Hungry for & Thirsting after Righteousness by Pastor Scott
February 22, 2023 – Ash Wednesday – Lent – Revival at Asbury
Are these current events taking place today cultural expressions of seeking after God?
Are they evidence of God’s righteousness at work in the lives of His people?
Are they self-led works of the flesh or Spirit-led acts of righteousness?
Grace not works: how does our study in Romans and Paul’s teaching on God credited righteousness apart from works apply to the ceremonial practices of our day & to the call of Scripture to actively live and “walk in the footsteps of faith” (Rom. 4:12)?
“It is not through the law that Abraham…received the promise…but through the righteousness that comes by faith” Romans 4:13
Believing involves seeking & trusting: God declares righteous those who put their trust in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22-24) and Jesus teaches us to seek kingdom of God righteousness (Mt. 6:33). Being declared righteous by God’s grace comes through faith and faith will lead us to actively believe, live & seek after God’s righteousness (right relationship & right conduct work together).
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” Romans 3:22
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6
Jesus in Matthew 6:1 refers to “acts of righteousness” warning us to not “announce them with trumpets” but unto the Father
Jesus then gives detailed teachings on three specific acts of righteousness: 1) giving to those in need – seen by the Father (6:2-4); 2) prayer – seen, heard by and directed to the Father (6:5-14); and 3) fasting – to seek and be seen by the Father (6:16-18).
Lent: what does it mean, why is it celebrated and should I participate?
The Latin term for Lent (quadragesima) is based on the word for the number 40, or quadraginta – a period of 40 days
Lent is a period of 40 days in which some Christians reflect on the events leading up to and including the death of Jesus Christ
Lent comes from the Middle English word lente, meaning “springtime,” which came from the Old English lencten referring to the “lengthening of days” – longer periods of daylight – longing for the true Light that came into the world to give us light – John 8:12
Lent for some is a period of fasting, prayer, repentance & spiritual discipline; abstaining from a physical pattern to engage in a spiritual practice, for the purpose of drawing closer to God to restore right relationships & right conduct in the pattern of Jesus.
Two extremes to avoid: making light of it with trivial remarks and making legalistic requirements
* Anonymous conversation: “I’m giving up golf for Lent.” “But wait you live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota where spring doesn’t come until June and come to think of it, you don’t even golf.” “Yeah, I should be able to keep my pledge this year.”
*Attaining God’s grace: “I’m observing Lent as a sacrament of works in order to attain and receive God’s dispensing of grace.”
God’s blessings of grace are credited to us as a gift not earned by religious ceremony or works of the law.
Making room, space & time, for seeking & trusting God who sees what is done in secret and knows our hearts:
Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.
Rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:12-13
No longer blinded in darkness, bound by sin or burdened by the law that brings wrath (Romans 4:15).
Seeking “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17),