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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
February 18, 2018
Persistence and Humility in Prayer
In our last study of Luke 17:20-37, Jesus had answered a question of the Pharisees concerning when the kingdom of God was coming, and then He turned His attention to His disciples and expanded on that same subject. In short, Jesus told the Pharisees that the kingdom of God would not be seen by the signs they were expecting, yet it was presently existing among them. Jesus the king was standing in front of them and He had His subjects around Him, but this form of the kingdom was spiritual in nature instead of physical. As Jesus told Pilate in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.” That kingdom that has continued to this day manifested on earth by we who are Jesus’ disciples. However, we do not constitute a physical kingdom at present. We are a spiritual kingdom whose “citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
Jesus then went on to explain that there will be a future physical kingdom that will be as obvious as lightning flashing from one end of the sky to the other. For that reason they should not pay any attention to those claiming it to be already present someplace. They will definitely know when it arrives. He also warned it would come suddenly while people were going about their normal activities of life indifferent to the warnings given to them. (See: The Coming of the Kingdom of God)
Luke’s transition to chapter 8 is with a connective particle (dev / de) variously translated as “now,” “and,” “but, ” “then.” So there is some uncertainty about whether His telling of the two parables in chapter 8 occurred right then with the disciples and Pharisees still present or later with different people present. However, the content of what Jesus says strongly indicates He told these parables then or shortly thereafter and that not only were His followers present, but also some who matched the character of most of the Pharisees Jesus’ encountered. The first parable concerns persistence in prayer as they wait for the coming kingdom.
Persistence in Prayer – Luke 18:1-8
1 Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, 2 saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. 3 “There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ 4 “For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? 8 “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
As with all of Jesus’ parables, this is a story that could be true or a hypothetical tale that could be true. Luke points out specifically that the purpose of this parable was “to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” Why would such encouragement be needed? For a couple of reasons. First, because patience is a virtue that humans must develop. Perhaps much worse in our media driven society, we want resolution to our problems quickly. We get frustrated and discouraged when what we desire is delayed, and the longer the delay, the greater the frustration and discouragement. This can be even greater when what is desired is the righting of a wrong that has been suffered as in the case presented in this parable.
The Quest for Justice: The righteous properly desire for justice to be done. Proverbs 21:15 states, ” The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, But is terror to the workers of iniquity.” Several Psalms express the frustration of seeing justice delayed or absent from the human point of view. An example of this is Psalm 94 which petitions God to intervene asking, “How long shall the wicked, O Lord, How long shall the wicked exult?” It then details the actions of the wicked before recounting the character of God and hope in His future relief of the righteous and judgment of the wicked. In Revelation 6:10 those martyred during the first part of the Tribulation period cry out, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth.” Anyone who has suffered at the hands of the unrighteous desires justice to be done and finds it frustrating for it to be postponed.
That is the situation in this parable for this widow. Her demand of the judge is for ejkdikevw / ekdike which carries the idea of “punish,” “avenge,” and in a legal application, “to get justice,” which is its meaning here. She has been wronged and is seeking the legal remedy. Scripture is clear that we are not so seek our own vengeance. Leviticus 19:18 commands, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” Proverbs 24:29 states, Do not say, “Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.” Romans 12:19 directs us, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” This widow is doing the right thing.
The Widow: While the actions of the widow were righteous, she was in a vulnerable position and did not have any other option. The courts were the domain of men, so the fact that this widow is the one pleading her case before the judge reveals that she is without any male relative to help otherwise a son, a brother or some near male relative would do this for her. She has no protector that could put pressure on the judge if that was even possible. There is a sense of desperation seen in her actions noted in verse 5 of continually coming before the judge. This would indicate either her righteous character, or that she also had no means by which to bribe the judge, or both. Her only hope was to continue to plead her case.
