Thirsting for Righteousness

Last week we did a study on the reasons we need Jesus.  We studied the need for Him because we have all broken God’s law, The Ten Commandments.  This week is a continuance of that lesson but to we as Christians so that we can effectively share the gospel with the lost.  I hope this will enlighten you as it has me.

Handout:  Thirsting for Righteousness
Teacher's Guide: Thirsting for Righteousness

There is a popular way of witnessing about Jesus that is happening in the world today that consists of Christians telling lost souls to come to Jesus because He will give them happiness and joy and peace and He does that, but it leaves lost people believing that the life of a Christian will be a bed of roses.  Some do accept this to get out of their misery, but later are confused when life is still hard.  They were promised roses, but seem to be covered over in thorns!  Many fall away back to their old ways because of this. 
The Bible does not teach that the Christian life will be a bed of roses.  Yes, Christ gives a peace that surpasses understanding, but it is in the midst of our storms.  Tell this idea of a life of happiness and health and wealth to Daniel, who was cast into the den of lions for praying, who was taken captive and led away from his country into a foreign place.  Tell it to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who was cast into a fiery furnace because they would not bow down to a false god.  Ask the 12 disciples, who were martyred for the sake of Jesus Christ.  Ask Stephen who was stoned for preaching the gospel.  What about Paul who suffered beatings and prison, and hunger as well as much more pain.  Are we better than these?  The truth is about living for Christ is found in His word.
1 John 3:13 “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”
Luke 21:12 “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.”
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will alsopersecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
The truth is that the world hated Jesus and they will hate us too if we follow in His footsteps.  Jesus said, don’t be shocked at this, if they hated me, they will hate you too.  Life is full of tragedies and suffering and yes God gives us strength and peace but it is hard. 
You may be thinking, well then how can I go to someone who is very happy and successful in life, and tell them that they need Jesus when it is going to be hard for them?   You may be thinking how can I get anyone to want to be saved if I tell them the truth? 
We bring people to Christ, just the way He did, by following His example.  Jesus showed the people their sin, and their need for Salvation.  That is what we must do, otherwise they will not see the need for Christ in their lives.
Psalm 34:18 “8The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
Does that mean that we go around downing people?  No, but we must tell them the truth so that they see their sin and realize the need for Jesus the Savior!  This is EXACTLY what Jesus did.  Remember the rich ruler back in the last lesson.  The story is found in Mark 12.  Jesus showed him that he wasn’t as good as he thought he was, that he needed to be saved.  We have to get people to thirst for righteousness.
I recently heard Kirk Cameron from The Way of the Master ministries say that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.  That is true you can’t make him drink but you can put salt into his oats and make him thirsty.  When he eats the oats, the salt will make him thirst, and then he will drink the water. 
It is the same with people who are lost.  We can present Jesus, but we cannot make them accept Him and be saved, but we can get them to thirst for Him by showing them their sin.  We can put salt in their oats! 
Matthew 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”
When we show people their sin, according to the Ten Commandments, God’s law, they will see that they are not as good as they thought they were, thus the “salt in the oats” and they will thirst for righteousness because it is the only thing that will save them from hell, the Righteousness of Christ being applied to their hearts, cleansing them from their sin, just as we who are born again once did.
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
John 4:14 “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life”
John 6:35 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
This is what Jesus was doing in John 4 with the Samaritan woman at the well.  He was salting her oats!  Thank you LORD.  He was exposing her sin and need for him.
John 4:15 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”
Jesus told this parable recorded in the book of Luke.
Luke 18:9-14 And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
When people trust in themselves that they are “a good person” they are relying on their own righteousness when God’s word tells us are as filthy rags.  
Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Romans 5:17 “For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)”
When we help people to see their sin, planting that seed, the Holy Spirit will show them their need for Jesus Christ and Salvation through Him.  This is the plan and the way that Jesus did it when He was walking in human flesh upon the earth.  We must be the salt that He places us here to be, seasoning the earth with the gospel and causing the lost to hunger and thirst after the righteousness of CHRIST!  God be with you all. :O))
Dear Righteous, Heavenly Father…
I come to You today thanking You once again for who You are.  There is NONE like YOU.  There will NEVER be one like You.  Thank You so much for being our example and teaching us the way to bring others to You.  Help us to follow in Your footsteps Dear LORD, so that we can help people see their lost condition and their need for You.  Help us not to be afraid and not to be ashamed of the gospel as we share our faith with a lost, dying world.  Give us strength, knowledge, and wisdom to know how to reach the lost.  Help us to reach people all over the world for Your glory and to further Your kingdom.  We will give You all the praise, glory, love, and honor because it is all due to You because You alone are worthy.  We love You so much Dear Jesus…In Your lovely precious, righteous name I pray.  Amen.

January 13, 2013