This is the story of two men who prayed. Undoubtedly many have read or at least heard of this story. So why did I title this sermon Am I a Whitewashed Christian? Well first, let me ask this, what is a Christian? A Christian is one who follows Christ and has taken on the instructions, directions, guidance, and characteristics that Christ gave to us. Secondly. what is whitewashed? It is a concealment or covering of flaws, failures, blemishes, or unpleasant facts.
The Pharisee did not enter into the Temple to appeal to God yet to report to all inside earshot about how great he was. The tax collector went in perceiving his transgression and was asking for leniency, he begged for mercy. Self-righteousness is perilous. It prompts pride and makes an individual loathe others and keeps the individual from taking in and learning anything from God. The tax collector’s petition ought to be our supplication since we as a whole need God's benevolence consistently. Try not to let our accomplishments and achievements cause pride to enter in and cut us off from God.
In verses 11-12:
The Pharisee was proud of himself – (I am not as other men are) (look at what I am not). The Pharisee professed of himself and proclaimed of his possessions – (I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all I possess) (look at what I do, look at what I have).
Basically stating, the Pharisee was self-righteous, he was sanctimonious, and he was spurious (fake).
Every individual is responsible to Christ, not to other people. Commonly some Christians base their ethical decisions on assessment, individual aversions, or social inclination instead of the Word of God. Dislike the sin, not the sinner.
A few people, particularly the religious leaders, needed to be viewed as heavenly and holy, and public petition was one approach to stand out enough to be noticed. Jesus saw through their pretentious demonstrations and instructed that the quintessence of prayer is definitely not a public style yet private correspondence with God. There is a spot for public petition, however, to supplicate just where others will see you means that your genuine crowd is not God.
In verse 13:
Here the Publican realized his place (standing afar off). He realized his position (would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven) (for he was lowly). He realized is penitence (God be merciful to me a sinner).
The Publican was separated, he was sincere, and he sought salvation.
Jesus tested society's standards. As far as he might was concerned, a good reputation comes from serving and giving of yourself to help God and others. Service keeps us mindful of other people's needs, and it prevents us from zeroing in just on ourselves. Jesus came to earth as a servant. What sort of significance do we look for? Can we not see that the Pharisee had a ‘whitewash’ on himself so that he would ‘look’ appealing to other people?
Lack the ability to receive correction?
Prayer life mechanical?
Critical of the Holy Spirit?
Too busy polishing our lamp that we cannot be a light to some soul?
Whom are we attempting to impress? Maybe rather than focusing on glory, we should search for where we can serve. When God wants us to serve on a more extensive scale, he will welcome us to assume a higher position.
Pride makes us narcissistic and leads us to assume that we merit more than what we have. It creates a greedy appetite for far more than we need. By humbling ourselves before God, we can liberate ourselves from being self-serving.
We frequently stress over our position and status, trusting we will get legitimate acknowledgment for what we do. Peter encourages us to recall that God's acknowledgment tallies more than human applause. God is capable and able to favor us as per his own timing and planning. Comply and obey God and pay little heed to current conditions. God, in his own good time, either in this life or the following, he will lift us up.
So, I must ask:
Church Hymnal, page 357, “Is Thy Heart Right With God”
Have thy affections been nailed to the cross?
Is thy heart right with God?
Dost thou count all things for Jesus but loss?
Is thy heart right with God?
Is thy heart right with God,
Washed in the crimson flood,
Cleansed and made holy, humble, and lowly,
Right in the sight of God?
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