The Universal Prayer

Luke 18:9-14 MSG

9     He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance….. and looked down their noses at the common people:

10   “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man.

11   The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man.

12   I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’

13   “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’ “

14   Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

  1. Two Men

The Pharisees resisted the Romans.

The tax collectors assisted the Romans.

Tax collectors were called publicans – public treasury.

  1. Two Prayers
  1. He is supportive of the church by his attendance.
  2. He has integrity.
  3. He is generous with his wealth.

Luke 18:13 KJV – And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

  1. Two Responses

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 MSG26 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. 27 Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, 28 chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? 29 That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. 30 Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. 31 That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

What Jesus is saying is this self-satisfaction makes us the victim of arrested development.

In life, the moment you stop ascending is the very moment you start descending.

What it is in the Pharisee that we have to be cautious of?

  1. External righteousness without inward purity.
  2. Someone else’s failure adds to your success.

Isaiah 5:8, 11, 18, 20-22 MSG8 Doom to you who buy up all the houses and grab all the land for yourselves— Evicting the old owners, posting no trespassing signs, Taking over the country, leaving everyone homeless and landless. 11 Doom to those who get up early and start drinking booze before breakfast, Who stay up all hours of the night drinking themselves into a stupor. 18 Doom to you who use lies to sell evil, who haul sin to market by the truckload, 20 Doom to you who call evil good and good evil, Who put darkness in place of light and light in place of darkness, Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Doom to you who think you’re so smart, who hold such a high opinion of yourselves! 22 All you’re good at is drinking—champion boozers who collect trophies from drinking bouts

Isaiah 6:1-5 MSG 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Master sitting on a throne—high, exalted!—and the train of his robes filled the Temple. 2 Angel-seraphs hovered above him, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And they called back and forth one to the other, Holy, Holy, Holy is God-of-the-Angel-Armies. His bright glory fills the whole earth. 4 The foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and then the whole house filled with smoke. 5 I said, “Doom! It’s Doomsday! I’m as good as dead! Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted— blasphemous even! And the people I live with talk the same way, using words that corrupt and desecrate. And here I’ve looked God in the face! The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!”

3. He felt no need of God.

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