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Summary: The value of positive spiritual outlook

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The Power of Positives

Luke 18.9-14

October 12, 1997

Morning Service

Introduction

I. The story of the baker and the girl: a wealthy baker got 20 of the poorest children and gave them each a loaf of bread every day, the children fought over who would get the largest loaf, one little girl waited and for everyone else to finish fighting, she got the smallest loaf, kissed the baker and went home, her mother was surprised to find several silver pieces inside the loaf, the next day the children returned, the little girl also returned with the money, the baker responded that no mistake was made, he put the coins in the smallest loaf as a reward

II. Attitude plays a large role in life: We rise and fall by our attitude, attitude can thrill or it can kill, attitude can allow us to rise above trouble or it can magnify problems, good attitude is a blessing from God, bad attitude is a curse from hell, attitude makes us or breaks us

III. Attitude toward God: Our attitude toward God reveals our heart, we can be humble and grateful before God or we can be selfish and boastful before God, Jesus tells us a story about attitude and its results

Body

I. The Setting

A. Who is Jesus speaking to?: Large group of religious leaders, most likely Pharisees, scribes and teachers of the law, these were people who regarded themselves as being righteous, most likely self righteous, they looked down on other people, they believed that they were better than anyone else

B. Why is this important? Nature of the teaching, centered on the aspect of justification and righteousness, this was key to the story and the message, no one is righteous outside of God, we have grace as a gift, self righteousness is taking that gift for granted

C. The Temple: This was the most sacred place in Israel, a point where people could come to be with God, Jewish beliefs and customs had various hours of prayer, at the time that Jesus mentions two people were at the temple the Pharisee and the tax collector

II. The Pharisee

A. The aspect of prayer: Pharisee used the prayer for selfish purpose, self centered and self absorbed, prayer was chance to exalt self, self righteous because of attitude,

1. Outward Appearances: The Pharisee shows his outward goodness because of how he was not - robber, adulterer or tax collector, there is nothing about a relationship, does not talk with God but boasts about the self,

2. Personal Piety: Fasting twice per week - above and beyond Jewish Law, tithes on all income - some income was exempt by the Law, exceptional piety, wrong motivations, knew alot about God but did not know God

B. The attitude behind the prayer: Better than others because of what he was not, he was extremely pious, he was not a wicked person on the outside, he was foolish and selfish which truly made him wicked, totally selfish and self centered focus

III. The Tax Collector

A. The aspect of prayer: The tax collector is conscious of the fact that he has sinned, he knew the fact that he needed God’s forgiveness and mercy, he pleaded with God and confessed his sin, no claim to the goodness of God, the nature of true repentance is being God centered rather than self centered,

B. The attitude behind the prayer: The tax collector knows that he is wrong and guilty, he falls before a holy God and begs forgiveness, he shows his true repentance and contrition, he reveals his humility and change of heart,

IV. The Problem Presented

A. Contrast of prayers: There is a sharp contrast between the prayers, Pharisee was extremely religious, righteous in action and piety, selfish in the heart, Tax collector was sinner, sinful in many ways - contrite in heart, he made the change, the result is the key difference - one was forgiven while the other was not

B. The Attitude makes the difference: The nature of the heart makes the difference, Pharisee - regarded as righteous by the society and the self was not regarded by God, he was not in right relationship and did not recognize the problem, he was fully and wholly self righteous, Tax Collector - hated and dispised by the society and hated himself, he left the temple justifies before God, he humbled himself and fell at the feet of a holy God, attitude saves the soul - humility leads us to God, no one is too good to go to God,

Application

I. The Self Righteous

A. Outward Appearances: They look good, don’t do this or that, we go through the formalities, we come to church - does not make you Christian or Christ like, relationship with Jesus makes us Christlike, not like those sinners, we are the good people, right in the eyes of God,

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