19th May 2024

The New Covenant continued in us by the Righteousness of Christ

Passage: Matthew 6:1
Service Type:

This sermon explores the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant, emphasising that the achieving of righteousness was not without reference to the Old Testament era.  Jesus was born under the OT law and gave full adherence to it. By Jesus, as our representative keeping the law, He completed it and also made Himself available to be a sinless sacrifice on the cross for our sins.  He has thereby redeemed us from its curse.  He cried from the cross “Paid in full!” or sometimes translated “It is finished”. He had paid off our humanity’s debt to God the Father and made possible our entrance into the New Covenant that God was setting up.

The message then highlights the transformative power of this New Covenant, whose application is not another outward code pressing in on us, but a spiritual empowering from within. Jesus’ Divine life in our hearts through the contribution of the Holy Spirit. Additionally, the sermon delves into our faith relationship with Christ which permits us to request the Father in Jesus’ Name. Through practical examples and biblical teachings, the message encourages us to live out the righteousness of Christ authentically and prayerfully.

Automatically Generated Transcript

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Well we're back in the book of Matthew still, and in Chapter 6 we're moving past the beatitudes in terms of Jesus talking about how we are to relate to God, get to know God, and walk with God, and how we can know what it is to be righteous. Being righteous is something the Gospel of Matthew is a terminology it likes to use in that Gospel. But so there's different understandings as to the way you get to be righteous. And the Bible is written around the fact there is an Old Covenant talked about in the Old Testament. The Old Testament and the words Old Covenant are not identical words, but the Old Covenant was revealed in the Old Testament along with a lot of other things as well. And then when Jesus came,

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came, Jesus came to institute the New Covenant. And the New Covenant had been promised in the Old and Jesus came to fulfill it and to tell it and to be it, and to call us to participate in it. And the New Covenant is something which began – let me hear your understanding. When was the first occasion of people getting into the New Covenant. Let's hear what anybody when did people first think, what do when do people think people first got into the New Covenant? Don't be shy! No they didn't, sorry. Jesus' death on the cross was certainly the basis on which people, not only in the New Covenant but also in the Old. Christ's death on the cross was a payment once for all for all sin, back in time and forward in time. I didn't hear that said again. At the Day of Pentecost because the New Covenant was

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an arrangement that God made on the basis of how to get forgiveness and how to have the gift to the Holy Spirit and it wasn't available, the New Covenant, until this prophecy written up in the Old Testament came true. And there were 3,000 people who got in the door to the New Covenant on the Day of Pentecost. Most of whom were Jewish people, many of whom would have gone to glory eventually when they died, because they were part of the Old Covenant. But they got in the door in the New Covenant and knew the new arrangement that God was that a people could be righteous. But righteous not because of how the Old Covenant differed from the New. Now, I didn't mean to do a little bit of a test here, but what exactly is the difference between how the Old Covenant gets you to

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be righteous and how the New Covenant gets you to be righteous. There is a difference. I'm sure some of you know that and whether you're willing to call out in church, what's the different way that the old covenant gets you to be acceptable to God? Well the right word, the law, is the right word to say and obeying the law the necessity of obedience is because the request of the the old Covenant was something exterior to human people. The Law outside of us, causing us, calling us, to behave the way that it required. The Law was spiritual, the Law was right there was nothing wrong with the Law. It was God's way to set out a righteousness for people to have, and by being given to them through the Old Testament, and by being to them through the whole Jewish system of worship and the sufferings of animals

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and all the things that happened when people came along to the temple. All of that was a mechanism to help people to find a form of righteousness. That's the old covenant. But what went wrong? There's nothing wrong with what god setup well something did go wrong it wasn't God's fault with the aim of the Old Testament to get people to become righteous or should I have said the Old Covenant because I think that's more accurate to what I'm saying the Old Covenant what went wrong with the Old Covenant as a method to get people to be be righteous. Now I'm having a bit of trouble with my ears and throat. I said the serene of blood had to be repeated, many times in the Old Testament. What Binger is saying that in the temple, the high priest had to kept repeating

