“About Righteousness and Being Right, Are They the Same?”
John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15
I want to in an important degree extend or continue our discussion around “Our Being Able to Glorify God, by How We Live and Act!” I believe it both important and critical, first to our individual faith walk, and secondly to our effectiveness at being the church that is in full compliance, understanding, and practice to why and what it was established to do by our Triune God..
This theme is appropriate being today is “Pentecost” Sunday, where we celebrate and acknowledge the birth of the Church. Which is so important to God, that God sent Christ Jesus, called Immanuel, the only beloved Son, whom God was well pleased with, and said to us, to listen to him, and it was He(Christ Jesus) who established the Church!
But not wanting to fully disappoint those wanting or expecting to hear a message about “Righteousness or Being Right, or They the Same?” Let me quickly state and share this. The prophet Ezekiel spoke some God inspired words concerning what righteousness look liked, preaching the following;
“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— 6 if he does not lift up his eyes to the idols of others… 7 does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked…, 8 does not lend at interest or take any profit,[a] withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between all, 9 walks in the LORD’S statutes, and keeps the LORD rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; and he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 18:5-9)
In other words, having a right standing or right relationship with God is the start of being and living a righteousness life. What this means is, doing that which is both pleasing and acceptable in the sight and presence of God.
Again beloved, we are important to God, and the church itself is critical important to God and loved. Why? Because that is the place where we are formed, shaped, comforted, challenged and prepared to go forth from to do, live and be the “ecclesia” the church to each other and God’s blessed creation.
We recognize two sacred rituals that Christ Jesus himself instituted and by example gave us, the first being the baptism by water, then “Communion,” or the last supper. In the Thanksgiving portion of Communion we say these words concerning the birth and establishment of God’s Church and Christ Jesus being it’s head.
“By the baptism of his suffering, death and resurrection you gave birth to your Church, delivered us from slavery to sins and death, and made with us a new covenant by the water and the Spirit. When the Lord Jesus ascended; he promised to be with us always, in the power of your Word and the Holy Spirit.”
This precious act does a couple of key and important events. First it establishes and conveys to us the importance of by God’s actions, and the role both Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit play. Recall or remember the Roman empire which killed Christ Jesus by crucifixion some three-hundred years later it will recognize and establishes the Church, that is Christianity as the official religion of the empire. Why? Was it done to glorify God, the Roman empire, or both?
Beloved, a little Bible or Scripture study, in John 16, around v:4 we read and hear some important words from Christ Jesus concerning the Holy Spirit and establishing his Church… And this being “Pentecost” I think it doubly important we get a working understanding of not just the birth of the church, but it’s purpose also. The first time we hear the word church spoken in the Bible is in Matthew 16, the dialogue goes this way; Jesus ask his disciples “Who do the people say the Son of Man is?”
“Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church…. and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:16-19)
God has revealed this truth to you Peter, Jesus declares, and on this bedrock of truth Jesus, says “I will build my Church!
In the John text of today Jesus tells hs disciples that he is leaving returning to God, the Father, but an advocate is coming, it will not come until he has left. It will be the truth, it be active presence of God, it will support our discernment of God’s will for our life.
It is the Spiritual Presence of God, the Holy Spirit. It is what we read in the actions of Acts 2:1-21. Christ Jesus said I’ll not leave you as orphans, but as children of God, heirs of salvation, living temples and testimonies to the love, will and nature of God.
At “Pentecost” we read of tongues of fire coming upon an assortment of differing and diverse peoples. The term “Glossolalia” from Greek, glossa-tongue/lalia-talking, has been and still is contentious and conflictual in the Church.
Yet, we have this recorded event as and at the start of the church. In our Methodist history we have expelled persons and groups of individuals for speaking in tongues. I’ve had problems, and still have reluctance for such.
In dealing with this contrasting and conflictual matter let us Beloved see what if any Scripture informs or tells us; the Apostle Paul preached this concerning discerning differences in the works and doings of the Holy Spirit;
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
We are to glorify God in how we live, what we do, the Holy Spirit and the Church which God has given to us play a critical role in our being and doing that which is acceptable in the sight and presence of God.
So, as I close let me state again that the Holy Spirit is power and active presence of God, in God’s creation. It is an advocate for us in immediate presence of our omnipotent God. It seeks and strives to maintain unity within the body of Christ(Church), and to enable to empower we the faithful to be active witnesses in God’s creation.
This charge the Church has, and we by being baptized believers is not, and has not been easy. We’ve endured some monumentally tough years recently, and beloved our tough/hard days are not over. We’ve got to do what Christ Jesus has instructed us to do if we are come through these ominous times with some sense of peace and accord.
We will only renew and re-vitalize this church when we hold and have reverence for God, and not have a cavalier-attitude towards and with the Almighty, the Everlasting, the Great I AM.
We must do justice, love mercy and kindness and walk humble before our God, and be ever thankful for all that God has done for me, forgiving me for all my sins and transgressions. Let us remember what the prophet Habakkuk preached, concerning being reverent with and towards God; “Woe to them who say to wood and craven images “come to life’ Or to lifeless stone “Wake Up” Cam such give you guidance…? Is there a breath of life in such? THE LORD IS IN THE TEMPLE/CHURCH, LET ALL THE EARTH BE SILENT BEFORE THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD.”
We will glorify and give glory to God, by how we live.