"Too many sermons are basically self help seminars on becoming a better you. That's moralism and it's not helpful." (Kevin DeYoung) The gospel is not good news of self-help, let me show you how righteous I am Jesus ... the gospel is good news of Christ help ... You don't clean up your life to come to Jesus ... You come to Jesus so he can clean up your life ....
The cross of Christ is not a symbol or a banner of our self-righteousness ... No! ... one of the things the cross tells us is that we are so unrighteous is that the Son of God had to die for us ... let that sink in for a second .... there is no justifying our actions any more ... quit comparing your self to other people ... think about that for a second ... in order for you to be saved ... the son of God had to die for you ... that's some pretty high penalty to pay ... but he paid it ... so that also tells you something.
With the joy set before him, the Bible says, he went to the cross. (Hebrews 12:2)
My friends, God delights, I mean delights, absolutely delight's in serving, in cleaning up, and doing for his children what they in no way, whatsoever, could ever do for themselves.
The God of the Bible doesn't cry out, "do this for me", "fix your life for me" ... No. Is that the kind of God we serve? A kind of God who needs stuff from us? A kind of God who is lacking and needy? No, we serve a perfect, self-sufficient, uncreated, all knowing, and all powerful God, one who needs nothing.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:24-25)
No, the God of the Bible cries out, repent! (Acts 17:30)
Jesus himself said, "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32)
And what is repentance but agreeing with God on what he says about you. God says you are a sinner in need of a savior. The best thing you can do in response to what God says, is agree with him. Our natural mind wants to say ... no, I am alright. I measure up ... I am better than so and so ... Our natural mind doesn't want to admit that we are broken and in need of a savior ... our natural mind is self-righteous and self-justifying ... our natural mind believes we deserve heaven ... our natural mind doesn't want to admit that it doesn't matter what we do or who we measure up to or who we think we are better than ... repentance is finally laying our arms down ... finally surrendering ... it's finally giving up ... finally giving up all the self-justification ... finally trying to quit analyzing our lives through rose colored glasses .... and starting to see things the way God says they are ...
Quit going your own way, quit making up your own rules. Quit justifying whatever you are justifying ... saying you have done more good than you have bad or you're a pretty good person ... or God will understand, you did the best you could or anything like that ... Yes ... God does understand, that is why he sent his son to die on a cross.
God's standard is perfection ... and there is only one perfect one and that is Jesus ... therefore repentance is finally realizing this ... to somehow think we don't need Jesus is to somehow say that the almighty Creator of heaven and earth is wrong...
There is only one way of salvation and that is through Jesus. (Acts 4:12) There is only one way of eternal life and that is through him. (John 17:3) There is only one way to the Father (John 14:6)
Now, repent... lay down your arms ... Jesus came not to be served but to serve ... and the best thing in the world is to believe on him .... to realize your need of him and trust him.
Jesus cries out, "come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
Rest from what ... rest from your work ... rest from constantly trying to clean your life up and make things better.... do more, try harder kind of thinking destroys ... Before you ever try fixing … try pressing into Jesus more (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). Besides what if somehow you could clean up your life without Jesus, many people do, where would you be than, a clean moral person, in rebellion against God, living for your own glory. Besides, It’s not that gospel people aren’t trying to do good works … it’s just that we don’t drive a cart with the cart in front of the horse… We only ever do good works because we are saved not to get saved and we never do good works to stay saved … works have nothing whatsoever to do with salvation - ever. Works are fruit, and they are helpful to us, to other people, and also a worship offering to God, but they are in no way saving. Ok .... back to the theme ... the fruit is because of the root ... Jesus fixes lives ... He does ... not you, he does ... It may be messy, it may not be ... but no matter what, he will get you through! 6 steps forward, 20 steps back, no matter what, he will not give up on you"
Friends, that's the Jesus of the Bible ... it's not true for all ... not for the goats ... not for those who mock him ... not for those who try so hard to be their own savior ... but for those who have had their eyes, and their ears, and their hearts and their mind opened to who Jesus is ... you can count on this .... he will never let you go ... and you don't have to try and impress him ... he's already impressed - you are the apple of his eye ... you don't have to try and earn his love ... he loves you with an everlasting love!
And friends ... if you are a Christian already ... the Christian life is not get saved by grace through faith and then staying saved by works .... no, no, no way .... you grow as a Christian the same way you become a Christian --- through Christ ... through the blood and power of Christ .. God does not need you to save you and God does not need you to sanctify you, he doesn't even need you to get you home to be with him in heaven forever. He's God.
Any of the sanctification that happens in you is because of God working in you. (Philippians 2:12-13) If God is not working in you are not being sanctified. In fact, if God is not working in you, you are not even a Christian. (Romans 8:14)
A soldier in God's army doesn't walk with their chest out and say ... "hey, look at me" ... no, it points to God ... if any part of your Christianity somehow results in you pointing to you, claiming the credit, there is something wrong with it, and it needs to be rejected.
But worse than that, and on a whole other level, if you're a Christian and you think you got it all together, you're probably not a Christian and you definitely don't have it all together. We need to get over ourselves.
The most useful people to God's purposes, his mission, are the people who not only know that God doesn't need them at all ... (but rather wants them), and also are those who are relying on him for absolutely everything and take no credit for anything but rather stand amazed that God would ever use someone like them to begin with.
Don't be afraid to open up your life up to Jesus, from beginning to end... all of it ... it's not like you can hide anything from him ... you don't need to put on a show ... you don't have to worry about the shame ... he bore all the sin ... all the shame. Nothing in your hands you bring, simply to the cross you cling. Can u say that? If you can, you are not only already clean before God, but you are well on your way of having your day to day life cleaned up as well. Friends, the gospel is not good news of self-help, the gospel is good news of Christ help. From start to finish it is good news, and from start to finish it is all about him. Like the old song says, if you're a sinner and you know it, and you're life will surely show it - run to Jesus!