The Judge: Jesus tells this parable to teach the lesson from the point of the lesser to the greater. If the point is true for the lesser, then it is much more true of the greater. That is why the character of this judge is a central part of the parable. Described here as not fearing God or respecting man, he was a judge that would do whatever he wanted. In not fearing God, he would have no compelling interest in doing what was right. Good and bad to him would be according to his own whim. In not fearing man, he would have no compelling interest in following the law nor would he bend to pressure from others. He was a law unto himself. In short, he was a bad man and would be expected to be an unjust judge.
The Reward of Persistence: This widow is coming before a judge whose only moral compass is himself. This is not a judge from whom she could have any reasonable expectation of justice, yet she is persistent anyway. That persistence results in the judge finally granting her request. This was not because of either compassion or a compelling interest in doing what was right, but simply because, in the judge’s own words, “she will wear me out.” An interesting word is used here (uJpwpiavzw / hup piaz ) that literally means to “strike under the eye.” This is used in a metaphorical sense since the judge would not have been afraid of being physically assaulted by her. The ESV captures the idea translating this as “so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.”
The Comparison: Jesus then makes the comparison between the lesser, the unrighteous judge, and the greater, our righteous God in verses 6 & 7. If the unrighteous judge will grant justice because of the persistence of this widow, then how much more so will the righteous God bring about justice, and the word here (ejkdivkhsiV / ekdik sis) also carries the idea of retribution, on behalf of “His elect who cry to Him day and night.” As Jesus states in verse 8, “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.”
Again, the point of the parable is to “show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” If the widow could be persistent with the unjust judge, then surely we have much more incentive to be encouraged and persist in our prayers to our righteous God. Yet, the parable was needed because God acts in His own timing and not ours.
Preparing for the Future: Notice in verse 7 that Jesus adds, “and will He delay long over them?” In verses 8 Jesus states justice will come “quickly.” He also adds a lament that indicates the timing of this, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” The full measure of this promised justice is tied to the return of the Son of Man which was the subject of what Jesus had just taught in Luke 7:22-37 which describe conditions that make it questionable if the Son of Man will find faith on the earth at His return. At present, that delay is nearly two thousand years, which is a long time to us, but is not long in God’s timing. Moses describes the transitoriness of man and eternity of God in Psalm 90 and states in verse 4,“for a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.” Jesus told this parable to His followers because their expectation of the coming of the Son of Man and the physical kingdom He would set up is that it would be an unprecedented time of peace, prosperity and justice with righteousness reigning over the earth. That is the description given by the Hebrew prophets of what is to come. However, Jesus was preparing them for the period in which they would live, and in which we still live, in which that kingdom is still future and our present experience on earth will be one of tribulation in which the righteous will be persecuted. That should be our expectation until Jesus returns. Consider these teachings of Jesus.
Matthew 5:10–12, 10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
John 15:19–20, 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
A large portion of 1 Peter is about how to properly respond to persecution. Paul adds this summary in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Then there is the persecution and martyrdom to followers of Christ that will occur during the Tribulation period described in the gospels and Revelation.
The point of Jesus’ parable was to prepare them for what was to come. He wanted to encourage them to be persistent to pray and not lose heart even when life became hard and they suffered injustice, persecution and even martyrdom. They may not experience the kingdom of God in their lifetime as they had hoped, but the Son of Man will return as promised and all the prophecies will be fulfilled. There is a future time when there will be justice and righteousness will reign on the earth. Until then, we take comfort in two things.
First, justice that is delayed on this earth in this life time will be carried out when God judges after death. That was the hope expressed by the Psalmists and is the reality described in Revelation 20.
