SermonFaith Produces Righteousness
An all-creatures Bible Message

Faith Produces Righteousness
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
15 April 2018
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Psalm 4:1-8
Luke 24:36-49
Acts 3:11-26
1 John 3:1-8

Faith produces righteousness because faith holds us close to God and His heavenly will, which gives us the standards of what it means to be truly righteous.
We cannot learn righteousness from living in the ways of this corrupt and evil world, with all its violence, pain, suffering, bloodshed and death, which cause millions of human beings and billions of animals to die every year.
When God created this earth, He also commanded us to eat only the plant foods that He created for us and the animals to eat; so, this teaches us that eating only plant foods is righteous because it is in the creation and heavenly will of God, but killing and eating other animals is ungodly and unrighteous because it is of the corrupt ways of this world.
This is why we believe that the welfare of animals is a bellwether of our faith in God and righteous living, because faith produces righteousness.
Loving our companion animals can be righteous, but if we eat and wear the byproducts of animals we are of the world and not of the kingdom of God.
We cannot have it both waysÖ
Letís think about these things as we look at Psalm 4:1-8Ö

1. Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
Thou hast relieved me in my distress;
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer.

ďO God of my righteousness!Ē is a very interesting way of talking about oneís own righteousness, for it is really saying God is the creator and standard of righteousness, and David realizes that he is not fully righteous, but what righteousness he does have is from God.
This is also why we are constantly reminding everyone that unless we are living in the heavenly will of God, we are really living in the corrupt ways of this world, and Godís righteousness in not in us.
And while at times David strayed away for the heavenly will of God, and did some very evil and worldly things, he always returned to God, confessed his sins and honestly repented, which is why God forgave him, but He also remembered what David did.

2. O sons of men, how long will my honor become a reproach?
How long will you love what is worthless and aim at deception?

This is the problem that most of us have when we live in the ungodly ways of this world; people remember all the evil things we did, and consider us to be hypocrites, and it takes a long time of living Godly lives before people see that we have truly changed.

3. But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself;
The LORD hears when I call to Him.

More than likely that means that David had changed his life before God set him apart.

4. Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
5. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the LORD.

Note carefully that this says we are to offer sacrifices of righteousness, and not the blood sacrifices of innocent animals.
It also might be saying that these offerings are tearing us away from the worldly ways of our former lifestyle, and situations we may still think about or act upon; and the difficulty of doing this makes it a sacrifice.

6. Many are saying, "Who will show us any good?"
Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, O LORD!

This is the inner struggle that many people go through when they turn away from their former lifestyle and seek to live in Godís heavenly will.

7. Thou hast put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
8. In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For Thou alone, O LORD, dost make me to dwell in safety.

This happens when we are truly repentant.
In Luke 24:36-49, we are told a similar but different account of Jesusí appearing to the disciples than we discussed last week, which may be because these accounts were written many years after they happened, and we need to remember that Luke was not present, but heard the story from others.

36. And while they were telling these things, He [Jesus] Himself stood in their midst.
37. But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.

We need to remember that fear is not of God, for perfect love casts out all fear, and this kind of Godly love only comes from having the faith to live in the heavenly will of God

38. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

Both being troubled and having doubts are an indication of a personís lack of faith, and after being with Jesus, they should have been full of faith, for faith produces righteousness, and Jesus expects His disciples to be truly righteous and be living examples of bringing His heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven.
Furthermore, if people lack a strong faith they also lack being truly righteous, and this lack of righteousness is the reason that there is so much violence in the world.
So, Jesus tries to help them regain their faithÖ

39. "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 
40. [And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.]

But today we donít have Jesus here to do these kinds of things, and even though we have the Holy Spirit, without faith relatively few people listen to His guidance; they continue to live in the corrupt and evil ways of the world around them.
The next part of this account does not appear in any of the Gospels, and they donít mention anything about Jesus eating any flesh.

41. And while they still could not believe it for joy and were marveling, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 
42. And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish;
43. and He took it and ate it before them.

The Greek version says that they offered Him a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb, and He ate IT, but we are not told which He ate.
This is also the passage that flesh eating Christians cite to prove that Jesus ate fish, but we are convinced that this account was added and never happened.

44. Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 
45. Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, The Holy Spirit does the same thing for us, if we listen to Him and the heavenly will of God without any preconceived meanings.
46. and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day;
47. and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Once again we see that Jesus never put any limitations on whom His message was for; it was for every person in the whole world, and His salvation was for every repentant person.

48. "You are witnesses of these things.
49. "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." 

We believe that Jesus is referring to the gift of the Holy Spirit, but in another account of His appearing to the disciples, He had given the Holy Spirit to the disciples at the time of this appearing.
However, we are not to focus on these differences. But focus upon Jesus and the heavenly will of God for faith produces righteousness, which is the way Jesus wants us to live.
In Acts 3:11-26, we see not only that faith produces righteousness, but it also brings about healings and discernment.

11. And while he [the man who was healed] was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement.

Amazement comes from seeing something we didnít think we would ever see, or that was impossible, which is a sign of a lack of faith.

12. But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?
13. "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered up, and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.

We hope we all see that Jesus doesnít hold any grudges or seek revenge as far too many people do, including religious leaders and their followers; Jesus always is available to forgive any truly repentant sinner.

14. "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
15. but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
16. "And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

When we truly accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and repent of our former worldly ways, we become a new person.

17. "And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.
18. "But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

We hope we all believe this, for this is the basis of our faith, and that faith produces righteousness.

19. "Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
20. and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,
21. whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

From ancient times we have been told the truth, but most people failed to heed the truth; the Bible proclaimed it again with stories of Jesus, and most Christian clergy proclaim salvation through Jesus, but relatively few of them proclaim the whole truth that we are to reject the corrupt ways of this world and live in Godís heavenly will and do everything in our power to help free creation from its present corruption with all its violence that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.

22. "Moses said, 'The Lord God shall raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed in everything He says to you.

But unfortunately most people donít heed to everything Jesus taught us, for if we did, we would end our warring madness against other humans and so-called food animals; we would be living examples that faith produces righteousness, and that this righteousness causes us to bring Godís heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven, for we would be peacemaking children of God.

23. 'And it shall be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'

This is referring to hell, the place for all unrepentant people.

24. "And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days.
25. "It is you who are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'
26. "For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways."

This is true for all repentant believers, but unfortunately most people arenít true believers, for if they were, they would be living in the heavenly will of God, and eliminating all human caused violence, pain, suffering, and death here on earth as it is in heaven.
Letís close todayís discussion by looking at what we are told in 1 John 3:1-8Ö

1. See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

In Matthew, Jesus says that the peacemakers shall be called children of God, and in Romans, Paul says that itís the children of God who will free creation from its present corruption.
From what John wrote, these children of God are separated from the corrupt and evil ways of this world, which to us means that only these children of God will be with the Lord in heaven.
However, if these children of God are going to free creation from its present corruption, they will have to be an increasing number, and I pray that everyone of us are or will be among them before itís too late.

2. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
3. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

This doesnít mean that we never make a mistake, but that we have a repentant heart and soul that immediately repents and seeks the Lordís forgiveness.
Such people realize that faith produces righteousness.

4. Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

The people who practice sin are those who live in the world and like its ways and reject the heavenly will of God.

5. And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
6. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

We believe that John is referring to someone who deliberately practices sin, such as causing an animal to suffer and die to satisfy their lust or gluttony.

7. Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;
8. the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

Are we going to follow the teachings of Jesus and the heavenly will of God?
We sure hope so.
For our faith produces righteousness and allows us to be in the Lordís presence here and in heaven for ever and ever.

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