Jesus Is Better Than Religion
By Bobby Blakey on August 25, 2019
Jesus Is Better Than Religion
By Bobby Blakey on August 25, 2019
As you grab your seat, I invite you to grab your Bible and open it up with me to Philippians chapter three. This is page 981 if you got one of our books. Philippians chapter three, and we are starting a series through these verses, Jesus is better. And we are excited. Some of us got to go through Philippians, three together at our high school camp at Lake Havasu a few weeks ago. So, for weeks now, I have been waiting for this moment right now, when you and I could open the Bible, and hear these words, and see the work that God is going to do among us.
And so out of respect for God's word. I invite everybody to stand up with me as we read this scripture. I'm going to read the first 11 verses of Philippians three. And please follow along as I read for us. "Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you as no trouble to me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh -- though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also, if anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith -- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." That ends the reading of God's word. Please go ahead and grab your seat.
And you can see that in Paul's mind as we've been going through Philippians. We had a great time studying Philippians, one and two this summer. And then he begins chapter three here with the word "finally". Now if you look, if you turn the page there in your Bible, you'll see we're only halfway to go, Paul. It's not really finally time, right? But you could see he says, "Finally, my brother's Rejoice in the Lord." That's been the theme of what we've been learning that there is a joy in Jesus Christ, outside of circumstances and feelings in your salvation. And that joy is shared in one another. As we see one another have that salvation, as we see more people come to salvation, that increases, that makes full our joy in Jesus Christ. So, he gets back to his theme "Rejoice in the Lord, to write the same things to you is no trouble to me, and is safe for you." And it's like when he says that phrase right there, hey, I'll keep writing this to you guys. It's no trouble for me because I want you guys to be safe. Like, you just know by studying this, how much Paul loves these Philippians. Like we just got done studying where he was going to maybe send Timothy to them, for sure. He was going to send Epaphroditus to them. And one of the reasons he was going to send Timothy is because he wanted to hear the report of how they were doing. Because Paul, he cared about these people and their faith in Jesus. And it's like he's getting ready to start winding it down and bringing it towards a conclusion. But when he says, "it's safe for you," it's like he has to say something else. And what he gets into here in verse two and three is really the controversy that would define the ministry of the Apostle Paul. See, Paul did something really radical, and sometimes it's hard for us to look back and fully appreciate how Paul would go to people who weren't Jews and say that they could have a relationship with God, that salvation was now available to all people through Jesus Christ When Paul started doing that it was radical. I mean, he was really the trailblazer down that path that Gentiles, because of Jesus Christ, it didn't matter if you were a Jew or if you were a Gentile, everybody could come to God the same way through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.
And he started spreading this message, and people were getting saved, churches were getting planted. And there was serious opposition from people that are referred to as the Judaizers. There were some Jews, they were not okay with what Paul was saying at all. They did not think that people could go to God without becoming a Jew. So, if people wanted to believe in Jesus, or they wanted to come to God, that was maybe okay, but they had to become a Jew to get there. And so those people, they came after Paul. I mean, they persecuted him. In fact, they would track him down, they would leave their city and go find him in another city. They would beat him up, they would throw him in prison. One time, they dragged him out of a city and left him there for dead. That's the reason he got arrested, the reason he had to go to trial They tried to kill him while he was arrested. That's the reason he had to appeal to Caesar, where he was eventually martyred for his faith. It was all because of this controversy that they were saying, you have to be a Jew to know God. And Paul was saying, No, you don't. The grace of God is available to all in Jesus Christ.
And so it's like, you can't leave the Philippians. These people that he loves that he's seen get saved, that he wants to stand firm in their faith, he can't stop writing to them without saying watch out for those guys. And he says here in verse two, he says it three different ways. And these are fightin’ words. These are, these are, I mean, he's given it to him here. He says, "look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh." Now, when he says, look out for the dogs, he's not saying, look out for your homeboys. That's not what he means here -- alright? Now, when we come to the Bible, okay, we have to get out of our cultural context. And we have to understand the Scripture. Dogs are beloved creatures here in Huntington Beach -- right? We have a whole beach devoted to dogs -- right? We have many people all around us in all the cities around here, North Orange County, South LA County, there are many people who consider dogs, not only to be man's best friend, but their dog is their best friend more than other people in their life. All right? And we even have people here at this church who love their dogs. Our very own pastor Daniel, that He is a righteous man who loves his beast. All right? He takes care of his dog. Okay? They don't think about dogs like we do in Israel. Those of us who got to go to Israel this summer, you don't see people walking their dogs in Israel. You don't see the Jews in Jerusalem taking their dogs out for a walk. To them, dogs are unclean animals. You see a dog in Israel, it's gonna be a stray dog, and everybody's gonna stay away from it because it's unclean, and it's probably eaten unclean things, and you can't have anything to do with it.