Second, despite the suffering we may endure, we must recognize that each day that Jesus tarries is another day demonstrating God’s patience, which 2 Peter 3:15 tells us we are to regard as salvation. It is another day in which the gospel can be preached bringing people to conviction of their sin, repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Humility in Prayer– Luke 18:9-14
It was either at that same time that Jesus tells another parable either to the same group of people with whom He had just been talking, or shortly thereafter to another group of people. Luke 18:9 makes it clear to whom this parable was directed and its purpose. 9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt.“
The Pharisees: That description fits the Pharisees very well and even more so the particular Pharisee described in the parable. There were notable exceptions such as Nicodemus, but the Pharisees were characterized by such pride and self-righteousness. Paul’s description of himself prior to salvation gives an idea of it. Paul said that not only had he been a Pharisee, but he was the son of Pharisees (Acts 23:6), and that it was the strictest sect of Judaism (Acts 26:5). He had prided himself on his diligence in keeping their traditions claiming in Philippians 3:5-6 that according to the righteousness in the Law according to that sect, he was found blameless. The Pharisees prided themselves on their genealogical heritage, being disciples of Moses with traditions that fulfilled the requirements of the Law, and being fastidious in keeping those traditions. The result was arrogant self-righteousness. They considered others to be inferior and were often intimidating as demonstrated in John 9 by their treatment of the man born blind that had been healed by Jesus. If you did not agree with them or meet their standards, they considered you to be an irredeemable sinner.
Those qualities were often exhibited by the Pharisees in the encounters that Jesus had with them and the major source of the conflicts between them. They insisted that their traditions were superior and best way to understand the law of Moses, and they rejected Jesus’ clear explanations of the Scriptures. The result was that they were forced to deny the miracles Jesus did in front of them or attribute them to the power of Beelzebul (Satan).
Pharisees could often be found in the Temple fulfilling the rituals of their traditions. No doubt for some it was from a sincere desire to be close to the presence of God and petition Him. They were zealous for the law and God, but sadly, it was without knowledge (Romans 10:2). Their traditions blinded them to what God had revealed in the Scriptures about what He desires from man, how to receive His forgiveness of sins, and how to walk in righteousness with Him.
Those of you who have had to interact with Hasidic Jews will understand this description. Some are very nice, kind and thoughtful, but a large portion fit the description here of “people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt.” But then, that can also be true of people who follow many other sects or religions including those that claim to be following Biblical Christianity. You name the group, and you can find people in them that fit this description. Pride and self-righteousness are cancers that can eat at the souls of even those that profess orthodox Christian theology. Please understand that mere intellectual assent does not redeem the soul. A profession of faith that is not joined with humility demonstrated in the fruit of repentance from sin is a dangerous position that may well leave you hearing Jesus say to you what He does in Matthew 7:23 to those who falsely thought they were serving Him, “I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
The Tax-collectors: The tax collector was the opposite extreme of the Pharisee. Tax collectors, also referred to as publicans, were considered to be among the worst of sinners. Their place in Jewish society was equated with Gentiles, gluttons, drunkards, prostitutes and sinners. They were considered to be traitors to the nation since they collected taxes for Rome, the nation that had conquered them and was oppressing them. The open disdain they received from the rest of Jewish society was a constant reminder that they were considered to be great sinners. Most of them did not care, or at least they did not openly show that this bothered them, because their occupation made them rich.
Praying in the Temple: Jesus begins the parable, 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.” That is fitting because the Temple was to be a house of prayer for all nations (Mark 11:17; Isaiah 56:7). It was a place for both the righteous and unrighteous demonstrated by the fact that both offerings of fellowship and sacrifices for sin and guilt were to be made there (Leviticus 1-7). Much of Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple in 1 Kings 8 concerned imploring God to hear the prayer of the sinner offered either in that place or toward that place if in a distant land. Though Pharisees could regularly be found at the Temple, and though it would have been unusual, it was just as fitting that this tax collector was also going there to pray.
A Proud & Self-righteous Pharisee – Luke 18:11-12. 11 “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself.” There is nothing unusual in this Pharisee assuming a standing position to pray. Of the three common positions of praying, standing, kneeling and laying prostrate when under great conviction or emotional duress, standing is the most common. Usually this was done with hands and eyes lifted up (Psalm 123:1; 141:2). You might think of a young child getting his father’s attention and making a request to him. However, this Pharisee’s prayer was an exercise in self-righteousness, so that would not have been his attitude.
