Sunday, July 20, 2014

Emmaus City Liturgy | Sunday, July 13, 2014 – Facets of the Gospel II: Justification

Emmaus City Facets of the Gospel Justification Sermon Series 2014 Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 Network of Missional Communities Christian Reformed Church


Emmaus City Liturgy – Facets of the Gospel II: Justification

Justification Sermon Audio:

For previous sermon series notes, click on the links below:

The following post will feature the themes, verses, hymns and songs (audio and lyrics), and prayers we enjoyed together during the Sabbath gathering. Key notes from the sermons will also be included.

Curious to know more? Want to spend some time with us? Don't hesitate. Contact us and come join us. In the meantime, enjoy the readings and listening to the songs below.


 Welcome and Shared Moments of Celebration
  Prayer of Thanksgiving and The Lord’s Prayer
From Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need, and 
Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from evil.
(For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.) 

We Have Come (Bless the Lord)
By Will Reagan and United Pursuit Band
2010 A.D.


We have come to give You glory;
We have come to give You praise. (3x) 

You’re welcome in this place. (3x)
Have Your way. (3x)

Bless the Lord, oh my soul,
And let all that’s within me shout out! (3x)

It’s only You we want. (3x)


Facets of the Gospel II // Justification

Scripture Reading

"Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith." Habbakuk 2:4 (KJV)

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." Romans 1:16-17 (KJV)

"But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." Galatians 3:11 (KJV)

The just shall live by faith. Hebrews 10:38 (KJV) 

What is the gospel good news about Jesus? The gospel is God’s reconciling work in Jesus that through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, God is making all things new for individuals who repent, are redeemed, and are justified by faith in Jesus, as well as cosmically as God is also redeeming culture and creation. 

1) How do we justify ourselves?

A) Justifying our existence as “good people” (or serving someone or something to be good enough): 

Being justified by being good enough might sound noble, but it is a recipe for constant doubt over whether we’ve done enough. And uncertainty can lead to misery and a sense of failure.

The instinct to self-justify runs deep in all of us. We want to make the amends. We want to take the credit. 

For the follower of Jesus, this can cause us to reinvent a less holy or perfect Jesus who just accepts our “best.” But if this lesser Jesus is not Jesus, than He cannot redeem us or justify us. He can’t meet our deepest needs. Because this made-up Jesus isn’t real.

Or we might go the other way, realize just how perfect He is, but we’ll compare ourselves because we think He was only supposed to be an example for us, not also our Redeemer and Savior. We’ll see even our greatest moments and works for Him don’t measure up and we’ll despair. 

B) Justifying our bad attitudes because others, including Jesus, aren’t “good people” to us at that time (serving someone or something to get something from them): 

This is when we list what we’ve done for others and justify our attitudes towards them when they don’t respond in the way we want them to. “I did my bit. Now you owe me more time, more space, more feelings, more explanation, more ... ” This is how the world works in its exchanges for goods. Are we dealing with people or institutions of exchange?

Faith is “being sure of what we hope for”  it is trusting in Jesus and all that He promises us. Faith is trusting that in Jesus, we receive all of His righteousness. ... But if we do as Jesus asks to earn the reward of His blessing, so that He’ll owe us something good, we’re getting it wrong. And soon, we’ll blame Him for letting us down just as we blame others when they don’t give us the exchange rate for our services that we think we’re due. 

C) Justifying ourselves based on others’ opinions of us (serving someone or something to gain reputation): 

Do we justify ourselves based on how others honor us? When we serve to be noticed by others, we are making them our god. We feel good about ourselves if others notice and are impressed. We then rate our importance based on how impressed they are. One way to help clarify where this might exist is what would we continue to do day by day if no one noticed? What or who would we be faithful to? 

D) Justifying ourselves based on our independence (serving someone or something without admitting our need of others):

Do you justify yourself based on what you can do by or for yourself? Is your goal self-reliance? Is that how you justify who you are? Is it that you can be free of needing anyone and free to do anything for yourself or to please yourself? Do you always feel like you need to draw boundaries on how you are separate from the crowd so you can stand out? Jesus told this parable to those who trusted in their self-justification: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:9-14).

