The Gospels: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

July 22, 2017

The Gospels: Full of Grace and Truth

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:9-14


And he spake this parable with regard to certain people (Luke 18:9)


  1. How CLOSELY do you read God’s word?
    1. Did he speak “to” certain people, or “about” certain people?
    2. Show me your view of the Bible and I will show you how effective it will be in your life
      1. Genesis 1-11 - Pre-scientific?
      2. Biblical Prophecy - apocryphal
      3. Heaven and hell - metaphorical
      4. Contradictions or no contradictions?
      5. Culture of the day or relevant to us?
    3. Do you take the Bible “seriously?”
    4. I have found that nothing is in the Bible by accident
      1. Numbers
      2. Colors
      3. Names
      4. Symbols
    5. The deeper you dig, the more you will find
      1. Prepositions


And he spake this parable with regard to certain people which trusted in themselves, trusting that they were righteous, and despised others: (Luke 18:9)




“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed this way with regard to himself,” (Luke 18:10-11)


  1. WHO are you praying to?
    1. Does your God speak Elizabethan English?
    2. Does your God only respect the prayers of the Puritans?
    3. Does your God only answer prayers said having the right posture?
    4. Is your God only pleased if you say what he wants to hear?
    5. Are you praying for the benefit of others around you?
    6. Are you only interested in material answers to prayer?

“God, I thank you, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.” (Luke 18:11)


  1. Except by the GRACE of God go I
    1. There’s one sense in which this is not a bad prayer
      1. The heart behind the prayer makes all the difference
    2. When you see a good man seek to emulate him. When you see a bad man, thank God for his grace


“I fast twice per Sabbath,” (Luke 18:12)


  1. The role of FASTING


Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? [is it] to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes [under him]? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? [Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when you see the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? (Isaiah 58:5-7)


Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which sees in secret, shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:16-18)


So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:10)


“I give tithes of all that I possess.” (Luke 18:12)


  1. The role of TITHING
    1. Leviticus 27


But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Luke 11:42)


    1. The Pharisee presents his resume before God, and you can almost hear God, Jesus and the prophets sigh simultaneously saying, “Who cares?”


“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’” (Luke 18:13)


  1. What God is LOOKING for
    1. Depart from me, I am a sinful man - Luke 5 - Peter
    2. I am not worthy - Luke 7 - Centurion
    3. Have mercy on us - Luke 17 - 10 lepers
    4. Tax Collector
      1. Stands at a distance
      2. Can’t bring himself to look up in God’s direction
      3. “God be merciful to me a sinner”
    5. From this sinner came the same response as the likes of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, etc…
    6. This man’s response is the blank slate that becomes an awesome resume that God writes


“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other:” (Luke 18:14)


    1. The difference between these two
      1. The Pharisee declared himself and thought himself to be righteous
      2. The Tax Collector was actually declared righteous by God
    2. What does justification mean?
      1. the legal and formal acquittal from guilt by God as Judge
      2. Not guilty
      3. Paid in full
        1. The payment was Jesus
          1. Redemption
          2. Propitiation
    3. The larger picture
      1. Justification - freedom from the penalty of sin
      2. Sanctification - freedom from the power of sin
      3. Glorification - freedom from the presence of sin


for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:14)


  1. Don’t play the GAME


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Prep for Next Week

  1. Begin studying - Divorce - Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12
  2. Pray for an opportunity to invite a friend to church or share the gospel with them

Follow-up Discussion Questions

  1. How does our belief and approach toward God’s word alter it’s effectiveness in our lives?
  2. How does religion lead to pride or despair? What difference does grace make?
  3. In what ways does the way we pray reveal our beliefs about God?
  4. Do you believe that you are capable of any and every sin? Why or why not?
  5. Why was the Pharisee not justified before God?
  6. Do you understand the difference between justification, sanctification and glorification?



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