So these Jews, they would have looked down on people and people they thought were dirty and unclean. They would have referred to them in a derogatory way as dogs. And now Paul is calling the people who call other people dogs. He's calling them dogs. I mean, this is name-calling here. All right? Paul is not okay with what these guys are saying. He's saying that they need these people. And the thing they zeroed in was on the work that the Jews wanted the Gentiles to do. To be Jews was this work of circumcision that he addresses here. And he says that they are evildoers. Like, literally, he says, You're the ones doing the bad works. They're going around saying, Hey, you want to be right with God? Okay, but you need to get circumcised. That's a good work that you're going to need to do if you're going to be right with God. And he says you're actually doing bad works; you're actually doing evil works. So, they're saying you need to do these works. And he's saying that's actually evil that you're saying that. So, he's calling these guys out. And he's warning the Philippians who would have been aware of this controversy following Paul around his entire life and eventually killing him? Because he wanted to bring the gospel to the Gentiles, something that you and I just assume, of course, anybody could believe. That was revolutionary in the time of the scriptures here and Paul's the one who blazed the trail so that that thought would be accepted by everybody. And eventually they killed him for it. And he says, Watch out.
He says watch out Philippians, because this love for Jesus, this gospel of Jesus, this gospel of Jesus, there are always people trying to turn the relationship that we have with God into a religion where you have to do works. Watch out for those people. And then he says right there in verse three -- look at it -- he says, "We are the circumcision." That's an interesting phrase. And then he gives three descriptions to us, He already said, look out for these people three different ways. And now he gives three descriptions of what it really looks like. He says, who worships by the Spirit of God? See, we're not doing it because we have to keep some kind of rules. We're doing it because the Spirit of God compels us from the inside out. We worship by the Spirit, we glory in Christ Jesus, we don't boast about anything we've done. We give all the glory to Jesus. And we put no confidence in the flesh. We don't believe that there is anything that we can do to get right with God. It's all based on what Jesus has already done. Can I get an amen from anybody that I hear? That's what he's saying is the real thing.
So, at any time, there's this danger, that people wanting to know God, and believing in Jesus Christ, that that can be turned into a religion where there's things you have to do; and at this time, the thing that you had to do was get circumcised. That's what the Jews were saying. And Paul says something radical, we are the circumcision. Now I understand very well that circumcision can be an awkward thing to talk about. Alright? But this is again how you're going to have to decide you're going to live your life. Are you going to read the Bible, and things that don't make sense to you are just going to be in a category of things that don't make sense to you? Or are you going to roll up your sleeves and say, Hey, I keep seeing this idea show up. God's inspired word keeps bringing up this thing about circumcision over and over, not just even with Abraham and the people of Israel back in the day, but Paul's always writing about it. Man, maybe I need to try to really study and figure out what is this thing all about?
And so turn with me to Galatians five, I want you to see, maybe the clearest statement that Paul makes about circumstantial circumcision in Galatians, chapter five, page 974. Just a few pages back here. Okay, if you really wanted to do a comprehensive Bible study on circumcision, you gotta go back to Genesis 17 and Abraham. God makes a promise to Abraham. He says, Abraham, look up at the stars, can you count the stars, that's how many descendants you're going to have. Look at the sand on the seashore there, can you count the sand. That's how many descendants you're going to have. Hey, Abraham, I'm going to make you the father of a great nation. And you're going to have many descendants. And the symbol of this promise that God made with Abraham, the God of Abraham, and then Isaac, and then Jacob, and then the 12 tribes of Israel, this promise that God made with Abraham, the symbol of the promise was circumcision. And it was this beautiful symbol that God had chosen the Jewish people to be there his people, coming from Abraham. And it was this awesome promise that God made to that group of people. And this symbol of circumcision was something that they really thought was a big deal between them and God, but then over time, it got corrupted. And, now, instead of being a symbol of the fact that we're God's people, it's something you have to do if you want to be one of God's people.
And Paul, he's having none of that. He says in Galatians, chapter five, verse one. "For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." You've been made free by Jesus, and now you're gonna go back and be a slave? What does he mean by that? Well, he's talking about this idea of you having to get circumcised to be saved. He says, Look, I Paul say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man. So, he's saying this to anybody who will listen to him, every man who accepts circumcision, that he is obligated to keep the whole law. This is what Paul understands. This is what he's trying to communicate. This is what the Bible teaches that the only way you can be saved is by Jesus Christ, by the fact that he shed his righteous blood to die for you and He rose again to give you a new and eternal life. It's all because of Jesus. And if you add one work to what Jesus has done, just one thing that you say that people have to do along with Jesus, what you've done is you've now separated from a pure faith in Jesus, and you now have to do all the works to be saved. You add one work, you now got to keep the whole law. Ah, that's what he's saying, just one work takes it from pure faith and Jesus to something that you're doing. And if it's about what you're doing, you're gonna have to do everything, he says. He says, verse four, "You are severed from Christ." You choose one work, and that takes you away from Jesus. "You who would be justified by the law, you have fallen away from grace, for through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love." It doesn't matter if you're a Jew, or you're a Gentile, do you trust in Jesus to save you? That's what matters. And so he is so against this idea. It's like he's ready to wrap it up with the Philippians., but he can't leave the letter without bringing this up. Because this is the issue that would define his life, this is the issue ultimately, he would die for. And, see? This was so personal to Paul, because it's not like he's talking about something he doesn't know about, like he understands the mindset of the Judaizers.
