S – The Practice of Righteousness – Right Relationships

///S – The Practice of Righteousness – Right Relationships
S – The Practice of Righteousness – Right Relationships2017-03-30T17:07:01+00:00
Study Explanation
Key Scripture
Discussion Guides
Growing Exercises
Recommended Reading

Explanation

Righteousness literally means right relationships.  The scriptures call us to a right relationship with both God and others.  This is technically referred to as positional and practical righteousness.  There is a righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus and makes us right with God.  This is positional righteousness and is covered in the Salvation section of “Thrive 316.”  Our relationship with God should also spill over into our relationship with others.  This is practical righteousness and is the focus of this section in “Thrive 316.”  What exactly do right relationships look like?  How does God expect us to relate to others?  Why is our relationship with others a reflection of our relationship with God?  Why are righteousness and holiness (character) so closely linked?  How does righteousness express the virtues of the Christian life?  How does my faith in Christ impact my relationships with my family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and people in general?

KEY SCRIPTURES

Key Scriptures

Key Scriptures are designed to give a biblical overview of the topic in question.  They are extremely valuable for gaining an immediate general understanding of what the Bible teaches on a given subject.  Key Scriptures are the first place you should explore when starting a new subject.  They can be discussed individually, in part, or in whole.  Generic inductive Bible study questions are provided to assist you in your discussion.  Key Scriptures are also good for memorizing and reference.

The Righteousness of God

Psalm 116:5 – The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. NIV

Psalm 33:5 – The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. NIV

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. NIV

See also Numbers 14:18; Psalm 37:39, & 71:24

Seeking righteousness

Matthew 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. NIV

Ephesians 4:24 – Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. NIV

1 Timothy 6:11 – But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. NIV

2 Timothy 2:22-23 – Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. NIV

Psalm 23:3 – He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. NIV

The righteous life

Ecclesiastes 9:9 – Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love. NIV

Proverbs 22:6 – Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. NIV

1 Timothy 3:4-5 – He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) NIV

Proverbs 15:20 – A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. NIV

2 Peter 3:14 – So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. NIV

Deuteronomy 24:15 – Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin. NIV

Exodus 22:14 – If a man borrows an animal from his neighbor and it is injured or dies while the owner is not present, he must make restitution. NIV

See also Proverbs 23:22, Ecclesiastes 4:10, Proverbs 3:29, & Galatians 5:14

The fruits of righteousness

Proverbs 21:21 – He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. NIV

Psalm 97:11 – Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. NIV

Psalm 34:15 – The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry. NIV

2 Peter 3:13 – But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. NIV

Matthew 13:43 – Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. NIV

See also Genesis 7: 1-2, Psalm 5:12; 37: 5-6, & Hosea 10:12

Inductive Bible Study Questions

to be used with individual Key Scriptures

  • What is the primary point of this passage?
  • How does this passage challenge us?
  • How does this passage comfort or encourage us?
  • What does this passage teach us about God?
  • What spiritual insights are found in this passage?
  • What are the personal & spiritual implications of this text?
  • What does this passage ask or require of us?

Key Scriptures Bible Study

to be used when studying all Key Scriptures together

  • Did any of the scriptures given surprise you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given confuse you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given comfort or excite you?
  • How would you sum up these scriptures to another?
  • What implications do these scriptures have for our lives?
  • Which of these scriptures would you find it valuable to memorize?

DISCUSSION GUIDES

The Righteousness of God

S1 – The Lord Cares for His People – Zechariah 8: 1-8

Key Words: Righteousness, God’s care, Jealousy, Covenant, God’s People

  1. List the various ways the Lord says he will bless his people, in this case Jerusalem.
  2. According to verse 2, why is God doing these things?
  3. What does it mean that the Lord is jealous for his people?
  4. Do you believe the Lord is jealous for you? In what ways?
  5. Does this passage indicate the Lord feels responsible for his people because he is their God?
  6. Do you suppose this passage has anything to do with the words of the covenant found in Genesis 17: 3-8?
  7. How does this passage illustrate the macro theme of scripture, ‘You will be my people and I will be your God?’
  8. In what context does God indicate that he is righteous?
  9. How does God’s righteousness validate his promises and agreements?
  • Approach all scripture prayerfully open
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S2 – The King of Righteousness – Zechariah 9:9