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the offerings and every year there was a special offering made and they could go into the Holy of Holies and they would have a rope tied to his foot and if he died in there, they could drag him out because no one was going to go into the Holy of Holy's and risk getting the poor thing, his corpse out if he died in there. But they had to repeat this every year and someone over here had said something wonderful about Jesus and his death being the basis of the New Covenant, but not when it started, but rather where it's placed in. And that was when Jesus died on the cross and the Book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus' death on the cross was a once-and-for-all satisfaction for sin, so never needing to be there to be any repeating okay that

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was one thing there wasn't what I was chasing for, though, although I was correct what she said. What I was chasing for was that the old Covenant requisite of the law was outside of us, compelling us or calling us or threatening us, to behave righteously. The trouble was with us. There's something about the sinful human heart that didn't respond too well to being told to do the right things. I don't know what you're like, but I was terrible as a little boy. And if they put a sign, keep off the lawn, where do you think I walked? Well, I better not say too much, because some of my grandsons are listening somewhere. Anyway, there's something about our human hearts that didn't respond to God's holy law properly, and because of sin in the human heart it didn't always produce the righteousness.

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Now there were the temple sacrifices that were meant to teach that there needed to be some sort of payment for sin. So in a sense, it was an addressing of the issue of the sinfulness of the human heart, but God needed to bring a new covenant because the new covenant was based, Listen to me. Not on outkeeping the law. Oh, is that sounding bad? The New Covenant is not based on outkeeping the law. Can someone correct what I'm saying is what it was based on? It's not about keeping the law. It's… to follow Jesus is the crucial thing. Okay, he's mentioned that the call of the New Covenant is to come to Christ and put your faith in him as how you get righteous.

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But basically, Jesus living on earth was here for the purpose of not just dying at the end of his life but Jesus came for the purpose of being a human being. He's a God-man yes, so he's God but he's also man he's a human being who came to live the law. And when Jesus obey the law, he satisfied it. In fact, that's how he taught that he come to fulfill the law in order that the law might get its fulfillment in one representative human being, Jesus.

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And then the gospel calls us to get the value of and get the forgiveness that Jesus' death on the cross gives us because he has fulfilled the law in his life and in his death he's paid for where we can't do it and didn't do it and go on not doing it. Isn't that fantastic? That's why the New Covenant far supersedes and is better than the old because it's based in Jesus now

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because it's based in Jesus what actually happens is, is that when you recognize that you're a sinner and that you don't have a righteous background, you don't have a righteous life, you don't have a performance that will get in the door on the basis of the old covenant, but you're going to be accepted because Jesus is your basis, which is what was being said. And when you come simply by faith to Jesus and trust him to be your saviour, you get in the door, and guess what God gives you? He gives you his righteousness. He lets the righteousness of Jesus become your righteousness. There's some sense in which you get to be attached to Jesus, this is called the doctrine of Union with Christ, whereby we're made righteous, where we become in Christ and Christ becomes in us and Christ becomes representative of us and God gives us

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the righteousness of Jesus. Now does that mean that there aren't needs for us to learn how to live out that righteousness? No, it doesn't mean there's no lack of our needing to live out the righteousness we get in Jesus. But what is the, what does the Bible call the righteousness being lived out in the Christian life after you've come you come with nothing to offer and everything to get and Jesus makes you righteous by what he gives you of his righteousness but then he gradually helps you to act out that new righteousness. I hope my voice is not stopping you hearing my words, but Michelle was trying to tell me I should get someone else to preach but this message burning of my heart. I wanted to make it clear. And I just hope my

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voice lets me do make it clear. It's a fantastic message! But Jesus is our righteousness and yet that doesn't mean that chasing after righteousness and learning how to do the right thing has been made.. doesn't matter. There are churches you can go to who just have everybody behaving as though they're just the same as the folk out in the world, that's wrong now we are meant to be a different people we're meant to be people who have a change that represents what the Holy Spirit is doing in us. There's a righteousness that he gives us but it's not a righteousness by the law and the do's and the don'ts and the rules and the examples all being outside of you and you are what getting to behave properly? No but by being put inside you. And who is the one who brings it inside you?

