Two Sinners in the Service
The story of the Pharisee and the publican is the story of two great sinners. One knew that he was a sinner and acknowledged it before God. The other knew not that he was a sinner and boasted of his righteousness. It is a story of a good man who went to hell and a bad man who went to heaven.
I) Sinner #1 – The Pharisee.
A) His prayer. (Self-righteous). Pharisees love to stand praying in the market place that men might hear them. Matthew 6:16-18 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Here we see his purpose for pray is to show off before men, not to pour out his heart to God.
B) His Proclamation. (Morality). Pharisees see their live as clean or clean living. They have never stooped to immoral things. Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Here we see his live in his eyes was good. Psalms 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
C) His Principles. (Honesty). Pharisees boast they are honest in business, they do not cheat, they pay their bills, and they are honest in all their dealings. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
D) His Piety. (Religious). Pharisees claim to be righteous due to their faithfulness to pray, read their bibles, fast, tithe, and faithful church attendance. Mark 7:5-9 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
E) His Perfection. (No flaws). Pharisees say, “Thank you Lord I am not like this man a sinner”. Proverbs 11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 21:4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin. This man seen himself as good and everyone else was bad. He was in one group and everyone else in the world was in the other group.
A man in a certain Scottish village owned a curious coat. On the front of the coat there were many large patches. He said that these patches represented the sins of his neighbours, and that every patch told of some sinful deed which they had committed. On the back of the coat there was a very small patch. When someone asked him what this patch represented, he said, “That is my own sin. I cannot see it”. So it was with the Pharisee. He saw the flaws in others, but he couldn’t see any of his own.
F) His Parting. (The same). He walked away the same man that walked into the temple. We walked away lost and not justified. For he didn’t acknowledge himself as a sinner for he trusted in his own righteousness. Nor did he cry to God for mercy.
II) Sinner #2 – The Publican.
A) His professing heart. (Humility). Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
1. Humility in Spirit. Proverbs 16:19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
a. Spirit of Man gives Learning. Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
b. Spirit of Man gives Light. Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
c. Spirit of Man gives Liberty. 1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
2. Humility in Self. Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
a. Self Condemnation. Job 9:20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
b. Self Confidence. Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
c. Self Control. Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
B) His ponderous heart. (Heaviness). Psalms 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
1. Pricking Conviction. Acts 2:36-37 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
2. Pounding Conviction. Acts 16:29-30 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
C) His pleading heart. (Confession). Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
1. Heart Confession. Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
2. Help Confession. Psalms 51
3. Healing Confession. Psalms 41:4 I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.
D) His Parting heart. (Changed). He left as a saved man. Jesus said that he was “justified”. That means he was saved. Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Any man in the world who comes humbly as he did, who repents of his sin and confesses to God and cries for mercy can and will be saved. But if you trust in you own goodness as did the Pharisee you will be lost forever. Why not throw all of you pride and self-righteousness away and fall at the feet of Jesus and be saved as was this Publican?