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Rob Barry teaches us from Matthew 5:17-20, where Jesus gives us clarity on the Old Testament law and its relevance for his followers. In the passage, Jesus addresses the following questions: What is the standard to determine who goes to heaven? What is the standard of goodness?
At Home Worship
Christmas Eve 2015
The Greatest Invitation
Making Room, Making Disciples
The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Your Trial In Heaven
Fort Worth, Here Is What We Think of You
What the Church Who Believes Is and Does
The USA: United States of Anxiety
From Intimacy to Idols
The Standard: Old Testament, Jesus and Believers
The Path to the Good Life
Nothing Short of Miraculous
Confessions From a Bathroom Stall: Lessons Learned in a Battle With Gluttony
How We Come To God
Dealing with Disappointment
The Story That Never Gets Old the God Who Is Always Behind It and the Way We Are Told to Remember It
The "One Thing"
Baptism Celebration 2015
Believing That Leads to Life
What Should I Do With My Money?
Good morning. My name is Rob Barry. I'm the pastor over Connecting and Community. I want to tell you that my life changed when I was 16 years old. Get this. This is the way they sold the camp. "Best week of your life or your money back." I mean, who is not going to take that deal? Especially for me, because I'm not writing the check at 16, right? So sign me up. Literally, someone will write you a check if that is not the best week of your life.
There I was. Life is great, and this camp is the best week in my life. Until day three. On day three, the speaker asked a question that, frankly, I've never recovered from. It's a simple question… *Who goes to heaven? *What do you have to do to go to heaven? Let me ask you that. If you were to leave here today… When you drive north on 75, you go get food, and your server asks you that question, "Hey, who goes to heaven? What do I have to do to go to heaven?" what is your answer going to be?
For some of you, your blood pressure is going to spike through the roof. You may have a stroke. That's all there is. The story is over. I get to ask that question of people all the time, and I'm never surprised. The most common answer I get is that good people go to heaven. That was my answer when I was 16. Good people go to heaven.
Look, I followed the rules. I was on the straight and narrow. I was not the rebellious kid. I was that kid. I hated getting in trouble. If Dad was like, "Jump this high," I jumped that high. That answer, that good people go to heaven, it seems fair for a couple of different reasons. One, we serve a good God. It would just make sense that a good God will allow good people to go to heaven. Second, it just seems fair.
When we think about heaven, the first things that pop in our mind are not the bad people like Osama bin Laden, Hitler, Stalin, or Lenin. Those are not the people who populate our mind when we think about who is in heaven. So it just seems fair. The third reason why it just makes sense that good people go to heaven really has to do with you and me. Let's just face it. We're in. I'm not saying and you're not saying that we're perfect, but we're good enough.
The problem with those three things is…What is good? Who defines what is good and what is good enough? If you were to ask your grandmother what is good, I can almost guarantee you she will give you a different list than what you say is good and even more different with their mom. If that's true just within the nineteenth and twentieth century or the twenty-first century, take that back 500 years. What is good changes over time in the centuries. The definition of what is good also changes by your culture.
If you were to go interview the Taliban, I would guarantee you they're going to have a different definition of what is good than what you have. If you go interview the tribe who were cannibals who ate Jim Elliot (from a couple of weeks ago) and the other guys he was with, I can guarantee you, they are going to come up with a different list of what it means to be good than you will.
The way people, our culture, defines what is good changes with time, and it changes based on the culture you're in. That's the first problem with this idea of what is good…What is the definition of good? The second problem with that idea that good people go to heaven is…It's not biblical. It's just not biblical.
This morning, we're going to hear how Jesus answers just two questions. The first is…Who goes to heaven? Or the way I'm going to word it this morning…What is the standard to determine who goes to heaven? The second question Jesus answers is...What is good? How good is good enough? What is the standard for good?
As my friend JP says, "What Jesus says about who goes to heaven and what is good… His answer is the only one that matters because heaven is his party, and he sets the guest list." We're going to look at just four verses today to answer those two questions. We're going to be looking at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5.
