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Summary: This passage asks teh question of whether we are living in Christ's righteousness or our own.

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WHAT KIND OF RIGHTEOUSNESS DO WE HAVE?

Philippians 3:9 (NASB)

9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

YEARS AGO, JOE BAILY, THE LATE ETERNITY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST, VISITED SOME GERMAN CHRISTIANS WHO HAD BEEN DEVOTED SOLDIERS IN THE GERMAN ARMY DURING WORLD WAR 2. TWO OF THEM HAD BEEN PUT UP FOR PROMOTION TO BECOME SECOND LIEUTENANTS IN THE NAZI ARMY. THE COMMANDANT TOLD THEM HE WOULD APPROVE THE PROMOTION ON ONE CONDITION: THAT THEY JOIN THE OFFICERS CLUB. BEING A MEMBER OF THE CLUB WOULD REQUIRE THEM TO ATTEND SOME WEEKEND DANCES. THESE YOUNG MEN BELIEVED THAT DANCING WAS WRONG BECAUSE IT COULD LEAD TO IMMORALITY. BECAUSE OF THEIR CONVICTIONS, THEY TURNED DOWN THE PROMOTIONS.

LATER IN THEIR MILITARY CAREERS THESE SAME MEN WERE ASSIGNED TO THE DEATH CAMPS WHERE THOUSANDS OF JEWS WERE STUFFED INTO OVENS AND KILLED. EVEN THOUGH THEY DID NOT DIRECTLY PARTICIPATE IN THE SLAUGHTER, THEY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON. YET THEY NEVER VOICED ANY PROTEST.

WHEN JOE BAILY TALKED WITH THEM MANY YEARS AFTER THE WAR, THEY LOOKED BACK ON THEIR EXPERIENCES WITH NO REGRET, CONVINCED THAT THEY HAD MADE THE RIGHT DECISIONS. FOR THEM, NOT CONFORMING TO SOCIAL PRESSURE AND REFUSING TO DANCE WAS AN ACT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. AND CONFORMING TO PATRIOTIC MASS MURDER AND REMAINING SILENT WHILE THOUSANDS OF JEWS BURNED IN OVENS LEFT THEM WITH NO FEELINGS OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.

WHEN WE SET OUR OWN STANDARD OF EXTERNAL RIGHTEOUSNESS, WE ARE CAPABLE OF ANY EVIL. WHEN WE ARE FILLED WITH HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, NO GOOD IS TOO GREAT.

Haddon Robinson, What Jesus Said About Successful Living

TRANSITION: RIGHTEOUSNESS IS AN EXPRESSION OF THE CHARACTER OF THE INDIVIDUAL!

I. MAN’S RIGHTEOUSNESS

a. RIGHTEOUSNESS IS UNIVERSAL IN MANKIND

i. WE ALL HAVE ONE

ii. WE ALL HAVE AREAS AND ACTIVITIES THAT WE BELIEVE ARE WRONG OR UNRIGHTEOUS

b. MAN’S RIGHTEOUSNESS HAS A SOURCE

i. OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS DERIVED FROM THE LAW

1. INTERESTING PHRASE – WHAT IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS?

c. OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS IS ADDING TO OUR OWN STANDARD IN THE HOPE OF GETTING TO GOD’S STANDARD.

d. WE THINK OF RIGHTEOUSNESS AS A SCALE

e. WE THINK OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS IN A SIMILAR WAY

i. OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS AND GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS!

ILLUSTRATION: MONOPOLY MONEY AND RIGHTEOUSNESS – THE MONOPOLY MONEY LOOKS GOOD AND WHEN YOU WIN THE GAME AND GET ALL THE MONEY, YOU ARE THE CHAMPION. BUT ONLY A FOOL WOULD THEN TAKE HIS MONOPOLY WINNING AND TRY TO SPEND THEM IN THE REAL WORLD!

f. WITH REGARD TO ETERNITY, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS HAS NO VALUE IN HEAVEN

Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Romans 3:10 as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

g. MAN IS UNRIGHTEOUS BY DEFAULT AND CONDEMNED!

i. IF YOU LIVE BY YOUR OWN STANDARD, YOU WILL VIOLATE YOUR OWN STANDARD.

ii. IF YOU LIVE BY THE MORAL CODE OF SOCIETY AROUND YOU, YOU WILL VIOLATE IT.

iii. IF YOU LIVE BY THE STANDARD OF THE CHURCH OR THOSE WHO ARE “RELIGIOUS” – LOOK OUT BECAUSE WE MESS UP ALL THE TIME.

ILLUSTRATION: IT IS KIND OF LIKE THIS GUY WHO TAKES HIS BOAT OUT INTO THE LAKE TO GO FISHING, BUT INSTEAD OF BRINGING A FISHING POLE AND BAIT, HE BRINGS DYNAMITE. WELL, HE LIGHTS A STICK OF DYNAMITE – JUST A LITTLE STICK, AND THEN THROWS IT OUT INTO THE LAKE. IN A FEW MOMENTS – BOOM, AND THEN THE FISH FLOAT TO THE TOP; HE SCOOPS THEM UP IN A NET AND MOVES ON TO THE NEXT AREA.

OF COURSE THIS CANNOT HELP BUT BE NOTICED BY THE LOCAL GAME WARDEN, WHO ALSO TAKES HIS BOAT OUT ONTO THE LAKE, ROWS UP TO THE MAN AND HIS BOAT AND PROCEEDS TO READ HIM THE RIOT ACT ON HOW MANY LAWS HE HAS VIOLATED, THE DAMAGE HE IS DOING TO THE ENVIRONMENT, ETC., ETC., ETC.

ALL THE WHILE THE FIRST MAN IS PICKING UP ANOTHER SMALL STICK OF DYNAMITE, PREPPING THE FUSE AND THEN FINALLY LIGHTING THE FUSE. INSTEAD OF TOSSING IT OUT OF THE BOAT, HE HANDS IT TO THE GAME WARDEN AND ASKS, “ARE YOU GONNA KEEP TALKIN’, OR ARE YOU GONNA FISH?”

MY GUESS IS THE GAME WARDEN BROKE HIS OWN STANDARDS THAT DAY!

II. GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS

a. IT COMES THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST

i. REDEMPTIVE FAITH

ii. DAILY FAITH

b. IS ESSENTIAL TO BE A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST – MAINTAIN A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!

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