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

-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

-They believed, like I said earlier, that one who devoted themselves to this study could attain to keeping God’s statutes perfectly

-So he came into the temple, it says, praying about himself

-He was telling God just how good he was

-Ever run into somebody like that?

-A story is told about a woman in an airport. She had a “red-eye” flight and it was around midnight. She was tired, but also hungry so she bought a box of cookies. She sat down and opened her hand bag, searching for a book to read. A man sat down next to her and the next thing she knew, he opened the box of cookies and was eating one of them! This upset the woman but she did not want to create a scene. Besides, she thought, “Well, he is only eating one.” But then he took another one. Rather than have a row, the woman simply took one herself. Then he took one and she took another one. This continued until there was only one cookie left. The man picked up the final cookie and said to the woman, “Would you like to split it with me?” She was so furious that she grabbed it out of his hand, took her bag and stormed away. When she got on the plane, she was still fuming. Before she sat down, she reached into her bag to find her book. What she pulled out was the box of cookies which she had bought!

-People are sometimes impressed with people who brag on themselves

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