The Sermon on the Mount is in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, and it's Jesus' most popular sermon written throughout the whole Bible. People know it in the faith of Christendom, and if you take the face outside of what it means to follow Christ, they would know it as well. It is the most well-known sermon maybe in the history of the world. We are going to look at just four verses.
Out of those four verses, I want to make three points today: the Old Testament law is the standard, obedience to the Old Testament law is the standard, and we don't meet the standard. It sounds very depressing and it should, but stay with me. We're going to unpack it. Where we end up, I hope you feel a weightiness today. But at the end, it should make you appreciate the provision God has made for you. If you have your Bibles open to Matthew, chapter 5, verse 17, here we go. Jesus says,
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you… Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
1._ The Old Testament law is still the standard._ He says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets." So what are the Law and the Prophets, and why does he start with this idea of abolishing them? Whenever you see the words Law and Prophets together, just think the Old Testament. Jesus is essentially saying, "Do not think I've come to abolish, or set aside, the Old Testament," or those 39 books, the front half, of your Bible. Why would Jesus start with that?
That just sounds a little out of character and a little out of place. Why would Jesus say, "I have not come to abolish them?" Here's why. When you start the Sermon on the Mount, we talk about the Beatitudes and that these are characteristics of people who are in heaven. Jesus says things like this about heaven. He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." He also said, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
If you're in the audience of Jesus at that time, you're thinking, "Okay, that sounds different to me. That sounds new. That doesn't sound like the requirements we know about for entering heaven. That sounds new." Then right after that, in the "Salt and Light" passage, that passage ends with this. He says, "Therefore, let your good works be seen before men so they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Here's what Jesus is saying, "Look, you have it all wrong. Your good works, your good deeds, they are not to impress people. They're not to impress the church. They're not to impress your synagogue. They're not to impress the followers of me. That's not why you do good works. Second, you don't do good works to impress God. Do you want to know why you do good works? You do good works among the pagans so they can see your good deeds, and the pagans can go, 'Man, that's a God worth following.'"
So they're going, "Okay, that sounds different. That sounds new because we have a whole culture of people doing good things to be seen by others, for the wrong reasons." That's why Jesus is going to start off with saying, "Hey, don't think I've come to set aside or abolish the Old Testament." He is saying, "What I'm saying is not new." Then he says, "I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." When we hear the word fulfill, we think, "Oh, prophecy being fulfilled." That's not how Jesus is using the word fulfill right now.
The way he's using that word is, "Look you have these 39 books in the Old Testament, and I'm going to tell you the right way to read those books. I'm going to tell you the right way to interpret those books. I'm going to tell you the true intended meaning of those 39 books of the Old Testament. Whatever your rabbi is saying, whatever your teacher is saying, whatever anybody else is saying in the culture… Whatever I say about those 39 books of the Old Testament, that's right. Whatever I say it says, that's what God says."
When Jesus says, "I've come to fulfill them," he means he is going to give you the clear intended meaning of the Law and the Prophets, the whole Old Testament. What he's saying is, "This is not new." Then he goes on in the next verse, "For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
Two words or phrases matter there, the phrase heaven and earth and the word until. So, until heaven and earth disappear is a phrase Jesus is pulling from earlier in Isaiah 64 and 65. There is going to be a day when heaven and earth disappear. The Lord is going to start a new economy when the heaven and earth disappear. What he is saying is until that day… The easiest way to summarize when heaven and earth begin is when Jesus returns. When Jesus returns, he's going to start the new heaven and new earth.
Until that day, all of this, all of the Old Testament Law, that still matters. He is saying, "Not the smallest letter or the least stroke of the pen will disappear from the Old Testament Law." When you think about small letters or small marks, think dotting an i (to a Hebrew) or crossing a t. If you don't dot your i, you have an l. If don't cross your t, you have an l. What Jesus is saying is, "Look, until that day over there when I return, the Old Testament law…all of it, the smallest thing, the greatest thing in it…all of it matters." All of it matters.