Key Words: Righteousness, Prophecy, Sovereignty, Humility

  1. Do you know of anywhere else in the Bible where we see this image?
  2. Read Matthew 21: 1-9.
  3. These verses were written five centuries apart, how does this kind of prophecy validate the sovereignty of God?
  4. What other references to Christ’s power and authority do we find in this passage?
  5. What does it say about the king, who happens to also be the very God of the universe, when he rides into his capital city on a donkey (representing peace rather conquest)?
  6. How does the humility of Christ demonstrate the intentions of Christ which demonstrate the righteousness of Christ?
  7. How does this passage illustrate the idea that Jesus came to make wrong relationships right?
  8. How does this validate him as the ‘King of Righteousness?”
  • Approach God’s Word with humility, honesty and teachability
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S3 – The Delights of God – Jeremiah 9: 23-24

Key Words: Righteousness, God’s Kindness, Justice

  1. What point is Jeremiah making in this passage?
  2. What exactly is better than wisdom, strength and riches?
  3. How does Jeremiah define what we ought to understand and know about God?
  4. How does it change our worldview when we believe in a kind God? How does it change our worldview when we believe in a just God?
  5. How does it change our worldview when we believe in a righteous God?
  6. How strong is the language that speaks of God’s kindness, justice and righteousness?
  7. Why is the person with this worldview of God better than those whose worldviews revolve around wisdom, strength or riches?
  • These questions are only suggestions, allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S4 – The Faithfulness of God – Psalm 65

Key Words: Righteousness, Faithfulness

  1. List the deeds of righteousness the psalmist describes in this Psalm.
  2. Are the various blessings listed in this passage material or spiritual in nature, or both?
  3. What do you suppose the purpose of this Psalm is?
  4. How does this Psalm describe the relationship between God and his people?
  5. How does this Psalm illustrate the righteousness of God?
  6. Based on this Psalm, what would you say God desires for his people?
  7. How does the Psalmist respond to the righteousness of God?
  8. How do you see God’s righteousness in your life?
  9. How should you respond to the righteousness of God?
  • These questions are simply a foundation for you to build upon
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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 S5 – A Righteous Judge – Revelation 15: 1-4

Key Words: Righteousness, Judgement, Justice, Praise, Persecution

  1. How does this passage describe the deeds of God?
  2. What deeds is the writer referring to, what is the context of the passage?
  3. Who is singing this praise, and why would they celebrate God’s justice?
  4. Those who are victorious over the beast refer to those who did not succumb to the beast; what happens to people on earth who do not worship the beast?
  5. Do you suppose the martyrs in heaven in this scene are more concerned with the persecution given them or the opposition to God?
  6. Why must a righteous God avenge the blood of the righteous?
  7. Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek; why does this ethic not apply at the end of times?
  8. How does God’s justice result in making things right in creation once for all?
  • Create your own study by adding and subtracting questions as needed
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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Righteousness as Spirituality

S6 – Seeking Righteousness – Matthew 6:33

Key Words: Righteousness, Kingdom of God, Spirituality, Success, Blessing

  1. What does it mean to seeking something first?
  2. Define the kingdom of God (see Matthew 6:10).
  3. How does righteousness or right relationships enhance God’s kingdom (where God is king and his will is done) and vice versa?
  4. Define the ethic Jesus is prescribing in this passage.
  5. Do you believe that Jesus is giving an ethic for all Christian spirituality?
  6. Would you argue for or against the idea that all the commands of Jesus and the New Testament fit within this concept of spirituality?
  7. Would you argue for or against the idea that the kingdom and righteousness are the two major themes of the Bible?
  8. What happens when we seek this ethic?
  9. What other “things” was Jesus referring to?
  • Your questions are probably better than mine
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S7 – Seeking Love – Matthew 22: 37-40

Key Words: Righteousness, Love, Law

  1. Why would a passage on love be used to illustrate the biblical concept of righteousness?
  2. What do love and righteousness or right relationships have to do with each other?
  3. Contrast and compare the concepts of love and righteousness.
  4. How does this passage illustrate Matthew 6:33?
  5. What is the larger context of this passage?
  6. Why is Jesus even addressing this issue?
  7. How effective is the law in leading people towards righteousness… or doing the right thing… or right relationships?
  8. Where does the law help?
  9. Where does the law fall short?
  10. Why is love a superior standard of righteousness than the law?
  • Spend time with the questions prior to leading a group or coaching time
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S8 – The Greatest Hindrance to Worship – Matthew 5: 23-24