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That's an easy question surely I can, who would I pick up to get an easy question? Oh here's someone who's looking at a clock, is it, the clock? No, no? Doesn't. Yeah, you know there's a little joke people make you know if they ask you a question Sunday school, and you're not listening. And they say jump on you, now you didn't do this, but and they ask you what the answer is, you just say Jesus, and you'll be right 99% of the times, but I know she knew so I wasn't yeah, so anyway... Jesus, he's the One and it isn't from an outside thing impelling you to behave but an inside thing calling you to respond. It is the the Christian life. It's beautiful, but it includes righteousness, and so on chapter 6 and verse 1, if we put chapter 6 and verse 1 up on the screen, beware of practicing your righteousness the other Sunday morning,

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this is where I began, that being a Christian and being involved in sanctification, which is a second phase of becoming a Christianly person, is where your sanctification is happening. You are practicing righteousness. And that word practicing, you know what practicing means. It means doing it. It means learning to do it, even when you can't at first. And the first little point, I've only got 8 points. Their little ones though for this morning is that we are in our practising righteousness

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not because the outside code forces us but because of the inside Jesus calls us and strengthens us. We're not to do it because of what people see. Check your audience as to your practising of righteousness. Your audience is to be the God of Heaven and not the people of the earth, even your parents. Now, though, you are to do what the parents say when you're young, and I'm not negating that fact that the practicing of your righteousness is what you should do for what God is watching.

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And there were certain righteousnesses that the Jewish People had where, one of them was giving alms. A-L-M-S. That's not giving away your right arm but alms is when you give help to those who are poor. And some of the Jewish people would come along with a trumpet, and blow the trumpet, and then give the money to the poor person, and everybody would see it. So Jesus didn't like that and he told them, that you know, don't do your good deeds in front of people. Do them for God He even had a saying, look at it there, in the big writing, go to the next, Go there. Know what your right hand is doing. Don't let your left hand, this is the previous part, Know what your right hand is doing. Now I don't know whether you've got two hands that argue with each other, mine are linked in between...

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about Jesus that had a meaning there don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing when you're giving to someone who's in need. Or when God moves you that there's a person that needs help and you go and do something to help them. You don't do it in order to be seen of other people. What will happen if you do have big regard for others seeing you is that the only reward you're going to get is what they give you. Believe me, people are all sorts of things and sometimes you don't get the reward you think you will. When you try and do the right thing and someone puts it back in your face because, who are you? Don't do things for people's regard but for what God sees. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. That's number one.

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and there's eight of these things that Jesus gives about how we are to practice our righteousness. Let me here just look up where i listed the eight down Gee there's a lot of pages, no no there's not. The second one has to do with prayer and prayer was a major part, not only the giving of arms, but also the praying but Jewish Rabbis used to teach, and Jesus wasn't negating that prayer and giving were important, but he had something to say about prayer. And when he came to talking about prayer, he had something to say that's very important. Now back in those days some of the other religions used to have things where people will go and use a prayer wheel, and you go into the temple and I better start keep going a bit longer boy the prayer wheel was saying a prayer see yeah the God surely heard it because I've said it about 25

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times now Jesus said don't think of prayer as something that you need to get him to hear by much repetition why is not because Jesus said your father already knows what you need before you even ask does that mean that you shouldn't ask no because God wants us to ask but you won't get God to do it just because you keep repeating it you bring your request to him and understand that before you even came he knew what you needed. I think it's a fantastic thing about God answering prayers that when he wants to say yes he acts real quick and you suddenly find out that he'd even arranged for what your need was to be met and it's a fantastic thing in the Christian life to be involved in prayer where you bring some very real needs and suddenly realize that maybe God let you

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get needy, just that you'd enjoy having him meet them. When we love our kids and we go and get, you know, I watch Michelle when she goes and buys kids things for, she's got a big stack of kids now, and she loves getting in to buy what they need. Oh usually before they actually need it she's there ready to give this little present to one of the grandchildren and somehow rather the facts that God wants you to understand he's like that. And he knows you have certain needs, you don't have to keep repeating it because he's got the message, and he knows what your needs are. Occasionally God doesn't choose to satisfy a need for bigger reasons than what we understand. Sometimes he leaves us needy in order to make us desperate to learn something. I've been through times like that where

