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Summary: Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

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-Rugged individualism is a highly sought after and much honored trait, especially in America

-Workaholism is one of only a handful of diseases that goes untreated in America

-We love to watch John Wayne or Clint Eastwood westerns

-We love to hear the rags to riches story where the guy who comes from a dirt poor background pulls himself up by his bootstraps and becomes wealthy

-We love to hear stories about people like J. K. Rawling

-However, God is not that interested in self-made men

-He is not impressed with fast burners

-That’s right, God hates people who have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps

-God despises people who have worked their way up the corporate ladder

-That’s what it says in today’s Gospel lesson, well, sort of

-Luke records that Jesus told a parable to “some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else.”

-Many religious leaders in Jesus’ day thought that they were going to get to heaven on their own merits

-They thought that they were keeping the commandments perfectly –

-That is why Jesus reexplained the commandments in His sermon on the mount

-Breaking commandments is not just done outwardly by our actions but also inwardly by our thoughts and desires as well

-It still happens in our culture

-There are many who are confident of their own righteousness

-Jesse Janos served our nation as part of an underwater demolition team during the Vietnam era

-Later, he became Jesse “The Body” Ventura becoming famous as a professional wrestler

-He later became an actor in several Arnold Schwarzenegger movies

-He is probably most famous to the general public as a politician

-He was elected as governor of Minnesota in 1998

-In an interview, he was quoted as saying, “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business.”

-I’ve done a great deal of door-to-door evangelism and talking to people in public plances

-If you were to ask most Americans where they would go when they died

-Most would say heaven

-If you asked them on what basis they made that claim

-Most would say that they are good people

-In fact, even among self-professed Christians, 50% believe that they will go to heaven based on their own good works (Barna Group survey)

-How about you?

-On what basis are you hoping to get to heaven

-Are you trusting in your good deeds for the nation, your family, the people of other countries, stranded motorists to get you to heaven

-The only problem is that Jesus said that the standard for getting into heaven is perfection

-Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

-The prophet Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, “all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”

-How in the world can that happen?

-Let’s look at our text for today!

-Two men come into the temple, the first a Pharisee

-A Pharisee was a member of a Jewish religious sect that spent their time studying, discussing, interpreting, writing about and teaching the Jewish scriptures, what we call the Old Testament


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