The NKJV translates this as “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself.” I like that because as we analyze the prayer, it is easy to see the reality that he is only speaking to himself and not God. The only time the Pharisee even refers to God is in the opening phrase, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men.” Perhaps someone might want to give this man the benefit of the doubt that he was expressing gratitude that God had kept him from descending down into the pit of sin, but that is not the tenor of the prayer. The emphasis throughout the prayer is on himself. This is a boast about himself and not thankfulness for God’s mercy and grace upon him otherwise he would have mentioned those. The statement of thankfulness appears to be more perfunctory adherence to form than actual gratitude.
The first listing of his credentials is that he is not like the sinners of society. He begins with not being among the a’rpageV / harpages. Someone that “carries off the possessions of another by force” or “violently greedy” (Louw-Nida). A fitting description of a robber, an extortioner or swindler. Though it should be noted that Jesus used this word to describe the false prophets in Matthew 7:15. It also should be noted that in Matthew 23:14 Jesus specifically criticizes the Pharisees “because you devour widows’ houses.”
He next lists that he is not among the a[dikoi / adikoi. Someone that is unjust or unrighteous. Though it must be noted that Jesus is telling this parable to those that were self-righteous and it is unrighteous to be self-righteous. In addition, the actions of the Pharisees toward Jesus were often unjust including false accusations.
Third on his list is that he is not among the moicoij / moichoi. Those who commit adultery. Though it must be noted that Jesus specifically challenges the common understanding of the Pharisees concerning adultery in Matthew 5:27-28, 31-32 stating that looking on a woman to lust after her was adultery of the heart, and that their practice of easy divorce resulted in them committing adultery and forcing their ex-wife to commit adultery if she remarried.
The Pharisee claims himself to be unlike those who where guilty of these sins, and by the self-righteous standards of his sect, he was not. However, by God’s standard as explained by Jesus in other passages, he most likely was guilty of swindling widows, being unjust, and committing adultery.
He was not guilty of being among the fourth group of people he mentions, tax-gatherers, but he states this with utter disdain for the tax collector that had also come into the temple – “or even like this tax collector.” No, he was not collecting taxes for Rome, but he would not have had any problem in using his prestige as a Pharisee to exploit others for his own gain.
Leon Morris cites this prayer from the Talmud (Berakhoth 28b, Soncino translation) that expresses a similar prayer said in pride. “I give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, that Thou has set my portion with those who sit in the Beth ha-Midrash (House of learning) and Thou has not set my portion with those who sit in (street) corners, for I rise early and they rise early, but I rise early for words of Torah and they rise early for frivolous talk; I labour and they labour, but I labour and receive a reward and they labour and do not receive a reward; I run and they run, but I run to the life of the future world and they run to the pit of destruction.”
The Pharisee then goes on in verse 12 to brag about his positive attributes. “I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.”
The only fast required in the Mosaic Law was that related to the Day of Atonement. In Leviticus 16:29-31; 23:26-32, they were commanded to “humble themselves (NASB),” or “afflict themselves (NKJV, ESV).” The word used refers to self-denial which could include food, contact with the opposite sex, using oils or lotions for the skin, or even wearing sandals. All other fasts were voluntary and usually associated with things such as mourning, repentance, seeking divine deliverance or intense prayer. There is nothing wrong with such voluntary fasting if the purpose is proper. The common practice of the Pharisees was to fast on Mondays and Thursdays, and as Jesus points out in Matthew 6:16, their purpose was to be seen by others.
This man brags that he pays tithes on all that he gets. That was beyond the required tithes of the Mosaic Law. Deuteronomy 14 records they were to tithe of their crops and fruits, but the Pharisees went beyond that to also tithe herbs and spices (Matthew 23:23). That would be a fine to do if the heart was right, but they did it while neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness. Their purpose was a work of self-righteousness.
A Humble Tax-collector – Luke 18:13
The tax collector has the opposite attitude of the Pharisee which is first noticeable in his actions. 13 “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying,”
First, this man moves off to a more distant location to be by himself and not be heard by others. The Pharisees sought to attract the attention of others, and this man sought to do the opposite.
Second, this man is unwilling to lift his eyes to heaven. That is a sign of shame and would have been done with a bowed head (Isaiah 58:5). He did not consider himself worthy to even look up to God.