The gospel reveals who is our justification instead of how much good we need to do to justify ourselves: “ ... You’ll never be good, moral, free, independent, or anything enough for a perfect, holy God who has already justified your existence. .... but the good news is that Jesus climbed down the ladder to die for all your moral, moral, free, independent failures, and offers you forgiveness, raises you from the dead, and if you’ll trust him, he will put you on his back, climb all the way up the ladder, and place you in front of a holy God, fully loved and fully accepted …”… “Is it really that easy?” … “Yes, it really is that easy.” Give up on yourself and give into Jesus and you’ll find yourself fully justified. And you’ll find yourself free to be alive in Him" (Jonathan Dodson).

  • How do you justify yourself in relation to your work, your attitude, and your outlook on life?
  • When do you find yourself most prone to self-justify?

2) How did Jesus live?

A) Jesus knew His Father was well pleased with Him before He did anything in His ministry so He did not need to justify His existence as a “good person." He rested in His identity as the Son of God. 

B) Jesus didn't justify any wrong action because “good people” weren't being good to Him at the time. He did not come to be served, but to serve. The time people remember seeing Him the most angry was when His Father's house was being turned into a money exchange for the ethnically and financially entitled instead of a house of prayer for all nations. He was concerned for others. He was willing to die for others who yelled, "Crucify!"

C) Jesus didn't justify Himself based on others’ opinions of Him. The religious people accused Him of blasphemy and healing on the Sabbath regularly and the crowds often only wanted to be around Him when He was performing miracles or had a teaching with authority.

D) Jesus didn't justifying Himself based on His independence from God or others. He listened to the Father, only said what He heard, was led by the Spirit, healed others, had compassion, and gave His life as the Lamb of God who had come to take away the sins of many. 

  • Which aspect of Jesus' humility, in contrast to self-justification, most impresses you about Him?
  • Where do you see in your own life need for His power and perspective?

3) Who do we justify ourselves by? 
God can’t love you more than He does now no matter how much you change your life. And God won’t love you less than He does now, no matter what a mess you make of your life. Because God loved you, He sent Jesus. And because Jesus loved you and took your place, you can now hear, "This is my son or daughter with whom I am well pleased" because Jesus accomplished everything for your justification.
A) Counter to justifying ourselves as good people: The gospel of justifying faith means that while we are, in ourselves still sinful and sinning, yet in Christ, in God’s sight, we are accepted and righteous. So we can say that "we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time. This creates a radical new dynamic for life and how we view ourselves. It means that the more we see our own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s justifying  grace appears to us. But on the other hand, the more aware we are of God’s grace and acceptance in Christ, the more able we are to drop our denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions and character of our sin" (Tim Keller). 

B) Counter to justifying ourselves based on others owing us: We do not have to make ourselves suffer in order to merit forgiveness from God, or to make others suffer in order to merit forgiveness from us. We simply receive and give the forgiveness earned by Christ. Only Jesus earned just forgiveness for us because He lived the holy life we could not. "1 John 1:9 says that God forgives us because He is ‘just.’ That is a remarkable statement. It would be unjust of God to ever deny us forgiveness, because Jesus earned our acceptance! In religion we earn our forgiveness with our repentance, but in the gospel we just receive it. The question is, do you give forgiveness in this way? Do people have to earn it from you or do you give it to them to receive from you? (Tim Keller). 

C) Counter to justifying ourselves based on others opinions of us: The gospel creates the only kind of grief over sin which is clear and which does not crush. People are going to see we’re sinful. They’re going to know we’re imperfect. Some will criticize us for being too “holy”. Others may criticize us for spending too much time with the “unholy.” But justifying faith says: ‘Look at Jesus dying for you! He won’t leave you or abandon you–how then can you respond as you are? He suffered so you would see His love for you! But you are not living as though you are loved! As His child! It is not because He will abandon you that you should be holy, but because this is the one who at inestimable cost to himself has said He won’t ever abandon you! How can you live in the very sin of valuing others opinion over His love that He was ripped to pieces to deliver you from?’ (Tim Keller)." 

