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From Rags to Righteousness

John Bradshaw


In this presentation on the subject of righteousness by faith, the Bible reveals how a person can go from the rags of self-righteousness to the riches of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.


John Bradshaw

President of It Is Written



  • August 25, 2020
    7:45 AM
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Thank you so much for joining me let's pray as we open up the Bible Father in heaven speak to us we pray let you would be alive in our experience give us grace to experience your power and your presence and we thank you in Jesus name I mean here's the story as I read it it was reported in the Milwaukee Journal back in 1906 because everything you read in the newspaper is true I am left to assume that this is a true story during the last days of World War 2 in 945 German forces were occupying sas standing in Czechoslovakia a country oddly enough that there's no longer exist near the Austrian border city is now in Slovakia seeing as Czechoslovakia ceased to be on the 1st day of 993 the Germans were using the mayor's office at the town hole as their headquarters and on this particular April day the Nazi commandant was getting nervous nervous because the Russian army was closing in on us troops in his office were a few batted trunks filled to the brim with Kowloon us the Czechoslovak in currency it all being looted from the votes of the Czechoslovakia national bank and brought a Slava outside his stuff was waiting for him with the motor running you had to leave immediately or he'd be taken by the Russians but there wasn't any room in that come for the trunks full of money. So he told a couple of Slovakian peasants to look after the trucks he said I'll be back some day and I'll come to you for these trunks and if you hand them over to me you will be richly rewarded it was the next day when the Russians arrived in town one of the 1st things they did was inspect the Nazi headquarters and there were the trunks wondering what they would they broke one open and found them filled with currency they had to keep in mind what was on the minds of the soldiers they'd been on the move for months with just one aim and that aim was to macho into Bilin and secure victory so a weary lieutenant whose name nobody knows today said Who knows if I will even be alive tomorrow give this money to the townspeople he gave orders for the people obsessed and to receive a 1000 Karuna is for every year of the life in all $300000000.00 Karuna as were handed out the equivalent in 1946 of $6000000.00 people with a large families ended up between 850200000 crooners a pile of money especially in that day and that time was down trodden people went quite literally from rags to riches just about anyone hearing a story like that listens with just a hint of envy at least the fact is suddenly getting your hands on a ton of money can be a cook. And English bacon named Keith Goff died some years ago cursing the fact that he had won the lottery. In 2005 he won $9000000.00 pounds the equivalent of almost $14000000.00 at that time and it ended up ruining his life when they won the money the golf said they'd never have to worry about money again well they lost their marriage they lost all their money and finally Mr Gough lost his life due to a heart attack said to be brought on by worry about money alcohol abuse and boredom due to not having a job he told a newspaper about a year before he died what's the point of having money when it sends you to bid crying a man in the United States won $250000000.00 in a lottery is wife said she wishes he had never bought the ticket rags to riches might sound nice might be nice but I'm I'm not be I the way what the believer in Jesus can experience without any worry at all is going from a rags to righteousness in the book of Philippians the Apostle Paul deals with the question of experiencing true righteousness in chapter 3 he lists some qualifications that would lead many to believe that he was a tremendously righteous man let's look at what he wrote or in Philippians chapter 3 and I believe we're going to start and I mean just to India with you Philippians chapter 3 and will begin in the us for Paul says If any man thinks that he has where all of he might trust in the flesh Paul wrote I am more. He went on to say circumcised the 8th day like a good Jew should be of the stock of Israel a descendant of Jacob of the tribe of Benjamin that's the tribe King Saul came from Paul who was Sol was in all likelihood named. King Saul and it was the tribe of Benjamin that stood faithful to Judah at the Division of the kingdom he went on to say and he. Of the Hebrews as touching the law a Pharisee concerning the Zio persecuting the church touching the righteousness which is of the law hero he was. The less holy they had to be to be able to say according to the law I'm blameless if there was something the law required he did it you couldn't fault that man he was right ships in the eyes of the religious people of the day this was somebody whose Jewishness was beyond question and of the Jews had been considered to be God's own people Paul was suggesting that using the measurements that people commonly used he was a pretty holy sort of man how would he goes on to say something that's really quite shocking. He goes on to tell that in spite of having tremendous credentials those credentials wouldn't win him the election if there was a search for someone who was genuinely holy and