Summary: We think we can get to heaven by our righteousness, but only by getting the righteousness from God can we stand before God and dwell with Him. Jesus is "The Lord our Righteousness," our Jehovah-tsidkenu.
A. HUMOR: 100 MILE AN HOUR GOAT
1. Two rednecks are out hunting, and as they are walking along they come upon a huge hole in the ground.
2. They approach it and are amazed by the size of it. The first hunter says "Wow, that's some hole; I can't even see the bottom. I wonder how deep it is."
3. The second hunter says" I don't know, let's throw something down and listen and see how long it takes to hit bottom."
4. The first hunter says "There's this old automobile transmission here, give me a hand and we'll throw it in and see".
5. So they pick it up and carry it over, and count one, and two and three, and throw it in the hole.
6. They are standing there listening and looking over the edge and they hear a rustling in the brush behind them.
7. As they turn around they see a goat come crashing through the brush, run up to the hole and with no hesitation, and jumped in head first.
8. While they are standing there looking at each other, looking in the hole and trying to figure out what that was all about, an old farmer walks up. "Say there", says the farmer, "you fellers didn't happen to see my goat around here anywhere, did you?"
9. The first hunter says " Funny you should ask, but we were just standing here a minute ago and a goat came running out of the bushes doin' about a hunert miles an hour and jumped headfirst into this hole here!"
10. The old farmer said "Why that's impossible, I had him chained to a transmission!"
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: ‘THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’” Jer. 23:5-6. (also 33:16)
1. There was not much righteousness in the last days of Judah’s kingdom. The King, Zedekiah (Hebrew, Tsidkiyahu, “The Lord is my Righteousness), did not live up to his name. 2. Instead his life was, like so many of the kings, “evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kgs. 24:19). In that very time, however, the Bible focused attention away from that king, to the Greater King, whose name is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “The Lord our Righteousness” (Jer. 23:6; 33:16).
3 That’s the title of tonight’s message, “Jehovah-Tsidkenu.”
I. ANCIENT VIEW OF ATTAINING RIGHTEOUSNESS
A. O.T. TAUGHT IT WAS BY KEEPING COMMANDS
1. Lev. 18:5; “You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.”
2. Moses taught that keeping the commands of God would bring you life, you would live by keeping them.
3. “Righteous” and “wicked” were designations for how many righteous deeds (obedience) people were performing.
4. Modern Orthodox Jews still conceive of God weighing their good deeds over against their bad deeds. On New Year’s Day the process begins and on the Day of Atonement it ends and judgment is sealed for the year.
5. The 10 days between are spent in an desperate effort by charity, prayer, and fasting to tip the scales in one’s favor, all though there is never certainty as to which way it may have gone.
B. BUT THEY WERE WRONG
1. You can’t be righteous by anything you do. “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” Gal. 2:16.
2. Q – “But Paul, are you saying that even with a righteous life and offering sacrifices that we couldn’t be justified?” “Yes!” “But how can you say that?”
3. The ultimate answer is Gal. 2:21; “If righteous could be gained through the Law, then Christ died for nothing!” Point: the very fact that Christ had to die is all of the proof we need that there is no other way of salvation.
C. A NEW HEAVENLY, REVEALED RIGHTEOUSNESS
1. Rom. 3:20; “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
2. Phip. 3:9; “…and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”
II. SOURCE & MEANING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
A. MEANING & USE OF THE TERM “TSEDEK”
Tsidkenu is derived from tsedek – ‘righteousness.’ It meant originally “to be stiff or straight.” It’s used of honest business practices, but is also used in a spiritual sense of doing the right and moral thing in various situations. Failure to live up to the standard of righteousness established by God necessitated the bloody sacrifices of the O.T.