Our medical professionals are on the front line of this epidemic and we want to show them love and support. In the next week or two, we want to send a prayer caravan to drive around the hospital. We'll let them know ahead of time that we'll be praying—and perhaps honking our horns—at a designated time. To get more information and to register, please click below and select the prayer caravan option. We'll see you soon!
Charmed into Righteousness
The Most Righteous Lord
DVDsTo purchase a DVD of this sermon please visit our online shopping cart. Proceeds go to support the New Perceptions media ministry.
Buy DVD Online Buy series
SpeakerDwight K. Nelson
Since 1983, Dwight Nelson has served as lead pastor of the Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University. He preaches on the “New Perceptions” telecast, teaches at the theological seminary and has written some books, including The Chosen. He and his wife, Karen, are blessed with two married children and 2 granddaughters.
More In This Series
“Charmed into Righteousness: The Most Righteous Lord”
- Zechariah 3:1-5
- Isaiah 64:6—“ All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
- Isaiah 61:10—“ I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of and arrayed me in a robe of , as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
- Ellen White: “Whatever may have been your past experience, however discouraging your present circumstances, if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet you a great way off, and will throw about you His arms of love and His of righteousness. He presents us to the Father clothed in the white raiment of character. He pleads before God in our behalf, saying: I have taken the sinner’s place. Look not upon this wayward child, but look on Me. Does Satan plead loudly against our souls, accusing of sin, and claiming us as his prey, the blood of Christ pleads with power.” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing 8-9)
Christ Our Righteousness
- 1 John 2:1 NKJV—“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the .”
- Jeremiah 23:6 NKJV—“Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR .”
- 1 Corinthians 1:30—“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our , holiness and redemption.”
- Christ is our .
- N. T. Wright: “[God’s righteousness] is an outward-looking characteristic of God, linked of course to the concern for God’s own glory but essentially going, as it were, in the opposite direction, that of God’s creative, healing, restorative . God’s concern for God’s glory is precisely rescued from the appearance of divine narcissism because God, not least God as Trinity, is always giving out, pouring out, lavishing generous on undeserving people, undeserving Israel and an undeserving world. That is the sort of God he is, and ‘God’s righteousness’ is a way of saying, ‘Yes, and God will be true to that character.’” (Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision 70-71)
- Wright: “. . . God’s righteousness is that quality or attribute because of which he his people. His ‘acts of righteousness’ are thus the acts he performs as outworkings or demonstrations of his covenant faithfulness.” (71)
- Wright: “Indeed, it is because God will be true to that outward-facing generous, creative that he must also curse those ways of life, particularly those ways of life within his covenant people, which embody and express the opposite [of his creative love]. . . . and therefore [he] must curse everything that thwarts and destroys the blessing of his world and his people.” (71)
- So what is a loving and righteous God to do now?
- John 3:16—“For God so the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
- 1 Timothy 1:15—“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to sinners—of whom I am the worst.”
- Romans 3:25-26—“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his . . . so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
- How did this loving and righteous God pull it off?
- 2 Corinthians 5:14, 21—“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for , and therefore died. . . . God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the of God.”
- White: “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed.’” (Desire of Ages 25)
- Romans 5:19—“For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Christ] the many will be made .”
- Wright: “The language of ‘righteousness’ in the Old Testament regularly refers to the lawcourt, or quasi lawcourt situations. . . . Let us imagine a fictitious scenario in ancient Israel. Azariah and Bildad go to law before Gamaliel, acting as a judge. Azariah accuses Bildad of stealing a sheep. Gamaliel hears the case and finds in favor of Bildad: the court declares that the accusation is unfounded and that Bildad is innocent. That ‘finding in favor,’ that declaration, is ‘’; its result is that Bildad is now ‘righteous,’ that is, ‘in the .’. . . He is, in other words, the vindicated defendant.” (68-69)
- Romans 5:18—“One righteous act resulted in and life for all people.”
- White: “With His own blood [Jesus] has signed the emancipation papers of the .” (Ministry of Healing 90)
- White: “[Christ] took in His grasp the world over which Satan claimed to preside as his lawful territory, and by His wonderful work in giving His life, He restored the race of men to favor with God.” (Selected Messages 1:343)
- “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through [Pastors] Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of . They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.” (91-92)
- Romans 1:16—“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. . . . For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed.”
- Psalm 33:6, 9—“By the of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the of his mouth. . . .For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
- John 6:63—“‘The I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.’”
- 2 Timothy 3:16—“All is God-breathed and is useful for teaching . . .”
