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2021 online sermons » Creflo Dollar » Creflo Dollar - The Importance of Understanding Righteousness

Creflo Dollar - The Importance of Understanding Righteousness


Creflo Dollar - The Importance of Understanding Righteousness


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Today, we're gonna talk about the importance of understanding righteousness. We're gonna talk about the importance of a foundation. And every born-again believer must understand this foundation of righteousness, and you begin to see things happen when you begin to accept it, you begin to walk in it, you begin to understand it, amen?

So, Father, we give you praise for this message. We give you praise for the anointing. We give you praise that every ear is anointed to hear, every heart's anointed to receive. None of me, all of you, Jesus. We thank you for it now in Jesus' name, amen.


If you have your Bibles, go with me to 1 Corinthians chapter 3 and verse 10, we're gonna read 10 and 11. 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 10 and 11. Now, verse 10 says, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid". And he says that that foundation is Jesus Christ. That foundation is Jesus Christ.

Now, the foundation of the house, in my opinion, is probably the most important part of the house. You can take two houses. They can be the same kinda house. They can have the same kinda windows, the same kinda doors, the same kinda roof, but let's just say one might have been built on sand and the other one might have been built on a rock. And when the challenges come only the house that's been built on the rock is gonna be able to stand.

Matthew chapter 7:24, 27 talks about that wise master builder, and it talks about, you know, building a house on the sand and building on a rock. He says in verse 24, "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man". And he says a wise man which built his house upon a rock. He says, "And the rain descended, and the floods came", that's the situation, that's the conditions. That's the circumstances, the challenges that show up. "And the wind blew, and beat upon the house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock". So, when challenges of life come, when the wind, the storm, when all of these weird things, when a pandemic comes, when economic situations come, when fear knocks at the door, he says if you built your house on the rock, and the Bible says that rock is Jesus, says you're gonna be just fine. But then, he compares it to building a house on a sand.

In verse 26 he says, "And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of this". These are the different challenges that show up. And if you built that house on sand, then it's gonna fall, and great will be the fall. And so, we've got to understand, you know, that if we build our house on Jesus Christ, that house is gonna stand against anything that shows up. But if you build that house on sand, if you build it on self-effort, if you build that house on your own image, then when the circumstances and situations show up that house will fall and great will be the fall of that house.

You see, all other foundations are shifting sand. And so, we see here in 1 Corinthians chapter 3:10 and 11 this foundation that we have, it is a sure foundation. Now, the question I have for you starting off this morning, is the foundation of our faith built on sand or is it built on a rock? That's a very serious question, because some of us we've been in church for years and years and years, and we've gotta ask ourself, "Have I built my belief system, have I built my faith on sand? That when the circumstances show up my house falls and great is that fall, or have I spent my time building it on the foundation of Jesus Christ, which the Scripture talks about"?

You see, our foundations will only shake if it has been built on something other than Christ. So, if there's shaking going on, if your house fell and great was the fall, it was because it wasn't built on Jesus Christ. I mean, that's the evidence. If in the midst of a lotta hard times, in the midst of things that you have encountered lately and, you know, great was the fall, then that is indication that you probably have not built your house on the right foundation. Our foundation will only shake if we built it on something other than Christ.

Now listen to me carefully. The old covenant had another foundation. In that covenant, the blessing of God were told to come upon people if they were able to perfectly obey and perfectly be obedient to the whole Law of Moses, and so that was the foundation in the Old Testament. Perfect obedience to the Law of Moses. In fact, let me show you that. Deuteronomy chapter 28, verses 1 and 2. That the blessings of God would be able to come on your life if your foundation was perfect obedience to the Law of Moses. Verse 1 says, "And it shall come to pass, if thou shall hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all of his commandments," 613 of the Mosaic commandments, "which I command thee this day, that the Lord God will set thee on high above all of the earth". And verse 2 says, "And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shall hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God," if you can keep all of these commandments.