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God, made things difficult for me. And I can remember walking out into the bush near the college, because the senior student fellow had told me I'd never make it in the ministry. He said, it's a relationship thing Jim, and you're just no good at it. Or to that effect. And then the end of the year came and they all went away and because my dad was the principal, I had to stay there, no one around, and I decided to go out and pray about all this. But in the answer to prayer that God gave me, he gave me more than I could ever have imagined. And some of the secrets in ministry that work for me. All pastors, all all preachers have secrets that work for them, are things given from the Lord and they work better, that if I had have taken training and learned it as a human

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skill, I won't go into the details but I want to tell you that everything you get from me is something I've been given. it's true for all Christians you be surprised that when you get needy and it might only be in a human way because you don't have this I don't have that and you pray about it. But God sometimes lets you be a bit needy because he wants you to get something that comes from him that has a power too far and excess of you having the extra skill or you being a person with that, you know, or thing that you wanted, and God sees your need. And so in the prayer that he gave us in chapter 6, he goes through about just simply bringing your needs to him. And let me move on. Prayer is something very beautiful, and let's start at the

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beginning of the prayer. But before I do, I want to emphasize the start of the prayer in verse 9. There we are, our Father who is in heaven. I like the old version when it says our father who is in heaven. There's two things in this that are enormous about prayer. Number one is, prayer is from earth to heaven. It may be about what you want God to do down here on earth. The business of the Kingdom of God is not all happening when you go to heaven when you die. The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom that's resourced from heaven, what Jesus explained To Pilate, who was interviewing him before he got crucified, if his kingdom were from earth, his soldiers would fight, Jesus' soldiers would fight, his servants would fight, but no, his kingdom is from Heaven.

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And it's talking about where the power comes from, it's talking about where the authority comes from, it's talking about the spirituality of this kingdom, it's from Heaven. There is no difference in interpretation or meaning between the The Kingdom of God and The Kingdom of Heaven. They're both meant to happen on earth, which is what this prayer says, our Father in Heaven, Hallowed Be Your Name. It goes on to say, Let Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So yes, the Kingdom of God is meant to happen on earth. You can call upon the Kingdom of Heaven. The Jews like to do that because they didn't like to say the name of God and they put in heaven. Heaven knows. When you say heaven knows you're really saying God knows.

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Well when you pray it's meant to be from Earth to heaven. It doesn't mean that you can't pray to Jesus who operates on Earth, though he is in Heaven actually, at the moment. It doesn't mean you can't pray for the Holy Spirit, who is down here on Earth. It doesn't mean he's not in Heaven, because he's omnipresent, but the Holy Spirit is on Earth. And so if you were to get into a bit of a fix, and suddenly there was a need, then say, Holy Spirit quickly, I need your help. That's okay.

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but generally speaking, what prayer is about is evoking the resources of God from heaven here in Earth, which is why we call it the Kingdom of God. Prayer, true prayer. The very nature of it is that you're evoking the powers of heaven to come and work down here in Earth and heaven is very powerful. by heaven I mean God and his angels. They step in when you call them. The second thing that's in that introductory statement, do you notice the first two words? Our Father. Our Father. And this mention of God being Father and us needing to recognize it in a family recognition way, Our Father, is a real source of unity amongst Christian people. Prayer is one of the best ways to get there to be unity in a family when there's things that gave you a different opinions that clashed and you pray about it if you keep praying,

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something melts. You can't, not melting when you're in a family. I really love at the moment our family, all keen to hear about Kieran overseas. He rang up this morning and he went for a run and he fell over and got injured himself so he someone helped him over there in the northern hemisphere and everybody wants to hear about Kieran. There's something about a family and what that family's really interesting to see is that they take on board the fathers, lots of things of the fathers for good or for bad when you're a human father, but there's something about kids, but they have a unity because of their And when the Bible says our Father is calling on us to pray in a way that will dismiss all those barriers that we set up between what ought to be a brother or a sister.

