Thursday 31st October, 2019
Theme: Exceeding Righteousness
Passage: Matthew. 5: 17 – 20
The Pharisees were exacting and scrupulous in their attempts to follow their laws. So how could Jesus call us to a greater righteousness than theirs? “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees’, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). The Pharisees’ weakness was that they were content to obey the laws outwardly without allowing God to change their hearts (or attitudes). Jesus was, therefore, saying that the quality of our goodness should be greater than that of the Pharisees. They looked pious, but they were far from the Kingdom of God. God judges our hearts as well as our deeds, for it is in the heart that our real allegiance lies.
Jesus was saying that His listeners needed a different kind of righteousness altogether – the fruit of the Spirit like love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal.5:22-23), not just a more intense version of the Pharisees’ righteousness (legal compliance).
Exceeding or excelling righteousness must;
Come from our heart and not the outward behavior,
Be God-centered and not self–centered,
Be based on obedience and reverence to God, not our approval from people, and
Go beyond keeping the law to living by the principles behind the law.
The righteousness of God that came through Christ could only be obtained by believing and receiving Jesus Christ into our lives (John 1: 12, 2 Cor. 5:17). Genuinely repent of all sins, ask for forgiveness, hunger and thirst for righteousness; pray earnestly for a higher level of righteousness. It is only possible by relying absolutely on the grace of God through Christ Jesus.
MEMORY VERSE: Matt. 5: 20. “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
HYMN: MHB 300 – BREATHE on me, Breath of God
PRAYER: Dear Father, I humbly come to Your throne of mercy, forgive my sins and give me grace to always please you in thought, word and deed, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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