The LORD our Righteousness – Cranford, July 21, 2013.
Tony:Jeremiah 23:5 – 6
152 How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear
Ian:Children's talk (children stay with parents.)
578 I once was a stranger to grace and to God (Jehovah Tsidkenu)
568 My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness
Jer. 22:28 – 23:8
516 I hear thy welcome voice that calls me, Lord, to thee
Tony: Blessing 2 Peter 3:13-14
Children – please stay in your places, as I want the grown-ups to listen. What I am saying to you is the introduction to my sermon to them.
Pastor ROBin told you about a Scottish Pastor ROBert Murray McCheyne, who lived about 150 years ago. As he spoke, I was reminded of one of his hymns, and I will be preaching on the Scripture that inspired that hymn.
Our names are important, and Bible names often have special meaning.
Can anyone tell me what the name “Jesus” means ????? Jehovah saves.
We'll learn the text:
This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.
It is a prophecy about Jesus coming into the world, and being our Saviour.
None of us is really good. We are all sinners. Jesus came into the world to save us from our sins. Jesus was completely and perfectly righteous; when we trust in him, God forgives us and credits us with his righteousness.
The Bible Old Testament (before the birth of Jesus) was writen in the Hebrew language. When you see the name LORD, it is the name sometimes translated “Jehovah.” That name occurs 6,500 times in the Hebrew. The Jews considered it was such a special name that they would not pronounce it. They used a word for “Lord” instead. That special name is never used in the New Testament. The special name we have for God is “Jesus.”
This hymn sings of that text with the words in the Hebrew language. “Jehovah Tsidkenu” means “The LORD our Righteousness.” “Jesus our righteousness.”
It tells how RMM was not interested in Jesus at first, but when he realised he was a sinner who needed Jesus' forgiveness, “The Lord our Righteousness.” became very special to him.
578 I once was a stranger to grace and to God.
We will first look at Jeremiah's prophecy in ch 23, and then see how Paul teaches about righteousness in his letter to the Romans.
When we read the prophets, we need to keep several things in mind:
The time they wrote;
What was happening to Israel;
What is their message to the people of Israel;
How does their message speak of Jesus;
How does their message apply to us?
We should not read the prophets with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper or TV in the other, looking to see if OT prophecy is being fulfilled today.
Jer's prophecy began in about 626 BC, during the reign of a good king, Josiah, and continued for over 40 years.
He lived through a series of evil kings, who refused to repent, until God allowed the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the temple.
Nebuchadnezzar carried away many of the people of Israel, including the king, Daniel and his friends, Ezekiel, and thousands of others.
Jeremiah was left in Jerusalem, where he continued to minister to the people.
The people of Israel continued to reject his warnings.
We read at the end of Jer 22 a special message for King Jehoiachin, he would be the last king. None of his children would be king.
Jehoiachin was in David's line and God had given David a special promise:
16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[b]; your throne will be established forever.’” 2 Sam. 7:16
It seemed that that promise lasted only 400 years, and ended with destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, the kingdom and even removal from the promised land.
However, when we read the genealogy of Jesus in Mat. 1, we see Jehoiachin there.
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Jehoiachin was to be the last human king in David's line.
We must read on into Jer. 23:1-8.
What hope was there in human kings? All were sinners and even the best of them failed in some ways. What was needed was for God himself to become king. Now we have a better promise, and because God makes the promise, it will be kept, perfectly:
5 ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord,
‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness,
Jehovah Tsidkenu – will go far beyond what the people of Israel could imagine. He would not be a human king, who would rule for a few years, and then die. The LORD, Jehovah, would be their king – for ever.
That promise was kept when Jesus was born, Son of God, and son of Mary. God and man in one person, born into David's family as promised. As I mentioned in a previous sermon, Jesus was JacOB's ladder to heaven – with its foot on earth & its top reaching to heaven.
Matthew records: 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Before we move on from Jeremiah, we must note other aspects of his prophecy: God would gather his people from wherever they had been scattered, and restore them to their land.
70 years after they were carried away to Babylon, a new king, Cyrus, commanded the Jews to return, to rebuild the temple.
Zerubbabel, grandson of Jehoiachin led that return. Zerubbabel did not become king. We need to look beyond the return, beyond the restoration of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple, for the fulfilment of Jeremiah's prophecy.
As we've already seen, Jesus would fulfill the prophecy.
Jesus lived a sinless life, keeping the Law of Moses to perfection. He died in our place, to take the punishment for our sin. He rose from the dead, explained to his Apostles how OT prophecy was being fulfilled, and ascended to his throne in heaven.
His work was done, and he commissioned his Apostles to preach the message of salvation.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter declared:
Acts 2:38 .. . “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
That message is for us, and everyone on earth – are YOU trusting in Jesus as your Saviour, or are you hoping that you are good enough to stand in you own righteousness at God's judgement?
How does the Gospel work? How is Jesus “The LORD our Righteousness” (Jehovah Tsidkenu.)
Turn to Romans 3.
9 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.
10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.”
Without Jesus, and his righteousness, and his saving work by his cross and resurrection, our situation would be hopeless – death and a guilty judgement to hell for lost sinners. We must read on -
21 But now a righteousness of God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
How can I add to Paul's words? Paul sees beyond Jeremiah's prophecy of Israel being called out of the nations back to the promised land. He sees that the prophecy is for all nations, Jew & Gentile alike, wherever they are. He did not preach “return to the promised land” but “repent and turn to God, trusting in Jesus for your salvation.”
Paul answers another question that arises:
If we are all sinners who can never be saved by keeping the Law, and if Jesus died for our sins, and credits us with his righteousness, can we just continue to sin and trust in God's grace and forgiveness?
Turn to Romans 5. I'll read from verse 18 into chapter 6.
18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification and life for all men. 19 For just as through the disOBedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the OBedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Can we continue in sin, trusting in a forgiving God? Certainly NOT!
Salvation is new life with the Holy Spirit living within us. Our baptism marks the end of a sinful, disOBedient life, and the beginning of a new life. The old life results in death and hell. The new life comes with a promise of heavenly glory.
Jesus by his cross suffered the wrath of his Father God against our sin. We cannot – we dare not, continue in sin. We are living a new life by faith in Jesus, the LORD our righteousness.
In Jesus, the LORD our Righteousness we have better promises – perfect forgiveness now; a living, loving relationship with our God who is love; a promise of glory in heaven when we die, and the ultimate perfection of resurrection to a new heaven and new earth.
Make sue YOU experience this wonderful salvation.
Our closing hymn is a response to the Gospel call:
516 I hear thy welcome voice that calls me, Lord, to thee.
Hear the voice of Jesus calling in his Word, and come to him.
2 Peter 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
Apologies for quotations from the NIV - few in our congregation have English as a first language.
My preparation used the KJV.
The LORD our Righteousness – Cranford, July 21, 2013.