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And little kids, when they're little, they have their times of anger at each other and as a parent you have to help them see, you're in a family, I love him as much as I love love you. And it's something that's very beautiful to see grow, excuse me, in a family. But if you learn to pray the Lord's Prayer, his model prayer, and you learn to say our Father, and you keep saying, oh Father, the unity of the Father and the family will start affecting you, it's the place where unity comes from, that we all have one Father. Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done. The prayer moves on. The next point to be that it's about his kingdom, not yours, not ours, not even the ones that we see that are not doing too well in the politics. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in

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heaven. That's what the Lord's Prayer is about and there's tremendous unity when we join with the Father in his business here on earth. We've been over about the daily bread but moves on to about the forgiveness of sins but I just want to mention, finally in the illustration I got it out of a book I have, a book which is on the Beatitudes but it's relevant to the need for unity amongst God's people and I'm going to read to you a story of two people who were not unified. They were two evangelists back in the few hundred years ago. And you may know the names in Great Britain of George Whitfield and John Wesley. And George Whitfield was a Calvinist evangelist. And John Wesley was an Armenian evangelist.

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Evangelist. Now when you talk about Calvinist and Armenian, Calvinists emphasize to varying degrees on election and God's sovereignty, and Armenians emphasize on the need for humans to respond appropriately. And Methodists, for example, were good Armenians. And George Whitfield, a Calvinist evangelist, he was, and John Wesley, the Armenian evangelist, and if you'll excuse me for a moment, I knew our church today would be a bring your own show, so that was going to be for these. Anyway, these two were preaching around in the Revival Times that came in Great Britain, were largely under the ministry of these two very powerful evangelists, who preached the Gospel, but they had different interpretations, and this is in early days in the Christian Church, about God's sovereignty and mans' free will. And so not much had been worked out how to get on together with the different branches.

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and so they were opponents theologically but they were people that loved the Gospel and anyway there was a time when they were both preaching in the same district. And I'll read you the story, it's a fantastic story. At one point, in the course of their influential ministries, Whitfield and Wesley, the Armenian evangelist were preaching together in the daytime and rooming together in the same boarding house night. Now boarding houses where you have a big dormitory and there are several beds and you pick one

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so they're sleeping in the same room at night. One evening after a particularly strenuous day the two of them returned to the boarding house exhausted and prepared for bed. And when they were ready they got into their beds but then they both got out and kneel down to pray. As Whitfield, the Calvinist, prayed, he prayed with words like this. Lord, we thank thee for all those with whom we spoke today, and we rejoice that their lives and destinies are entirely in your hands. Honor our efforts according to you your perfect will. Amen. And he rose from his knees and got into bed, and Wesley, who'd hardly gotten past the beginning of his prayer, via

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this length of time, looked up from the side of his bed where he was praying, and he said, Mr. Whitfield, is this where your Calvinism leads you? Meaning a quick prayer, not bothering much time. And then he put his head down and went on praying. Well Whitfield stayed in bed and went to sleep. About two hours later Whitfield woke up and there was Wesley still on his knees beside his bed. So Whitfield the Calvinist got up and went around the bed to where Wesley was kneeling but when he got there he found that John Wesley was asleep. so he shook him

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by the shoulder and he said dear Mr Wesley Is this where your Armenianism leads you? So they had a criticism from their system of theology to each other which was exactly the same. The story shows that we all have some things to learn about prayer. Because prayer is one of the best methods to come together with people with whom you may not agree. Prayer has got a power. And the power is when we say

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our Father. And we give in to the family heritage of having one Father and Lord of all and a unity that is because we are his people and worship in his name. So prayer is a powerful thing. I've got more that could be said from the passage but I think this lot is so powerful let's leave it where it is and recognise

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that if we spend time in prayer together we will stay together, we will stay together. And if we get about the business of preaching the Kingdom of God and not just our interpretation of how it's done down here on earth, but the Kingdom of God then we'll be doing what will please Jesus which is our aim. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for the Lord's Prayer. What a model prayer it is. Our Father, who is in heaven, hallo be your name. Father help us to let this understanding of prayer and In Jesus' name, Amen.

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