Now some of those things out of the 613 commandments in the law… To a Jew, when they're thinking law, they're thinking 613 commandments. So to a Jew that's a lot of commandments. What happens here, as Christians now, is that some of those laws have been fulfilled in Jesus. It's still the standard, but some of them have been fulfilled by Jesus.
Let me give you an example. There is a good reason you did not bring in a bull, a lamb, or a pigeon (dove) to be sacrificed up here. How crazy bloody would that be in here? There is a reason you didn't do that. The reason for that is Hebrews 9 and 10 tell us those sacrifices have been fulfilled by Jesus. That's why we don't do that.
Now on the other end, that's still the standard. If you're not somebody who has taken the sacrifice of Jesus and applied it to your life, then that means you really should be bringing in a bull, a lamb, or a dove today to be sacrificed because it's the standard. On one end, Jesus has fulfilled some of those things. On the other end, we would say these other laws we still have to keep.
Last time I checked, "Honor your father and mother," that's a big deal. "You should have no other gods before me." That's a big deal. "Do not murder." That's a big deal. "Do not commit adultery." That's a big deal. When we're talking about the Old Testament law, we just can't make blanket statements. What God wants to say is the Old Testament law, all of it, until he returns is God's standard for you to answer those two questions: Who goes to heaven? And how good is good enough?
Here's where we're going to spend the most of our morning, on this next verse. Jesus says, "Therefore, anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
2._ Obedience to the law is God's standard._ He is going to back everybody in that audience into a corner, and they're never going to get out of it. This morning, Jesus wants to back you and to back me into a corner we're never going to get out of apart from his provision. He says, "…the least of these commands…"
I tried to get all 613 laws and put them in one place. Let me tell you, it's intense. I got through reading like two or three pages, and I'm like, "Whew. That is intense." Imagine if your whole life consisted of not just knowing that's the standard but obeying every one of those 613 laws. Intense. I mean, it's intense, and that word isn't even strong enough. Jesus is going to start with the least of these commands. We don't even have to get to the second command, because you're going to find yourself in the first one, the least of these commands.
With the 613 commands, it was overwhelming. The leadership did what we do when we're overwhelmed. You make priority lists, right? "I have to do this one today. If I don't get to this one today that's okay, but I have to do this one today." They did that with the 613 commands. They just made a priority list. They force ranked the 613 laws. The least important to them was this… I'd love it if you're just like, "I already know what that is." I didn't. I had to look it up.
If you asked a Jew, "What is the least of these commands?" They would say this. It has to do with hens or mama birds. It says this in Deuteronomy 22, "If you come across a bird's nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. You shall let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long."
You're raising chickens, you walk up, and you're like, "I'm going to get the little chickies," or "I'm going to get the eggs." Don't touch the hen. Don't touch the mom. If you're a dove hunter and you're going after the mama bird, don't do it. You'll break the law. It's kind of like this. If you walked into Chik-fil-A with the most Christian of all chickens and you stood before that menu board. You're thinking, Gosh. Spicy chicken? "Let's do a Number One. I need a non-female mother chicken breast. Upsize the fries and upsize the sweet tea."
They're not going to look at you and say, "My pleasure." They're going to look at you; they're going to hit that little button underneath or something. They're going to think you're crazy, but look. That's the standard of the Old Testament law. We're an authentic church. Can I just raise my hand and say, "I think I'm guilty?" I'm guilty there. I am guilty. Let me go first. I have broken that commandment.
The most important commandment is obviously, "You shall have no other gods before me. Don't bow down to any other god. Don't make an idol." That's the obvious greatest command. Outside of the obvious, what is the greatest command? "Honor your father and mother." Can I get an amen? Preach, right? "Honor your father and mother." It says, "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you." We need some more of that at my house.
A handful of moms and dads in our neighborhood started a program this summer for about nine different public elementary schools' kids. We just call it All-In. All-In is a six-week program for about 130 kids who are in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. What we're trying to communicate in these six weeks is, "What does it look like to be a man who is all-in with Jesus?"
