Pursuing the HUMILITY of the Gospel: IntroductionTuesday, June 19, 2012
The gospel means good news. It is good news because there is bad news. The bad news is that there is a righteous God whose holy standard for allhumans is perfection. Period. And that's bad for humans because none of them are perfect. And none of them will ever be perfect. Except for one.
His name is Jesus Christ. He was a human being like all of us at one time.Now He's a glorified human being in heaven. But He is also God. And that's good news for humans because Jesus Christ is perfect.
The reason that'sgood news for humans is because God offers His holy standard of perfection and righteousness in Jesus Christ to all humans as their substitute. If they choose Jesus Christ as their substitute righteousness, they have believed the good news. If they reject Jesus Christ and embrace their own righteousness,they embrace the bad news...whether they like it or not.
Rejecting your own righteousness and accepting Jesus Christ's is called humility. And when you're humble, you're made right with God. This is what it means for a person to be justified by God. You're made right with God because of Jesus' righteousness. Rejecting Christ's righteousness in favor of your own is called pride. And when you're prideful, you're an enemy of God. This is what it means for aperson to be justified by yourself. You're an enemy of God because of yourself-righteousness.
The walk of every Christian should be to pursue the humility of the gospel. That means we run as fast as we can, as often as we can, for as long as we can after a humility that makes us celebrate the substitute righteousness God has given to us in Jesus Christ. We've happily made up our minds to pursuerest in God's justification of us, rather than a never-ending, wearying effort of trying to justify ourselves. Using the parable Jesus told in Luke 18:9-14 about the Tax-Collector and the Pharisee, I want this series to paint a picture of this part of the Christian's pursuit of the gospel.
Let me start by first explaining what a parable is. It's a story meant to convey a main point. In a parable the details are just part of the story, and are not meant to be a point for point comparison to something else. That's called an allegory.Parables are not allegories. That's important to remember so that you don't get caught up in spiritualizing all the details in the story. They're important,but only for fleshing out the story. With that said, we start in verse 9 of Luke 18 where Luke tells us that Jesus told the parable to a specific group of people. The New International Version gives this reading, that Jesus was telling the parable, "to some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else." The New American Standard says Jesus was talking, "to certain ones wh trusted themselves thatthey were righteous, and viewed others with contempt."
So right off the bat then, this parable is about one thing: a self-righteousness, or self-justificationthat is exclusive. It's about self-righteous people who view themselves aselite and erudite. Now this brings me to the two goals I want to accomplish in this series.
The first has to do with you personally. I want to challenge you personally to examine your own heart and life to see whether or not you measure yourself by what others are doing and what you are not doing. I want to challenge you to see if you meausre your family by what yours is doing and what other families are not doing. I want you to check yourself and see if you are measuring your church by what you're doing and what others are not doing.
This is extremely important because if you continue to measure your own righteousness by others rather than by God’s, you are in for a heap of trouble in this life and in the next. But if you measure your self, your family and your church and everything else that is important to you, by the only standard in life which is God’s righteousness, then you are in good shape for the rest of this life and the next.
The second goal I want to accomplish this morning has to do with the corporate body of Christ, and specifically our local churches. I want to challenge local bodies of believers with the application of God’s righteousness to us all. You see, if we all establish God’s righteousness in our hearts and minds as the only standard by which we condemn or affirm others’ actions and words, then we will experience deeper fellowship between ourselves.
There will be an immensely deep fellowship because we will judge each other by the standard of righteousness which holds the atonement and forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ as of primary importance. When we judge each other by each other, we kill our churches. But when we judge each other by God’s standard in Christ Jesus we will constantly breathe new and fresh air into our local church bodies which will cause them to explode both in depth and in numbers.
In the next post: You are NOT pursuing the humility of the gospel if you exalt in yourself and reject Christ's righteousness (Luke 18:9-12)
About the Author: Rob is a entrepreneur in Statesboro, GA, where he envisions and pursues missional-shaped business for the kingdom. He and his wife Sherri have been married for 18 years and together have three sons and a daughter. Rob believes the mission of the gospel is summed up in four simple phrases: know God, obey Jesus, make disciples, and plant churches. This is the pursuit of his life, as well as the point of his blog.