Summary: This is the second in a Christmas series of OT prophecies of Christ. This one focuses on Jermiah 23:6 which says that Jesus is our righteousness. The sermon contrasts righteousness by religion vs. righteousness by relationship.

Do You See What I See?

Do You See What Jeremiah Saw?

Jeremiah 23:1-6

December 7, 2003


A. [Standard of Judgment, Citation: Craig Brian Larson, Choice Contemporary Stories and Illustrations (Baker, 1998), p.181; Brian Burrell, Words We Live By, (S&S Trade, 1997)]

In Words We Live By, Brian Burrell tells of an armed robber named Dennis Lee Curtis who was arrested in 1992 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Curtis apparently had scruples about his thievery. In his wallet the police found a sheet of paper on which was written the following code:

1. I will not kill anyone unless I have to.

2. I will take cash and food stamps—no checks.

3. I will rob only at night.

4. I will not wear a mask.

5. I will not rob mini-marts or 7-Eleven stores.

6. If I get chased by cops on foot, I will get away. If chased by vehicle, I will not put the lives of innocent civilians on the line.

7. I will rob only seven months out of the year.

8. I will enjoy robbing from the rich to give to the poor.

This thief had a sense of morality, but it was flawed. When he stood before the court, he was not judged by the standards he had set for himself but by the higher law of the state.

Likewise when we stand before God, we will not be judged by the code of morality we have written for ourselves but by God’s perfect law.

1. Just what that Law is, is our question for today.

2. How do we know if we are right and acceptable in God’s eyes?

3. Today I hope you will be able to see what the OT prophet Jeremiah saw.

B. Jeremiah 23:1-6 (NIV), "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!" declares the LORD. 2 Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: "Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done," declares the LORD. 3 "I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the LORD. 5 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.

C. Religion vs. Relationship

1. There is a huge difference between righteousness by religion and righteousness by relationship!

2. Righteousness means to be right or just in the eyes of God.

3. Are we right in the eyes of God by practicing a religion; that is by doing good things?

4. Or are we right in the eyes of God by being in a relationship.

5. Jeremiah lived under the Old Covenant and during that time they were made right by practicing the rules and regulations of a religion.

6. But Jeremiah prophesied the coming of a King from the house of David and the tribe of Judah who would reign wisely and do what is just and right and His name would be The Lord Our Righteousness.

7. Jeremiah prophesied that this coming King would be our righteousness.

8. Jeremiah prophesied the end of righteousness by religion and the beginning of righteousness by relationship.

9. Unfortunately, even though the Babe of Bethlehem has been established as that King that Jeremiah prophesied, Satan has convinced millions upon millions of people to continue to practice a religion.

10. Let’s see if we can tear down some of his strong holds today…

I. Righteousness is accepting Christ’s righteousness.

Romans 3:10 (NIV), As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;

Isaiah 64:6 (NIV), All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

A. Religion says, “I will find a way to make myself righteous enough to be accepted by God.”

Relationship says, “I will accept the Lord Jesus as my righteousness.”

B. Too often when we ask folks if they are saved, they will say something like, “I think so” or “I certainly hope so.”

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