righteous he said in verse 7 of Philippians 3 but what things were game to me those I counted loss for Christ he goes on to say yeah they doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellent sea of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and to do count them but dung. That I may win Christ less interesting description rubbish worthless gaba judge poll once sold the great dedicated zealous righteous man came to the place that he considered all of those credentials to meno so or nothing to him how could that be you see Paul came to a stunning conclusion in spite of the fact that he had some impressive credentials and impressive qualifications he came to see that they were woefully inadequate for getting the job done all his goodness all his righteousness his pedigree his family tree could not change for him true righteousness and that would be the righteousness of Christ told discover that all the discipline all the self-control all the good intentions old the 3rd didn't belief in the world couldn't make and unrighteous person into a righteous person he possessed an awful lot of impressive credentials you've seen military people in rows and rows and rows of ribbons and medals on they chased they are impressive to look at. And I'm a veteran might have a ribbon for World War 2 all for having been a p.o.w. all for having served overseas all for having served in a place such as Korea or having served in Iraq then when you add to some of these a Distinguished Service Medal or a soldier's medal or an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or an Iraq Campaign Medal those things look impressive Paul had row after row of religious ribbons and medals and they looked good but they didn't mean anything in poles case all they did was look good when it came to write shit ness they would not worth anything to hand so what did poor really find would bring spiritual satisfaction and so we read Fouda In fact let me just recap a little bit of verse I did then and then springboard into verse 9 he said I count all things but loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord so that I may win Christ and be found in him not having mine own righteousness which is of the law but that which is through the faith of Christ the righteousness which is of God by 38th notice what he said all this self righteousness not would $0.02 but what I want is Christ's righteousness and I want the a righteous nys which is of the dog by faith Christianity can be a tricky thing you can get away from the fact that when it comes to Christianity there are rights and wrongs get away from it it's right to pray it's wrong to cuss. It's right to. Tie it's wrong to steal. It's right to. Be courteous it's wrong to be. Dirty minded. We understand right and wrong problems come about when we start to. Lean on that checklist and rely on the results about checklist we get the idea almost of Christian. Than explain it you hear people who think that comma is. You do enough good and good things will happen to you or or you get what you deserve this guy helped a little old lady across the street he found $5.00 it's comma this guy yelled at the lady in the supermarket and he went outside and stumbled and fell on the ground and grazed his knee commerce Nakama comma is this in the Hindu Saints comma is if I do enough good deeds then I will outweigh the bad deeds and I'll do enough good deeds that I can experience the transition to the afterlife and ultimately achieve Moksha which is basically we call that salvation I think Christian comma has come out of the church or I'm a good person I'm good enough you know I know I might have an honesty problem but at least I'm not like that guy over there cheating on his wife or I know I should tie but you know money's tight and so rather than trusting God I'm providing for my family so I'm doing a good thing so my good deeds are outweighing my life my bad deeds not how it works brother sister it's not how it works. There are many people today who assume that since they name the name of Jesus and because they don't kill and they don't commit adultery been they must be righteous because they went to church school graduated from a church university or college they've done just about all there is that needs to be done there is good as the Pharisees lots about what observance high profession a great amount of dedication to what undoubtedly is a good cause and therefore surely that going to go to heaven after all there they are good people right but that isn't help pull swords he said that far off from his good attributes recommending him to God He came to the place where he considered his own righteousness which he said was of the law to be refuse or dung righteousness involves an awful lot it isn't just saying the right Woods making the right movements doing the right things outwardly there is no question that righteousness is right doing I'm not trying to muddy the waters and give the impression that somehow a righteous person doesn't Durai it of course a righteous person does ride but I'd like to suggest you that righteousness is more than right doing righteousness is right being when it comes to being a righteous but would of God tells us and poll tells us explicitly that the righteousness we need is get this now the righteousness of God and I would like you to stop and think about that. What sort of righteousness is the righteousness of God Think about that for a moment that would have to be the most righteous righteousness that you could imagine what would