Key Words: Righteousness, Brokenness, Forgiveness, Spirituality

  1. What is the person in this passage attempting to do?
  2. What is preventing this person’s offering and worship from being accepted by God?
  3. What does God desire this person to do before his or her worship will be accepted?
  4. Who is in the wrong in the relationship in question? Does it matter?
  5. What does this passage teach about the connection between our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationships with others?
  6. What does this say about how our righteousness towards others impacts our spirituality?
  7. Why or why not is it possible to be fully right with God until you have done everything possible to be right with others?
  • Interrogatives are keys that unlock wonderful secrets 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S9 – The Heart of Spirituality – 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3

Key Words: Righteousness, Spirituality, Religion

  1. List the religious or spiritual works Paul describes in this passage?
  2. Would you argue that people who do these works do so to seek righteousness… explain?
  3. In your experience, do people who do great things for God feel a strong sense of righteousness?
  4. Do these acts necessarily mean these people are righteous?
  5. Do these acts necessarily mean they are not righteous?
  6. What then determines the righteousness of the act?
  7. What does this indicate about what God is looking for in our spirituality?
  8. Is this a different ethic than some Christianity you have been exposed to?
  9. Would you agree or disagree that if righteousness means right relationships, then love is the highest form of righteousness… explain?
  • Be like a detective who interrogates scripture 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S10 – The Spirit of the Commandments – Deuteronomy 5

Key Words: Righteousness, Law, Religion, Ten Commandments

  1. Which of the Ten Commandments are relational?
  2. How many have to do with our relationship with God?
  3. How many have to do with our relationship with others?
  4. What do you suppose is the purpose of these commandments?
  5. Are these commandments simply rules to be blindly followed or are they intended as something more?
  6. What do the commandments teach us about relationships and righteousness?
  7. Is there a difference between the letter of the commandments and the spirit?
  8. How difficult is it to keep the letter of the Ten Commandments?
  9. How difficult is it to keep the spirit of the Ten Commandments?
  10. How did Jesus uphold both the letter and the spirit of these commandments?
  11. In what ways are the commandments a source of life?
  12. In what ways are the commandments a source of death (2 Corinthians 3:6)?
  • The insight is found in scripture; questions are simply tools to mine the ore
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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The Righteous Life

S11 – Right Relationships – 1 Samuel 24

Key Words: Righteousness, Enemies, Brokenness, Leadership

  1. Describe the dynamics of the scene unfolding in this chapter.
  2. What does Saul wish to do to David and why?
  3. Why are Saul’s concerns about David unfounded?
  4. What did David do to prove his loyalty to Saul? What was David’s argument to Saul?
  5. How did Saul respond to the argument? How does Saul respond in verse 17?
  6. In what way was David righteous towards Saul as a subject of the king?
  7. In what ways was Saul unrighteous towards David as a king towards his subjects?
  8. How does this passage illustrate the concept of righteousness as right relationships or fulfilling the responsibilities of a relationship?
  • Follow the lines of curiosity 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S12 – A New Ethic – Matthew 5:13 – 6:18

Key Words: Righteousness, Law, Spirituality

  1. The Sermon on the Mount describes the ethic of the Kingdom of God, what is the key verse in this passage that describes this ethic?
  2. How does each subject and topic within this sermon illustrate the idea of spirituality as righteousness or right relationships?
  3. How does Jesus illustrate right actions in this sermon?
  4. How does Jesus illustrate right attitudes or heart?
  5. How is the standard of spirituality as righteousness illustrated by this sermon different than the standard of spirituality as law and rules?
  6. What are the differences between relating to God and others through the law and relating to God and others through righteousness?
  • Group leaders may wish to consult a commentary for background information 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S13 – Righteous at Work – Deuteronomy 25: 13-16

Key Words: Righteousness, Work, Business, Integrity

  1. Who is the Lord talking to in these verses?
  2. What is he telling them not to do?
  3. Fill in the blank: righteous merchants __________________.
  4. Fill in the blank: unrighteous merchants ___________________.
  5. What does this passage imply for Christians who work in the market place?
  6. In what ways might practicing righteousness in the marketplace set someone apart from the larger culture of many business environments?
  7. What does the text indicate about why we should be righteous in our dealings with others?
  • Seek to connect the dots with other scriptures and Bible content 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S14 – The Righteous and the Needy – Matthew 25: 37-40