And, really, what Paul is saying is that he can outdo the rest of the Jews. That's really what he's saying, In Philippians, three, turn back there with me and look at it. He's gonna say, Hey, I'm not talking about something I don't know about. You want to talk about trying to try to be a good Jew, you want to talk about making sure you keep the law, you want to talk about being circumcised in the right way. Hey, guys, let me tell you, let me bring out my resume. Let me tell you my life story. And, so, he starts here in verse four, to give us his testimony. And it's a little bit different kind of a testimony that Paul gives in Philippians, three. Maybe you've heard Paul's testimony when he was on the road to Damascus, and he was going there to persecute more Christians. And boom, there was this blinding light. And he got stopped in his tracks. And he met Jesus on the roads. He tells that story a lot, you could read it and Acts nine. And he keeps telling it over and over in the book of Acts of how the event when he met Jesus. What he's given us here is not the event of his testimony. He's given us here, the content of his testimony. Let me tell you how I used to think about myself. And then I met Jesus, and he completely changed my mind. Look at what he says in verse four. Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh. You want to talk about doing things to be right with God? Let me tell you, let me Can I talk for a minute here. He's saying, If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more. Oh, you think you're pretty righteous? Let me tell you how righteous I am. That's basically what he's getting into here. Okay, circumcised on the eighth day of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. So, I'm not making up the out-Jews the Jews line. There it is right there. All right? Okay, now I know when you were born, you had to be circumcised on the eighth day. Among the Jewish people that goes all the way back to Genesis 17.
Like we said, and Paul here, he's going to start to say, Hey, here's what I can tell you about being a Jew. And we're going to follow along with what Paul says. You've got a little cross chart there on your handout. If you're taking notes, okay, let's fill this cross chart in together from Paul's perspective. Let's track his testimony here. And at the end of it, verse seven, if you can skip down to verse seven, at the end of this little testimony, he gives in verses four to six, he says in verse seven, whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Gain there, you could translate that profit. So it's like, he's thinking, I got profit, and I got lost. It's like he's doing a little accounting here. And he's getting us into it, how his mindset used to be. And so on the left side of our cross chart here, we're going to start with gain. This is what Paul used to think was gain, used to think this would profit him. And he used to think here, he's saying, that being born a Jew was going to be great profit for him, okay? He used to think that the way he was born, the way that he was raised by his parents, how they circumcised him on the eighth day, just like a God said, and how he says here he was of the tribe of Benjamin, the tribe of Benjamin, okay? of the people of Israel. See, like he's saying, where I came from the heritage that I received, this started me out in a place where I was right with God. Now, I don't know how, again, how you approach things like this, where it says the tribe of Benjamin. And maybe you've heard before that there's 12 tribes of Israel. See, a lot of people going to church these days, a lot of Christians, they act like Oh, that old stuff, that stuff of the Old Covenant. We don't need to know that these days, because we're in the New Covenant. Well, here's something that's interesting. The 12 tribes of Israel, that's still something that's being talked about in Revelation. Like in heaven, there's still going to be the 12 tribes of Israel. So, it's not going anywhere, all right? So you can just be out of the loop, or you can try to figure out, why would he boast if he's going to start showing off how self-righteous he is among the Jewish people? Why would he say that he is of the tribe of Benjamin, well, you got to go back. And you got to know the 12 sons of Jacob that led to the 12 tribes of Israel, you got to go all the way back to Genesis to really understand this. And it's this kind of sorted, twisted story where Jacob he's got 12 sons with four different women, and they make up this kind of collection of brothers. And Joseph, he's the favorite out of all the brothers, he gets this, you know, this coat of many colors. And then some of the brothers get together, and they go to kill Joseph, but he actually ends up in Egypt, and he saves all of their lives. It's this amazing story in Genesis, and Benjamin out of all the 12 brothers, Benjamin was the favorite. I mean, he was the youngest is what I mean to say. Anybody know how the youngest can often become the favorite in a family? That happened in anybody else's family? Anybody know what I'm talking about right now? Anybody? An older kid who you're the younger ones got way more spoiled than you did? Am I speaking to anybody right now? You know what I mean? And he spoiled people willing to admit here in church today that you were spoiled, growing up, right? As the youngest, right? Trying to still get my family to admit it. They're still arguing with me, I found out last night. They were still arguing about if they were spoiled or not, right?
Benjamin's the youngest, like when Jacob died, Joseph was dead. He poured all of his love out to Benjamin, clearly his favorite. Okay? So that's how it begins to be of the tribe of Benjamin. Like this is already in their mind. One of the better tribes. And, then, maybe you know that the kingdom of Israel after Solomon was divided. And there was a northern kingdom, and there was a southern kingdom. And the southern kingdom of Judah, where Jerusalem was, they're the ones who stayed true. And it was only two tribes that stayed true. It was Judah. And the other tribe that stayed true was, it was Benjamin. So there again, the tribe of Benjamin gets elevated. That when it came time for Israel to have a king, and the people wanting to have a king, they had a king and who was the name of the first king of Israel. Saul. And what tribe did Saul come from? Benjamin? Okay, let's think about that. Before we know him as Paul, his name was originally Saul. And what tribe did he come from? This guy was the boy who was born to be king. This guy was the boy who was born in a Jewish family that must have been so proud that they thought he would be the new Saul, the new leader of God's people, the one to take them into the future. That's the heritage that he's saying he comes from, He's Saul of the tribe of Benjamin. There was another Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, first king of Israel.
