Text Illustrations
Wrong Righteousness


Quote: "If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else." - Yogi Berra


Text: Romans 10:1-4


Prop: a new US $20 bill (or adapt for local currency)


Summary: Some people try to get to heaven on their own by being a good person. The only righteousness that is real is what the Lord Jesus gives us.


Look at this new $20 bill (US currency). We pay for things with money. The color of money used to be green, but this has some red and blue in it now. The moneymakers put some things in this bill so you would know it was genuine. [Show each security feature.] One is this magnetic strip, another is the watermark of the person’s face, and another is this two-tone ink on the number twenty. It is green at this angle, and gold at another angle. If you present this as payment, anyone who receives it can tell it is real. Some people try to cheat and make fake money. The money they make on their own is called a counterfeit. That reminds me of something the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans.


[Read Romans 10:1-4]


Paul wanted his own people, the Israelites, to be saved from their sins. He said they were eager to please God but they did not understand what God wanted. The Israelites thought if they kept following all of God’s laws and commands that it would be enough to please God. They thought if they were good and did nice things that would be all that was necessary to get to heaven. That was the wrong kind of righteousness. It was a fake. The only righteousness that is real is what the Lord Jesus gives us. Paul made it clear that we need God’s righteousness. That means we must be willing to accept God’s goodness, not try to be good on our own.


How can we do that? We can accept what Jesus did for us on the cross. Jesus completed the work of the law there. That is the real, genuine thing that God accepts. Jesus died as a sacrifice for all the bad things we have done. As an old hymn says, Jesus paid it all! We gave God our sin, and God gave us forgiveness and His goodness. That does not seem like a fair trade, but God loves us so much he was willing to do that.


[Read John 3:16] Whosoever includes you. Whosoever includes me. God is so good to us. God wants us to be good, but He does not want us to try to get to heaven by trusting our own goodness to save us. He has provided the way: His Son Jesus.


Let us pray. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for paying the price for my sins. Amen.

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