TWO MEN

Luke 18:9-14

 

 

  1. TWO MEN WENT UP TO THE TEMPLE:
    1. One belonged, the other didn’t / One a member, the other a heathen.
    2. One good, the other bad / one a saint, the other a sinner.
    3. One a tither, the other didn’t give.
    4. One went everyday, the other hadn’t been since a child.
    5. One fasted, the other rarely fasted.
    6. One a preacher of righteousness, the other an open crook.
    7. One going to heaven, the other going to hell.
    8. One wore white, the other wore black.
    9. One knew everyone, the other knew only a few.
    10. One had a multitude of friends, the other just a few.
    11. One respected by all, the other hated by most.
    12. One kept the law, one openly broke God’s law.
    13. One sang the songs of Zion, the other remained quiet.
    14. One sat up front, the other in a corner.

 

  1. ONE WAS A PHARISEE:
    1. The Pharisee was a rich landowner (land was the means of production) who didn’t have to work.
    2. They were an exclusive group of rich Jewish males.
    3. They were dedicated to keeping the whole law:

                                                             i.      Written—the 613 commandments of the OT.

                                                           ii.      The “Oral”—the rulings of the Rabbis.

    1. They put “a fence around the law”:

                                                             i.      Made rules stricter than the actual law.

                                                           ii.      Like tithing both income and expenditures.

    1. They wore white—the color of heaven.
    2. They taught against sin:

                                                             i.      All of their teaching was based against sin.

                                                           ii.      Israel was in trouble because of sin—so just stop sinning!

                                                        iii.      A Rabbinical saying, “If all Israel will stop sinning for one day the Messiah will come”.

    1. There were about 6,000 Pharisees at any one time.

 

  1. THE OTHER ONE WAS A TAX COLLECTOR:
    1. A “Scalawag”, a trader to Israel, and a common thief.
    2. He sold out to the enemy, Rome, who occupied Israel.
    3. He collected taxes for Rome and cheated the Jews as well.
    4. He was a Jew who cheated his fellow Jews for the enemy!
    5. The Sanhedrin ruled that Tax Collectors were beyond repentance.

 

  1. TWO MEN WENT UP TO THE TEMPLE TO PRAY:
    1. The Pharisee prayer “with himself” (KJV)

                                                             i.      “To himself” (TEV); “Standing by himself” (NRSV).

                                                           ii.      “About himself” (NIV)

                                                        iii.      I like the NRSV because it is a play on the word, Pharisee—a separate one.

    1. “God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterer—or even like this Tax Collector:

                                                             i.      Notice, he addresses God on a “first name basis” with no adjectives—giving the impression of equality.

                                                           ii.      He doesn’t thank God for “making him not like other men”; that is something he takes credit for himself.

                                                        iii.      He just thanks God that he is not like other men.

                                                         iv.      Robbers, evildoers adulterers like the Tax Collector.

    1. “I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get”.

                                                             i.      Pharisees fasted on Thursdays during daylight hours.

                                                           ii.      This one brags that he fasts twice as much!  So he is twice as good.

                                                        iii.      I tithe—making reference that the Tax Collector does not tithe.

    1. Pharisee certainly thinks highly of himself:

                                                             i.      The “I am” in verse 11 maybe a hint that he considers himself God, for “I am”  was considered God’s name.

    1. He prays standing, in front, to be seen and heard by everyone.

 

  1. THE TAX COLLECTOR STOOD AT A DISTANCE:
    1. Imagine the stir his being in the Temple caused.
    2. He tried to hide himself because of his shame.
    3. He refuses to look up towards God but in the shameful position, prays.
    4. He also uses “God” alone to start the prayer:

                                                             i.      I think for opposite reasons than the Pharisee.

                                                           ii.      He does it because God is not his God and he has no right to address him any other way.

    1. “God, have mercy on me the sinner”:

                                                             i.      In Greek it is “the” and not “a” sinner.

                                                           ii.      He recognizes his sinfulness—he knows his situation.

                                                        iii.      He knows that he is not right with God and all the consequences that go with it.

    1. He beats his breast in anguish and pain at the shame he is feeling.
    2. He knows he cannot make things right with God and he simply cries out for God’s mercy as a last resort.

 

 

  1. TWO MEN WENT HOME FROM THE TEMPLE THAT DAY:
    1. One was right with God; the other one wasn’t.
    2. One was now a good man, the other one wasn’t.
    3. One going to heaven, the other going to hell.
    4. One now a child of God, the other one a child of the devil.

 

  1. BUT THE ORDER IS REVERSED:
    1. The Tax Collector is the righteous one now.
    2. The Pharisee is the one going to hell.

 

 

  1. WHO DO WE IDENTIFY WITH IN THE STORY?
    1. Some with the tax Collector:

                                                             i.      Many a child has gone astray and found forgiveness with God.

                                                           ii.      Many of us have come home to the Father’s love.

    1. Most of us, however, had better watch the Pharisee!

                                                             i.      He thought he was saved—everyone thought he was!

                                                           ii.      He thought he was a good man, everyone thought it.

                                                        iii.      He was very religious—Church was everything for him.

                                                         iv.      His life revolved around Church and God.

                                                           v.      You might say that he was raised in Church!

    1. But his heart was never changed—he was never saved.

                                                             i.      He was still as selfish as ever—maybe more so.

                                                           ii.      He used his religion to hide his selfishness.

    1. He did all the right things for all the wrong reasons.

                                                             i.      He did everything for himself—his own personal glory.

                                                           ii.      He was “confident of his own righteousness” (verse 9).

                                                        iii.      He did and said the right things but never for God or for others.

                                                         iv.      All was always for himself.

 

  1. PAUL SAID TO WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING.
    1. Paul also said that he had to watch so that after he had helped save so many that he not lose out himself.
    2. We need to look at what we do and why we do it. 
    3. Why do we do what we do?  For us or for God and others.
    4. Everyone we think is in Church is not in the Church!
    5. Only those whose hearts are right with God; those who have been forgiven by grace and washed in the blood of the Lamb.
    6. Only those whose hearts have been changed by God’s Spirit.