Now, it is interesting to see that at the same moment that the Ten Commandments were given in Exodus chapter 20, that's where we start seeing the Ten Commandments being given. It's interesting at the same moment the Ten Commandments were given, instructions regarding the sacrifices were also given. Go to Exodus 20:24. If you read in Exodus chapter 20, verse 1, 2, 3, all the way down to verse 24, you will see the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments, being given. And then, at the same time, in the same chapter, he begins to give instructions regarding sacrificial offerings also. Notice in verse 24, "An altar of the earth thou shall make unto me, and shall sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offering, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name," and he says, "and I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee".

So, he's saying, "At this time if you'll take these animals and if you offer these animals unto me, then I'll begin to bless you through the sacrifice". Now, the question comes up, and this is because there's a reason why God did this. It's because God knew from the beginning that no one would be able to keep the Law of Moses perfectly on their own, and without the sacrifices they would all be under the curse, so that the only way that God would be able to bless them was through animal sacrifices, because he knew that no one would be able to perfectly keep all of the Law of Moses.

That was the foundation of the Old Testament. The foundation of the Old Testament was so simple. "If you wanna be blessed, then you're gonna have to keep all of these commandments, and you're gonna have to do them perfectly, obedience". And then, he says later on, "If you don't keep all of these commandments and do them perfectly, you're gonna be cursed". That was the foundation, but I wanna look at the foundations that are presented to us today, and I wanna show you in a more practical way the platforms or the foundations that we deal with today.

I wanna show you three platforms or foundations that we are looking at today. That first platform is our own works in self-effort. The first platform, our own works in self-effort, trying to build your faith on your own works and self-effort. So, when the platform has reached a certain level we would then step on top of it, and here's what we would say: "Lord, bless me because of myself. I've been good and done all perfectly according to what you instructed".

And so, this platform is a platform of our own works and our own self-efforts. Imagine building your faith on your own works and your own self-efforts. And when you build your faith on your own works and your own self-efforts, you talk to God like that. "Lord, bless me because of myself. I've been good, and I've done all things perfectly according to what you instructed me, so now I deserve to be blessed". Believe it or not, there are a lotta people in today's world who have tried to build their faith and are building their faith on the platform of their works and their self-effort.

Let's look at the second platform here. The second platform. The second platform is a Jesus-built platform of his perfect work and his perfect life. In other words, I'm now gonna build my faith on the platform and the foundation of Jesus, his perfect work and his perfect life. Now, this platform is the only one that is entirely perfect and without any cracks. And then, he allows us, think about it, he allows us to step on this platform where we can pray like this: "Lord, thank you that you have blessed me because of Jesus". This is what the gospel is all about. "Lord, thank you because you've blessed me because of Jesus".

So, I'm on this perfect platform. I'm on this platform of perfect works and perfect life, and then on this platform I'm invited to stand on that platform. And my prayer and how I talk to God is, "Lord, bless me because of Jesus. Lord, heal me because of Jesus. God, deliver me because of Jesus. Not because of my own efforts, not because of my own works, but, Lord, because of Jesus". So, that's that second platform, and this is the gospel. This is where the gospel can be preached. Now, you've gotta ask yourself, "Am I building my faith on that platform? Am I building my faith on that second platform, or am I building my faith on the platform of my works and my self-efforts"?

Here's the third platform. The third platform is a mixture of the first two platforms, and that's a perfect illustration of where the church is today: a mixture, a mixture. And so, what happens on this platform, you have the gospel of Christ mixed with religion, which is, you know, kinda focusing on your self-effort. It's always focusing on our self-effort. That's what religion is. Religion focuses on your self-effort. It focuses on your works, okay?

So, this third platform is a mixture of your self-effort and the gospel of Jesus and what Jesus has done. Now, on this platform you say, "Lord, thank you for blessing me because of Jesus, and also a little bit because of myself. O God, thank you for Jesus, but a little bit because of myself, because you know, after all, God helps those who help themself. You see, I have really tried, I have done my best, so because I've really tried and because I've done my best, Lord, I deserve your help right now. I prayed two hours yesterday. I deserve your help right now. Oh, I tithe, and I give, and I help the poor. I deserve your good help".