And so he's saying, Hey, guys, you want to talk about being born into the right family? As far as religion goes, that was me. Then look what he says here, after he says a Hebrew of Hebrews, he says, as to the law of Pharisee, he was one of the Pharisees; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. And I don't think he's claiming that he was perfect. I think what he's saying is, whatever the law told him to do, even all of these other rules that the Pharisees added on to the scripture, and they made it legalistic, they made it about keeping the laws, everything that he was being told to do by all of these laws. And even when he did send the sacrifices or offerings are things that he would need to do to be clean; again, all of that he was doing it to the point where no one could accuse him of breaking any of these hundreds of laws, either from scripture or things that they had added. He was doing every single one of them. So, one of the things he used to count gain in his life was keeping the law. He used to really be proud of that. But no one could accuse him of anything. That he was in this strict sect of the religious leaders of the Jews, known as the Pharisees. He was a part of the group that killed Jesus Christ. And in fact, in Acts chapter seven, when Stephen is the first Christian martyr, when the Jews bring Steven before them, and they pick up big rocks to throw at his scull to crush him, and to kill him. All of the Jews who are a part of murdering Stephen, they go and lay their garments at the feet of a man named this guy Saul. Like he was such a Pharisee, he was such a law keeper. He was so zealous that everybody had to come to God as a Jew. That when it came to the Christians, and they started having revival there in Jerusalem, he went and found the most on fire Christian that he could. And he oversaw the execution of Steven, who was the guy that you would put in charge of killing the first Christian. It was Saul. That's how religious he was, recognized by his peers, recognized among the leaders as a leader among leaders. So, he's not just speaking and exaggerating, or speaking with hyperbole in saying that he's the Hebrew of the Hebrews. He was literally the top of the Jewish food chain in Jerusalem. That's what he's saying he was. And after relisting, all of that resume, he says that this amazing thing has happened in his mind. He says, Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss. For the sake of who does he say there?
He says, Hey, something amazing happened to me. Like I was entrenched in this system, I was totally involved in this religion. And then I met Jesus. See, that's what goes here at the top of the cross chart, Jesus. And now here, he's not talking about the event, when he met Jesus, like in Acts nine on the road, and he got stopped by the blinding light, and he couldn't see. And he went blind for a moment there. Now he's talking about the change of mind that happened. Like I used to think all of these things were good. And they were making me right with God. And they were getting me somewhere, I was getting credit with God, I had profit in my column between me and God, and God was impressed with what I was doing. And then I met Jesus. And instead of thinking all of those things were game, I actually crossed that out now. And I think those things are lost. Now. I don't value those things anymore. I don't think those things are going to make me right with God. See, there are so many people that are not righteous, they are religious. And there is a big difference between the two. There is only one way to be righteous, and his name is Jesus. But many people are trying to be righteous, and that is what we call religion. And there are people they grew up, they got born into some kind of system. And it tells them, if you live this way, you will get favor, you will get credit. Like we've got to meet a whole bunch of people here at our church, through our Vietnamese ministry that does translation at the 11 o'clock service, I've got to personally interact with so many people coming from a Buddhist background. And that's their frame of reference. When they think about religion, when they think about some kind of spirituality, they don't think about God, Jesus, the Bible, they think about Buddhism. And it's this system where you have to do good. And maybe if you do enough, good if you humble yourself, if you love other people, if you do the right things here in this life, maybe in the next life, you'll get a little higher up. Maybe someday, possibly who knows how you could even reach Nirvana. That's the whole idea. And that's their whole mindset that they have such a value for that. We've met a lot of people through our Spanish Ministry, and there's great work going on there. The real fellowship group breaking out amongst Spanish speakers right here at our church. And so many people who speak Spanish have been influenced by Roman Catholicism. And it's really interesting because they know things about Jesus. And they would say that they believe in Jesus. But then they would also say things like, well, you have to get baptized to be saved. See, they're doing the same exact thing that was happening at Paul's time was circumcision; started out as a beautiful symbol that you were one of God's people, and then later on, they're saying, you have to do it to be one of God's people.
That's what's happened with baptism in our time. It's a beautiful symbol of the cleansing of your old life of sin, rising to a new life in Jesus. And now you've got all kinds of religious groups telling people that if they are not baptized, then they cannot be saved. And they're making it a work to get righteousness rather than a symbol that you've been made righteous. And it's happening all over. You know what some people even do? They take church like this, and they make it a religion. I mean, a lot of people, they're doing exactly what Paul did here. Instead of being born a Jew, a lot of people, they tell me that they were raised a Christian. So let's cross that out. And let's apply it to our context right now. I've not heard anybody boasting here at our church, that they were born a Jew think and that's making them right with God. But I have heard people at this church tell me that they are born a Christian. Let me ask you a question. Is it even possible to be born a Christian? We are born in sin, the Bible is very clear. We have to be saved in our life to be a Christian. No one is born a Christian. But when you listen, that is how people talk about it. They talk about how great their parents were, that their parents were Christian, that their parents took them to church, or trained them up in the ways, and they talked about the church they went to, and how they got involved in that church, and how they prayed a prayer at that church, where they walked in aisle at that church. Maybe they talked about the Christian school, and the education they got, or the youth group they were a part of. And they're not talking about Jesus, and what he did to save them. They're bringing out their resume, and they're talking about how they grew up as if that's what makes them a Christian.
