Two Guys Walked into a Temple

Series: Seek & Save

September 29, 2019
Frank Foreman

What should our attitude be in prayer? Obviously, humility is a key word since we are approaching a sovereign God and often we are petitioning Him for help and direction. Praise and thanksgiving should also be present. After all, we could simply spend all of our prayer time expressing our gratitude to God and never really run out of thinks to be thankful for when we pray. What about when we recognize a sin in our life? Simple repentance and the expression of remorse should be evident. A great example is the tax collector from the beginning of Luke 18. He gets right to the point: "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." A simple prayer but definitely a recognition of his need and the only hope he had for forgiveness.

Episode Notes

Luke 18:9-14, He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus:‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Righteous:  innocent, faultless, guiltless;  wholly conformed to the will of God.

Merciful:  make reconciliation;  be gracious; make propitiation.

Justified:  to render just or innocent; to be declared free.


Even a sinner like me can be made right with God through repentant faith.

1.  My righteousness is not based on my morality.

Luke 18:20-21, You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.”

2.  My righteousness is not based on my ceremony.

Matthew 23:23, Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

3.  My righteousness is based on Jesus Christ and Him alone.

2nd Corinthians 5:21, For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Romans 3:23-26, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


This week, pray as Jesus described the tax collector’s prayer:

  • Who do I talk to about my sin problem?  (God alone.)
  • What am I pleading for?  (Undeserved mercy.)
  • Why do I need this?  (I am a sinner.)

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