We're kind of using the five things Todd Wagner has come up with. They're five S's: They step up. They speak up. They stand firm in the faith. They stay humble. They serve the King. We're trying to communicate that to 130 elementary school boys with a very short attention span. So week one, I'm talking about what it means to be an all-in guy with Jesus. I ended up shaving half my head, just talking about, "How crazy would it be if you shaved half your head?"
Right in the middle, I'm sharing the gospel, and I'm talking about the word sin. A kid raises his hand. As a speaker you think, "Okay. This is awkward." Do you stop your talk and just address the kid? Because he's on the front row, and it's kind of like, "Hey, answer my question." I'm like, "Yes?" He just says, "What is sin?" I look at him and I say, "It's rebellion." He looks back at me, his hand is still up, and he goes, "I've never done that."
Now homeboy has put me on the spot. I'm like, Okay. The first thing that pops into my mind is, "Well, let me ask you a question." The kid is right there. All of his friends are there. I'm like, "Let me ask you a question. Have you done everything, everything your mom and dad have asked you to do? All the time? You've done it all?" His hand just started going down. He's like, "No." I'm like, "Welcome to the club. You're guilty."
Whether you're a "least of these commands" or you're a greater, we are both (everybody in here if I had to guess; I don't know you) guilty for breaking the least or the greatest. That's not even the real issue, whether you've broken both of them. The real issue is we force rank things. Whether you're force ranking based on importance or based on difficulty, they're both rebellion.
Let me give you an example. When we think about driving… Most of us in here have our driver's license. You're thinking, "Okay, there are three different things here. The speed limit says 60 miles an hour, but how big of a deal is going 61?" Out of that, if we're talking about importance, we would go, "Okay, 61 in a 60 is not as important."
Over here there's running a red light. If I had to force rank those, running a red light is more important or more serious than going 61 in a 60. Over here, if I had to force rank by importance, a hit-and-run, if I'm force ranking that, is more important to obey than the other two.
If I'm in a crowd there and I'm force ranking God's commandments, that's rebellion. Essentially I'm saying, "Hey, God, you've said you wanted me to do this, and you wanted me to do this, I'm going to say this is more important than that." When a king gives you orders, you do the orders. Whether you're on the least of these and you're force ranking anything in God's law by importance, you're guilty. You're raising your hand for rebellion.
On the other side, if you were to force rank something by difficulty, if I'm going to force rank all of God's laws based on how difficult they are to keep, we would look over there and go, "A hit-and-run accident? That is easier to keep because it's such a big deal." Over here, this one is actually harder to keep. It is harder to keep that foot on the accelerator at 60 miles an hour. Guess what? If I go over by one mile an hour, I'm a law-breaker. It's more difficult to keep this one over here.
We don't say things are difficult that we can do 100 percent of the time perfectly. Evel Knievel makes difficult jumps. Guess what? He has broken collarbones. Every bone in his body has been broken because he misses the jump sometimes. Whenever we want to force rank God's laws and say, "This is more difficult," we are raising our hand and going, "That is difficult, and I don't and I won't do that 100 percent of the time every time."
What Jesus wants you to do is see yourself in this, the least of these commands, and just go, "I am guilty. I'm guilty because I've broken them, but I'm guilty because there is guilt and rebellion in my heart whenever I force rank anything." In God's economy, when God gives his law, there are not degrees of goodness. There is no better than in light of God's law. You're either fully good or you're guilty. There is no better than in God's economy.
Then he gets to the second part. We're all pinned over here, and he wants to deal with the real issue which is, "…whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." He's looking, and there is no one left; they are all over on one side. But just to make the point, obedience is what is required from the Old Testament law.
The second point, again, is full obedience to the smallest letter, the i's and the t's being crossed, full obedience to every law out of the 613 in the Old Testament. That is God's standard for who enters heaven. That is God's standard if you want to say you're good. Just in case you missed it and any of his listeners missed it out in the audience, Jesus wants to take it one step further.
