Sunday, December 17, 2017 pm



     Luke 10:25, a lawyer testing Jesus asked the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus had him answer, “What is written in the law?...”  He noted loving God and your neighbor.  Jesus said he answered rightly, “Do this and you will live.”  Vs. 29, But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”   This led to the parable of the Good Samaritan. 

     We can learn much from this parable, but tonight I want to focus on the lawyer.  It says that he sought to justify himself implying he had ulterior motives to sincere desire to know what he needed to do to be saved.

     The word justify means to make one right by an act of justice. Usually, when we think of justification we think of the righteous act of our Lord through which we can be made right with God (i.e. forgiven).  But as we can see from our text, it is not always based upon a righteous act. 

Sadly, he is not alone, there are many today who seek to justify themselves in their behavior.  Typically, they find some sort of excuse where they can satisfy themselves.  Tonight, we want to talk about where our justification comes from.  

 I.                     Some seek to justify themselves

a.       By thinking they can earn their salvation.  We understand that we need works (namely obedience) to be justified in God’s eyes (cf. James 2:21-24).  BUT we are wrong to think that we can EARN our salvation (Galatians 2:16, 3:11, Ephesians 2:8-9). 
Yet how many rationalize, at least deep down, that they deserve salvation because of how they live their lives?  Much of the reasoning of the Pharisees was about this. 
After we have done all we can, we are still unprofitable (Luke 17:10)

b.       By doing SOME of God’s commands.  Luke 18:18-23 – the rich, young ruler had done much good, but he lacked one thing (vs. 23) – he loved his money.  He went away sorrowful, unwilling to change.
How many today, seek justification but only if they can avoid one or two commands? They are pretty good people (by the world’s standard), but they don’t want to give up that “one thing”.  They do MOST of what God says, and they may even acknowledge their need to change in the “one thing”, but are they pleasing to God?
James 2:10, it only takes “one thing” to keep us from obeying the law. 
Matthew 7:21-23, it is not enough to call Him Lord.  We must do.

c.        By comparing themselves with others who are worse - 
How often did Jesus confront the Pharisees as they compared themselves to “sinners”?   Luke 7:39 –50 where He forgives a “sinner” woman.    Luke 18:9-14 where He describes the self-righteous Pharisee praying to God about how wonderful he was.
God does NOT measure sin the way man does.  To Him, sin is sin and we are all sinners – Romans 3:10, 23. 
When we stand in judgment it will be for our own lives – Romans 14:10-12
We NEED to examine ourselves – 2 Corinthians 13:5. 
BUT it needs to be by God’s standard – 2 Timothy 2:15 – present yourself approved before God

d.       By saying everyone is doing it – many today appeal to what is popular.  That becomes their justification.  “Everybody’s doing it” seems to imply that it must be ok.  Especially in spiritual matters. 
The popular “churches” today are those that appeal to what the majority wants.  Some have even advocated taking surveys to cater to the wants of the community. 
BUT, a study of scripture shows that majority is USUALLY wrong.  Matthew 7:13-14 – it is the narrow gate that leads to eternal life.
The Old Testament is filled with examples of the few being justified before God.  Romans 11:1-5 gives the example of Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal.  (1 Kings 19).  While Elijah was not alone, he was certainly not in the majority.  1 Peter 3:20 tells us only 8 souls were saved in the ark. 
Serving God comes with a cost.  Following the crowd is often an attempt to avoid that cost.  Don’t be guilty BEFORE GOD of that!

e.       By saying nobody is perfect - 
That nobody is perfect is a true statement – Romans 3:23 tells us we are all sinners.  1 John 1:7-10 teaches this as well.  
Yet many will acknowledge their sinfulness and use this as reason to not change.  “I can’t help but sin”, BUT, such reasoning will NOT justify you before God. 
God expects us to try!  He expects us to repent and confess our sins when we do (Acts 8:22, 1 John 1:9). 
He expects us to strive for faithfulness (Revelation 2:10) 
Consider this: Realizing we are not perfect CAN help us if we have a godly attitude.  It can move us to make whatever corrections we need to make.  It can humble us so that we will approach God properly.  Philippians 3:8-9 – it is NOT about “my own righteousness”.  Instead we resolve to reach forward and press toward the goal (Philippians 3:13-14)

f.         By blaming others – a big problem in our society is the attitude that my circumstances are not my fault – whether describing it as genetic, or blaming it on our environment or some other circumstances.  Far too many seek to justify themselves by saying, “It’s not my fault!”  
Even Adam and Eve passed the blame (Genesis 3:11-12),  Aaron blamed the people for the golden calf (Exodus 32:22-24); King Saul blamed the people for failing to utterly destroy the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:20-21)
Galatians 6:5 – we each have our own load we must bear.   We have already noted, when we stand before God we will answer for ourselves! 
CONSIDER: The way that we become better is through facing our circumstances, trials and failures and determining to overcome them – Again note Philippians 3:13-14 – I reach toward the goal.  Romans 5:1-5 – our “tribulations” can lead to perseverance, character and hope. 

g.       The problem with all of these – Luke 16:15, And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
The are comparing themselves to themselves.
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.  
2 Corinthians 10:12.

 II.                   We need the justification of God.

a.       WE can NEVER justify ourselves.  That is why we need to understand where true justification comes from. 

b.       God has justified us.  – Romans 8:33. Much of Romans is a reminder that we cannot save ourselves, compare ourselves to others or earn our salvation.  We need God!  His justification is the ONLY justification that matters. 

c.        The justification of God involves:

                                                   i.      Titus 3:7 – justified by God’s grace, Romans 3:24 – because we are sinners, we need His justification. 

                                                 ii.      Romans 3:24 – the grace of God is found “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 5:9 tells us that we are justified by His blood, and saved from wrath through Him.

d.       BUT, with God’s justification, we do have our part to do! 

                                                   i.      Romans 5:1 – we are justified by faith – which gives us peace with God.   We must believe God and trust Him.  We must do what He tells us to do to be justified – obey the gospel, remain faithful. 

                                                 ii.      James 2:24-25 – this faith is a working, living faith – we are justified by works.  NOT works of righteousness lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).


Make no mistake.  Justification is an important subject and we need to be justified.  But WHERE we receive our justification is important when we consider our eternity.  From whence comes your justification?  Think about it!