See, it's time we demolish that third platform and step entirely onto the platform called Jesus Christ. That's the foundation. Step entirely on the platform called Jesus Christ. He is the only foundation of our faith. That's the only foundation of our faith. And we continue to try to make self-effort our platform. We continue to try to make our works our platform, and I'm telling you Jesus is the only foundation. So, if there's any other foundation that you're trying to build your faith on, if you're trying to build your faith on all of your good works, if you're trying to build your faith on all of your self-effort, if you're trying to build your faith on, you know, a little bit of me and a little bit of Jesus, it's not gonna work. It's not gonna work. Jesus is the only foundation of our faith.

So, the whole Bible needs to be read through the light of the finished works of Jesus Christ. The whole Bible. I mean, you can see it being set up even in the Old Testament. When you begin to read the whole Bible in light of the finished works of Jesus Christ, then you begin to get such an understanding. It is the gospel of Christ that is the power of God, not a mixture of self-effort in Christ. It's the gospel of Christ that is the power of God. It is the gospel of Christ that is the power for your deliverance, the gospel of Christ that is the power for your healing, the gospel of Christ that's the power for your favor, for your new job, for your promotion, for your restored relationships. It is the gospel of Christ. It is not going to be a mixture of your self-effort and Christ.

Look at Romans chapter 1, verse 16, since I brought that up. Romans chapter 1:16. He says, "For I am not ashamed", Paul's talking here, "I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ," I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, "for this gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek". Now, notice what he says here. It's the power of God unto salvation. Now, this word "salvation" is the Greek word "sótéria," and it includes physical, mental, and spiritual restoration. He says the gospel of Christ is the power that will deal with your physical, your mental, and your spiritual restoration.

So, do you need to be restored mentally? The gospel is the power of God that can restore you mentally. Do you need to be restored physically and healing in your body? The gospel of Jesus Christ will restore healing in your body. Do you need to be restored spiritually and get your life together and get saved? The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God that can cause that to come to pass.

Now look at Matthew chapter 16 and verse 18, because this is so important. In this series this month I'm trying to get everybody focused in on the right thing. I'm trying to get you focused in on Jesus Christ, our only foundation. Get your mind focused in. I'm trying to get you away from religion. I'm trying to get you away from self-effort. I'm trying to get you away from this kinda belief that says, you know, you did all of these things, so you deserve. And it's just crazy. It just gets us so far out in the ditch, and I'm trying to bring you back home to a place where you can see this.

Matthew 16:18 says, "I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I'll build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," all right? So, Jesus tells us how he's gonna build his church. Now, what does he mean upon the rock? Let me read it in this translation. "Upon the revelation of who Christ is," upon the revelation of who Christ is, "he will build his church, and the gates of Hades shall not be able to stand against the church," because the church now is understanding and they have a revelation of who Christ is, a revelation of who Christ is. But we've gotta preach who Christ is. We've got to unveil who Christ is, and God says, "I'll build you on that revelation of who Christ is".

To me, that's important. To me, that tells me that part of my job as a preacher is to make sure you understand who Christ is, because he says, "I'm gonna build my church based on the revelation of who Christ is. I'm gonna build my church based on the revelation of the unveiling of Jesus Christ, so you can see who he is," praise God. I mean, I could preach on a lotta things that, you know, would probably help you out some, but will God be able to build his church if we don't come to the place of getting a revelation of who Christ is?

Now, why is this so important, to understand who Christ is? And why is it important to understand that Jesus Christ is our righteousness? First of all, Christ is our righteousness. Jesus Christ is our righteousness, and it is important to understand righteousness. Notice, I didn't say, you know, it's important to become righteous. I said it's important to understand righteous. I didn't say it's important to become righteous, because you don't become righteous. You're made righteous. Jesus is righteous, and we're only righteous because of Jesus being righteous. You hear what I'm saying? That, you know, there is a Scripture in the Old Testament that says your righteousness is nothing but filthy rags.

If you were to say that today, if you would say, "Your righteousness is just filthy rags," then you will be saying Jesus is filthy rags, because today our righteousness is based on Jesus. And that's why it's so important to understand who he is. We are made righteous the moment we receive Jesus as our Lord and personal Savior. The day you invite Jesus to come into your life, the day you invite Jesus to be your Lord and personal Savior, you're made righteous that day. Glory be to God.

