Scripture Reference: Romans 3:21-26
Oh Lord, as soon as I saw the title of today’s message I knew where the Holy Ghost was ready to go with this message. This is going to be one of those messages that may not wind up being too popular, but I’m not concerned with popular…I’m concerned with the Holy Ghost. If He has a specific direction He wants to go with a particular message…that’s the direction we’re going to go. So, like yesterday, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the introduction. We’re on our third message of six in this series, it’s been a fun series to write about, and we’ve gotten a lot of likes for the messages…which I appreciate greatly, and want you to know it’s very encouraging to have people like what I write. Let’s me know that we picked the right series to talk about…Amen.
Okay, let’s get off the introduction, and get into this message…We Have All Failed.
I only needed to see the Scripture References for this message, and I had the Holy Ghost drop the direction of this message in my spirit. We talked a lot in the last series about judgmental Christians, and He’s not finished talking about it. When we think about the truth here…we all have failed God whether it’s before we called upon the name of the Lord to be saved or afterwards.
Friends, I hate to break the news to you, but maybe it’s time someone does. None of us are going to leave this world, and stand before God with a 100%. There’s only One who lived and walked this life perfectly, and that’s Jesus. Let me bring a more obvious truth…none of us are Jesus. Therefore, none of us have anything to boast of except about Jesus. Yes, we’re made perfect in His image, we’re made perfect and blameless by His blood, but as far as we are concerned there’s not one of us that’s going to be able to stand before God and say we did everything perfectly…because we haven’t, we can’t, and we won’t.
We all know Romans 3:23 says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Can I ask a simple, but obvious question!?! How many is all? It doesn’t say some have sinned and fallen short, it doesn’t say a select few have sinned and fallen short, and it doesn’t say none have sinned and fallen short…it says ALL of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Do you know what that means? It means even I as a pastor fall short and sin. It means that Billy Graham sins and falls short of the glory of God. It means that T.D. Jakes sins and falls short of the glory of God. It means Joel Osteen sins and falls short of the glory of God. It means YOU sin and fall short of the glory of God.
So, that begs the obvious question. If all of us sin and fall short of the glory of God…what gives you the right to point out the failures of others…whether they be Christian or not? Listen, there isn’t a one of us who lives in a glass house that doesn’t have windows broken. I’m just as guilty of being judgmental, but it’s one of those things the Holy Spirit has really dealt with my heart on…especially since I embraced my calling as a Pastor. Can I tell you that just because I’m a pastor that doesn’t give me the right to judge someone else’s life…on the contrary…that’s one thing the Holy Ghost has made clearer to me…that’s not my job at all…it’s His.
Listen, I said it during the 7 Hebrew Words for Praise series, and I’ll say it again here. Our job as Christians isn’t to judge people. Our job as Christians is to love one another, bear with one another, to encourage one another, and to pray for one another. No where in the Bible are we told that we’re to beat one another over the head with our sins and failures…and the reason that is…is because it’s NOT OUR JOB. The ONLY one who has the right to judge another’s life is God. He’s the ONLY one who knows our hearts inside and out…He’s the only one who has seen every step of our lives…and He’s the only one who knows all sides of our story…and therefore…He is the only one qualified to judge my life, your life, and the life of that guy on the corner holding the sign you keep driving by.
You and I classify sin. You and I look at rape, murder, child molestation, and we think of those things as the worst of sinners. Do you know what God considers the worst of all sin? Those who lead people astray by preaching a false gospel. Those who are stuck in prideful rejection of His Son. God doesn’t see big sin or worse sin…He looks at all sin as sin. He doesn’t look at a murderer any differently than He looks at a pastor who preaches a false gospel…both of those people are sinners…and both of them are destined for the Great White Throne Judgment…and if neither of them repent…they will be sent away to a hell that is very real.