Third, he continues to beat his breast when speaking. This is an action of deep contrition, of great emotional anguish. This same action is recorded as occurring among the crowd as they were leaving after having seen Jesus be crucified.
The humility of this man is then expressed in a simple, but desperate plea. “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” There is no pretense in this as in the Pharisee’s prayer. He is petitioning God because God is the only one that can bring about what he needs. The word for merciful here, ijlavskomai / hilaskomai, is not the usual word used and translated as mercy. This is an intense word also translated as propitiation and is a plea for mercy and compassion to take action in an act of kindness to relieve the difficulty despite the moral offense they have committed. This is solidified by the man calling himself “the sinner” and not just “a sinner.” He is overwhelmed with his guilt before God and pleading for Him to take an action that will relieve him of that guilt. He knows he deserves God’s wrath for his sins, so he is begging God to turn that wrath away from him.
Justification: Jesus’ contrasts these two men and the results of their prayers in verse 14. “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The tax collector’s prayer was simple, but it was humble and sincere. Jesus states he went to his house justified. God acted according to Psalm 138:6 regarding the lowly and Proverbs 3:34 in giving grace to the afflicted. He was justified because it is a matter of faith just as it was for Abraham in Genesis 15:6 and quoted in many other passages, “then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Jesus states that those who humble themselves will be exalted, for only the humble receive God’s grace (1 Peter 5:5).
The Pharisee was not justified despite all his self-righteousness. He did not take to heart Isaiah 64:6 that “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” before our holy God. He ignored the many Scriptures that warn about the pride of man and its consequences. Your pedigree, your position, your production of good works and your piety are nothing before God. As John 1:12-13 explains, you cannot become a child of God by blood line, by your will or the will of others, but only by the will of God and by believing on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Titus 3:5 explains, salvation does not come on the basis of any deeds of righteousness which you have done. It only comes according to God’s mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. God opposes the proud (James 4:6), so this Pharisee left in the same lost state as he arrived, and actually worse, because he was self-deceived to think he was righteous and in God’s favor. Jesus warned that those who exalt themselves will be humbled. It will either be in this life in which there is then hope of repentance and salvation, or it will be after death when standing before God’s throne of judgment. It will then be too late.
Conclusion: Take heed to the warning of this passage. If you have not already done so, today is the day to humble yourself. The tax collector pleaded for mercy, a propitiation. That is exactly what Jesus Christ has done for you. He has paid the price of God’s wrath upon sin by dying in your place on the cross of calvary so that God’s wrath is averted and you can receive His mercy by faith in Him. You can only be saved by God’s grace through the justification that is granted to you by faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The humble walk with God. The proud walk in self-righteousness.
Sermon Notes – 2/18/2018
Persistence and Humility in Prayer: Luke 18:1-14
The kingdom of God is present in a hidden ____________ kingdom.
In the future there it will be a ____________ , physical kingdom when the Son of Man returns.
