When Good Behaviour isn’t Good News

Date: 24 July 2022

Sermon Text: Luke 11:37-54 Speaker: Ps Luwin Wong

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Suppose you died today, and lo and behold, you show up at the entrance of the kingdom of heaven, with St Peter standing at the pearly gate. And he asks you, why should I let you in?

Now I want you to list as many reasons as you can, to convince St Peter that you belong in heaven. It’s very important, it’s either you get in or you go to hell. You better have some good and sufficient reasons for St Peter. So think of as many reasons as you can, for why you should be let into the kingdom of God. You can make a mental checklist, or even better, you can write it down.

I’ll give you a minute. One minute to argue for your eternity.

Now hands up, if on your list of reasons for why St Peter ought to let you through the pearly gates into heaven, you have on your list: “Because Jesus died for me.”

Very good.

Now, keep you hands up, if you have listed any other reason in addition to that. Keep your hands up if you have more reasons than “because Jesus died for me.”

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Now, I’m sure the other reasons that you have listed, could possibly be legitimate biblical reasons. But I’m fairly certain that there are some on there, which are perhaps not. Not good reasons upon which to base your entry into the kingdom of heaven.

Like the Pharisees and Scribes, humanity is plagued with the tendency to base our righteousness before God on the basis of what we have done for Christ, rather than on what Christ has done for us.

So some of our reasons might have included, because I go to church, because I read the bible and pray everyday, because I love Jesus, because I try to keep his word, because I…

If that is the case, this sermon is for you. In fact, it is likely for all of us. Because every human heart, even Christian hearts, exist a little slice of Pharisee, and a little side of Scribe. Perhaps, for some of us, even more than a little.

So long as pride remains part of the Adamic DNA, there is always going to exist the desire in our hearts to be our own saviours, to rely on a system of merit that rewards our achievement, rather than a system of grace that remedies our abasement, as the basis for our salvation.

You see, there is a way to avoid confronting our need for Jesus to save us, and that is to believe that we are able to save ourselves. The way to avoid Jesus the Saviour is to be our own saviours.

And we do that via religious observance and moral law-keeping.