Can I give you an even more real point of view here. God doesn’t see the difference between a murderer, a preacher preaching a false gospel or someone who has never accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. All three of those people are destined for hell unless they become whosoever’s who have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved. Sin is sin to God. It doesn’t matter if it’s theft of a pack of gum, murdering someone, or preaching that Jesus isn’t the only way to Heaven. All of that is sin to God, and whether we see it that way or not has no bearing upon how God sees it.
So, now we’re coming back to the point of today’s message…and that is that we’re all failures if we compare ourselves to Jesus. That’s why we all need Jesus as our Lord and Savior. It’s His holiness that we acquire when we become whosoever’s that call upon Him for salvation. By the way, the word there for salvation is “sozo”. I’ve said it before, and it remains important to repeat…that means it’s a complete salvation. When we’re saved…the moment we’re saved…we receive all the holiness we’re ever going to possess. Why? Because it’s not our holiness…it’s Jesus’.
I have an entire message The Doctrine of Spiritual Pride that explains what I’m getting at there in much better detail than I have time to get into today. I would encourage you to check that out, and reblog it, tweet it, and share it with your people. I think you’ll find that message to be quite powerful…and I hope that you’ll take the time to check it out and pass it along once you have.
For the sake of time today, I’ll just say that if you want to know how God feels about us being judgmental then I would like to encourage you to read my messages in the “7 Hebrew Words for Praise” series. He had a lot to say in the first two messages of that series. 7 Hebrew Words for Praise – Halal and 7 Hebrew Words for Praise – Yadah.
So, let’s see what Mr. Piper has to say about today’s message, and see what we can say about that…and then we’ll see what the Lord wants us to talk about. Then we’ll wrap this message up.
What does it mean to “fall short of the glory of God?” It means that none of us has trusted and treasured God the way we should. We have not been satisfied with his greatness and walked in his ways. We have sought our satisfaction in other things, and treated them as more valuable than God, which is the essence of idolatry (Romans 1:21-23). Since sin came into the world we have all been deeply resistant to having God as our all-satisfying treasure (Ephesians 2:3). This is an appalling offense to the greatness of God (Jeremiah 2:12-13).
None of us have trusted and treasured God the way we should. There’s a mouthful right there isn’t it!?! I know that I don’t always trust and treasure God the way I should. You know, when I think about how much I fall short of the glory of God the last thing in the world I think about is you falling short because I am just as guilty as you are. I am just as guilty as sinning and falling short of God’s glory as anyone else, and just so you know just because I’m a pastor called to serve God…that doesn’t make me some how immune to sinning and missing God. However, it also doesn’t give me the right or the authority to judge your lives because you sin and miss God.
I don’t know how many times the Holy Spirit is going to have me say this…but it’s not our job to judge people’s lives…it’s not our job to point fingers, to bring condemnation or “godly conviction” as we like to call it. It’s not “godly conviction” it’s your spiritually proud religiously prideful self looking down upon someone else because they don’t live as holy a lifestyle as you. I hate to break the bad news to you, but you’re not holy because you don’t drink, smoke, cuss, or hang out with people who do those things. The ONLY reason you are holy at all is because of Jesus. The holiness that you brag about carrying around with doesn’t belong to you…it belongs to the One who died to make you holy. It’s Jesus’ holiness that we have, it’s Jesus who makes us holy, and if you think that you’re holy by your “good works” then you…sir or ma’am are full of pride…and you’re not as holy as you think.
If you’re trying to get to Heaven on your own merits…then you’re not going to make it. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. You can’t get there by being a good person or doing good deeds. You can’t get there by having a lifestyle that is apart from drinking, smoking, cussing or anything else that’s considered a bad habit. Just because you don’t do those things…there’s no extra credit with God…you’re either saved or you’re not. You’re either a whosoever that’s called upon the name of the Lord…or you’re not.
Paul is very clear that we’re not saved by what we do…we’re saved by what we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths. The Christian life is by grace thru faith. If it were attainable any other way…don’t you think God would’ve revealed that to Paul? If God wanted to make sure it was written that all we receive is by grace thru faith…and not works because that removes our ability to boast about how great and holy we are.