No one is a Christian because they grew up in a Christian family or went to church You're a Christian because you're placed into Jesus Christ. Liquid. It says here, liquid; he goes on to say, in verse eight, he says, Indeed, I count, everything is lost, and we're gonna get to that where he counts, everything is lost next week, if you come back, he says. Because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for his sake, I've suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish. I consider all those things that I use to find profit, and I now consider them to be trash, in order that I may gain Christ. And look what he says, "and be found in him." So it's no longer about how I grew up. Now it's about being found in Christ. So now he has a whole new column. There's a column of gain. And the first thing that he puts in the column of game is being in Christ. Doesn't matter how I was born physically into this life, he's talking about being born again, spiritually into Jesus, the real baptism of the soul, when you are placed into Christ, and you die to your old life of sin, and you rise to a new life in Jesus. That's now the thing that he thinks made him righteous, that's now the thing he finds gaining is being found in Jesus, not in how he grew up.
It's amazing how many people today, even people who have now lived for a long time here on planet Earth 60, 70 years, they are still trapped in the religious system that they grew up in. And it is not to them about being found in Christ. And when they hear a message that convicts them, or stirs them up, their response is to go back and try harder to be a better Christian, rather than to trust that Jesus has already made them a Christian. And so we don't think keeping the law that's no longer something that gives us gain no keeping the law, we now see that as doing dead works. We don't think that the things that we do make us right with God, we did those things when we were still dead in our sins. They didn't give us favor with God. I mean, it's really interesting how many people when you ask them, hey, and this is a real concern that I have, this is a real concern. We have at this church, we want everybody to be able to fill out a cross church. We want everybody to be able to say, hey, here's how I lived my life. Here's who I was, here's how I thought. And then I met Jesus. And I was found in Christ. And to gain Christ, man, my whole perspective on life changed, the whole way that I lived, really changed. And so now here are the new things that I really value. And I really hold dear. And it's the total opposite of who I was before I met Jesus. He's produced this profound change in my life. We want everybody to have that testimony. We want everybody to have a story of salvation.
And so we'll just be bold. And we'll say, Hey, what's your testimony? Hey, when did you get saved? Hey, let's talk about the most important thing going on -- your soul. And people will be like, Well, yeah, I'm a Christian. I mean, I went on a missions trip to Africa. People like that's their response. Like, yeah, I'm a Christian. I've been going to church for 30 years. Yeah, I'm a Christian. I was on the Missions Board at this other church. Literally. These are lines that people when we've been talking about, what does it mean to be a Christian or not? They're starting to tell me what they've done for Jesus. I served in youth ministry, I worked with junior higher, so I was really serving the Lord, right? You got people saying stuff like that. Like, wait a minute, I was asking, how were you found in Christ, and you're over here, telling me things that you've done for Christ?
We're not having the same conversation. There's a lot of that going on. Turn with me to Hebrews chapter six, verse one, I really want you to see this here in Hebrews six, because he's writing here to Jews who need to stop trying to do all the works of the Old Covenant, and embrace faith in the new covenant of Jesus Christ. Now that he has shed His righteous blood, now that he has risen from the dead, He is the once for all sacrifice. He is our high priest. He is the holy temple of the living God. Jesus has fulfilled the old covenant and He offers us a new covenant where we can come to know God through Him and nothing else. And that's what the writer of Hebrews wants the Jews to see. And he says this in Hebrews chapter six, verse one, page 1003. He says, "Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ, and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God." Now, the writer of Hebrews here is upset with the people he's writing to, because they should know what he's talking about. They should be ready to grow up in their faith. But he has to keep going down to the beginning to the foundation, and making sure they even have faith. So he says it here, kind of in the middle of a rebuke of the people that he's writing to. But when he's rebuking them for not being more mature in their faith, he gives us here, the elementary doctrine of Christ like this is the beginning. This is the foundation to build your life on. And when you hear about Jesus, when you hear about what he's done for you. Well, it says here, the right response is repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God. Now, maybe you haven't heard that phrase before. Maybe you haven't even heard that word, repentance, it's this idea of a change of mind. It's the idea of a turnaround. We've been trying to bring this word back, because it's all over the Scripture, Jesus used it, John the Baptist use it, the apostles use it, they all said, when you hear the Gospel of Jesus, that He died for your sin, you need to repent of your sin, you need to change your mind and stop living the way you're living. And one of the things that says you might have to change your mind about is all those good things you've been doing in that religion of yours. And you've got to realize that all of those works that you thought were in the profit column, are actually in the last column, and they are dead works, they have no life in them. You're trying to do those works, to get life, but really, we're supposed to do works in response to the life that we have in Jesus Christ. So those works that you've been trying to do are dead, change your mind about them, repent of them. That's what he's saying to these people. If you've been caught up in a false religious system, even if you've made Christianity a religion, stop trying to do things to get righteous and change your mind about how you get righteous. That's what he's saying here.