So, if you're to get born again today, today would be the day that you're made righteous. You don't become righteous, see? To say that you become righteous is also to credit what you do to earn that position of righteousness. You don't earn righteousness. You don't become righteousness. You'll find out later that righteousness is a gift and you're righteous because Jesus is your righteousness, and you believed in Jesus and received him, so the moment you get born again you become righteous. However, many Christians are righteous without knowing it.

In other words, you're a Christian. You don't believe that you are righteous. You believe you have to continue to do something to become righteous, and because you struggle with that, without experiencing an understanding of righteousness, you don't experience great effects in your life, because you don't understand that you're righteous because Christ is righteous. There's a great impact that comes when you understand you're righteous because Christ is righteous. There's a great impact that takes place when you understand that you've been made righteous, and you'll quit trying to do things to become righteous. And so, people, Christian people, who don't know and have a revelation of their righteousness, they miss out on the great effects and the great impact that comes by knowing that. People are loaded down with self-condemnation.

Are you loaded down with self-condemnation? How often do you beat yourself up and tell yourself, "I'm just not enough, I'm just not good enough"? People are loaded down with self-condemnation. They're looking for others to pray to God on their behalf. You look for other people to pray to God on your behalf because somehow, someway, you don't believe you're righteous. And when you don't believe you're righteous then you don't feel like, you know, you're qualified to go in and pray to God. You're always asking people. You're always becoming a prayer project and the reason why, the reason why you're so quick to ask somebody to pray for you and you don't pray for you, is because you don't believe that you're the righteousness of God.

Self-condemnation is what happens, see? When you're loaded down with condemnation and you don't think you're enough and you're constantly having to ask people to pray for you, self-condemnation is something that becomes a part of your life. Self-condemnation is feeling like you're never quite good enough yet. When you're in self-condemnation, "I just don't feel like I'm quite good enough yet," it's like something is lacking before God could be satisfied with me. It's just I don't have it all together. Something is lacking. I just don't believe I'm righteous 'cause something is lacking. I don't feel like I pray long enough. I don't feel like I read the Bible enough, you see?

And so, it's never enough. That's what condemnation is all about. It's never enough, it's I'm never enough, it's never enough. This results in the pressure to perform, when you always go around and think, "Well, I'm not enough. It's never enough, I'm lacking something. Something's missing". Self-condemnation will eventually put pressure on you to perform to try to earn it. You're trying to earn something that's a gift. You're trying to earn something that you can't earn.

Now, I believe that understanding and trusting God's righteousness, I believe that understanding and trusting God's unearned favor, unconditional love, will play a major role in God's transformation in your life. When you receive that, believe that it will play a major role in the transformation in your life. And so, I want to look at three things that understanding righteousness will cause. I believe it's so important that we, as Christians, understand righteousness, not just use it as a cliché, but what will be caused, what will be able to happen in my life as a result of me understanding righteousness?

Number one, here's the first thing that'll happen. "Understanding righteousness," number one, "will cause us to reign in life". Understanding righteousness, will cause us to reign or to rule in life. How many of you are interested in ruling in life? Instead of life happening to you, you happen to it. You rule and you reign in life. There's nothing that happens in your life that controls you or overcomes you. You rule and reign in life. When sickness comes, you rule over it. When lack comes, you rule over it. When depression comes, you rule over it. When you understand righteousness, you will rule in life.

Look at Romans chapter 5, verse 17. Romans chapter 5, verse 17. He says, "For if by one man's offence, death reigned by one; much more they which receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, they shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ". Let's look at this in the NLT. Notice this is the gift of righteousness. He called it the grace of God, which gives you gifts, the gift of righteousness. He says, "For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many people. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph," or victory, "over sin and death through the one man, Jesus Christ".

Notice what he says. When you start understanding your righteousness, you will rule over sin in life, yeah. When we start telling you, you're more righteous instead of continuing telling you you're still a sinner, I tell you what, you will rule over sin. You will rule over sin when you understand your righteousness. To reign in life covers all areas from our personal life to our profession to our ministry. Our character, our health and our well being are included in reigning in life.