Still…there’s so many Christians…and don’t tell me there isn’t because I see it on my Twitter timeline. They brag and boast about their “holy lifestyle”, but that’s not what is going to get them into Heaven…the ONLY thing that will satisfy the demands of sin upon our lives is whether or not we’re whosoever’s who have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved. If you have the Son…you have eternal life. If you don’t have the Son…you do not have eternal life. It really is that simple, but we think because we don’t smoke cigarettes or drink a beer or have premarital or extra marital sex or we don’t steal or don’t kill or don’t covet something someone else has that we’re going to some how obtain extra credit from God…friends there’s no extra credit. The basics of the Christian life is this. If you have the Son…you have eternal life. If you denied the Son…you don’t have eternal life. It really is that simple…and if you’re trying to do it any other way…you’re not going to make it.
We have not been satisfied with His greatness and walked in His ways. Oh, Lord, forgive us for not being satisfied by the sacrifice that You provided. Forgive our religious pride that looks down our noses, and our spiritual pride that causes us to boast in our greatness instead of Yours. God, break us of this pride that makes us so judgmental and prideful over our lives. Help us to see that it’s not our greatness that saved us or keeps us saved…it’s Yours. In Jesus name…break the hearts of the body of Christ to see they have way to much of themselves…and not enough of You. In Jesus’ name!
I can’t even think of myself as not being satisfied with the greatness of God. How in the world can I not be? Before I came to God’s embrace…my life was anything but satisfying. I’m still not satisfied. I can still stand to have plenty of me crucified with Christ, but thank God I’m not who I used to be. There’s the old saying that says: “I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.” How in the world can we have that mindset…and then look down our religious noses at anyone else who reached the same bottom we have…and then think that God’s okay with us judging their lives. He’s NOT OKAY WITH US JUDGING ANYONE’S LIVES BUT OUR OWN.
Listen, the Bible says very clearly that we are to WORK OUT OUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING. It doesn’t say anything about working out someone else’s salvation. In fact, I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. There are things God has given me the grace to do that He hasn’t given the grace to someone else. There are things that God will allow someone else to do that He won’t allow me to do…but one thing He will not allow me to do is judge what He allows someone else to do that He doesn’t allow me to do. In fact, He’s told me that what’s between Him and someone else is none of my business…and vice versa.
No where are we told to judge our neighbor, but we do it all the time. No where are we told that we’re to take the place of the Holy Ghost, and bring conviction to our neighbors…but we do it all the time. No where in the Bible does it say to judge one another…it says to love one another…but we think we’re doing each other a favor by pointing out the speck in someone else’s eye when there’s a big old log sticking out of our own.
I am all for encouraging someone to not do a particular thing. I would never encourage someone to have an extra marital affair, but I certainly am not going to judge someone who has one either. I am certainly not going to encourage someone to get addicted to pornography, but I’m also not going to judge someone who is. I’m not going to encourage someone to be bound in their minds by thoughts they can’t control, but I’m not going to judge someone for that either. Do you know why? If you’ve been reading along…because it’s not for me to judge.
You know what. I have had an extra marital affair with my first wife…and I know what it’s like to have people thumb their noses at you because of it…and the worst part is that those who thumbed their noses at me were Christians. I have been addicted to pornography before, and I know what a struggle that is to over come. There have been times I’ve stumbled with it, but the sad thing is God is more understanding then the body of Christ is. He doesn’t look at me, and throw up His hands in disgust wondering how I could allow myself to do such a thing….He certainly doesn’t want me to do them because it knows it will harm me…but He’s not disappointed in me…He loves me…and no matter what I do…I can’t sin myself away from His love, His grace, or His mercy. The body of Christ looks at the admission I just made…and disqualifies me from my calling, but the call and gifts of God are without repentance…so just because I was addicted to pornography…God didn’t change His mind about what I was called to do…in fact…it’s part of my testimony…that God’s done something I never could on my own…He’s delivered me of that addiction.
