Friday, July 07, 2006

Camp '06

As you may have noticed Youth Camp was last week. It was quite an experience to say that very least. I would have to say that Camp this year was the most positive experience that I have ever has, either as a student or a leader, with any camp. What made Camp amazing was the time spent with missionaries and missionaries in training. We spent our time at The Master's Mission this summer. We had the opportuntiy to work on several projects along with the crew there, and it was a wonderful time for all involved. Over the coming days I will be posting the notes from my morning sermons. The idea was to emphasize the gospel, then our response to the gospel. Pretty simple. You will have to excuse any typing mistakes. I was so pressed for time in all of this that I have taught through all these lessons and have not even gone through and edited them for mistakes (You can help edit these posts through the comments section of the bog).

The Gospel:
Christ’s Righteousness & Man’s Sin
Romans 3:21-25a

The first thing that we see in this passage is that a righteousness has been revealed. What makes this so significant is that righteousness is required for a relationship with God. We see the reason for this in Job 37:23. Here we see that, among other things, the Lord is righteous and He will not violate that righteousness. This means that in order for humans to have a right relationship with God we too must be righteous. Countless religions and systems have been formed for this very purpose, and yet here in this passage we have the answer. We see that God has revealed a righteousness whereby we can have a right relationship with Him. This is what makes the Gospel the good news.

I. A Righteousness Revealed

a. A Supernatural Righteousness (v. 21a)
As we search to understand this righteousness we see that it is a supernatural righteousness. In other words, this righteousness is unattainable to men. This is horrible news, because without this righteousness we face the wrath of God. We see that this righteousness is supernatural in three different ways in v. 21. First, look at how Paul begins this verse, “But now.” This means that the righteousness that has been manifest is in contrast to what was discussed in the previous verses. If we look back at the first three chapters of the book of Romans to see what this righteousness is in contrast to we will see an in depth description of the depravity of man. The first paragraph (1:18-23) and the concluding paragraph (3:9-20) do well in summarizing Paul’s description of the sinfulness of man. In the first paragraph we see that human beings, in their natural state, are unrighteous. Men have suppressed the truth about God, and boasting of their own wisdom they exchanged the glory of God for man made idols. So often we hear that people are basically good, and given the opportunity will do the right thing. Romans chapter 1 tells us something very different. This theme runs throughout the first three chapters of Roman until finally in 3:9-20 Paul concludes his prosecution of sinful man with a final and formal indictment against all men. From this we can clearly see that this righteousness that is being revealed is not from men.
The second indication that this righteousness is unattainable to men is the clear statement that this righteousness is from God. The source of this righteousness that has been made manifest is God. Psalm 71:19 says, “Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?” The answer to that question is clearly, no one is like God! This righteousness that has been revealed must be God’s righteousness, rather than man’s righteousness.
The third indication that this righteousness is unattainable to men is found when Paul tells us that this righteousness “has been made manifest apart from the law.” Paul is not only referring to the law itself, but also man’s attempts to be righteous before God through the law. We can toil and work trying to keep every aspect of the law, but we will never attain the righteousness that God requires. To some people this seems unfair, and because of that, unbelievable. But really it makes sense. God is infinitely righteous and the judge of the world. This means that he must judge the world on the basis of his infinite righteousness. If God were to just let people get away with their sins he would cease to be righteous. But we will pick this topic up later. For now we need to understand the utter despair of this situation described here. Man needs righteousness and there is a righteousness that has been revealed, however that righteousness is unattainable to men.

b. Described by Scripture (v. 21b)
Paul continues to describe this righteousness as “being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets” (NASB) or “the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it” (ESV). Although we cannot attain this righteousness through the Law we can find it described in the Law as well as the rest of the OT. As you read through the book of Romans in particular you will see that one of the apostle Paul’s favorite prophets to quote was Isaiah. For this reason I think that it would most profitable to go to Isaiah and see how this righteousness was foretold. In Isaiah 11:1-5 we see there is someone coming, anointed by the Spirit, who will judge in righteousness. In fact, in verse 5 we see that he is characterized by righteousness. In Isaiah 32:15-17 we again find the prophet Isaiah speaking of a time when the Spirit of God would be poured out. This time we see that the effect of the pouring out of the Spirit will be righteousness. The effect of this righteousness will be peace, and the result of this righteousness will be quietness and trust forever. This result of this righteousness is sweet, and we are unable to attain it. Yet, in Isaiah 46:12-13 we find our hope. For you the stubborn hearted, who disobey your parents, who resent instruction, you who are far from far righteousness, you who have no hope, God has given you hope.

*I tried to post some great pictures but blogger was giving me some trouble.*


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