you call it how would you describe it would you call it complete righteousness I think we could could we call that perfect righteousness hope man we'd have to if not we're finding ourselves in the place where we are saying there's something incomplete or imperfect about God's righteousness so what Paul is telling us is that it is God's plan to give us God's own perfect righteousness now mention this too loudly and you'll make a lot of people very nervous because we all know that that sort of righteousness is very very righteous and we're tempted to say I could never imagine myself being that righteous but evidently God does imagine you being that righteous the prophet Isaiah was gifted in such a way by God that he was very very able to clearly and to kill Italy and insightfully elucidate our very real spiritual condition he wrote the piece in the 64th chapter of his upon a missed book this is verse 6 he wrote I say 64 verse ix but we are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags and we all do fade as a leaf and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away you know I know you got that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. It's kind of shocking really isn't it my goodness my work's my holiness if it's mine then according to the Bible it is worth nothing more than filthy rags so if I think I'm pretty good then I need to think again our best is not good enough for heaven I want you to stop and consider the crisis that we find ourselves in and brother sister it's a crisis remember grandma even Grandpa Adam very well made perfect but then they sinned their sin separated them from God So what they do you see they immediately began setting about trying to make themselves acceptable in God's sight they sewed together garments made from figleaves they tried to remedy their own lack no they had a fall in nature and they wanted a thing that they could do to change their own nature their problem was within and therefore they needed help from above instead of righteousness they were not wearing rags figure leaves as a matter of fact but think about how long a fig leaf last before it dries out there were looking ridiculous. Very typical of people today to try to do something to conjure up righteousness of their own to try to do something to ameliorate one's own unrighteous state try a little hotter do a little better but that's just making an apron of figleaves. Adam and Eve's fig leaves were not going to help them one iota they were enclosed until God had made them coats let me say that again they would close down till God had made them coats I'm going to say the 3rd time and shift the emphasis they would close until God had made them codes then they were closed and where did those coats come from they were made out of skins it's very clear to us that something had to die in order for Adam and Eve to be crowed the death of the animal or animals that provided the skins for Adam prefigured the death of Jesus the poor animal that died for Aids prefigured the death of Jesus and it's Jesus' death for us that is absolutely our own only hope of salvation it is Jesus' death that provides us with the robe of a righteousness we need in order to see eternal live is more than a theory you need it's not just the ology you need it's not just a belief system you need you need we need I need Jesus not an idea about Jesus not merely a belief in Jesus but we need to possess Actually Jesus himself for in Christ we find righteousness Adam and Eve needed something that they couldn't originate. When it comes to righteousness you and I both need something that we cannot originate Jeremiah the searching question can the Ethiopian changes skin or the leopard his spots the answer is no and no he answered or he went on to say then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil and so you see how that works we tried to improve ourselves we tried to make ourselves better the wife says to the husband you drink too much the husband says all right I'll try betta any might have a good day and he might have a bad day he might have a better day he might have a worse day you and I both know that through sheer bloody mindedness and exercising our will power we can if we wish stay away from chocolate cake o. chocolate chip cookies we can if we wish put down alcohol and not pick it back up at least some people are able to do that but with sin it's not like that it's not will power you need it's you need power connected with your Will it's not will power if only on tough Oh no it's if only Jesus would take my will and make it his own then we are really on to something our life and Christ's life united our will move in his will that's what makes the difference so that Jesus begins to live his life in your lives people who try to become good through their own efforts invariably end up either quitting on Christ or if they don't quit on Christ they do something even worse they stay in a church and then miserable and they make other people miserable or I guess there's another option they invent a theology that somehow excuses a spiritual failure there's a lot of that about. But the solution for our own righteous state is found in the righteousness of Christ and its perfect righteousness therefore what I don't need is goodness of my own what I need is God's goodness and I get that in Christ the righteousness of Christ mine free from God So we're going to go to the Old Testament book of Zechariah did you know that in the Book of Revelation there are only 2 Old Testament books that are