An “Amen” for Jonathan Kleis’s Sermon

If you didn’t hear Jonathan’s message this past Sunday, you should go to the church website and listen to it. It was the third messge I’ve heard in the last few months on the text of the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector, and all have had the same thrust: we must beware of missing the point! It is not to bash the Pharisee as much as it is to remind us not to trust in how good we are before God to justify ourselves in his presence. This is a greater danger for us than we know.

When I read the parable honestly, I have to say that the Pharisee sounds like a pretty good guy–someone I might want as a friend.  After all, haven’t you ever said something like, “I thank God that I’m not like people who have ruined their lives.”  That is what he is saying.  He then shows how he is different–he is generous with his money, he prays and even fasts, he doesn’t cheat anyone, he is faithful to his wife, and does the things that are expected of a godly person.  Face it, we would probably go to such a person and ask him to disciple us.  His problem is not what he is doing.  It is that he believes that as he stands before God both now and at the final judgment, that this will be how he defends his right relationship with God.  The tax collecter had nothing in his life he saw as trustworthy to stand before God, so be begged for the only hope he could seek–the mercy of God.  And he found it.

How about you?  Are you counting on just how faithful you have been to God’s righteous demands as the proof that you are right with God?  Is your church attendance, Christian lifestyle, or self-discipline your hope?

Only Jesus–his love, grace, mercy, forgiveness–is our hope.

Thanks, Jonathan, for this important reminder.

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Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment