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August 8, 2022 8:00 am
Jesus takes that common mindset and turns it completely upside down. As we will see and to set that in motion. He contrasts a Pharisee with a tax collector in order to change the thinking of those who trusted in their own righteousness. Is there a right way and a wrong way to celebrate serve communion hello and welcome to the truth pulpit with Don green founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio hi Bill today as he continues teaching God's people.
God will show you what it means to approach the Lord's table in a biblically accurate way done as you begin this new series titled declared righteous going to kick things off with a look at having our hearts in the right place during communion about some more about that.
Thanks, Bill. You know my friend the most important question in all of life is are you right with God. Have your sins been pardoned.
Does God accept you as righteous in his sight. That's the most important question of all of life because the Bible says it is destined for men to die once and after this comes judgment, and you want to be safe my friend on Judgment Day today in this broadcast returning to Luke 18 to see the contrast between a proud man of religion and a guilty sinner who asks for mercy. Stay with us today on the truth pulpit very, very good, thanks to a friend. Let's join our teacher now for part one of a message called Jesus and justification here on the truthful, what were going to do is were going to turn to a particular passage to set us with the right mindset the right disposition for a time of sharing with Christ at his table because this truly is the table of the Lord, that we are about to share in it belongs to him. He appointed it.
It's a remembrance of him.
It's not the table of truth Community Church is certainly not my table God for bid, but this is a table of the Lord, to which he invites his disciples his followers to Cherian in a grateful remembrance of him and one of the ways. One of the marks of a right and proper heart disposition in taking the elements of communion is that they would be taken with a sense of humility, a sense of bowing low in worship before the Christ who saved us remembering that we come not in our own merit, but actually we are remembering and confessing as we take communion that we do not deserve to be here.
We are confessing that we do not deserve Christ because we are remembering a sacrifice that turned away the wrath of God from our own sins, and that there was a loving Savior sent from heaven, the eternal son of God who voluntarily interposed and intervened on our behalf to rescue us from the wrath of God which we also richly deserve. You and me and so we want to remember those things and that you can turn to the book of Luke chapter 18 that's going to be where we find our communion meditation here. We commonly remember that this is a time where we consciously and deliberately push aside our pride. We set it aside. We we even repent of our pride in our self-righteousness are boastful spirits before God and before each other and we see and we remember that we are nothing more, none of us are any anything more than lumps of sinful clay redeemed by a precious Redeemer who said his eternal sovereign great inexhaustible sacrificial love on us and that's what we remembers we come to the communion table and our message will prepare us in that direction.
Luke chapter 18 beginning in verse nine and let me just say a word so that I don't have to cover this when we move into the elements in a little while we practice what we call what's known as in theology, open communion here at truth Community Church.
You do not need to be a member of our church in order to share in this table with this. It's not the truth. Community Church table.
It's a table of our Lord Jesus Christ. And so every true disciple of Christ. If you have repented of your sin and put your faith in Christ for your salvation. You are welcome to join us at this table and this table is for you as well as for our members and our regular attenders, but it's a table that is for those who are repentant for those who are not consciously clinging to sin in their lives. This is not the place to come with a stubborn unrepentant heart.
If you are a Christian with a softhearted and repentant as you are here with us were delighted to welcome you and invite you to join us in the celebration of our Lord and jurors. Luke chapter 18 beginning in verse nine says this says that he also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt. Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself, God, I thank you that I am not like other people, swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week I pay tithes of all that I get, but the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast sink. God be merciful to me, the center, I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.
This parable answers the question how can a man be right with God. What kind of man is it that is right with God to stated in a different way and what Jesus does in the story that he tells his. He contrasts itself. Righteousness with a humble repentance. And that's just so vital to your understanding of what real Christianity is, it's a contrast between self-righteousness and a humble, repentant faith in the saving mercy of God. And so Jesus tells this parable he describes two men that were reflective of real men at the time, but he's describe it.
It's a parable he's describing not a real historical situation, but illustrating it through a very plausible situation and's two different men. In contrast with one another in order to make this point about what kind of man.
It is that God accepts into his presence. Look at verse nine with me again.
He says, speaking of Jesus that he told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt, and so this is a parable addressing and convicting and even condemning those who view themselves as righteous in their own merit. Those who trust in their own works.
Their own religious observances.
In this particular context is being that which obligates God to them and which would give them favor with God. God look at what I do here I am approaching him on that basis. These hearers were trusting in their own righteousness, their own merit their own goodness. Jesus says what the parable teaches us is this that someone like that is outside the kingdom of God.
It's a shocking parable in that way because even as in that day, so also in ours. We tend to think about sinners as being those who are who are the most of the most profligate kind and those who share in a and a common external morality are somehow better than the churchgoing people are the ones who are saved in the ones outside that are deep and sin are those who have no access to God and Jesus takes that common mindset and turns it completely upside down.
As we will see and to set that in motion. He contrasts a Pharisee with a tax collector in order to change the thinking of those who trusted in their own righteousness, and so look at it there with me.
In verse 10, he said two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
Now we need just a little bit of background information here for this to make sense in our 21st-century culture because we don't have Pharisees in the same way that they were present in the first century and we have tax collectors but not like this in the first century and so let me just say a few words of background to set the stage because the difference between the Pharisee and the tax collector is central to the point that Jesus is making here, the Pharisees were a religious party of the Jews and they prided themselves in their separation from sinners in their observance of meticulous religious observances as you see reflected in the words that are put on his lips and the Pharisees were greatly respected by the general population as being the holy and pious men of their day when you said a Pharisee to somebody they would have been viewed as as those with respect and those with spiritual authority. One source says from the contemporary times that when a Pharisee says something they are automatically believed. So great was their authority and their position in in society and in the religious realm. In particular, that they were viewed as the ones who were the most holy men in their midst. Those hearing Jesus tell, this parable would automatically have thought of the Pharisee as a righteous and holy man simply because he was a Pharisee and Jesus uses a tax collector to make a contrast with that Pharisee tax collectors.
Unlike the Pharisees were men who were greatly detested by the Jews of their day tax collector sold their services to Rome, who was the ruling government over that area at the time they sold their services to Rome in order to collect taxes from their fellow Jews so they could make money off of their fellow kinsman, their fellow Jews, and tax collectors were known as men who cheated people who overcharged on the taxes and The surplus for themselves and so you can imagine if you were in an environment like that where one of your own kinsmen has betrayed you sold himself to a foreign service and with the authority of that foreign service comes to you takes more than he should enriches himself at your expense and you are left with the crimes of the leftovers. Well, that's the way that it was at the time and these tax collectors were men who were hated and you can see that reflected a chapter later in Luke chapter 19 in the story about Zacchaeus. Why don't we turn there for just a moment.
You remember the story of Zakia's. It's always difficult for me not to say that he was a wee little man whenever I mention his name wee little man was he.
But I'm going to resist the temptation to do that here this morning. In chapter 19 verse two it says and this was. This is a historical account, not a parable but an actual encounter with a man that Jesus had with a man named Zacchaeus and he was a chief tax collector, and he was rich, it says there in verse two and you know the story of Zakia's and this isn't our text, it could be another time with taught on it in the past.
Here, but just to remember just to remind you that Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus climbs up in the Sycamore but trees so they could get a good view Jesus as Zacchaeus come down.
I want to talk with you want to spend the evening with you. I have an appointed time with you the language means and Zacchaeus in verse six, hurried and came down and received them gladly. Then my pointing going here in verse seven, when they saw it when the crowd saw it, they all began to grumble saying he has gone to be the guest of a man who is the center Jesus is associating with someone that they hated who was a member of the despised class of tax collectors and it wasn't just the was any tax collector. He he had a position of supervisory authority was a chief tax collector.
What I want you to see for today's purpose is they immediately resented it and they said that Zacchaeus is a sinner.
Jesus has no business being with him.
That's critical to the story. And so what we have here is you turn back a page in your Bible to Luke 18 again is that putting ourselves in the shoes of the audience and the sandals of the audiences. I like to say those hearing the story. Hearing Jesus's introduction to his parable would've heard about a Pharisee all a righteous man, a holy man and a tax collector in the booze and hisses would've come out as they heard that the mention of that class of people.
So there thinking the Pharisees, a righteous man, the tax collectors a center okay Jesus were ready to get on with the story.
I get it I get it you're going to tell us about a righteous man and an unrighteous man in Jesus uses this setting to teach us something about the doctrine of justification. Justification in theological terms as this is an act of God Glenn before I go any further, let me just point this out to you so you see where I'm coming from and where I'm going. At the end of verse 14 he says.
I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other justified considered righteous by God and that's that's what were going to focus on. That's where were going and now we need to we need to follow the path of Jesus takes to lead us to that point.
Justification is an act of God in which he pardons every sin that a man has ever committed and accepts him as righteous. This active justification is given to those who humbly repent and believe in Christ justification just to give you the definition of again is an act of God in which he pardons every sin and accepts as righteous.