quoted more than Zachariah not something to Old Testament prophets because the Psalms would be as well of the prophets in the Old Testament Zechariah is quoted 3rd most. And so we read this in Joe and Zechariah chapter 3 it's where Joshua the high priest is standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan is standing there as Joshua was adverse or e standing there to accuse Joshua is wearing what the Bible calls filthy garments the symbolism is obvious isn't it our righteousness is our eyes what filthy rags and here is a man clad in filthy garments on righteousness in his own righteousness he stands before the angel of the Lord believe if you study that you'll find that the angel of the Lord in this case is actually Jesus and what does Joshua do in order to have clean hands what does he do in order to have clean as well nothing really he doesn't say I'm going to go out now and keep the commandments he doesn't say in order to have clean garments I'm going to give a big offering. You know is that none of those things can alter his on a righteous state he says there is nothing I can do I'm a righteous I am filthy I am no good but I'm here in the presence of God and I'm willing I'm willing to be made right I'm willing to accept what the angel Lord has for me and so let's pick it up Hiya want in verse one and he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him and the Lord said under Satan the Lord rebuke the o. Satan even the Lord that had chosen Jerusalem rebuke the Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire Joshua was clothed in filthy garments and stood before the Lord before the angel and he answered and said Out of those that stood before him saying take away the filthy garments from him and to him to Joshua he said Behold I have caused 9 iniquity to pass from the and I will close with a change of arraignment I'd like you to understand what he's saying here sounds familiar doesn't it in the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve were wearing garments that will woefully inadequate but God took them away and gave them clothing that would be appropriate for their needs and God does the same here with Joshua the High Priest take away the filthy garments from him and then in verse 5 it says let them set a fair miter upon his head so they set a fair matter of policy and closed them with garments and the angel of the Lord stood by Ok who made Joshua the High Priest clean God did what did Joshua do you going to say he did nothing that's not right. He allowed God to do what God wanted to do in other words he surrendered he didn't fight God said I want to do something in your life Joshua and Joshua could have run out of there I don't have anything to do that but he didn't Joshua could have been 14 I don't want that rotten thing on my head I like governments Joshua didn't find Joshua surrendered Joshua let God do what God wanted to do come on out bring it home apply to your own experience Joshua let God do what God wanted to do in essence for you and Faith in God is simply a matter of letting God do it our lives what he wants to do it's that simple we'll let God be God the sinner repents when he or she repents of his or her sins sincerely confessing and by God's grace forsaking then what does God do all this is too easy 1st John one and verse 9 if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness we confess we repent and what is God Do God does what we couldn't do for ourselves we don't have the righteousness God has it in Jesus Christ God means our sincere repentance with forgiveness and with cleansing and so I want you to think about something here I want you to think about something we feel like we have failed of course with by the way if you feel like you're not good enough to have a let's just say it all together body I am not good enough to have a min. But then we say I have claimed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and he is good enough for heaven now you're saying to me Wait a 2nd does that mean that Jesus comes about into my life I'm just some rich of a sinner and I stay this way all come on no must see no Jesus said to nicotine is that not except a person is born from above born again born of water baptism born of the Spirit conversion transform nation the power of God in your life but what we do is somebody said I have been a Christian now for 6 weeks and I cussed when I hit my thumb with a hammer No you shouldn't do that but I want to encourage you to give yourself time to grow do how long had Peter been walking with Jesus 3 and one hot years and they said you know what it is all know I you're one of those fellows. When know that you're one of us and he turned the air blue with discussing in order to demonstrate that he was not a follower of Jesus he had been a Christian 3 and yes and he was too chicken to simply say I'm one of his followers what's it to you sure Ryann I'm dedicated to him but Jesus didn't you say bro you've had 3 and a half years following me. You didn't say that at all did he in fact when he rose from the dead he said to Mary go and tell the boys. And. Peeta the Lord has risen or yeah like oh well that's good I guess but oh no no no he specifically told me to come and tell you that he's risen in gin. Who's been feeling as guilty as guilty about what he did and Jesus sends him a special message. Grow Peter you love me Peter you love me Peter you love me Peter Gropius Why is it that you think it's Ok for Peter to have gone through that experience and grow and not you wasn't Why do you