If you're in the audience right there, you're going to respond the way I responded when I was 16. You're like, "What? I'm not good enough? I'm better than all my friends around me. I am better than…" If you're in the audience you're like, "I get it. I'm a rebel. I have not done this perfectly, but how good is good enough?" Jesus wants to re-clarify what he just said. Watch what he says next.
"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." If you're in the audience there as a Jew, you would have just gasped. "Huh? What? What did he just say? That definitely sounds new. What?" There are two types of people in that audience right there. There are the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, and they are angry. They are like, "How dare you tell me I'm not good enough to go to heaven? I'm the best of the best."
They were. They were like the professional do-gooders. The Pharisees, these 613 laws… They set up more laws for themselves outside of the 613 that would help them keep the 613. They were like the professional do-gooders, and they would have been frustrated. "How dare you tell me I'm not good enough?" Have you ever heard that before? I bet you have.
On the other end, you would have had people who were just depressed. Their heads would have just gone down. They would have just been looking over there going, "How is it even possible to be better than those people over there? They are the best of the best. We can't be better than those people."
It's like this. You want to know how good you have to be to go to heaven? How righteous? Well, it's like Jesus saying, "If you want to go to heaven, you need to play basketball better than Michael Jordan. And not overweight Michael Jordan; Michael Jordan in his prime. You don't have to beat him on a video game, Jordan versus Bird. You have to walk out on the court, take a real basketball, and you have to beat that guy. That's how good you have to be." You're like, "What? Michael Jordan? MJ? That's not even possible."
Maybe Jesus would say, "If you want to go to heaven, how good do you have to be? You have to be more pure than Mother Teresa." You're like, "What? I guess I can sell everything, buy a one-way ticket to Calcutta, find a leper colony out there, or something. I can spend the rest of my life trying to be like her, but there's no way I can be more pure than her. It's just not even possible."
Maybe like this. Jesus would say, "If you want to go to heaven, you have to give away more money than this guy right here." For all you Mac users in here, that's Bill Gates. It was just said of him that he has given away more money than anyone else in the history of the world. It's like, "How can I possibly… Even if I gave 100 percent of everything I had today, how can I give away more money than Bill?"
Jesus is like, "Exactly." Whoever you can think in your mind is the most righteous, good, holy, perfect person you can think of outside of Jesus, Jesus is like, "You have to be better than that person." After this section, Jesus is going to give six illustrating principles to remind you about this truth.
He is going to close down all of chapter 5 by saying, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect," which sounds a lot like what he is saying right here. God's standard for those who go to heaven and those who are good and good enough is complete and total obedience to all 613 commands in the Old Testament. My third point is simple…
3._ We don't meet God's standard._ Nobody in here in this room meets God's standard, and nobody in the audience did. So let me ask you a question…What is the righteousness that surpasses? Listen to me. A righteousness that surpasses cannot be earned, worked for, traded for, bought. A righteousness that surpasses can only be given. It doesn't come from within us or out of us. It comes from somewhere else.
Listen to what Paul says. The apostle Paul says in Romans 3, "But now apart from the law…" Remember? This law is the standard, and it's binding until Jesus returns. So apart from it, "…apart from the law the righteousness of God…" Catch that. It's not your righteousness. It comes from somewhere else. It's his righteousness. "…has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify." Sound familiar?
Paul is like, "The Old Testament is testifying that there is a righteousness that doesn't come from you, but it comes from outside of you. It comes from God." Jesus is like, "Let me read the Old Testament clearly for you. There is a righteousness that surpasses that the Old Testament has been talking about, and it doesn't come from you. It comes from God."
It says, "This righteousness is given…" This righteousness of God is given. "…through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." We're going to talk about that word believe in a minute. "There is no difference between Jew…" The people listening to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. "…and Gentile…" The people Paul is writing to right now in Rome. There is no difference.
