Sermon Recap — November 1, 2020

Sermon Recap

The Righteous Fruit of Humility Before God

Jeremy Bell
Luke 18:9-14
November 1, 2020
Sermon Video/Audio

Luke 18:9–14

[9] He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: [10] “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ [13] But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV)

I. The Pharisee and the Way of Self Justification

  • Notice the path of self-justification in what the Pharisee prays:
    • His words are filled with himself – (“I” 5x’s)
    • Favorable comparison “I thank you that I am not like others”
    • Contempt, not love, for those in need
    • Quickness to judge
    • Looking to be seen, so that glory can be brought to himself
    • He recites his spiritual achievements – I fast more than I need to, I tithe on everything – “I am religiously devout”
    • His words, focused on himself and on his works, missed the very point of Jesus’ coming!
  • The Pharisees thought they could earn their own way. If they could receive salvation through their righteous following of the law, then Jesus wouldn’t have needed to come
  • On the outside, this Pharisee looked pretty good. But God doesn’t concern Himself with what’s on the outside, He sees the heart
  • The Pharisee here is essentially giving the doctor the report, rather than coming to the doctor to receive the doctor’s report. Because if the Pharisee would listen, the doctors report would have revealed something quite different. The doctor would have leaned over and said – ‘actually, you are quite sick.’
  • The Pharisee’s blindness is due to his self-righteousness – to his thinking that he can earn his place in God’s kingdom by his performance of religious duties.
  • We can inadvertently think our own religious performance earns our way into the kingdom of God. God says, ‘no – you’re sick.’
  • The Pharisee failed to humble himself and receive the treatment that God proscribed, one which would have brought new life.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:31-32 ).”

II. The Tax Collector and The Way of Humility

  • Tax collectors were viewed as sellouts, as cheats, as thieves. They were despised, and viewed as the lowest of the low.
  • Notice the path of humility that the tax collector took.
    • A sense of great need and awe of God – standing far off
    • Acknowledging need – “I am a sinner”
    • Recognizing poverty of spirit – wouldn’t even look up, beat his breast
    • Crying out for God’s mercy and salvation – Lord have mercy on me, a sinner
  • The tax collector makes no claim to any righteousness of his own.
    • He knew he wasn’t good
    • He recognized his spiritual poverty–maybe because the Pharisee was spending so much time commending himself for the sins he hadn’t committed that it dulled his senses to the many sins he had committed.
  • The Pharisee is guilty. The tax collector is guilty. But one of them admits it, and the other one ignores it.

III. Justified or Not Justified – what’s the determining factor?

  • Jesus says that one of them went home justified, and the other not. What’s the difference between these two? Ultimately it all comes down to where they place their trust.
  • The pharisee placed his trust in himself and in his own righteousness, and was found in fact to have none. The tax collector placed no trust in himself, but rather flung himself on the mercy of God.
  • The effect of self-righteousness before God:
    • Pride (“I” 5x’s)
    • Contempt, not love, for those in need
    • Favorable comparison towards others
    • Quickness to judge
    • Looking to be seen – not to lead people to God, but to self
    • Puffed up with spiritual achievements
    • Result: unjust before God
  • The effect of humility before God:
    • A sense of great need and awe of God – standing far off
    • Acknowledging our need
    • Recognizing poverty of spirit
    • Crying out for God’s mercy and salvation
    • No comparison to others – simply looking at/to God
    • Rightly estimates his unworthiness before God
    • Result: justified before God

The Point – we approach God with humility,

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted (Verse 14b).”

  • God is on the lookout for the humble, for those who recognize their need. He’s not interested in religious performance, for if we could be saved by those things, He wouldn’t have needed to come.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite spirit a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17

  • Our right standing before God is not dependent on how well we did our Bible reading this week
  • Our justified position before God is not dependent on our performance
  • Yes we will keep God’s commands, but not perfectly. We can rejoice because God has removed the dirty robes of our filthy unrighteousness and replaced them with the spotless robes of Christ’s righteousness.

My sin, o the bliss of this glorious thought – my sin, not in part, but the whole – Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! – It is Well With My Soul

  • Let us rejoice that our righteousness is never found in ourselves, but in our merciful God!

Questions For Discussion/Application:

  • Re-read the text, Luke 18:9-14. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
  • How would you summarize the main thing Jesus and Luke want us to learn from this passage?
  • What is self-righteousness? Why is it so dangerous?
  • How can self-righteousness be evident in the life of the believer?
  • How is self-righteousness evident in your own life? In what ways can you at times be self-righteous?
  • What application does this passage have for reaching out to unbelievers? Consider, “How does self righteousness keep people from coming to Christ?”
  • Resources for Further Study:
  • Take time to pray, asking God to help us to walk in true gospel humility, recognizing our daily need for a Savior and thanking God that we have One!

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