Summary: PowerPoint slides freely available by emailing Emile@Wolfaardt.com) Positioning ourselves where God can powerfully revive our hearts.
Revive Us - Part 3
Revive Us as Our Righteousness
One of the finest steamers to float Lake Champlain in Vermont, USA was the steamer "Champlain.’’ Cheer after cheer went up when she slid from her moorings on the dry-dock into the waters of the lake. Her machinery was perfect, her crew well trained, and the passengers on her for her maiden voyage were enthusiastic. Then suddenly something seemed to be wrong with the steamer’s engine’s machinery and a stop was ordered so that the fault might be found and fixed. The captain ordered them to let down the anchor because there was a strong wind blowing and she was drifting rapidly towards the rocks. The captain shouted again, "Down with the anchor." and the sailors responded that the order had been previously obeyed. The anchor was down, but she continued to drift. At last, the fault in the engine was found and the engine started which prevented the new steamer ending up on the rocks. It was soon discovered that while the anchor had been cast out, the chain was three feet too short to touch the bottom of the lake. Yes they had an anchor that would do the job, but it fell short of what was required to secure the boat safely.
I remember reading that account and thinking to myself that that was a picture of the lives of many people - drifting in a storm of sin unaware that the anchor they are trusting in falls tragically short of what they need it to do. If the truth be known, they have with no anchor to keep them from being blown into the rocks of God’s righteous wrath and His necessary judgment.
You see my friend, despite the proliferation of self worship that so vainly defines the landscape of so much of our humanistic psychology, motivational training and even some popular preaching, and despite the denial that society is engaging in on a massive scale, the truth is that every one of us has the same basic problem. Our hearts are desperately wicked and deceitful within us. We cry out against tyranny, but in our hearts we are all tyrants. We shake our fists at perverts, but there is not a one of us whose hearts are not perverse. We scoff at hypocrites, while each and every one of us masks the hypocrisy within us. And the truth is worse than that - unchecked, our minds consider us to be gods in a world obliged to meet our needs, accommodate our perspectives, cater to our preferences and pad our lives with acts of kindness and grace.
Anyone acquainted with the nature of mankind in general, or the tendency of his own heart in particular, will recognize that self-righteousness is an idol that looms ever present and large, and that must be continually dethroned, denied and defeated.
You see my friend, in your Bible, self-righteousness is contrasted to true righteousness. There are the righteous, and the self righteous. Now listen to this - there is nothing wrong with your desire to be righteous. That is part of the God-shape you came with. I would even suggest to you that there may be a link between God being too holy to tolerate sin in His presence and your and my not finding it easy to recognize our own sin in our lives. The difference is that while God’s position is always an expression of His perfect righteousness, ours is often a reflection of our sinfulness and deceitfulness.
Our wickedness is an abomination to God, our lukewarmness is nauseating and righteousness is as filthy rags. It is not looking good for the home team.
You see, the problem is that man must have a genuine righteousness or God cannot accept him. Man must have a perfect obedience, or God cannot reward him.
We are busy with a mini series entitled "Revive Us." We looked first at "Revive Us Again." Last week we looked at "Revive Us as Our Shepherd." This week I am excited to talk with you about "Revive Us as Our Righteousness."
Please open your Bibles with me to the book of Jeremiah and the 23rd chapter.
We are looking at the names of God on our 2007 theme banner. Let me remind you, if I may, why that is important.
As we saw last week, Psalm 9:10 reveals a profound truth when it teaches us that "For those who know Your name will put their trust in You."
Why are we looking at these names? Because there is an anointing released into your life when you know God by name and call upon Him by that name. That is why the people who refer to God as ‘the Man up there’ get nothing. Try walking into the White House and saying to the President, ‘Hey Pres, give me a hundred dollars.’ He’s not your daddy. He’s not going to give you anything. But when you know God - when you truly know God by name - you will put your trust in Him.