Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:9-14

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18:14

Opening Prayer

Obedience to God's Law (Deuteronomy 4, Psalm 19, Psalm 119)
    What does God require of His people?
      Deuteronomy 4:1 = Hear His laws and decrees, Follow them so that you may live
    Can these Laws be updated and modified as society changes?
      Deuteronomy 4:2 = Do not add to or subtract from the commands I give you
    How readily do God's Laws fit our lives today and how clearly do they apply?
      Psalm 19:7-8 = God's Law is perfect; Make wise the simple, give light to eyes

    Why do God's people want to obey His Laws?
      Psalm 19:9-11 = Laws are precious & sweet, in keeping them there is great reward
      Leviticus 18:4-5 = He who keeps My Laws will live by them
    What does David say about those who keep God's Laws?
      Psalm 119:1-4 = They are blessed, they fully obey all of God's Laws
    What is the prayer of God's people?
      Psalm 119:33-35, 40 = Help me to understand Your Laws so I can obey them

The Righteous (Romans 3, etc)
    What percentage of God's people have kept God's Laws as described in Psalm 119?
      Romans 3:10-12 = No one righteous...no one who understands...all have turned away
    Don't the good things we do count for anything?
      Isaiah 64:6 = all our righteous acts are like filthy rags

    But doesn't the Bible tell about people who were righteous?
      Luke 1:5-6 = Zechariah and Elizabeth - upright in the sight of God
    How is this possible?
      Romans 3:21-22 = A righteousness from God apart from law ... thru faith in Jesus
    How does this righteousness from God fulfill the righteous requirements of the Law?
      Romans 8:1-4 = The law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin & death

    What happens to our righteousness if we sin?
      1 John 1:8-2:1 = Jesus speaks to the Father in our defense & purifies us
    What does Jesus say about those who long for His righteousness?
      Matthew 5:6; 6:33 = Righteousness will be given to them
    How proud can we be of our righteousness?
      1 Corinthians 1:30-31 = Since it comes only from God, we can only boast in Him

Jesus and the Law (Matthew 5)
    Does all of this mean that Jesus came to abolish the Law?
      Matthew 5:17 = No, He came to fulfill it
    Which parts of the Law are we no longer required to follow since Jesus came?
      Matthew 5:18 = Not even the smallest part has changed or disappeared
    What instructions did Jesus give for those who want to be great in heaven?
      Matthew 5:19 = Practice and teach all of these commands

    Who was recognized in Jesus' time as the ultimate example of how to live righteously?
      Acts 26:5 = The Pharisees; Paul was a member
    Did Jesus feel they were a good example to emulate?
      Matthew 5:20 = You must be more righteous than the Pharisees to earn heaven
    What is the point of the details of the Law Jesus gives in Matt 5:21-47?
      Matthew 5:21-22 = Even the super-fine detail of the Pharisees is not enough
    What example did Jesus give on how to live righteously under the Law?
      Matthew 5:48 = Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect

Obey or Disobey? (Romans 6)
    What about those who honestly try their best to obey all of God's Laws?
      Galatians 3:10-11 = They are under a curse because they cannot keep everything
    Since we are unable to obey, are we free to sin to our hearts' content?
      Romans 6:15-18 = No, we are free from sin for righteousness to our hearts' content

Acts of Righteousness (Matthew 6, 23)
    As slaves to righteousness, how are we to show acts of righteousness for others to emulate?
      Matthew 6:1 = Don't let others see your "acts of righteousness"
    Why not? Give an example.
      Matthew 6:2 = Your only reward will be honor by men
    How are we rewarded when we do these things in secret?
      Matthew 6:3-4 = Our Father in heaven rewards us

    Give another example.
      Matthew 6:5-6 = Don't show off when you pray but do it behind closed doors
    How about one more example?
      Matthew 6:16-18 = Don't make it apparent when you are fasting

    Who was Jesus using as an example that the Jews of His day would recognize?
      Matthew 23:2, 5-12 = Scribes & Pharisees loved to show off their "righteousness"
    How did Jesus explain the problem of their righteous outward appearance?
      Matthew 23:25-28 = Cup, dish & tomb clean outside but dirty & dead inside

Chief of Sinners (Luke 15:1)
    What group of people were considered by the Jews as the scum of the earth?
      Luke 15:1 = Publicans (tax collectors)
      Jewish traitors (collected for Rome), Forced more than required (profit)
    Did Jesus recognize this reputation?
      Matthew 18:17 = Treat the unrepentant like a pagan or tax collector
      Matthew 5:44, 46 = Even the tax collectors love those who love them

Today's Counterparts
    Give examples of people today who have respected reputations like the Pharisees did.
      = Pastors, Billy Graham, Church leaders, Worship every Sunday, philanthropists
    Give examples of people today who have despised reputations like the tax collectors did.
      = Drug dealers, pornographers, used car dealers, lawyers, politicians

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-10)
    To whom was this parable intended?
      Luke 18:9 = Those who are confident in their self-righteousness
    What two extremes of society are used to make the point?
      Luke 18:10 = The respected Pharisee and the despised tax collector

The Pharisee's Prayer (Luke 18:11-12)
    What did the Pharisee pray about and what was his posture?
      Luke 18:11-12 = Himself; Prominent place, head up, hands in air
    For what was the Pharisee grateful?
      Luke 18:11 = He was better & more righteous than others

    What evidence did the Pharisee give for deserving this praise?
      Luke 18:12 = Fasted twice per week, tithed everything
    What was so special about fasting twice per week?
      Leviticus 16:29 = Did much more than the required once per year fast
    What was so special about tithing everything?
      Leviticus 27:30-33 = Tithes only applied to grain, fruit & animals, tithed everything
      Matthew 23:23-24 = Pharisees even tithed kitchen herbs

    Was the Pharisee just putting on a show or did he really feel this way?
      =He really believed he was righteous & was proud of it, enjoyed attention anyway
    Positives: Good, honest, just, virtuous, temperate, benevolent, grateful
    Negatives: Religiously religious, faith in himself, no sense of need, no love of others

The Tax Collector's Prayer (Luke 18:13)
    What was the tax collector's posture in prayer?
      Luke 18:13 = Private place, head down in shame, hands on breast in sorrow
    For what did the tax collector pray?
      Luke 18:13 = Mercy - really propitiation (atonement) - Hebrews 2:17

    What three key elements were in the tax collector's prayer? = sin, mercy, faith
      Romans 5:8 = the sinner - While we were still sinners, Christ died for us
      Titus 3:5a = have mercy on me - He saved us by His mercy, not our righteousness
      Exodus 34:6-7a = God - Had faith in God's promise to forgive wickedness & sin

The Father's Response (Luke 18:14)
    Which man received justification by the Father for his prayer?
      Luke 18:14 = The repentant tax collector
    What is the key message of this parable?
      Luke 18:14 = Self-exalted will be humbled, self-humbled will be exalted
      James 4:6 = God opposes the proud ...
      James 4:10 = Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up
      See story of Haman and Mordecai in Book of Esther
    What other lesson did Jesus give that is closely related?
      Matthew 16:25 = Whoever saves his life will lose it, lose life for Me will find it

Closing Prayer (Say together)
    Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean.
    We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed,
      by what we have done and by what we have left undone.
    We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
    We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment.
    For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
    Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways
      to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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