODS
A. Ill. Some of the customs of the Pharisees Phylacteries, 23:5; tithes, strict
obedience to the Law; obsessed with outer cleanliness (Ill. Washings, social separation,
etc.) Ill. These people lived to a higher standard than any person in this room! (Ill.
Luke 18:10-14; Matt. 23:23). Yet, God says that we must exceed this level to be allowed
access into Heaven!
B. It is possible to look good on the outside and be absolutely defiled inwardly, Ill.
Matt. 23:25-28. (Ill. Criminal who was right with family and wrong with the law; Ill.
Little boy who couldnt get the window clean. He was cleaning the outside of the
glass, when the spot was on the inside. Ill. This is a common human error!)
C. If good works and religious ritual can produce a religious exterior, but not a
righteous interior, then what is Jesus talking about? Just what is Gods standard for
admission into Heaven anyway? Absolute Perfection! The only hope any has of ever
entering Heaven is to be a righteous and as holy as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! That is
Gods standard and it applies to all!
II. MANS SHORTCOMING
How does man measure up against Gods standard?
A. Man is declared to be a sinner by God Rom. 3:23; Gal. 3:22; Rom. 3:10-18
B. The very best man can produce is flawed and corrupt Isa. 64:6. (Ill. Even the
great Apostle Paul did not want to face God in his own righteousness Phil. 3:9. I
ll. The works of Paul, Phil. 3:4-8. He knew his works could not save.And, neither can
yours or mine!
C. At our very best, we fall far short of Gods standard Jesus Christ.
(Ill. Rom. 3:23 "All have sinned" "To miss the
mark!" We have all violated Gods Law and stand guilty before Him
Isa. 53:6; James 2:10
A. God know the depth and extent of mans fallen nature Psa. 103:14. (It is
pure grace that prevents us from being destroyed in His anger Lam. 3:22-23)
B. God knows man can never earn salvation or ever be good enough for Heaven. Therefore,
He made a way whereby sinners could be made righteous and meetGods high standard.
C. Gods plan is a multiple step plan that is guaranteed to bring you into a state
of true righteousness, holiness and perfect standing before God.
1. His plan is an old plan Rev. 13:8
2. His plan involved a death Ill. Calvary 2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Pet. 1:18-19
3. His plan involved a resurrection Matt. 28:1-6; Rom. 4:25.
4. His plan involves the conviction of sin John 6:44
5. His plan involves the grace of God Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 5:20
6. His plan involves faith apart from works Rom. 10:9-10; 13; Acts 16:31
7. His plan involves total justification 1 Cor. 6:9-11 (Ill. Reckoned!)
8. His plan involves eternal life John 10:28; Jn. 3:16; 1 Pet. 3:5
9. His plan involves an eternal Heavenly home Rev. 21:4; 1 Cor. 2:9
10. His plan involves an ironclad guarantee Heb. 7:25; Heb. 13:5 (Ill.
Drowning sailor "Im not holding the rope, the rope is holding me!")
D. Man is not righteous, and could never earn righteousness. However, by simple faith
in Jesus Christ, God declares us righteousness Rom. 4:18-25.
E. Salvation is simple! It is just taking God at His Word and receiving Christ and His
finished work on the cross as payment for your sins. Have you done this? (Ill. Too easy.
Ill. Cake mix. Wouldnt sale because all you had to do was add water. People thought
it was too easy. Changed directions to add water and an egg sold like hot cakes!) People
like to do something. Salvation, however, does not need your input. The job is finished,
all you have to do is believe!)
Conc: 2 Cor. 5:10 makes it lain that one day, all men are going to face
Almighty God. When that day comes, you have only 2 choices as to how you will be dressed.
You can appear in the rags of your own filthy righteousness and hear Him say, "I
never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Or, you can appear in the
perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ and hear Him say, "Well done, thou good and
faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Which will it be for you? How
are you attired, spiritually speaking, this morning? If you are still in the rags of your
sins and are unfit to stand before God, please know that Jesus loves you and will gladly
save you right now, today, if you will only come to Him. Will you do it today?