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15 May:

Luke 18:9-14      The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Now He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed 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 stood and began praying this in regard to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, crooked, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to raise his eyes toward heaven, but was beating his chest, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other one; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Pharisee:      1. Means “separated”’; they set themselves apart from ordinary people in an effort to show their superiority. “

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16

2. They insisted on strict observance of the law; legalists. They trusted in their own ability to please God.

3. They were accused of “building a fence around the law” meaning they built a wall around the Law with their traditions: Jesus said in Mt 15:6,9 “. . .  And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. . . .  ‘But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”  Numerous traditions regulated the business of daily living.

Publican:      1. An employee of the official tax collectors who were Jews that had contracted with the Roman government to collect the required taxes.

2. The Publican was the one who actually got his hands dirty collecting taxes from the people who owed.

3. Some Jews felt that paying taxes to Rome was synonymous with treason against God. Thus tax collectors were seen has having sold themselves out to the oppressor at the expense of their own countrymen, i.e. they “represented” a foreign government suppressing the people.

4. Tax collectors gained their income by collecting what was due Rome and then adding a sur-charge which was for them to keep. They were notoriously dishonest about what was due and how much could legally be added for their income.

5. These men were considered as the lowest and meanest of all sinners.

At the start of the parable, it might be expected that Jesus’ message would be one of praise for the religious Pharisee and condemnation for the sinner, Publican.

Pharisee’s Prayer:   1. He took the customary position of standing and looking upward to the heavens towards God.

2. The man expressed thanks – he gave thanks for the things that he had not succumbed to and how such sinful things were not in his life. He was proud of what he had become.

3. The continued this way in expressing how he fasted and tithed – how well he was doing in obeying the Law.

4. He held up to God how he was not like other people – thereby insinuating how much better he was than others.

5. His prayer expresses contempt or criticism of another Israelite here in the temple.

6. His prayer offered up to God how good a servant he was and how proud he was to be so. His prayer was full of self – “ I “.  “He was praying this to himself”  or about himself.

Publican’s Prayer:    1. He recognizes his position in relation to his God – created & sinner

2. He asks of God for mercy knowing his sinful status.                                                             .       Rom 5:8   “But God shows His love for us in that while we were sinners,                 .   .                            Christ died for us.” 

3. His prayer was humble and sincere. He beats his breast as a sign of contrition.        

4. His prayer reflected his heart-felt need for and to be with God.

5. His reflected that of Ezra: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to thee, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.” (Ezra 9:6)

Prayer Results:   1. One prayer went up like incense and one “fluttered like a wounded duck”.

2. One man went home in the same condition he came: Luke 16:15 “and Jesus said to the Pharisees – ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sigh of God.”

and the other went away justified (accepted/approved of God; justified = to declare or treat as righteous). The grace of God has acted upon him and, I would suppose, it would continue its influence in the coming days.

CONCLUSION:    We need to be sure that our religious life and activities are based on a love for God (1st Great Commandment) and a love for our neighbors (2nd Great Commandment).

Our  “RELATIONSHIP” with the Father is the determining factor in His acceptance!                                     John 3:16 “ . . .  whosoever shall believe in Him . . . shall be saved”

God FIRST:  Mt 19:16ff – young rich ruler was told to sell his possessions and come follow Jesus. He went away sorrowfully and Jesus said only though God was it possible for the rich to enter His kingdom.

Only through Jesus: Mt 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me”.

 

 

8 May:  WHO IS God?

 

The answers that I came up with was Creator, Provider, Sustainer, Savior, Rewarder and Father.

CREATOR:  Gen 1:26,27, 2:7 “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness … God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He create them. The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.”

In the same way that a man and woman marry, have relations and a child is born and they become PARENTS – so, as God is our creator – He is our Father.

GOD IS OUR FATHER:

1 Cor 8:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things,”

John 4:23,24 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.'

Ephesians 4:4-6 “ . . . . There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”

Micah 3:4 “Then they will cry to the Lord, but He will not answer them; He will hide His face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil.

Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

John 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. Mt 7:23 “I never knew you – depart from Me.”

John 1:12 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”

Eph 1:5 “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself according to the kind intention of His will.

Gal 4:6,7 “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are not longer a slave, BUT A SON…”

Rom 8:14 “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God… The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”

 

GOD IS OUR SAVIOR – HE HAS SAVED US – BROUGHT US SALVATION:

John 3:16 “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son – that whosoever beliefs in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Ps 103:8-13 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor his anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him;”

2 Chron 7:14 “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal the land.”

Gal 3:13 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

John 6:40 “And this is the will of Him that sent me, that everyone which sees the Son, and believes on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.  

John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

 

GOD – AS OUR FATHER HAS TAKEN ON THE ROLE OF PROVIDER AND SUSTAINER:  

Malachi 3:10 “Test Me now in this, bring your tithe so there may be food in my house and see if I will not open your you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

Luke 6:38 “GIVE, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

Mt 6:20,33,34  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven and seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will care for itself”

Heb 13:5,6 “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what your have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’ So that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’”

Ps 23  the Lord is my Shepherd (paraphrased)    The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want: green pastures,  quiet waters, He restores my soul; He guides be in the paths of righteousness, You prepare for me a table and anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows; surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all my days; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Deut 28 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments the Lord will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and over take you

Jer 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jhn 14:16,17 26  “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with your forever; That is  - the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with your and will be in you. . . . But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach your all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

John 16:7,8  “But I tell you’re the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to your; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”

2 Tim 3:16,17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

John 20:30 “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”


God IS OUR REWARDER:  

Heb 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Psalm 112:5: Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Proverbs 11:25: A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8: Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

Luke 18:28-30 “And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

John 14:1-3 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God and believe in Me also. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, - that where I am, you may be also.”

James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”