All have sinned. All of us. We're all in this bucket. We've already raised our hand. We're rebellious, and we're guilty. "…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely…" It's not something you can earn. "…by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." See, Jesus says the standard of who gets in heaven is full obedience to the Old Testament law. We've missed it, and he has made provision for us all. He stepped in and gave us forgiveness and righteousness we didn't have.
Three and a half years ago, I had a major problem in my house. If you were my neighbors, it might have been a major problem with you too. We had a sewage backup. To say the least, it stinks. I did what any husband who thinks he's awesome would do. Sewage back up. I run to Home Depot. I rent a snake. I didn't realize you shouldn't get on the roof to snake the thing, but I got on the roof, snaked it, cleared the line. We're good. I'm feeling pretty good. My wife is blessed to be married to me. There is no more sewage backup.
Two weeks go by. The washing machine is running, and you hear that gurgling sound when your pipes are about to back up that you never want to hear. Ever. Guess what? It started coming up through the toilet, through the seams, out on our half bath, and then through the wall into our den. Nasty. Thankfully, once again, we don't have carpet back there.
Same thing. Because I'm an awesome husband, I can get this. I got this. I go to Home Depot, rent the snake. I don't how much money I'm in for now or time that I'm out. I re-snake the line. It worked. Everything is flushing. The washing machine is working. We're good. Two more weeks go by. Gurgle sound. I can't do this. I can't keep snaking this line. This is gross. It's killing me, Smalls. You're killing me.
So I get a plumber out there. Two guys come out, and they snake the line. They have a camera on the end of their snake. They say, "Mr. Barry, can you come here?" There are two guys in this small bathroom, and they're wanting a third dude in there? I'm like, Okay. It's small. I get down. They're like, "Look at this."
I get down, and I look in that camera. I see these three initials: htB. Anybody who is a fan of the movie Cars knows what that means. Hostile Takeover Bank. Chick Hicks was staring me right in the face, way down my line. Staring me right in the face. He's the villain of the movie Cars who just messes with everybody.
Here's something else you don't know. My second boy, named Benjamin (who we call Bubba) is the biggest Cars fan. In fact, we don't really have any pictures of Bubba over the course of a year without either a car in his hand or a Cars shirt on. Just check out the dexterity on that kid. There are multiple cars in each hand. He slept with them, bathed with them. When we had our third boy, he was crying. Bubba had cars there to comfort him.
It makes sense why Bubba flushed the villain down the toilet. It made sense. Sweet Bubba. At the end of the day, I have all this money I've spent at Home Depot, time that's gone out. At the end of the day, the buck should have stopped at Bubba. It's his problem. He thought he was doing the right thing, but he made, literally, a mess.
When that plumber wrote an invoice, the thing that should have happened is I should have just looked at Bubba and been like, "Why are you looking at me? That's not my invoice. You created this problem. You're the one, when we told you, 'Don't flush anything down the toilet,' you chose to flush Chick Hicks. Even though you thought it was the right thing to do, you flushed Chick Hicks."
What is that kid going to do? He's going to look at me like, "What? I'm like 14 years away from getting a legal job." At the end of the day, Bubba had an invoice… He had a standard, which is all an invoice is, right? What is the standard for how much that cost an hour? How many hours are there? Here's the standard. Here's the invoice. Bubba had an invoice he created that he couldn't pay. Any loving dad doesn't make his son pay that invoice when he's 2 but just goes, "I'm going to step in, and I'm going to write a check for that invoice because I love him."
Bubba can respond in a couple of different ways. When I write the check and the plumbers leave, Bubba can respond in a couple of different ways. He can go, "Man, that was awesome. What I just did caused my dad to write a big check." No. No. Bubba can be like, "Hey I just messed up that toilet. I'm never going to use the toilet again." No. That's not a good option if you're in my house.
He could look at that toilet and be like, "I've already blown it with my dad, so guess what? I'm going to flush every Cars and Matchbox car I don't like down the toilet and increase rebellion." No. Please no. Or Bubba can respond like this. He can just go, "Man, my dad is awesome. He just did something for me I could have never done for myself."
