10-21&22-2017 Rev. Trevor Johnston & Eric Stewart
Series: It’s Alive! Resurrecting Dead Faith Week 3: World’s Best Pharisee
- Think about and share something that you know you are quite good at. Explain how you know you are good at what you are sharing about.
- Read Luke 18:9-14 – 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Compare the attitudes of the Pharisee and the tax collector in this parable. Is there any way in which they are alike? Talk about what you notice.
- Discuss how the Pharisee and the Tax Collector are different. Here are some points to help you in your discussion:
Distance (from the temple)
In Comparison to (other people? God? Who?)
Justified (Made right with God)
- Think about someone you know whom you consider to be ‘righteous’. What is it about that person that makes you think of them as righteous?
- Below is a scale of ‘Righteousness’, with 0 being the most UNRighteous person, and 10 being God in terms of Righteousness. Where would you suppose the Pharisee in this parable would place himself on the scale? Where would the tax Collector place himself?
0 _________________________________________________________________________10 (God)
- Where would you place someone like Billy Graham on the scale? Where would you place someone like Adolf Hitler?
- Where would you place yourself on the scale? Is your answer based on a comparison with other Christians, or in comparison with God? Why is this an important question?
- The Beatitudesare eight blessings recounted in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Beatitudes present Jesus’ followers with character traits that are present in the true people of God; the Beatitudes, taken together, describe a true disciple of Christ. Read the first very Beatitude Jesus proclaims: Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What does Jesus mean by “Poor In Spirit”? Is He talking about poverty? Helplessness? Hopelessness? Or humility? Trust?
- Read the Celebrate Recovery Principal 1 – “Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.” How does this principle relate to being ‘poor in spirit’?
- There are plenty of scriptures that point to being ‘poor in Spirit’. Below are a few examples:
Read Romans 3:10 – 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;”
Read Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags”
According to these scriptures, is there anything we can do to become righteous?
- The Apostle Paul, before his conversion, was a zealous Pharisee. Read Philippians 3:4b-9 – “4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. According to Paul, what can make us righteous?
- Pray together now for each other and in the coming week, that each member of your group allows God to work in your lives so that you are righteous in Him, and not relying on your own power for righteousness.