- E. J. Waggoner: “When the word of God names something, then the thing that is named is formed. Whatever is described by the word, exists in that word. Thus it is impossible for God to lie, for His word makes the thing so.” (Living by Faith 13)
- Hebrews 1:3—“The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful .”
- Waggoner: “The breath of God, which has creative energy in it, is that which gives us the precepts and promises of the Bible. That creative is the power of the Gospel. . . . The power of redemption is the power of , for redemption is creation. . . . To declare is to speak, so when God declares His righteousness in Christ for the remission of sins [Romans 3:25], righteousness is spoken into and on you, to take the place of your sins, which are taken away. And it is not simply a passive righteousness that is declared on you, but real, active righteousness, for the word of the Lord is alive, and God’s righteousness is real and active.” (14-15)
- Hans LaRondelle: “However, justification implies more than a mere legal transaction. The righteousness of Christ is a power, ‘it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct.’—The Desire of Ages p 556. Many have too abstract and narrow a view of forgiveness and justification. This led E. G. White to state: ‘God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart.’—Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing p 114.” (Christ Our Salvation: What God Does for Us and in Us 47)
“My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.”
This week I learned of our world church headquarters appeal for prayer throughout the global Seventh-day Adventist family. Originally timed to end during the recently-postponed General Conference session in Indianapolis, our church leaders are calling us to now focus 100 days of praying (March 27-July 4) on behalf of the global coronavirus pandemic. There could hardly be a more urgent need for earnest praying!
A pastor friend of mine, Jim Moon, pointed out a two-verse juxtaposition I'd not noticed before: "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a pestilence among My people, if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:13-14). While everyone knows the beloved prayer call in v 14, few of us connect it with the preceding divine action in v 13. "A pestilence among My people" certainly could represent a global pandemic like the coronavirus COVID-19. While Satan is the originator of destructive calamities, what more faith-appropriate response is our collective prayers to the One who can deliver this nation, this world, these people, from the grips of pestilence.
So let's join together in humbling ourselves before God and praying and seeking His face—that our world might be saved and our faith community might yet be mobilized to share the glad tidings of Jesus' soon return.
- Pastor Dwight
Due to the COVID-19 stay at home mandate, Pioneer is unable to provide physical copies of the Adult Sabbath School Lesson at this time. Both teacher's edition and standard edition are available online for free.
The Board of Elders, under the leadership of Bryan and Becky von Dorpowski, has responded to the immediate spiritual and emotional needs of our oldest Pioneer members. Recognizing many of them will chose to protect themselves from the coronavirus by limiting their time in the wider community and thus missing the weekly fellowship that worship and Sabbath School provided, the elders will be focusing on those Pioneer members in their 70s, 80s, 90s and 100s—and will be reaching out by phone to visit with them. (In order to protect the health of our members our elders will not be making home visits at this time.)
If you know of an at-risk member who needs personal attention, please call Claudia Sowler 269.471.3134. The elders are praying these targeted phone calls will bring the ministry of our Good Shepherd Savior to these who have faithfully walked with Him throughout their lives.
During this time of potential boredom and cabin fever, enjoy these fun ideas for spending quality time together as a family.
After the long winter of gray and brown, get outside and look for all the buds, sprouts, and new leaves you can find. Try to identify what each one is. You can use your phone to look on the Internet or use an app like Pl@ntNet to identify leaves. Currently, you can see things like crocuses, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, lilies, snowdrops, moss, ferns, ramps, and wild chives. It is so nice to be reminded that even when things look bleak, God is still there and recreating!
You can also "adopt a friend" each day or week! Send several encouraging and kind notes to a friend via text, email, Messenger, etc. Let them know you are thinking about them and even praying for them.
Sponsored by the Family Life Committee
We are looking for teams of volunteers that can help people who are more vulnerable in our community to run errands such as picking up groceries and medicine. We're also asking for volunteers to make calls and pray for our members and community.
Community and gathering in some form remains vital. We have asked Grow Groups of more than ten people to start meeting online. For Grow Groups of less than ten people, we're asking them to practice safe social distancing of at least six feet—as per the CDC.
Over the summer and fall of 2019 Pioneer underwent significant physical renovation—including a new roof and a major Sanctuary makeover. During the same time congregation leaders engaged in multiple conversations about our missional renovation—how does a faith community like Pioneer seriously engage and impact the people around us for Christ? From this dialogue emerged a fresh new expression of our Pioneer mission: "Love on the Move."
For more events impacting our local university campus, please visit www.andrews.edu/agenda.