Summary: how to go home right in the sight of God
Intro: Luke 18:9-14
Going Home Justified
v.9-Jesus told this story to a group that trusted in self righteousness and despised other people.
If you want to leave the house without the forgiveness of Christ, leave with this attitude.
What is this attitude: the parable explains
v. 11 a standing prayer—now there is really nothing wrong with standing while praying, but this is a standing prayer—it reeks with pride, it seems to be a prayer that needs to be seen and wants to be heard. It probably is an eloquent prayer with big words that impress others but won’t reach God.
V .11b-he prayed to himself—it wasn’t like the prayer was one of soul searching or God finding, it was a self absorbed type of prayer, not really concerned about anyone or anything, just a since I happen to be hear type prayer.
v. 11c-here’s where it goes from bad to worse-the prayer isn’t about the need of sins being forgiven or confession of weaknesses in the flesh, but a reciting of the song oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way. Now the Spiritual giant catches in his view this low down good for nothing sinner, the publican, and thanks God that he wasn’t like this tax collecting trashman that didn’t really belong in the house of God.
v.12 of course no prayer is really complete without mentioning to God how lucky God is that you have given your money to Him and done your religious duties.
Jesus gives the verdict that this man’s prayer is unacceptable, this man’s attitude is unacceptable, and this man left the way he walked in unjustified, unforgiven, still lost in sin.
v.13 the story continues with the prayer of the publican—he didn’t even feel worthy to come all the way up to the altar area, and wouldn’t lift his eyes toward heaven.
Have you been there before, isn’t it a beautiful place, where you are broken, where you realize your need of God, you realize how Holy He is, and only Amazing Grace can save the soul.
v.13b- smote his breast—Matthew Henry says the heaviness of sin weighed on this man’s heart and this was an acknowledgement to God of how hard the weight of guilt had become and an earnest sign of the need for relief of the guilt and pain.
v. 13c- God be merciful to me a sinner—not a theological prayer, not an eloquent prayer, but definitely a heard prayer, an answered prayer and a forgiven sinner.
Mercy rewrote his life, the sinner had now come home.
v.14—the rest of the story—Jesus gives us the reason one leaves the house unjustified, the other justified. With God, the ones that exalt themselves are abased, but those that are humble will be exalted.
Close: years ago a man had a dream that he didn’t understand. He was in a room with shelves from the floor up to the ceiling. On the higher shelves were blocks of wood, bales of hay and jars of stubble. On the lower shelves were gold, silver and precious stones. He asked God why was this so? God explained that the things of greatest value will only be found on your knees.