think it's Ok for an oak tree to take 70 years to grow but you want you to be in the UK overnight. Why is it Ok to tell you how long a pine tree 2025 years for a pine tree to grow Why is it Ok when you plant corn in a garden take 44 days and that thing is going to be on my plate and you don't expect the corn to be growed to be growed to be grown to be grown live in Tennessee to be grown overnight Why why is that the baby comes home from the hospital and the baby cannot feed herself cannot change himself cannot speak cannot his or her shoe laces and you go oh that's Ok. You understand that babies grow no this is not making an excuse for us stubbornness or us in full it's just the reality that we have to grow and that nobody is transformed into a. Yes individual overnight we receive credit for the righteousness of Christ in a moment we are righteous but don't think that in that moment we are no longer prone to make mistakes we've got some growing to do. Don't revel glory in your mistakes don't use mistaken this as an excuse some people will what do you expect from me you know I'm just human. We keep our eyes on Jesus and we grow and if we love Jesus you know what if we love Jesus sin is going to us we're not going to wanted an ally we're going to somehow wake up in the morning and go I can't I cannot treat my spouse today like I treated him or her yesterday cannot it's not even about am I good enough to go to heaven because it should never be the question it's what's the will of God for my life. This stuff hurts me I don't want to misrepresent Jesus I want to be of the burglar and that person settle I want to live without integrity my eyes are on Jesus and he's growing me that's what he does God took away the figleaves that Adam and Eve wore he gave them skins to wear prefiguring that their clothing had come at a great price ultimately the true Jesus would die so they might live and be pure and cleansed from sin Joshua the high priest had his filthy garments taken away and replaced with clean governments what you think about the prodigal son he returns to his father and the father said kill the fatted calf and bring forth the best robe and put it on as far as we can tell the son never even took a bath did he deserve to wear the robe. So it made him would be of wearing that robe one is the only great need to his father's love and that prodigal son as you know represents all of us we've all wandered far from home and gone to live in a country it's important for us to recognize that in us to well is no good thing that we're entirely dependent on Jesus for our righteousness and our salvation this thought progs me a little bit I must confess how could I be entirely depended upon Jesus for myself vacation and not have much to do with Jesus Is it true that God wants to do something for me that I cannot do for myself yes if that's the case then he must be entirely prominent in my life what if we're spending a little time with Jesus no power what if we're not praying and not reading that will be a disaster but God doesn't want your spiritual life to be a disaster he wants success for you wants power in your life. If you learn to lean on Him and trust Him and open your hearts to Him then you will have success you'll have true spiritual success in the city of Japan I need to say that again don't I'm in the city of Japan that would be right in a city in Japan city officials discovered something of great value in the last place you'd ever expect for years the city of Sioux wa which I think given the context of the story is kind of a funny name the city of soon. Was paying to have its sewage Holdaway but then they happened upon an idea they decided to burn it to incinerate it said they'd get rid of it and it was then that an incredible discovery was made barrows and barrows of ash were seeing to be limber rain with gold. Is close to the city of Nagano and there are natural hot springs in Nagano that contain a lot of minerals including gold and there's a manufacturing plant in town that uses gold in a lot of its processes seems obvious that some of that gold would end up. Going down the drain these days Sue was Weist once incinerated contains gold at a concentration of $400.00 times one of the world's leading gold mines and so they took that gold and sold it for hundreds of thousands of dollars out of out of out of nothing something of great value when Adam and Eve sinned they gave away everything we had that was valuable. God pledges to give it back we can have that which is so valuable it fits us for eternity we can have it free of charge out of the nothing of our lives God brings the true gold of the character of Jesus. In we have Christ Christ as our righteousness we experience the power of God and we have absolutely everything come on let's pray our Father and our God we thank you for the everything that we have in Jesus we thank you for the righteousness of Christ though we think about how you took away Joshua's gobbets and you made him clean enclosed them. And we prayed to God for that same clothing upon with the righteousness of Christ we will believe it by faith we pray the prayer right now Frank would you pray with me I have the righteousness of God and I know I have it by faith I have Jesus dwelling in my high and I know I haven't but I Faith Lord we believe that help our unbelief give us grace to grow and you'll grace we pray in Jesus' name amen amen great to see you God bless you look forward to seeing you again next time.


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