I know what it’s like to have thoughts that I cannot control. I know what it’s like to be lost in my thoughts and mind. I know what it’s like to think that my life is worthless, and that maybe it would be better if I just went to be with Jesus. I know what it’s like to by the lies of the devil, and believe that no one would miss me if I wasn’t around. I know what that’s like…and I know what it’s like to have God use people to change that. He has surrounded me with people who remind me that I’m loved, needed, and wanted…and further more…He told me Himself that He loved me…and has a purpose for me.
Friend, whatever it is that you judge that person for…some time you just need to thank God that you’re not bound up like they are. Instead of being judgmental…perhaps you ought to be thankful that God kept you from being addicted to pornography, maybe you should be grateful that you don’t know what it’s like to be an alcoholic, know what it’s like to have to find a way to forgive yourself for an abortion you had many years ago, and more. You cannot judge my breakthrough because you don’t know my been through.
We have sought our satisfaction in other things, and treated them as more valuable than God, which is the essence of idolatry (Romans 1:21-23).
Whoa! What a statement! We have sought our satisfaction in other things, and treated them as more valuable than God. I know that I can be guilty of this, and just seeing it here makes me feel like I should be ashamed of myself even more for having the time or the gull to look at someone else’s life when there’s so much of my own that needs to die. How can I judge your life when mine can be so easily judged? How can I look at your failure when I fail God myself…and I’m a pastor. I’m supposed to have it all together, have all the answers, and have it all figured out…but the truth is…I’m a person. I still have flesh that I have to deal with, that I have to crucify, and that I need to decrease. I am in NO position to judge anyone’s life.
All of us have failed to glorify God as we should
All of us have failed to glorify God as we should. There isn’t one of us that is perfect. There isn’t one of us that’s going to get a 100% when we stand before God on that day. You know, the way people brag about themselves on Twitter makes me wonder if they’re going to be bold enough to do that when they’re standing before God. I wonder if they think He is going to be impressed with all they’ve done, all they didn’t do, and as they’re giving their resume for why they believe they should be allowed to enter into Heaven…the only answer that is acceptable has nothing to do with us at all.
The truth is…when God asks us why we deserve to be in Heaven…the only acceptable answer has nothing to do with anything we’ve done. I can promise you that the One that made everything we see come into existence isn’t going to be impressed by the people you helped, the money you gave, the things you did, the time you volunteered, the number of tweets and Facebook updates you wrote, and He’s not going to be impressed by the number of blogs you wrote. He’s not going to be impressed with the amount of Bible you can quote…He wrote it. He’s not going to be impressed with what you did for a living.
The ONLY acceptable answer for why we should be allowed into Heaven is I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. If you give any other answer then that…you’re probably not going to like the results.
I knew the direction this message was going to go the moment I saw “All of us have failed to glorify God as we should.”. How dare we look at anyone else’s life with a judgmental eye in the context of that statement? I don’t know about anyone else, but this message was clear to me that I’m not qualified to judge anyone else’s life…especially when I am barely qualified to judge my own.
I guess the only way I can think of that’s appropriate to close this message is to pray. I just feel like maybe we all ought to pray, and ask God something like this:
Oh Lord, forgive me. I am sorry that I spend so much time looking upon the failures of others when I have my own. Forgive me. I am sorry that I have so much pride to think that I’m on some kind of pedestal that qualifies me to look upon someone else’s life with a judgmental eye. Lord, I know that’s not pleasing to You, and I don’t want to do things that displease You. I certainly don’t want to do anything that allows me to think I have the right to take Your place. Lord forgive us for being so judgmental, and help us, Lord God, to take our eyes off of what everyone else is doing…and put our eyes upon the person in the mirror. I ask that You would convict us of our judgmental thoughts the moment they come, and that we would repent right then and there. Lord, I ask You to wash and cleanse my mind, my heart, and my all with the blood of Your precious Son…in Jesus’ name….Amen
Blessings & Grace to you.
Christlike Ministries NWA
“My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 16:24