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Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14
1. Righteous: “innocent, faultless, guiltless”.
2. Since "all have sinned", none are righteous in the sense of sinless perfection, Rom. 3:9-10, 23.
3. The gospel of Christ brings us to faith that is imputed for righteousness, Rom. 1:16-17; 3:21-23; 4:3-8; Phil. 3:9.
4. The sin of self-righteousness (S-R) is a perpetual temptation to the children of God, Deut. 9:3-6.
5. Trouble is: Self-righteous people do not perceive themselves to be so! Lk. 18:9-14
I. WHAT SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS IS.
A. “I am Right”! Lk. 18:9
1. “I am virtuous, innocent, faultless, and guiltless.”
a. One can be “innocent” by faith in Christ, Rom. 1:17.
b. Sin of self-righteousness is one convinces himself he is righteous – but is not!
2. Problem: Trust in oneself that they are right. Convinced, persuaded, assured, confident that they are right before God and men...
a. Not on the basis of God-defined righteousness (imputed by faith, Rom. 4:5) found in His word, but...
b. On the basis of self: His character – his actions – his estimation of himself.
II. WHAT SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS DOES.
A. It Produces Self-Deception, Lk. 18:9; cf. Isa. 65:2-7; cf. Jas. 1:26.
B. It Causes Unjust Comparisons and Unrighteous Judgments of Others, Isa. 65:5.
1. Despises others, Lk. 18:9.
2. Unjust, foolish, fleshly judgments, Lk. 18:11-12; Jas. 4:11-12; 2 Cor. 10:12.
3. The self-righteous compare themselves to someone like Jesus and those who are following Him, cf. Phil. 3:17-19.
C. It Results in Isolation, Lk. 18:11.
1. The self-righteous man is alone as he prays “with himself”.
2. Self-righteous is not empathetic toward others and their plight; it is irritated and condemning of the sins of others because it prevents one from seeing his/her own sin-dilemma and need for mercy. It shows no mercy, Matt. 5:7 (Lk. 18:13).
3. Who wants to be around that kind of a person?!
4. Self-righteous person lacks the ability to encourage others -- Self-righteous person doesn’t do that. Gal. 6:1-3
D. It Results in Condemnation, Lk. 18:13-14.
III. HOW TO OVERCOME SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PROTECT OURSELVES AGAINST IT.
A. Be Conscious of Our Own Unworthiness, Lk. 18:13.
1. Stand “afar off” in reverence before God, cf. Isa. 64:5-7.
2. Penitent confession/recognition of our sins.
a. He would not raise his eyes to heaven, Psa. 40:11-12.
b. Contrite heart before God, Psa. 34:18; 51:17.
c. Anguish and sorrow over sin, cf. Lk. 23:48.
3. Understand that you do not earn God’s mercy, Lk. 18:13 (Eph. 2:8-9).
a. Does not remove God’s conditions of mercy, Lk. 17:11-14.
b. Likewise, we do not merit our salvation by meeting God’s conditions of mercy, Titus 3:4-5, 7.
B. Be Humble before God and toward Men, Lk. 18:14.
1. Instead of saying, “I am right”, say, “I am a sinner”! Lk. 18:13
2. Instead of trying to impression others – impress God! Matt. 6:1-18
a. When you are charitable (6:1-4), when you pray (6:5-8) and when you dedicate yourself to spiritual work (6:16-18).
b. Do not seek the place of honor, Lk. 14:7-11; cf. 16:15.
c. Do not seek repayment for good that you do others, Lk. 14:12-14.
C. Do not put Confidence in the Flesh, Phil. 3:3-11.
1. Example of Paul: In Christ there is a radically different value system of what it means to be righteous.
2. Paul did not rely on his own righteousness (law-keeping), since it showed him to be a sinner (Rom. 7:9-12).
3. Paul relied on “the righteousness which is from God by faith” – obtained “through faith in Christ”, Phil. 3:9.
4. When our life is about Jesus and not ourselves we win the battle against self-righteousness! Gal. 2:20; 1 Jno. 5:3-4 (Faith)
1. The sad fact is the self-righteous person does not see himself as self-righteous. Lk. 18:11
2. Only by the self-examination that comes from sincere faith can we see self-righteous in ourselves and then remove it by repentance and God’s grace in Christ.
3. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and cast all your cares upon Him. 1 Pet. 5:5-7
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: September 25, 2013