D) Counter to justifying ourselves based on our independence from others: Who are we trying to impress? And is our life all about us at the center of attention? This is the essence of what got us into this mess in the first place. Sin is living life our way, for ourselves, instead of living for God and for others. We reject God as Lord because we want to be lord and we reject God as Savior because we want to save ourselves. Deep down in all of us there is a tendency to want to prove ourselves, to base our worth on what we do. I feel good about myself because of what I can do with my hands. I feel good about myself because of how I look. I feel good about myself because of how I help others. We want to be and do right in our own eyes. But even we can’t live up to the god-like mirror of ourselves in our minds we’re attempting to reflect. And then we’re left in turmoil when our circumstances change or our minds grow forgetful or our bodies gain weight or grow weak. The fact that we are human reveals we can’t be god for too long.

So here is the good news for all of the above: When you feel the desire to justify yourself, remember that God has already justified you. Jesus has paid it all, all to Him we owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

You can’t do anything to make yourself more acceptable to God than you already are in Jesus. You don’t need to worry whether people are impressed by you because you’re already justified by God through Jesus. And what will ultimately give you hope, help you persevere, and rest regardless of your circumstances is in what Jesus has done for you. Because of Jesus, God can give you peace and faith to become and do what you could never do for yourself or others in your own strength. 

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”   Romans 5:6-11 

  • Have you considered how you might be powerless, a sinner, and an enemy of God?
  • In considering all of the above, how does the fact that Jesus came for you in light of you being all those things shape how you think about God's love demonstrated through Jesus dying for you so you can be made just by faith before God and be reconciled to God?

Nothing But the Blood
By Austin Stone (original by Robert Lowry)

1876 A.D.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

(Chorus Repeat)

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(Chorus Repeat)

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
(Chorus Repeat)

No Greater Aim
By Austin Stone Worship
2013 A.D.

Once my heart was lost, tangled deep in sin
Wandering far from grace, and veiled in shame;
Yet with boundless love You have brought me home.
Now my greatest prize: to know Your name.

Knowing You, Jesus, only You
There is no greater aim.
In Your presence here my joy is found.
There is no higher gain!

Oh my soul cries out just to know You more
To be fettered by unfailing love.
Though the fires may flash, mighty thunders roar
Still my hope’s secure in Christ above.
(Chorus Repeat)

Your love is higher, Your glory brighter,
And my hope is set on You!
My greatest longing is found in knowing
That my hope is set on You!

May my life be steeped in unceasing praise
‘Til in death we’ll meet on heaven’s shore.
Oh that glorious day, ‘tis Your face I’ll see
And in Your arms I’ll sing forevermore.
(Chorus and Bridge Repeat)

Trading My Sorrows

I'm trading my sorrows,
I'm trading my shame,
I'm laying them down

For the joy of the Lord!

I'm trading my sickness,
I'm trading my pain,
I'm laying them down

For the joy of the Lord!

(And we say) Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord!
Yes, yes, Lord!

I'm pressed, but not crushed, 
persecuted, not abandoned,
Struck down, but not destroyed!
I'm blessed beyond the curse

For His promise will endure
And His joy's

Going to be my strength!

Though sorrow may last for the night,
His joy comes with the morning!


Our World Belongs to God // Christ
2008 A.D.

Standing in our place, Jesus suffered during His years on earth, especially in the tortures of the cross. He carried God's judgment on our sin—His sacrifice removed our guilt. God raised Him from the dead: He walked out of the grave, conqueror of sin and death—Lord of Life! We are set right with God, given new life, and called to walk with Him in freedom from sin's dominion.

Prayer of Mission 


"But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 
and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 
And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault. 
All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen." Jude 1:20-25


Curiosity piqued? Something inside you being stirred? Go ahead and connect. For other updates, like and follow Emmaus City on Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment