The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:9-14 ~ My Sermon Notes from the service today.

Who was Jesus talking to?
Those confident in their own righteousness & looked down on others

… that I’m not like other people…
It’s our nature to compare ourselves to others – as better than, or at least not as bad as…

The reality?
We are all the same. Sinners, fallen short of the glory of God.

Galatians 6:4
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.

“comparison is the thief of joy”

— Theodore Roosevelt

“God have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Actions are louder than words. The actions in the story? stood apart, didn’t look up to God, beat his breast. He didn’t even consider himself worthy to approach God.

Be humble before God, or be humbled. – Luke 15:14

God can exalt us WAY more than we can exalt ourselves.

Jesus sees us through the loving eyes of compassion. We are not the standard of comparison, Jesus is.

Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32

The older son’s relationship with the father is based on obligation, whereas the younger son’s relationship basis transformed from selfish rebellion to humble submission. The father’s relationship with the sons is based on unconditional love.

There’s also a whole works vs. grace vibe in this story as well as obligation vs. sacrifice element. What is your motivation/attitude regarding the inheritance we receive from the Father?

After the Flood

In Genesis 8, the flood waters recede. There’s a complicated process Noah utilizes to determine if the dry land has appeared. I don’t really get the reasoning behind this process. Eventually, God tells Noah it’s time to leave the Ark. The important part of chapter 8 is the promise God makes to Noah (and mankind).

God promises to never flood the whole Earth again (v21-22). I find it interesting that God adds “while the earth remains” into this promise. It reminds us that even the earth is temporary! We can see this idea better in Luke 21:33; “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

In chapter 9, Noah receives blessings and instructions from God. God also provides a sign of his promise to never flood the earth again.

Sidebar:
The ESV says “bow” in the clouds. I’ve always read “rainbow” in the NIV version. I did some research on this, and found that Ezekiel 1:28 makes a similar reference to “the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain” or we can say “rainbow.” The Hebrew qesheth is used in both verses for “bow” or “my bow.” (Interestingly, this same word is used to describe a weapon – think bow and arrow – in Zechariah 9:13.)

Now, we are introduced to the sons of Noah. Ham brought a curse upon his descendants, the Canaanites, by his sinful actions (9:22). He sinned against Noah in two ways: Ham dishonored his father, and he gossiped about Noah’s shameful moment of weakness. I almost think there was a bit of pride there too. Didn’t Ham realize it could have been him? The flesh is weak! (Matthew 26:41) Additionally, we all fall short of God’s standards. (Romans 3:23)

There’s one lingering question to this story: Why were the Canaanites cursed for Ham’s sin? I don’t really know. I did find an interesting blog entry that helped, though. The curse is more of a prophecy than an actual curse, and anything Moses did say to Ham (“Why you little –!”) wasn’t recorded because it wasn’t relevant to the story that God needed outlining for His people.

Finally and perhaps oddly, I like the fact that even the great Noah, who “walked with God,” wasn’t perfect.  Ephesians 5:18 states that we better “not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” Yet, Noah fell into this sin passed out and naked. Nobody is perfect, save Jesus!

Prayer
Thank you, Lord, for your promises. You are my God, Sovereign and in control of every single detail! I trust in you, Lord. Thank you for leading me on this journey through your everlasting Word. I pray that the many questions I have will be answered — even if the answer is merely another question! I pray to never grow tired of searching and praying over your God-breathed messages to me.
Lord forgive me when I am weak. I’m a rotten sinner who falls regularly. If it is Your will, please provide more Shem and Japheth type people in my life than Ham-types… encouragers rather than destroyers. I love you, Lord. Amen.