Summary: The heart from which we pray is as important as what we pray.
Series: Stories from the Kingdom
Text: Luke 18:9-14
Title: “Our Attitude Means Everything”
I. The Two People (9-10)
• Let’s forget everything we know or perceive when we think about a Pharisee and a tax collector.
o We must try and understand how Jesus’ followers would have understood what He was teaching in order for us to make the application to our own lives.
o Sound hermeneutics: biblical truth biblical context personal application
• A leader in the church (synagogue), much like our Deacons or Sunday school teachers.
• He knew and read his Bible everyday.
• He had a disciplined prayer life (3 times a day).
• He fasted twice a week.
• He attended church (synagogue) faithfully.
• He gave usually between 20 and 30 percent of his income to God.
• He faithfully witnessed to others about God.
Tax Collector (Publican)
• Before we can fully understand the tax collector we must first understand the tax system of the Roman Empire.
• Rome collected 3 kinds of taxes: 1. Land tax 2. Head tax 3. Custom tax
• Custom tax – 3 tier system: Rome, Chief tax collector (Zacchaeus), and a regular tax collector (Matthew).
o The chief tax collector would pay Rome for a certain area or district which gave him the authority to collect taxes there.
o He in turn would lease a particular location within that district to a tax collector (trade routes, city gates, ports).
• He was greedy and dishonest (able to set his own value on goods he taxed)
• Not only did he not go to church (synagogue) very often but he was often excluded from it as well as other social functions.
• He was viewed as a traitor who not only worked for the enemy but robbed his own people at the same time.
II. The Two Prayers (11-13)
Prayer of the Pharisee
• The Pharisee had a heart that was self righteous (vs. 9).
o A self righteous heart says I will exalt myself by pointing to how bad others are around me.
Proverbs 20:6 -- 6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness,
o We are all guilty of doing this I’m not as lazy as…, my kids are not as bad as…, I am not as (fill in the blank).
o All that may be true but it doesn’t change the fact that you are lazy or that your kids are bad.
• The Pharisee’s attitude was that he was thankful that he was not a bad of a sinner like the tax collector.
o The fact still remained that he was still a sinner.
o We like to qualify sin, good sin, bad sin, really bad sin, but God just sees sin.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NKJV)
20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.
o In the Pharisee’s prayer we see no confession, no petition, and no acknowledgment of guilt just boasting in the face of God.
• So the cure for a self righteous heart is seeing ourselves as God see us.
1 Corinthians 15:9-10 -- 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.