The reason Bubba doesn't say that to all of his 2-year-old Matchbox-lovin' friends is he doesn't understand the weight of what that just cost me or the time I was out. He doesn't understand the weight, but if he did that would be his response. We're the same way. When we understand the standard of who goes to heaven, what allows someone to get there, how good enough you have to be, and we realize that until he returns the standard is all 613 commands, all of it, with perfect obedience…
When we grasp that, when that sinks in our heart, that's how we should respond. We had One who stepped into our place and paid. Do you want to know who goes to heaven? Not good people. Good people go to hell. Do you want to know who goes to heaven? Forgiven people. People who have a righteousness that surpasses. It's the righteousness of Jesus.
I was told for a long time that Jesus died on a cross so I could live a life like that, I could learn what it meant to die. That's not why Jesus died. Jesus died as a payment on your behalf. You don't have to pay any more than what Jesus has paid. Here's what Paul says a few chapters later in Romans 10. He says, "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."
What do you have to believe? That Jesus was raised from the dead, that's part of it. You have to believe that cross Jesus hung on was meant for lawbreakers. It was meant for me. It was meant for you, but God loves you so much he put Jesus on the cross so you didn't have to go there. That guy did perfectly obey all 613 commands when we broke them. Whoever believes, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, that the gospel, the good news, is that Jesus went to a cross, died on a cross for our sins, and was raised from the dead.
Do you want to know what it means to believe in your heart? It's that Jesus has paid the penalty you couldn't pay and was fully obedient when you couldn't be obedient. When you get that, when Rob Barry gets that, my house is a better place. I just want to tell people about my Father who has made payment on my behalf. He's worth praising. He's worth singing about. Let me pray.
Father, thank you. I'm just thinking right now about how I am guilty, how I'm a lawbreaker. I can't even obey one of those 613 perfectly, let alone 613. Lord, thank you for your provision of Jesus. Thank you that you make it extremely clear what we need to do if we want to go spend eternity with you. It has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with your Son Jesus. Father, help us. Help us repent if we think we can be good enough or better than other people. Help us realize we're guilty and you've made provision for us. In Jesus' name we pray.
We need him. We need him. If I just had to guess, there are a couple of different people in this room today. There are a couple of you who are like, "I still think good people go to heaven." If that's you, I can just say, "Hey, friend. I get it. That makes sense to me, but it's just not found in Scripture." If that's who you are, some of my friends will be down front here. Will you come talk to one of us?
If you're someone who just realized today, "That's what I thought. I thought good people went to heaven. I just heard today, they don't. I want to trust in the provision of Jesus." Will you come down here and meet with one of my friends? Maybe you're like me, and you live with this I'm better mentality.
It shows up all the time in my marriage. Several years ago, my wife is like, "You are prideful. You really think you're better than everybody. You think you load dishes better than everybody. You think you wash clothes better than everybody. You think you fold clothes better than everybody." Let me tell you. That's just me. I hate it. God's redeeming that, but he's not done with it.
Maybe you don't think, "I fold clothes better than people," but maybe you do think… When somebody says, "You should think about going to re:generation or Celebrate Recovery or re|engage or a 12-step program," and you think those programs are for those kinds of people. They're not. They're for us. They're for guilty people. If that's you, tell somebody. That's the first step to healing.
I asked my Community Group guys a handful of years ago… I just said, "This is who I am. I have a mentality. I believe I'm saved by the gospel, but I live day-to-day with this idea that I'm better than people. Will you take this next year of your life, guys in my Community Group, and will you pray I get downwind of myself?" Because I'm not. We are not better than anybody.
We're not better than anybody, than another church. Name a church in town; we are not better. We are guilty. That's who Watermark is. It's people who have gone, "I'm guilty, but I have trusted in the provision of Jesus. My righteousness is only from Jesus. The forgiveness I have has only come because of what Jesus has done." If that's you, if you're like me, will you just tell somebody, "Hey, this is who I am, and I need help."? This week, go tell people about how great your Daddy is, your Father. Have a great week of worship.