One of the things that people are going to have to realize is, this is not about me trying harder to do better to get right with God. He said, You got to repent of that. And what you got to have here is faith toward God. It's not about you trying to be righteous, it's you trusting Jesus is righteous. And God will give you the righteousness of Jesus as a gift on Earth. And you can open it up, you can celebrate it, you can be saved, and there's nothing that you do you just trust in what Jesus has done. Go back to Philippians three. And you'll see that's the conclusion. Paul gets to here in verse nine, says it's not about how I was born. It's about being found in Christ. It's not about keeping the law or doing those dead works. Look what he says here. It's not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ. It's the righteousness from God that depends on faith. So what we really need people to do is not go home and try to do it all over again. What we need people to do is admit right here today, I can't do it. I really can't. There's no way that you could ever earn favor, store up credit and get righteousness in your account in heaven. You won't be able to do it. You cannot live up as a man as a human. You cannot live up to the standard of a holy and just God. You can't. And it's just so sad to see People trying so hard, living with such a burden, such a weight, and never getting there. And he's saying I had to realize it wasn't about my actions, my self-righteousness. There is no such thing as self-righteousness, I had to receive righteousness as a gift from God when I trusted in Jesus. So that's what we need is we need righteousness by faith. That's what we got to get to. righteousness by faith and, and faith. Faith is something a child can have. Faith, it's very profound. But it's so simple. If faith is coming to God, and admitting to God, that you have sin instead of righteousness, that you can't do anything to make yourself righteous. And so God, will you please save me? And Jesus Christ, will you please give me his righteousness? That's how simple faith is. It's transferring trust from yourself to God. And one of the things that I've seen, and it's kind of phenomenon of Christianity, I think, especially in southern California, Christianity. It's this idea... and you've probably heard it if you've been going to church for a while. Because every once in a while you'll hear somebody at church say that I'm going to rededicate my life to Christ. Who's heard somebody say that before? Raise your hand if you've heard that at church. Anybody heard that at church before? Now, that's interesting phrase, because you don't see that phrase in the pages of Scripture. But you hear it all the time, like people are quoting chapter and verse, I'm going to rededicate my life to Christ.
Now, what that often means is that person when they were younger, they were born into some kind of Christian family, or somebody in their life, loved them, and took them to church or put them in a Christian school. And they have that foundation. They know the right things that they should be doing, according to the scripture. Maybe even in junior high or high school, they made a commitment to that they really got involved in that. But as they matured in life, as they saw all of the things that you can get into in this world as they saw, the everything else that Paul refers to here, that so many people think are gain, and profit, and they try to get for themselves all the idols and temptations of this world as they saw those things. They drifted away from that, from that Christianity they had as a child, and they got caught up in the things of the world. They got caught up -- some people in their career, some people in their family. Some people and just pleasure and sin, and sex, drugs and rock and roll, and they realize that foundation they were given as a child, they've gone away from that as an adult. And so now they tell you, they want to rededicate their life to Christ. And sometimes what those people mean when they say that is I'm going to go back and I'm going to try it all over again. It's like they are reupping. And I'm like, why would you want to rededicate to a commitment that really had no dedication over time? Like your rededicating to a lack of dedication? Like how's that gonna play out? Let me just tell you right now, that's gonna be a big circle. And you're gonna end up in the same exact spot you're in now. If you go rededicate, if you go try harder all over again, if you go say, Well, this time, I'm gonna do it the right way. I'm here to say today. No, you're not. You can't ever do it. If you were given a million tries, you would never get it right between you and God. You don't need to rededicate your life to Christ. You need to repent from dead works that you've been doing your whole life. And you need to change your mind. And stop thinking, it's about you trying to do anything, and just admit here today that you haven't done it, you'll never do it, there's no way you can possibly ever do it. And trust that Jesus has done it once for all. That when he left heaven, and humbled himself for 33 years, he experienced all the temptations that you and I have experienced. He experienced every one of those temptations of this world, every one of those idols and things you can get caught up in, he experienced all of that, and he resisted every temptation perfectly. Not only that, but all of the commands of God, all of the things in the holy law of God, the pure commandments in the Scripture, he kept every single one of them. He did everything in the Father's Will to please his father in heaven so that when he comes, and he has his arms nailed to that tree, his feet nailed to that tree, and he's bleeding out that is the pure and righteous blood of a spotless lamb sacrifice offered to God to pay for all sin and 100% Pure righteousness. That is the only place it's ever happened on planet Earth is right there with Jesus. And if you think you're going to do that, good luck, keep trying. That's going to be a heavy burden. You got to see Jesus has already done it, and transfer your trust to him. Now, some people, when they use that phrase, rededicate their life to Christ, that might be what they mean, they might say that I got to stop living for myself, and I'm trusting in Jesus. So just because they use that phrase, you got to dive deeper, you got to ask questions, you got to find out what they mean. But if they're just getting back on the wheel, for another run around, of trying to do right things, we already know where that wheel gets off. In the same place they are right now. feeling worn out feeling frustrated, feeling bitter, because you're trying so hard and get nowhere Can I get an amen from anybody on that? Anybody ever been there before. We don't want anybody to be there.