The one who believes in Christ that is the most important thing that you could know that belongs to you is a you have been justified by God because ultimately whatever success we have whatever prominence we have in life, whether we have poverty or riches, whether we have sickness or health. None of it ultimately matters beloved, compared to that great day when you stand before God and the outcome of life is either resulting in you being welcomed into heaven for the experience of eternal blessedness with your Savior or you are sent away and Christ says to you, depart from me. I never knew you. That's what matters. Beloved, and when I say that's what matters. That's not my opinion that's just an objective fact that what happens to you in eternity is far more important than what happens to you on earth.
Better to be the beggar Lazarus eating crumbs off the table of a rich man during your earthly life, and finding yourself in heaven at the end rather than being that esteemed rich man who finds himself condemned and and in Hades and just simply asking for a simple drop of water to cool the heat that's on his tongue. Beloved, you have to agree that that is more important, what happens in eternity is more important than what happens on earth. And when you start to understand that then it starts to drive you to say I need to understand these things I need to know that I've been justified declared righteous by God, and I need to know how to receive that gift because if I die without it. The consequences are unimaginable.
And so Jesus is teaching on the most critical thing that he could teach about what we find in this parable. Beloved is this sweet, sweet news dissenters, a judgment on the proud and boastful is that God justifies not on the basis of anything in us.
If you have been justified. It's not because of anything in you that God would accept you as righteous that could never be the case because Scripture is clear in multiple places and in a summary verse that we all know that it says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
We are all guilty condemned before God and ourselves because we've all violated his law while we might have comparative degrees of moral external righteousness compared to someone else on a purely horizontal level, that means nothing vertically before God, because Scripture says that if you've broken one commandment you've broken them all you you broke if you've broken the law. Your lawbreaker and therefore condemned. Even if you have not sinned in the particular ways that others themselves have sinned in as I like to say, the older I get, the longer I do this the more I repeat myself and getting an idea what's like when I'm older and my mind starts to go even more than its already have a just repeat myself again and again and that's all right but we just have to. We just have to realize that even if you have not committed the sins that someone else has committed. Maybe you're not the maybe you're not the outwardly flaming sinner that others are what you need to remember and understand is is that they haven't done your sins either. So this isn't about comparing who's better man to man. This is about coming up against the perfect holiness of God, the perfect standard of his law and realizing that we are all guilty when judged by that right and holy standard.
So what do we do with that will be realized then that a holy God cannot accept a guilty sinner into his presence that something has to be done with sin and now we start to understand that God could not justify us on the basis of anything that is in said all. Rather, here's the key pivot point. Rather, God justifies a center solely because he imputes he counts to the benefit of a center. The righteousness of Christ and Christ's obedient life and sacrificial death to say this another way, because this is just so really important for us to understand that it's worth taking our time on God accepts you as a Christian, not because of anything that you have done the God accepts you as a Christian because he accepts the perfect righteousness of Christ in your place. He accepts Christ's righteousness on your behalf. Christ represents you as it were, before God and the perfect righteousness of Christ that is representing you is acceptable to God, and God accepts us in Christ. On that basis, not because your good and moral, or have done anything to deserve that.
That's all precluded. That's all preempted. None of us are like that that we have anything of our own that merits God's acceptance. What we have are filthy rags of uncleanness, filthy rags of no righteousness of our own. That's what Scripture says about our righteousness. And so if we are going to be accepted before righteous God, we must have a righteousness that is not our own righteousness that is outside of us is I've been saying repeatedly over the past several weeks. God accepts you in Christ, not because you are good enough because Christ was and that must be clear in your mind that you are trusting in the righteousness in the person of Christ for your acceptance with God not in anything that you have done that has an effect. First of all it's humbling. It's humbling to realize it is Scripture says we truly have nothing to boast about before God. Boasting is excluded. But it's also for those of us, you and me that are guilty sinners is also wonderfully liberating and a joy to recognize a hall praising God that my sin is no longer a barrier to my fellowship with him, my sin is no longer going to be a grounds of condemnation for me because the righteousness of Christ is the ground of my acceptance with God, and now I am accepted I am forgiven and even though I still fall short my imperfect practice of the Christian life was never the grounds of God, accepting me in the first place. It was always the perfect righteousness of Christ on which he received me and accepted me. Well that's all the time we have for today. Be sure to join us on our next broadcast when Don will bring us the second half of today's powerful study titled Jesus and justification here on the truthful if you like to find out more about our ministry.
We invite you to visit the truth. Pulpit.com. Once again, that's the truth. Pulpit.com now on behalf of Don Greene. I feel right inviting you to join us again next time. As Don continues teaching God's people.
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