So we do not need, we don't need the 12 keys, the 15 secrets, the 20 formulas when we have the one key by which we shall reign in life and that's Jesus Christ. And some of us are probably more satisfied with the 15 keys, the 20 formulas. You got Jesus. You can reign in life because your faith is founded on Jesus Christ and you understand that because of him, you're righteous, you're successful. Because of him, you can reign in life. You can reign over in life. And where your character is concerned, you can defeat those character flaws. You can reign in life where your health is concerned, where your well-being is concerned because you have Jesus Christ.

So how do we reign in life through the one Jesus Christ? Listen, that's a great question. How do we reign in life through the one Jesus Christ? Listen to this, not by doing a lot of things but by receiving two things. Not by doing a lot of things but by receiving two things. If you received the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, you reign in life. You have to receive that. That means today you accept this, "I am righteous. It's the gift that was given to me. I can't earn it, can't work for it, can't deserve it. I receive it".

I receive the gift of righteousness. I receive the abundance of grace. I receive God's unmerited favor. His unmerited favor. He has favored me with the gift of righteousness, so I receive his grace. I receive his favor. I know I didn't do anything to earn it. I know I didn't do anything to deserve it. I receive his grace. I receive his favor. I receive the gift of righteousness. And it says, "You will reign in life because you received it". What do I mean by receiving it. You took possession of it.

You says, "I'm righteous". And somebody says, "Well, why are you righteous"? 'Cause I've got the abundance of grace. I receive it. And it's easy for you to say right now that I'm righteous but I'm talking about when you're in a position that's not so righteous and you still say I'm righteous, that's when you can rule over whatever position you're in. When you're in a situation that doesn't look too good and you still say, "I'm the righteousness of God because of his grace," now you can rule over that thing, whatever it may be, but you got to receive that "I am the righteousness of God. I have the abundance of grace".

Now for us to reign in life, it's very important that we understand that righteousness and grace are central cores to the gospel itself. If I'm gonna reign in life, I got to understand that grace and righteousness, I mean they're the central cores to the gospel. I mean what is the gospel? Because, you know some people say, "Well, the gospel is good news". I mean you're not incorrect but you're incomplete. It is good news, but precisely, good news about what? What is the gospel? See we got to understand what the gospel is. Well, the gospel is Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I mean that's cool but that's what you call those, the gospel, but what is the gospel precisely?

All right, look at this Scripture here. Romans 1:16-17 and then Acts 20:24. Romans 1:16-17 says this, "For I am not ashamed," Paul said, "of the gospel," what gospel? "Of Christ". So this is good news about Christ. I'm not ashamed of the good news about Christ. For this good news about Christ, the gospel, "is the power of God unto salvation," healing, deliverance, "to everyone that believes to the Jew first, and then to the Greek". So he's saying that the gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news, the almost too good to be true news about what Jesus has made available to us.

And then the next verse, "For therein is the righteousness of God," where? In this gospel of Christ, in this good news about Christ, is the righteousness of God "revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, the just," who are the just? Those who have been declared righteous, that's you, that's me. "The just shall live by faith". In other words, I've been declared righteous and I live by faith that I'm the righteousness of God. I'm not living by any evidence of what I do that I'm the righteousness of God. I am living by faith that I am righteous, and I take possession of that gift of righteousness and that is the good news of Christ.

The good news of Christ is that through Christ I have the abundance of grace. And through Christ, by faith, I can take possession of this gift of righteousness and reign and rule in life by Jesus Christ. Oh, that's good news. And also Acts chapter 20, verse 24. Just what is the gospel? What is this gospel. He says, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus Christ," Paul says, "to testify of the gospel of the grace of God".

So here he says that the gospel is the good news about the grace of God that has come to us because of Jesus. It's the good news about the grace of God. It's the good news about his unmerited favor that allows us to receive gifts. It's the good news of the fact that I have the gift of righteousness, praise God. It's good news that Jesus, through his blood, has saw fit for my sins to be forgiven. That Jesus, through his blood, has made me righteous. That Jesus, through his blood has redeemed me. That Jesus, through his blood, has made me holy. That Jesus through his blood has made me sanctified. That Jesus through his blood has given me wisdom and I receive that, and I believe that in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen, praise God.