Key Words: Righteousness, Poor/Needy, Good Deeds, Service, Compassion

  1. When is this passage taking place, and what is the context of these verses within the larger story?
  2. In verse 37, what does the king call those he is pleased with and why does he use this term?
  3. Why are these people referred to as righteous?
  4. Does this passage indicate that Christ followers have an obligation towards the poor and needy?
  5. If righteousness means right relationships, what does this passage teach about righteousness within the larger community?
  6. Does this passage teach works to get to heaven: do good works make us sheep or do we do good works because we are sheep?
  7. Why and how does kindness, compassion and righteousness validate true believers in Christ?
  • There are no greater tools for effective Bible study than humility, honesty, and diligence
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S15 – Righteousness in Authority – Deuteronomy 16: 18-20

Key Words: Righteousness, Power, Leadership, Authority, Corruption

  1. Who are these verses written for?
  2. Why must those in authority always be on their guard against corruption?
  3. Describe how power can easily corrupt people?
  4. What do these verses indicate about how to carry authority with righteousness?
  5. What does a righteous official look like?
  6. Does someone have to be a public official to be tempted by authority and power?
  7. What is the result of seeking justice and righteousness in this passage?
  8. Why does justice lead to prosperity?
  9. How does injustice undermine blessing?
  • You are responsible for your level of engagement
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S16 – A Manual for Righteousness – 2 Timothy 3: 16-17

Key Words: Righteousness, God’s Word, Openness

  1. List the four uses of the Word of God presented in this passage.
  2. Everyone understands how God’s Word teaches, how does it correct?
  3. How does it rebuke?
  4. How is being rebuked by God’s Word a positive and healthy event?
  5. How does God’s Word train in righteousness?
  6. Do you honestly view God’s Word as a relationship manual?
  7. Which relationships in your life can God’s Word help you with… explain?
  8. Which relationships in your life do have the most difficult time submitting to God’s authority?
  9. How would your life change if you genuinely patterned your relationships after God’s Word?
  • Go beyond the obvious by avoiding “Yes” or “No” answers
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S17 – What Mature Christians Look Like – Hebrews 5: 12-14

Key Words: Righteousness, Maturity, God’s Word, Family, Love

  1. Discover and describe the various contrasts in this passage.
  2. What is the milk of God’s Word and who drinks milk?
  3. Is righteousness described as milk or solid food in the text?
  4. How would this text describe an active, knowledgeable, and serving Christian with poor relationships with his or her spouse, children, co-workers or neighbors?
  5. Why is religious activity not necessarily the same thing as spiritual maturity?
  6. How are the two often different?
  7. What does righteousness have to do with distinguishing between good and evil?
  8. How are ‘good’ and ‘evil’ relational concepts?
  9. How would you respond to someone who feels that love and righteousness are the milk of the Word?
  • Think before answering
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S18 – Marriage Righteousness – Ephesians 5: 21-33

Key Words: Righteousness, Family, Marriage, Service, Love

  1. Is the wife to serve the husband or the husband to serve the wife (see verse 21)?
  2. How do people often misread the spirit of this passage?
  3. Why or why do you not agree that true spirituality starts at home?
  4. Some marriage experts says that what wives crave most from their spouse is to feel cherished and loved, husbands most crave respect and admiration; how does following the teaching in this passage provide for these needs?
  5. What does a righteous husband look like?
  6. What does a righteous wife look like?
  7. Why is it important for both husbands and wives to serve and submit to one another in love?
  8. What happens to our marriage when our commitment to our spouse is usurped by another?
  • Thoughtful silence is the soil of epiphany
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S19 – Parental Righteousness – Deuteronomy 6: 4-8

Key Words: Righteousness, Family, Parents, Children, Discipleship

  1. Why should parents even care if their children know the Lord?
  2. Should we not let them make up their own minds?
  3. What happens to our children when they have no spiritual foundation in life?
  4. How does the keeping of verse 5 result in good parents?
  5. What is the nature of the teaching described in the passage?
  6. Describe all of the ways parents should teach their children?
  7. If something is in your heart, how difficult is it to pass on such values?
  8. Can parents pass on values and truths that are not visible in their own hearts and lives?
  9. What exactly are we to pass on to our children?
  10. According to this passage, what does a righteous parent look like?
  •  Seek Nuance
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S20 – A Good and Righteous Parent – Ephesians 6: 1-4

