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Scripture Reading: Isaiah 65:1-7
The Sin of Self-Righteousness
1. Self-righteousness is one of the most hated of sins.
2. The charge that someone is self-righteous is easily made; but do we know what it means?
3. We must be sure we are not self-righteous!
I. KNOWING AND WARNING AGAINST SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS, Matt 5:20.
A. Trusting in Oneself for Righteousness, Lk 18:9 (Prov 30:12-13); Isa 65:5.
1. “Over confidence in one’s own righteousness” (Webster)
2. It is self-made righteousness, cf. Phil 3:9; Rom 10:3.
3. S-R takes on different forms, but they have this in common: All are self-made forms of being righteous.
B. It is Self-Righteous to Think One is Righteous Based on His Own Obedience (Law-Keeping), Phil 3:9; Rom 3:20-22; Gal 2:16.
1. Self-righteous since it demands no sin at all, Gal 3:11-12.
2. This would truly be “works salvation”! Rom 4:2-4
-Futile, because all have sinned, Rom 3:23.
3. “I never transgressed your commandment at any time” (Lk 15:29; cf. 15:1-2).
C. It is Self-Righteous to Think One is Righteous Due to His Own Moral Goodness, Lk. 18:9-12.
1. Makes oneself the standard by which others are judged.
2. Trusting in self instead of God’s mercy in Christ.
D. It is Self-Righteous to Bind Where the Lord has not Bound, Matt 23:3-4.
1. Binding the traditions of men elevates human wisdom above God’s revealed will, Matt 15:1-6, 9-14.
2. Binding personal conscience on others elevates one above others (Rom 14:10-13; 15:6-7).
E. It is Self-Righteous to Work to be Seen by Men, Matt 23:5 (6:1, 5, 16).
F. Self-Righteousness Displays Arrogant Superiority over Others, Lk 18:9; Matt 9:11-13.
1. It holds itself as being above sin and holds others in contempt; no room for mercy to sinners, cf. Lk. 7:36-39.
2. Why is it that not many self-righteous people repent? Because they do not see themselves as sinners! (Matt 21:28-32)
G. Hypocrisy is the Companion of Self-Righteousness, Matt 23:25-28.
1. A façade of righteousness hiding sin’s presence and decay.
2. No depth of faith; There is an outward display of piety that hides the sin in the heart!
II. SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS IS NOT…
A. Carefully Obeying the Law of God, 1 Tim 4:6; 2 Tim 3:10.
1. Calvinism’s false view: “formal conformity to legal requirements in the strength of unregenerate human nature.” (ISBE on “Self-righteousness”)
2. Works of faith, Eph 2:8-10; Jas 2:21-24.
3. Christ is the Savior of the obedient, Heb 5:8-9.
B. Zeal and Dedication, Titus 2:14.
1. Lord expects us to be diligent and fervent, Rom 12:11.
2. It is the attitude behind the zeal that can be self-righteous.
C. Reproving and Rebuking Sin, 2 Tim 4:2; Gal 2:11-14.
D. Refusing to have Fellowship with those who Practice Sin and Teach Error, 2 Jno 9-11 (2 Cor 6:14-7:1).
E. Believing in Absolute Truth as the Final, Authoritative Will of God, Eph 3:3-5; 5:17; Jno 8:32 (2 Tim 3:16-17; Jude 3).
III. OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS MUST EXCEED THAT OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES, Matt 5:19-20.
A. Submit to the Righteousness of God, Rom 10:3-4.
1. Righteousness that is through faith in Christ, Phil 3:9-11.
a. “The righteousness which is from God by faith”.
b. S-R neglects the righteousness which is of faith, Rom 1:16-17. (cf. Isa 64:5-6)
3. Hunger and thirst after this righteousness (Matt 5:6).
B. Do and Teach the Commandments of God, Matt 5:19.
1. Rely on God’s mercy by obeying His commands – not our goodness and power. cf. Noah, Heb 11:7
2. Saved “by grace, through faith”, Eph 2:8-9.
1. Hell will be filled with those who thought they were righteous, Matt 7:22-23.
2. Hunger and thirst after righteousness that is through faith in Christ and never trust in yourself.