Sermon # 11 Series: Matthew


            Title:              FIVE ASPECTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
            Text:              Matthew 5:20
            Subject:        True Righteousness

            Date:             Tuesday Evening – August 23, 1994
            Tape:            # Q-37




            I want to pick up tonight right where I left off last Tuesday. For you who are getting the tapes of these messages, I am sorry to have to tell you that last week’s message on verses 13-10 was not taped. We had a problem with the recording equipment. But, I left off last week by giving you a very brief exposition of verse 20. That is where I want to pick up tonight. So open your Bibles to Matthew 5:20. The Lord Jesus is speaking. He says, “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.” The title of my message is Five Aspects of Righteousness.


            The scribes and the Pharisees were regarded by the ancient Jews as the most devoted, most spiritual, and most holy of all men. Had any fool at that time thought of calling any man “his holiness.” These fellows would have been called “most holy, holiness.” They were men of such high esteem and reputation that the Jews had a saying about them. It went like this – “If be two of all the world were to go to heaven the one would be a scribe and the other a Pharisee.” In so far as outward, religious righteousness was concerned, no one excelled these two groups of men.


  1. In works of piety, they made long prayers – On the Corner!
  2. In works of charity, they gave alms – Blowing the Trumpet!
  3. In works of equity, they paid their tithes – With Public Display.
  4. In works of courtesy and hospitality, they often held banquets, even for Christ and his disciples – (Luke7).


Yet, the Lord Jesus declares that our righteousness must exceed not match but exceed, the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. If it does not, we cannot be saved. The text clearly teaches us three things:


1.  There will be no admission into heaven without righteousness.

2.  A legal, Pharisaical righteousness will never be accepted of God.

3. The only hope any sinner has of being saved is through the righteousness of a divinely appointed and accepted Substitute and Representative – That Substitute and Representative is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord our Righteousness.




The only way a guilty sinner can be saved and obtain righteousness before God is through faith in Jesus Christ, Jehovah-tsidkenu – The Lord our Righteousness.




            I want you to follow me through the Scriptures and let me show you Five Aspects of Righteousness revealed in the Word of God.


  1. Righteousness Lost
  2. Righteousness Required
  3. Righteousness Established
  4. Righteousness Imputed
  5. Righteousness Imparted


I.  Righteousness Lost.


            The sons and daughters of Adam are all sinners. We are all totally depraved. We have all gone astray from the womb speaking lies. We all drink iniquity like water. So thorough and complete is the depravity of man that even our works of righteousness are filthy rags before the holy Lord God and we are all at our best estate altogether vanity! But these things were not always so.


A.  God created man in righteousness and true holiness.


            We were all created in the image and likeness of God himself. One aspect of that created image of God was an uprightness of nature (Eccl. 7:29).



B.  Our father Adam sinned against God and plunged the entire human race into sin, death, and condemnation.



1.   Adam’s sin was imputed to us by divine judgment – He was our Representative!

2.  Adam’s sin was imparted to us by natural generation (Ps. 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Matt. 15:19).

            Illus: “I’ve seen better days!”


II.  Righteousness Required.


            God is holy. Being perfectly holy, he demands perfect holiness. Anything and anyone that is not perfectly holy will be consumed by the fire of his glorious holiness.



A.  God demands character holiness. We’ve got to be holy on the inside – “The Lord looketh on the heart!” (I Sam. 16:7).


B.  God demands conduct holiness. We’ve got to be holy on the outside – “Be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” (I Pet. 1:15).


C.  God demands complete holiness. We’ve got to be totally without sin – “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:20).


D.  God demands  holiness, but we cannot produce holiness. Not one of us can do one good thing before God - “There is none that doeth good, no not one!” Psalm 53:1-3; Romans 3:12


We cannot even seek the Lord on our own, much less can we



NOTE: The whole purpose of God’s law is to show us our utter inability to keep it and to convince us of our need of a Substitute (Gal. 3:24).


NOTE: The first work of God the Holy Spirit in a sinner’s heart is to convince him of sin, of his need of a Substitute.  (John 16:9).


            I hope you are all convinced of your need of help. I hope everyone of us has been convinced of sin by God the Holy Spirit. We are all ruined, corrupt, cursed, and condemned by nature. And there is absolutely nothing any of us can do to change our ruined condition. Now, let me spend the rest of my time talking to you about God’s remedy for man’s ruin. Let me show you what God has done for sinners in Christ.


III.  Righteousness Established.


            First, let me show you a few texts of Scripture and then tell you what the Scriptures teach about the righteousness which Christ has established and brought in for his elect.



A.   His Active Obedience – Fulfilling all the demands of the law for us (John 17:4).


B.  His Passive Obedience – Satisfying all the demands of divine justice (John 19:30).


IV.  Righteousness Imputed


            The only way a sinner can be made righteous is by the holy Lord God imputing righteousness to him. In justification God imputes the righteousness of Christ to his people in exactly the same way as he imputed the sins of his people to Christ.


Illus: Two Coats – (Luke 3:11) Divine Righteousness. Human Righteousness.


A.  Imputed from Eternity – (Rev. 13:8).


B.  Imputed at Calvary – (Rom. 4:25).


C.  Imputed Experimentally – Obtained by Faith – (Rom. 3:28).


NOTE: Faith is not the cause of justification. Faith simply receives that which Christ accomplished at Calvary. Faith is the fruit of justification!


V.  Righteousness Imparted


            In regeneration we are sanctified, made holy, by righteousness being imparted to us by the Spirit of God.


·         II Corinthians 5:17

·         Galatians 5:23-24

·         II Peter 1:4

·         Colossians 3:27

·         I John 3:9-10


NOTE: Believers are people with two natures – (Rom. 7:14-24)


1.      The old man will not bow.

2.      The new man reins.

3.      The old man must die.

4.      The new man cannot die!

5.      The old man sins.

6.      The new man cannot sin!




Maybe I should have entitled this message Six Aspects of Righteousness, because for my conclusion I want you to see that in the last day, every believer shall enter into heaven and obtain the inheritance of everlasting glory; and that will be Righteousness Rewarded.


·         I John 5:28-29

·         II Corinthians 5:10

·         Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16


S.G. #83 Jehovah-tsidkenu