Now here's the second thing that's understanding righteousness will cause. Number two, "Understanding righteousness causes us to be mature". It causes us to be mature. If there's one thing that I see a lot of in churches today is a whole lot of immature Christians. A whole lot of immature Christians that are basing their maturity on how long they've been saved. And the length of time you've been saved does not qualify maturity in your life. You know, when you lose your temper or when you operate in self-effort, when you're trying to do something to get God to do something for you, when you're not walking in love, and all of those things are just, it's just examples and evidence of spiritual immaturity.

But there's something about when you don't understand your righteousness, you are a baby. You are immature because you don't understand your righteousness. Understanding your righteousness will cause us to be mature. It's time for the church to mature. It's time for the church to stop acting like babes, and you know, it's just time for that to stop. And so, in Hebrews chapter 5, verse 12-13, we talk about maturity. You know, immature Christians debate, they cause strife, they do all that kind of stuff. And I want you to see what he talks about here where righteousness is a concern.

Hebrews 5:12-13. He says, "For when for a time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which is the first principles of the oracle of God; and are become such as having need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe," because he's unskillful in the word of righteousness.

Now let's go back and read this in the NLT. That he is a babe because here it is. You're a babe, you're immature or you are babe because you're unskillful in the word of righteousness. The NLT says, "You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. But instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's Word. You're like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn't know how to do what's right".

Oh, that's powerful, that's strong. In context of what we just read, mature here means being mature in understanding the gospel itself. Being mature and understanding the gospel itself. And when you look at that, there's so much immaturity in the pulpit, in the congregation, it's like oh, my gosh, that we're preaching, we're preachers and we're preaching but it's like as long as we've been saved, we should understand the gospel. We should understand how to operate in righteousness and that we're not righteous 'cause of what we do. We're righteous because of Jesus. And if you subtract Jesus out of the equation, there's no way we could be righteous. If you subtract Jesus out of the equation, then our righteousness wouldn't be as silks, of filthy rags.

So often, people will answer that reading the Bible or reading the Word of God, brings this maturity. Well, if you read the Word, you're going to mature right. But if you're reading the Word wrong and you're not rightly dividing the Word of God, that's not going to bring maturity. The Bible says, "In all your getting, get understanding". So you're reading but you're getting no understanding. You're reading but you're not understanding that you're the righteousness of God because of Jesus. You're not understanding that the grace of God favors you with something you can't work for, you don't deserve, you don't earn. And he says, "Because of that lack of understanding, you're still a babe. You're on milk".

So you know, you're not mature just 'cause you read the Bible or not, you're mature because you've come to understand that you're limited without Jesus Christ. So it's correct, however, let me make sure I'm clear, it is correct but not an exact answer that reading the Word can bring a level of growth and maturity. So I wanted to make sure I mentioned that. So but it's not the exact answer. It says in this Scripture, "that it is the word of righteousness" that brings us to this maturity. It's the word of righteousness that brings us to this maturity.

Now, this Scripture in Hebrews 5:12-13, this Scripture talks about the transition from only drinking milk to eating more solid food. So this Scripture is talking about being weaned off milk unto solid food. You remember when you did your kid like that. So we find an interesting parallel in the Old Testament. I think it's worth looking at.

Go to Genesis chapter 21, verses 8-10. Genesis 21:8-10. So basically, it's how do we transition from milk to solid food so we can operate in real maturity. He says, "And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned". All right, now. "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking". So Sarah saw Ishmael, the son of Hagar, mocking this whole thing. All right. "Wherefore she said unto Abraham, 'Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman," Ishmael, "shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac," who was weaned.

All right, now listen to this carefully. There's a lot of symbolism in this, which is which I wanted to show you. Abraham here represents faith. Sarah here, according to Galatians, she represents the New Covenant of grace. Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah represents the fruit of grace. Miracles, the new creation. Hagar represents the Old Covenant of the law and Ishmael represents the fruit of the law, the fruit of the law which is self-effort and the flesh and bondage. Now, to be weaned off something means you withdraw from your dependence on that thing.