Key Words: Righteousness, Family, Parents, Children, Discipleship

  1. Why is the family the best and often most difficult arena to practice righteousness?
  2. In what ways is the parent child relationship similar to our relationship with God?
  3. The commandment this passage refers to says to honor our parents, how is obeying and honoring similar?
  4. What promise is given for those who obey their parents, and how does that work?
  5. What responsibilities do parents have regarding their children?
  6. How do some parents exasperate their children?
  7. Why is teaching and training our children in the grace, love and peace of Jesus the opposite of exasperation?
  8. Describe a parent who models and teaches Jesus to his or her children?
  9. How is this different than just being religious?
  • Be sure to explore all the resources for each doctrine, virtue, and practice
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S21 – Righteousness towards Authority – Colossians 3: 22-25

Key Words: Righteousness, Authority, Laziness, Diligence, Work, Business

  1. Although, we do not have slaves today, we all have earthly masters; we are all beholden or accountable to some authority or employer… who are you beholden to?
  2. What teachings on righteousness does this passage give regarding our attitude and effort towards those in authority over us?
  3. Why does righteousness demand that Christians be the best employees?
  4. What do lazy, dishonest, disgruntled or uncooperative employees communicate about their character and the God they serve?
  5. What does the text say regarding why we should always give our very best effort?
  6. Is there a promise here for believers who serve their earthly masters well?
  7. Is there a caution for those who do not?
  • Remember there are additional studies in the Key Scriptures section
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S22 – Wealth and Righteousness – James 5: 1-6

Key Words: Righteousness, Money, Wealth, Generosity, Poor

  1. Do you think this text is referring to all rich people or only certain rich people: explain?
  2. Which rich people is the text referring to?
  3. What sins are the wealthy in the text guilty of?
  4. Do we see these kinds of sins in our society?
  5. How should Christians of wealth, position and authority react to this text?
  6. What does it say about a Christian who takes advantage of others for his or her personal benefit?
  7. How does this person reflect on God?
  8. Describe how Christian bosses should treat those under their authority?
  • Remember there are other learning and scripture studies in the Growing Exercises section
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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The Fruits of Righteousness

S23 – The Righteous Flourish – Psalm 92: 12-15

Key Words: Righteousness, Blessing, Service, Reward

  1. Who are the righteous, and how do they live?
  2. How does God view those who practice righteousness or right relationships?
  3. What beautiful and poetic image does the Psalmist use to describe the rewards of the righteous?
  4. Describe a flourishing palm tree.
  5. What does it mean for a person to flourish in this way?
  6. Why would this be a very natural result for those committed to righteousness or right relationships?
  7. What value does a beautiful and flourishing plant have in the court of a king?
  8. How might this tree refresh and gratify the king?
  9. How might this tree bring joy and pleasure to the king?
  10. How might the king value and delight in such a tree?
  11. What does verse 14 communicate about the longevity and productivity of those committed to righteousness?
  12. What does verse 15 communicate about the nature of their service?
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S24 – The Righteousness of Noah – Genesis 6:9

Key Words: Righteousness, Blessing, Integrity, Protection, Security

  1. What criteria did God use to choose Noah as the one to be saved from the flood and carry on the human race?
  2. If righteousness means right relationships, how are being righteous and blameless connected?
  3. Do you believe that Noah’s righteousness was with God or with those around him?
  4. What does righteousness with God look like?
  5. What does righteousness with others look like?
  6. How are the two connected?
  7. List the various ways God blesses Noah throughout his life?
  8. Why is it easier or more natural for God to bless the righteous rather than the unrighteous?
  9. How do the unrighteous work against blessing in their lives?
  10. Can you make a case for righteousness being the primary virtue God seeks in the lives of people?

Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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S25 – The Righteousness of the Saints – Revelation 19: 1-9

Key Words: Righteousness, Lamb of God, Sacrifice, Reward, Heaven, Hope

  1. Who is the bride in the passage and who is the Lamb?
  2. What is the bride wearing in verse 8?
  3. How do you respond to the image of the church being clothed or covered by righteous acts?
  4. What does this communicate about how our deeds follow us into heaven?
  5. How grand and wonderful would it be to see, for lack of a better image, a collage of all the loving, kind, and sacrificial acts of service and ministry that all Christians for all time have given to others?
  6. How is both vertical (with God) and horizontal (with others) righteousness celebrated in this passage?
  7. What reward are the righteous given at the end of days?
  8. What does this communicate regarding the value and priority of righteousness in our lives now?
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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GROWING EXERCISES

  1. Consider any bitterness, resentment or unforgiveness you carry in your heart. Pray and ask God to forgive you for holding on to these offenses.  Remember to name them one by one to God.  Takes steps to reconcile where possible any brokenness that has resulted from your behavior.  Discuss these steps with a mentor or friend to hold you accountable and process learning.
  1. Consider anyone that you have wronged in some way. Perhaps you spoke poorly about them and maligned their image.  Perhaps you took advantage of them in some way?  Perhaps you undermined their best interests in some way.  It could be anything.  Go to these people, confess your sin, and seek forgiveness.  Provide restitution where appropriate.  Discuss these steps with a mentor or friend to hold you accountable and process learning.
  1. One of the highest values of righteousness is peace. Consider any tension you currently have with another person.  Pray about how God would have you resolve or diffuse that tension.  What overtures can you make to improve the situation?  How can you practice the principles in Matthew 5: 23-24; 5: 38-48; 18: 15-16 in this situation?  Develop and implement a game place for peace and service in these relationships.   Discuss these steps with a mentor or friend to hold you accountable and process learning.
  1. Target a relationship with a family member or friend that you desire to improve. Begin by making a list of all the reasons you appreciate that person.  Next, brainstorm specific actions on your part you believe will strengthen the relationship.  You may even wish to share your list with them and say ‘thank you.’  Develop and implement a game plan to strengthen the relationship.  Discuss these steps with a mentor or friend to hold you accountable and process learning.
  1. Practical righteousness is about doing what is right and in our relationship with others and honoring others above ourselves. As Christians we seek to reflect Christ as godly parents, spouses, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors, co-workers, employees, bosses, citizens, church members, and so on.  Each of these relationships carries obligations for those seeking to walk with God in righteousness.  Each relationship is different, and we all do better in some roles than others.  Sometimes the people we relate to in various roles impacts our level of righteousness because some people are easier to relate to than others.  Examine the roles provided below and circle how well or how righteous you feel you are in these different roles.  1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest.

Parent                                      1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Spouse                                     1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Son /Daughter                         1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Friend                                      1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Neighbor                                 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Employee/Student                  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Boss/Authority Figure            1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Citizen                                     1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Church Member                      1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Now, using a different color pen, place a square on the number for each role for how you honestly feel others would rate you.

Now, using a different color pen still, place a triangle on the number for each role for how you honestly feel God would rate you.

Are there differences from how you rate yourself, how others would rate you and how God would rate you?  What insight does this give you and what do these differences reveal about your spirituality?  Where are you stronger?  Where do you need to improve?  Does this exercise convict you to improve in any specific areas?  What can you do to make righteousness more of a priority in your life?

  1. Identify at least one, and as many as three, of the most righteous people in your life. Remember, righteousness means right relationships.  These are people who are the most like Christ in how they relate to others; especially, in critical relationships such as with family, close friends, work and church.  They are loving, honest, humble, faithful and sacrificial in their dealings with others.  Answer the follow questions about each person.
  • What quality do I admire most about them?
  • What is their reputation with others?
  • What temptations must they overcome to be the way they are?
  • In what ways would I act differently if I were in their shoes?
  • How do they reflect well on the God they serve?
  • What can I learn from them?

Talk through these question for each person with a mentor or friend.

  1. If you currently do not have a mentor, seek out one of the people you identified in exercise 6 of this section and ask them to disciple or mentor you using the Thrive 316 process.
  1. Read a relationship book with your spouse, pausing after each chapter or section to discuss learning and application in your marriage.
  1. Read a parenting book with your spouse, pausing after each chapter or section to discuss learning and application in your family.
  1. Identify an unresolved need, problem or issue in your workplace, school, church, neighborhood or community. Think of something that needs to be done, but no one is willing to take responsibility for.  Take the initiative to follow the proper steps to organize others to collaborate and address the issue.  See things through.  Remember to be humble and gracious always giving praise to God and others.

RECOMMENDED READING

  1. Ethics by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  2. The Peaceable Kingdom by Stanley Hauerwas
  3. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
  4. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  5. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  6. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
  7. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  8. The Resolution for Men by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick
  9. Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
  10. Why Business Matters to God by Jeff Van Duzer