Go to Ephesians, just a few pages to the left from a fifth from Philippians. Ephesians chapter two, verses eight to ten. And so verse we try to talk about a lot here, we encourage people to memorize. Hopefully you're familiar with it. Hopefully, you know, these verses well enough that you could share it with anybody you meet on the street. You could share it with anybody in a conversation, because what Ephesians two is making very clear is that we all come into this world, dead in our sins. Dead people can't do good works, that please God, God has to do his work to us. God has to make us alive. He has to find us in Christ, he has to justify us and declare us righteous, then we do works. And everything that we do is a response to the work of God in us. It doesn't start with us. It starts with him. That's what Ephesians two is making clear. And it spells it out here in verse eight. It says, For by grace, you have been saved through what? What does it say there through what? Faith. Faith is not a work. Faith is trusting that Jesus has done the work that he said, It is finished, that it's all been paid for that all the righteousness has been met. That's what you're trusting in. And it's a gift. It's Grace, it's God being good to you what grace is, is undeserved favor see to receive grace from God, what you're saying is I cannot merit that favor myself. I cannot store up that credit by doing things, right. God has to give it to me and you humble yourself. And you receive a free gift. You know how hard it is for some of us to take something for free? somebody offers you lunch, you're like, No, I'm not going to receive a free lunch from you. It's like your friend and now you're angry with them. And you've ever been there before. Right? Right? It's like, Hey, how about I come over and help you wash your car, it's looking a little dirty. I can wash my own car, I don't need you. What's your problem? You know what I mean? We have this pride, we have this selfishness. We have this high view of ourselves. We want to bust out our resume. We want to bust out our bank account. We want to point to things. This is just intrinsic in us. It's the pride of life. I'm fine. I'm all right. I'm okay. It's like no, we all need a free gift is really what we're saying here. There's only one way to be saved. And it's by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. And if Jesus doesn't die for you, you're going to die. In your sin.
There's just one way out, is to receive a gift and to admit that you need that gift. That's what it's saying here. By grace, you've been saved through faith. This is not your own doing. It is the gift of God. It's not a result of words, no one can boast. No one should be rolling into church with some kind of a resume of how they grew up, or things they've done in the name of Jesus. No one should be boasting about that, like the Jews were like Paul was there in Philippians. Three, we are his work created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Yes, if you're a Christian, there are many good works that God has for you to do. In fact, he saved you in Jesus, because he's got good works for you to do that nobody else can do. There's a path before every one of us have what God wants us to do in this life for His glory but we do that in response to what Jesus has done not to get right with God. So let's get this down. You got three points there and you're like, yikes, this is pretty late to be getting to the three points. We got problems here at church this morning.
Well just number one, get real. Let's just go through them. Let's just summarize what we've been saying from Philippians three, get real about the content of your time. testimony. Okay, so I'm talking about a testimony not where you tell how old you were or where you lived? Or what happened about meeting Jesus. I'm talking about what was your mindset? What did you think? What did you consider gain that now, when you met Jesus, you realize that's not the game column them. That's the last column. What have you changed your mind about? That's what we want you to see you and let's and we're going to start a conversation. We're going to talk about this again next week, we're going to be talking about when we get back to our fellowship groups. In September, everybody, we're going to say, hey, fill out a cross shard before Jesus, what was gained to you that now you consider loss? What have you counted as loss to gain Jesus? Let's all have a conversation about that. Let's get real about that.
And let's make sure number two, that you stop identifying with Christianity or works you have done. Don't make this a religion. We got people here at nine o'clock at our church on Sunday, because that's what you do. Because you think that's the right thing to do. We are not here to get right with God, we are here because God has made us right in Jesus Christ. Everything we should do here at church is a response to what God has done for us. That's why we come to sing. That's why we come to learn from the word. That's why we come to love one another. Because look at what God has done to give you righteousness in Jesus Christ. If you're here to be a religion, I'm sorry, we're not doing that here at this church, we are responding to what God has done in us.
So, number three, you got to find your identity in Christ, you need to be found in Christ, and what he has done. How are you a Christian? When did you get saved, I got saved when Jesus died for me on the cross. That's when I gotta saved. I got saved when Jesus rose out of that grave, and the stone was rolled away. And he came back and had a new life. I'm going to heaven not because of anything, not because some prayer, I prayed, some aile I walked, something I did. Not even my response. Nothing that I did, I'm going to have it because of Jesus Christ in His righteousness is on my account. That's what I'm doing.
