Is Your Goodness Good Enough?

0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →
In any great forest you will find many huge trees. They tower above other trees and appear to be the very picture of strength and maturity. However, loggers will sometimes not even bother to cut down these huge trees. At first one wonders, “Why leave them? After all, a tree that big must contain twice or thrice the amount of lumber as a smaller tree.”
The reason is simple. Huge trees are often rotten on the inside. They are the hollow trees that children’s picture books show raccoons living in. And they are the trees that are often blown over in a strong windstorm because, while they appear to be the picture of strength, in fact their hollowness makes them weak.
This is the essence of hypocrisy—appearing strong on the outside but hollow and rotten on the inside
Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 200.
During Jesus’ ministry He spent a lot of time talking about the spiritual tall trees of the forest, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the other religious leaders. Like the tall trees in the illustration, these folks loomed high above everyone else. They intimidated the common folk. They were so holy! They knew the Bible backward and forward. They knew who everyone had written about the Bible. They obviously followed even the most obscure laws.
During Jesus’ famous sermon on the mount, He dropped a truth bomb about these spiritual tall trees. Jesus said that if your righteousness does not exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, you cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven!
Matthew 5:20 KJV
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Woah! These religious leaders are like some of the leaders we have today, they wear robes, pronounce forgiveness and even speak for God Himself. Jesus tells us that our righteousness has to exceed theirs…
How about you my friend? The word for righteousness simply means the state of being right or good. How good are you? Is your goodness better than those who have the title Rabbi, Father, Reverend? Do you have more righteousness than those that have taken a vow of chastity, or poverty, or have committed years and years studying the early church fathers in order to be ordained? Is your goodness more abundant? Is your goodness good enough for God?
As we begin our series entitled “Inside Out: the Pursuit of Genuine Christianity” we must first find how we can have more righteousness than Religious experts have. We will do that by examining the different kinds of righteousness that we could possess.

Our Righteousness Is Not Enough.

Our “Clean” is Filthiness

Isaiah 64:6 KJV
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.

Our Obedience is Incomplete

James 2:10 KJV
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Our Wealth is Poverty

Revelation 3:17 KJV
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Our Boasting is Silenced

Romans 3:19 KJV
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Romans 3:20 KJV
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Religious Leaders’ Righteousness is Not Enough

Matthew 5:20 KJV
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

They Make Empty Promises

Matthew 21:28 KJV
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
Matthew 21:29 KJV
He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
Matthew 21:30 KJV
And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Matthew 21:31 KJV
Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Matthew 23:3 KJV
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

They Do Not Read The Book They Preach

Matthew 12:3 KJV
But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
Matthew 12:5 KJV
Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
Matthew 19:4 KJV
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
Matthew 21:16 KJV
And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
Matthew 22:31 KJV
But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,

They Do What They Do to be Seen of Men

Matthew 23:5 KJV
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Romans 10:3 KJV
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Matthew 23:27 KJV
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

** Righteousness Cannot Occur from The Outside In**

Mark 7:21–23 KJV
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Jesus’ Righteousness Is Good Enough

Philippians 3:9 KJV
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:


Romans 4:5 KJV
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Genesis 15:6 KJV
And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.


Revelation 7:14–15 KJV
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.


Romans 3:21–22 KJV
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Romans 5:1–2 KJV
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
In his Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan describes Interpreter’s house, which Pilgrim entered during the course of his journey to the Celestial City. The parlor of the house was completely covered with dust, and when a man took a broom and started to sweep, he and the others in the room began to choke from the great clouds of dust that were stirred up. The more vigorously he swept, the more suffocating the dust became. Then Interpreter ordered a maid to sprinkle the room with water, with which the dust was quickly washed away. Interpreter explained to Pilgrim that the parlor represented the heart of an unsaved man, that the dust was original sin, the man with the broom was the law, and the maid with the water was the gospel.
His point was that all the law can do with sin is to stir it up. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can wash it away.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more