Jesus could be talking to a different group, but the content suggests it is the __________ one
Persistence in Prayer – Luke 18:1-8
The purpose of this parable is to show the need to be ____________in prayer and not lose heart
The Quest for Justice: The righteous desire justice and can be frustrated when it is _____________(Ps. 94)
The Widow is in a ______________position without a protector
The Judge does not fear God or respect man – a bad man who would be expected to be an __________judge
The Reward of Persistence: the judge grants justice only because he doesn’t want to be “_____________”
The Comparison is from the lesser to the greater – if this judge does this, then imagine what ______will do
If this widow can be persistent, then we have even ___________incentive to be persistent is prayer to God
Preparing for the Future: The delay will be until the Son of Man ____________ (cf. Luke 7:22-37)
God’s timing and our timing are not the same for we are _____________ and He is eternal (Psalm 90)
We should __________persecution and tribulation until Jesus returns – Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:19-20; 16:33
Jesus wants us be persistent and not lose heart as we ____________ for His return and coming kingdom
Justice delayed on this earth will still be carried out in God’s judgment of the wicked in the ______- Rev. 20
Regard God’s _____________in the present as salvation – it gives more time for others to repent & be saved
Humility in Prayer – Luke 18:9-14
The parable is directed as those who trusted in themselves as righteous and viewed others with __________
The Pharisees fit that description of self-righteous and _________of their pedigree, theology and traditions
These qualities caused them to be in conflict with Jesus and __________the miracles He did in front of them
Pharisees were zealous for the Law and God, but without knowledge & ____________by their traditions
Nearly every group will have proud and self-righteous people ____________ them – some even more so
The Tax-collectors (publicans) were considered among the worst of sinners and ___________ to the nation
A Proud & Self-righteous Pharisee – Luke 18:11-12 – He __________praying, a normal posture for prayer
He “prayed thus to himself” – his focus was on _____________, not on God
He was not a “_____,” – except false prophets were & Pharisees devoured widow’s houses (Mt. 7:15; 23:14)
He was not “unrighteous” – except Pharisees were __________even making false accusations against Jesus
He was not an “adulterer” – except he probably was by ____________ standard – Matt. 5:27-28, 31-32
He indeed was not a “tax collector” – but Pharisees often ______________others for their own benefit
He fasted more than required by the Mosaic Law, but Pharisees did it _____________by others (Matt. 6:16)
He tithed more than required by the Mosaic Law, but Pharisees did it while ____________justice and mercy
A Humble Tax-collector – Luke 18:13. He has the opposite _____________of the Pharisee
He does not want to be heard or attract the _______________of others and moves away by himself
He is unwilling to lift his eyes to heaven – a sign of ___________ and humility – Isaiah 58:5
He is beating his breast – an action of deep _____________ or great emotional anguish
He pleas for God to be merciful – , ijlavskomai / hilaskomai – provide _________________
Justification – the tax collector left ______________, the Pharisee did not
Justification arises from God granting grace to the humble and reckoning their _________as righteousness
The Pharisee was ________________ disregarding Isaiah 64:6
Salvation comes only by God’s __________through faith, and not by pedigree, position, production or piety
Conclusion: heed the warning and ____________ yourself before God to believe and walk with Him
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times a reference is made to “prayer” and to “Pharisees” 2) Discuss with your parents the need to be persistent and humble in your prayers.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What is the context of Luke 18:1-14? How is it related to the passage prior to it? What is the purpose of the parable in Luke 18:1-8? Why do the righteous want justice? What is the danger of the unrighteous wanting justice? What emotions are experienced when justice is delayed? What does the widow want from the judge? What was the widow’s situation? What was the judge like in character? What was the result of the widow’s persistence? How does Jesus use this parable to teach persistence in prayer and to not lose heart? How does the lament at the end of verse 8 tie this parable to the previous passage? Jesus says He will bring about justice speedily, how then can we understand the long delay that has already occurred as we wait for His coming? What should Christians expect while we wait for Jesus’ return? What sources of comfort belong to the Christian in the midst of present injustice while we wait for the kingdom to come? What were the general characteristics of the Pharisees? What was their view of the Law of Moses? of Traditions? of attaining righteousness? of Jesus? How did their traditions blind them to the teaching and miracles of Jesus? Describe your experience with people in various religious groups that demonstrated pride and arrogance? What was the general Jewish view of tax collectors? Why? What was the purpose of the temple in relationship to praying? Was the Pharisee actually thankful to God? Why or why not? The Pharisee brags that he was not like robbers, the unjust, adulterers or the tax collector nearby? In what ways were the Pharisees guilty of each of the same (kinds of) sins as these groups? Why does the Pharisee brag about his fasting and tithing habits? What was wrong with his practices? In what ways does the tax collector demonstrate his humility by his position, stance and physical actions? How does the tax collector demonstrate his repentance by his prayer? How does he view himself? What is he asking God to do? Why does the tax collector go home justified while the Pharisee does not? What is the basis for being justified before God? Are you? If not, what needs to change? How will you become justified? Why can’t doing good works such as the Pharisee did result in being righteous before God? Can a person earn their way to heaven? Why or why not? Are you going to heaven?
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