See on this vacation that I just got to go on with my family, I got to go to Horseshoe Bend. And that's what's there on the cover of your bullets in that little place where the river, the Colorado River, it makes this radical 180 degree turnaround. And we went there on scripture of the day, who remembers Horseshoe Bend from scripture of the day, Luke 13. That chapter we got to Jesus was preaching repentance. And some of us we went on a trip all the way to Arizona, and we went to Horseshoe Bend. And it was like this profound experience, using it as a symbol of repentance, praying for people to repent. And I just have these great memories of going there. And there's like a shot on the video on scripture of the day, like literally like the the wind is blowing through my hair as I'm looking at Horseshoe Bend. And he's this profound experience. And so now I'm like, Dad mode, I'm on vacation. And I'm like, family, I'm going to take you to Horseshoe Bend. And we're all going to have a profound experience with a living God, let's get in the car. Let's go on a road trip, right? And so it's like, we're going to national parks who's ever been to some of the national parks like Sequoia, Yosemite, Zion, Grand Canyon, I mean, we're going to these places. And we are just worshipping God for His creation, right? I mean, there's people speaking languages from all over the world coming to look at the beauty of what God has made. And we're having a great time. And now I'm like, oh, Horseshoe Bend. This is going to be the best family lead. And then one of my sweet children in the backseat is like, Dad, is it going to be a long hike? Dad? Is it going to be hot? Is this going to be rough? And I'm just like, No Child, we're all going to just, we're all just going to ride Jesus on down there. This is going to be awesome. I'm just totally hyped up in the memory of this thing. Right. And right when we get there, you could tell it was going wrong, right from the get go. Because when we got we went there, like a few months ago, it was just some parking lot You rolled in now. It's like they've got gates, you gotta go in through this checkpoint. You gotta like pay money to get in. They've redone the parking lot. Like this place has gone corporate since the last time I was there, right? It's not a national park. It's just like a national spot, National Monument. And now all of a sudden, they're paying money. And see, I don't know what it is about us, the Blakeys, Orange County Family, I don't know. But when we drive into some of these national parks, those Rangers look at us like you guys are going in here. I don't know. We just might. The city must just be something that they can smell off of us. Right? Or maybe it's just a look, I have I don't know. But literally, we're pulling into Zion. And I'm like, Hey, how do you get to the Narrows? How do you do that hike? And the guy is looking at me and this is literally what the Ranger says to my family. He's like, hey, it's no walk down Main Street Disneyland. I'll tell you right now. I mean, that's his response. That's just what we look like, I guess Right. And so here we are now driving into Horseshoe Bend. And this lady, she sizes us up. And she says, Well, you know, it's 30 minutes down there, 30 minutes back, and it's over 100 degrees, it's really hot, you're gonna need water. And I'm just like, lady, you're killing the whole vibe on this, right? And it slowly starts to dawn on the back of my mind that maybe what she's speaking is reality. And fact, but I'm just not seeing it yet. You know what I mean? And I'm just like, family, it's all going to be fine. It's all going to be fine. But then I'm over here to my wife, like, how many water bottles do we have? Okay, we've got bottled the person coverage, we're good. Let's go. And we're walking in. It's Arizona, at its peak heat, right? I mean, I went in the fall, it's summertime now. And there's like Arizona red dust taken up in our face. And I'm looking at my precious children, and their faces are turning shades of red I've never seen before. And we're walking down. And then while we're walking down there literally is a whole group of people carrying a lady out of Horseshoe Bend. Okay. And it's not really funny, because this lady looks like she's really injured. And there's people speaking in all these languages. So we don't know exactly what goes on. But like the whisper comes, and it's like, she got too close to the edge, right? And so now my kids are like, they're like, we're not going near this place, dad, right. Like, there's the railing. I'm like, 20 feet back from the railing, right? And so this is like the biggest dad fail moment, this trip to Horseshoe Bend. This is like me trying so hard to have an experience. It's like the same place, but two different experiences. And one is just like you believe in Jesus. And it's awesome. And the other one is, you try so hard. And you never get there. And it's just so hot. And it's just like you're running out of water. And I just gotta I just gotta beg you right now, can some of you please stop trying to be righteous? Can you please stop trying to do this in your own strength? Like, I don't want you to die of heatstroke. I don't want you to get dehydrated, I don't want you to get bitter at God, like so many people I've talked to. I tried Christianity, and it didn't work for me. That's the problem. Stop trying. That's not how it works. It doesn't work like that at all.
And so there are people here in this room. That your relationship with Jesus is not a relationship where you trust in him that he did the work. It's a religion where you're trying to do the work. And you need to stop trying today. And if you have transferred your trust to Jesus, can I get an amen to the fact that Jesus is better than religion here today?
Let's all stand in, let me pray to close us in our time here together. Let's pray. Father in heaven, we really need to hear what Paul's saying here in Philippians. Three, I got I think you that we got a full room of people here this morning on a church on a Sunday. And God I know that church on Sunday at nine o'clock has been filled by people for decades, who come to church because it's the right thing to do. And they're trying to be good people. And they want to do what you tell them to do. And they carry that heavy burden around. And it's a big weight on their shoulders. And God, I just pray for anybody who's here this morning, and they feel that weight that you would do a mighty work to change their mind that they could stop thinking that way that they grew up. And all the things that they've done, that they could stop thinking those things or gain and they could put them in the lost column. And they could see the only game that we have comes from Jesus, it comes from you giving us his righteousness. When we just believe in what Jesus has already done, when we admit we can't do it, but Jesus has done it. So God I pray that people would pray that prayer today that they would come talk to me right now, that they would go talk to pastor Daniel, that they talked to somebody they know who has that righteousness by faith that believes in Jesus that has been saved because they see that person? Just run it? And I get tired, but I get more now. They're fired up because it's Jesus's work in them. And I pray that they would talk to somebody like that and that they would receive that righteousness and be saved and for all of us who have been saved by the work of Jesus who have been declared righteous by a gift from you, Please Father, don't let us do works. To get favor. Let us respond And to the grace we have already received. And so we pray that we will all see how Jesus is better than religion here today. And we pray this in Jesus name and everybody said, Hey, have a great day everybody. Thanks for being here at Compass HB.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.