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                The Gospels in Harmony                                    Luke 18:9-14                         Sermon #342  Posted 5/3/21

Luke 18:9-14
The Gospels in Harmony  Sermon #342-5221

9  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 
10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 
11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 
12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 
13  And the publican, 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. 
14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Luke 18:9-14

    Following the parable of the unjust judge and the persistent widow we come to another parable which deals with the attitude of the unjust judge.
You see Jesus is explaining what unjust is in people.
Many would rather classify unjust as cheating or playing favorites or even stealing from others. Unjust in our modern vernacular has a white washed meaning compared to the biblical meaning. 
   The biblical meaning is to be wicked; wicked towards others by placing oneself far above all others. 
Ask yourself this very question. Is it not that very attitude that brings out cheating and favoritism and even theft from within a person? But unjust is also well defined in the previous parable by the unjust judge himself. A wicked person is one who does not fear God nor regards man.
    Not fearing God is having no one to answer too, no one above your-self.
Not regarding man is placing your-self in a godhead position. It is an attitude of being better, deserving more and not caring about anyone else. 
It's all about them-selves and they live to be recognized and glorified by the world.
    Even today we see enormous groups of people like this in the political arena and the film industry. Two very identifiable groups.  Quite often being the most pronounced Godless people who live to look down on everyone while they promote themselves to the heavens. This same attitude is present throughout the world in all degrees and all levels of mankind. It is the pride of life which entertains such sin filled behavior and brings death to the soul.
16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1 John 2:16
     Verse 9 in our text makes it very clear:
9  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Luke 18:9
    Most people immediately claim that Jesus is talking to the Pharisees here but that really does not quite fit.
It says He was talking --unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:---
Yes that certainly fit the Pharisees but Jesus continues by using a Pharisee in general as an example. If He had been speaking to the Pharisees He would have used another example for His parable or it would not be a parable. It would be an open chastisement. 
    In the previous paragraphs I used the examples of politicians and actors as modern day living definitions of unjust. But unjust certainly does not stop there. Just as it did not in the days our Lords ministry among men. 
    Think if you will, there were many Jews who were devoted followers and practitioners of the rules and regulations the Pharisees had created to prove their religiosity, righteousness and worthiness. There were many Jews who had become wealthy and well recognized who also had the same attitude and demeanor as the Pharisees. So you see the Pharisee was an example for all others who had adopted their attitudes and practices.
 10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luke 18:10
     A publican is known to us as a tax collector for the Roman Empire. 
They were well known for collecting far and above what was called for and pocketing the excess. Just to be in the employ of the Romans was bad enough to most Jews. It meant they had sold out to the enemy. But to be over charging with the backing of the Roman Empire was despicable.
11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luke 18:11-12
    Notice Jesus clearly states the Pharisee was praying with himself!
That's what self righteousness brings to people. They pray to themselves because they have made themselves gods!
Luke 18:11
     Some would say; "Well the scripture means the Pharisee was not praying with or near others." Once again we only have to read the next verse in our text to understand it was the publican who was not near others, therefore the Pharisee was praying "with himself" in a manner that others near him could hear how great he supposed himself to be in the eyes of God.
    13  And the publican, 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
    What we are examining here is the truth about what an unjust person is. What God see’s to be unjust in a man, not what man chooses unjust is to be defined. 
    The publican was a sinner and had come in full awareness and repentance of his sin. He stood far off because he needed no man to give his opinion or approval of his prayer. He could pour himself out to God without the notoriety required by the Pharisee. The publican prayed with respect toward God by not even looking toward heaven but smote his chest in a display of sincere confession to God.  As if to say, "Right here God, right here I am, deserving of punishment but asking for your mercy!"
       Now Jesus openly explains this parable to his listeners. 
He has used two examples of well known sinners.
First, the Pharisee who was well known for his self righteous demeanor, and then the publican who was well known for his employment and practices.
Remember Jesus is teaching the definition of unjust in the eyes of God.
14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Luke 18:14
   The publican was justified. Not unjust but just in the eyes of God. 
Justified means just as if you had never sinned. Forgiven because of sincere confession and repentance of sin. And the other of course was the Pharisee to whom so many looked up to and followed obediently. 
He was not justified because he was not and would not humble himself before God. He boasted of His perfection and belittled others to make himself appear grandiose in the sight of men. 
     But God is no respecter of men.
34  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 
35  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Acts 10:34-35
     Let's go back to the unjust judge. 
2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
Luke 18:2
    He did not fear God and was unrighteous toward men. 
The same for the Pharisee and of course the certain men, Jesus was speaking this parable to: 
9  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Luke 18:9
   Right here in just a few verses we have three examples of unjust behavior in mankind. We are given the truth about what God sees and His answer for what He sees in us.
The only thing that God honors with justification is humility and repentance of sin. 
   Humility is lowering oneself to confess Christ Jesus is Lord and Savior and it is only through faith and obedience in Him that we are saved. Repentance is being obedient to turn from our sin and strive to walk in the light of life in Christ Jesus. We have no righteousness that God should respect or honor. The only righteousness we will ever have is what is imputed to us through Christ Jesus through our faith and obedience to Him. 
     Claiming righteousness comes with religious practices. It is works not faith. Faith in Jesus is humbling your-self before the precious Lamb of God who was slain for our sin and then raised again to eternal life as our Lord of life. It is placing Him above all things and giving Him the honor because of His righteousness. That is being a just person. That is what brings justification.
    God must be in and above everything in your life because without Jesus there is no eternal life and that is the only life worth living for. That is being a just person.
Pastor Steven Freede
Cornerstone Independent Church Ministry
5/2/21 

     

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