So what's interesting to see is that on the very day Isaac was weaned, on the very day Isaac was transformed or transitioned from his dependence on something, the day he was weaned, Hagar and Ishmael had to leave the house. The day Isaac, which represents grace, the day Isaac was weaned; Hagar, the covenant of law, and Ishmael, the fruit of the law, they had to leave, they had to leave. Because you get mature in grace, then the law, and the flesh and self-efforts got to go.

So your immaturity is because you're still operating under the law, you're still operating in self-effort, you're still operating in bondage in the flesh. He says, "We can still tell that you are immature". But the day the law leaves your house, self-effort leaves your house, the day that all the flesh leaves your house is the day that you've become mature because Isaac has been weaned from the law and self-effort. What does this have to do with righteousness? The very same day that we understand the word of righteous, self-effort and the Old Covenant with the law, have to leave both our personal life and it's got to leave the church. And then only faith, grace and miracles, which includes the new creation are left in the house. And man, there will be a huge difference in your life. A huge difference in your life.

Now most of the churches today, they live by mixtures. They want to mix a little of the mosaic law with a little of the grace of Jesus Christ. Yeah, a little of, you know, standing on what Jesus has done as a gift and little of yeah, I kind of helped that out a little bit. The Bible says this about mixtures, you can't mix new wine in old wineskin because it will destroy, and you will lose the benefit of both of the wine and the container. Mixtures.

God says, "I would that you were hot or cold but because you're lukewarm," he says, "you make me throw up". You make me vomit because of mixtures. And that's what the church does. We mix a little law with a little grace, a little trusting in God and a little trusting in self. That's not how that works. He says you're immature. You need to be weaned away. You need to decrease your dependency on your self-effort, and you need to be weaned away from the law and from self-effort, and you need to come into fully understanding the grace of God and that you have been made righteous because of that, amen. Here's the third thing that happens when you understand righteousness.

Number three, "Understanding righteousness makes us conscious of righteousness instead of sin conscious". When I understand righteousness, I am more righteousness conscious than I am sin conscious. See, when you don't understand the righteousness of God, when you're not hearing the righteousness of God when you've not been taught and trained in the righteousness of God, you will be more sin conscious than you are righteousness conscious, and you'll get up everyday and say, "Lord forgive me for the sins that I hadn't even committed yet". That's sin consciousness, more conscious of sin than you are the righteousness of God.

Listen to this ladies and gentlemen, sin consciousness and condemnation strip people of their joy. It strips people of their peace, their strength, their confidence, their boldness, and are all behind so many of the difficulties that people experience today in life because they are sin conscious and they're full of condemnation. So you show me a person with no joy, no peace; you show me a person who's lost their confidence, that they're weak; show me someone who's no longer bold and I'll show you that behind all the difficulties that that person experiences, that one of the main reasons is because they are in sin consciousness. Their conscious is seared, just so seared with sin consciousness and they are in condemnation never thinking that they are enough.

This is how important this teaching is. This is not the teaching that maybe make you run down the aisles or jump pews. But this is the teaching that's going to help you overcome the difficulties in your life and you set your mind on the fact that you're righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ and not by what you do.

So when you do something stupid, you're still righteous, praise God. You are the righteousness of God because Jesus is righteous. And as long as Jesus is righteous, and you received him, you're righteous. As long as Jesus is okay with God, you're okay with God because your position with God is not based on what you do. Your position with God is based on what Jesus has done and your faith and belief in Jesus Christ. Churches today have often been strong in teaching us our need for righteousness, pointing at our sins, and pointing at our weaknesses, and pointing at our inabilities to please God.

And so, we preach to people, you need righteousness. We teach y'all righteousness because of your sin. You need to be righteous because of your weakness and your inabilities. However, the teachings on how righteousness is available and who we already are in Christ Jesus have been lacking in many churches worldwide. Righteousness is available. We already have it in Christ Jesus. We already have it. We're righteous, even when you do point out a sin. We're righteous even though you point out a weakness. We're righteous even though you point out an ability that we have to please God. I'm already righteous.
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