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The Pharisee and the Publican

John Bradshaw


Jesus taught a parable with profound implications. Can a sincere person truly find grace in the eyes of God? Join Pastor John Bradshaw for a life-changing look at an ancient story.


John Bradshaw

President of It Is Written



  • August 3, 2020
    9:00 AM
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I'm glad we have this opportunity to open the Bible together on in the wood I'm glad you here we will pray together well ask God to bless us and we expect that as we open up the Bible he will do just that so we pray to that now a father in heaven in the name of Jesus we come to you we stand at the edge of something very exciting very dynamic every opportunity we have to crack the pages of a Bible is an exciting opportunity because we anticipate that you'll speak to us so bless us now by your Holy Spirit through your Holy Spirit's ministry and touch my hot touch Alfonse that they'll be open to being impressed by you open to being lifted in your way the thank you and we pray in Jesus name Amen young man on a boat to come on this is not someone related to me lest you think oh that happened to John's son No it wasn't my son but a young man on a board an automobile it looked great he paid the money and he brought it to how. I'm not quite sure of all of the details about it wasn't long and he realized that he had purchased what is affectionately known as a lemon everything about the vehicle was bad it caused him problem after problem it cost him a lot of money did he take the vehicle back oh he tried to jump through all of those hoops but the short story was it looked good on the outside but it wasn't good before I bought my 1st ever caught. My Sista said this someone in my town this was an hour from where I lived who had a nice rid Ford Leza Ford Leza by Ford Laser now where I grew up you could buy Ford lace at the end and it was for sale at a pretty decent price too and I am pretty certain this is would have been my 1st if I caught it would have so somehow I got myself to my sister's home an hour away I think I hitchhiked she said this is a great car you are going to love the. And I said I'm going to buy the car I came and I saw that it was nice it was just what a young man wanted it was more than I wanted to spin and being as it was such a nice guy I would stretch you know what a law suit be just a great vehicle she took me to where the car was I spoke to the owner and I said I'd like to take this vehicle to a mechanic my sister and her husband had many mechanics she said go see this guy I said the owner must take the cost of the mechanic and have it inspected Sure go ahead you'll be happy you did I was happy I did he drove the vehicle over the pits you know the hole in the ground mechanical get down and and look up under a vehicle and I heard him say something that I wouldn't repeat in polite company the passage of years means I don't remember the exact woods but I know that they are woods you don't say and. I said what's going on he said you wouldn't believe this what wouldn't I believe well while the cows look good on the outside The fact of the matter is it was 2 cars that had been chopped down and put together that was it was the front of one car in the back of another and then wrapped up in you paneling they would once upon a time vehicles that had been in an accident and then the new frame of the vehicle with 2 bits put together it being welded together good enough to drive down the road he said not good enough to buy you don't want to bother with this I would never have known I would never have known I could have bought that car and would never have known unless it gave me some kind of problem and fell into pieces old baby I took it to a mechanic one day who might have thought and might not have thought to say to me You do know that this is a selfish jaw when the frame of the vehicle is being well the back together. Never would have been a big deal I don't know maybe a big enough deal that the mechanics don't buy this guy whatever you do I returned it to the owner said Ok Thanks so much for your time sorry didn't work out and then I said how am I going to get. To this quite remember how I got home but I know I did I just about made a mistake well I just about spent what would have been for me a lot of money on something that wasn't quite what I was looking for because I didn't possess the ability to look beneath the surface when I took to the vehicle when I took the vehicle to somebody who could look beneath the surface we saw that this was a car that had a lot of problems now you don't think I'm here to talk with you about buying cars do you now you know that we're here to talk about the Bible and to talk about faith in God So what happens if you look beneath the surface. Of your religious experience what do you find when you look beneath the surface of your Christianity we are introduced in the Bible to a couple of individuals one of whom you would have looked at from the outside and said This is the real deal this is a good guy this is someone who is walking in the favor of God You want to look at the other person if you had being living in Jesus' day and you'd have said this other person no good but Jesus teaches that it is a matter of the hot not a matter of appearance Jesus makes very clear that it's possible that we can be successfully or otherwise hiding obscuring a grim spiritual reality a grim spiritual reality and so let's look at this passage it's in the Gospel of Luke we are in Luke Chapter 18 and we're going to start in the 10 Luke 18 the 10 In fact if we jump up to Nawin This would give us some bit of context of Luke 18 says and he spake this parable. Which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised this. We could talk for a while about that couldn't people who believe that they're righteous and they trust in themselves and then they have the temerity to look down their noses at people that they believe don't measure up and despise them in some spiritual sense right to believe that they not would have everlasting life believe that they're sick and right church members or 2nd rate Christians that's just damaging one thing that comes through in this passage is that we shouldn't judge others we just shouldn't nor should we ever think that we because of our selves are in a righteous state in and all of our selves we find a fellow here who felt that way thought that way and Jesus put us all in place when he addresses this phenomenon so what's the parable for because there were some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and they despised others what does the prophet I say are right Isaiah Chapter 64 in verse 6 he says that all our righteousness is as filthy rags all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags we don't possess anything that we can recommend to God Not anybody and I don't mean the guy in the pew that lady over there I mean there's not a single soul on earth who can go to God and say look at me I am fine how is it that we're able to be fine well we will resolve that we'll get to that bought a damaging place to be when a person says I'm all right I'm trusting in myself and then other people who don't measure up to my standard I believe that they're not good at all let's see what the Bible goes on and says in those 10. Went up into the temple to pray the one a Pharisee and the other a public in which is another way of saying a tax collector One was a Pharisee one was a tax collector you couldn't find a great a contrast I don't think between 2 people. The Pharisees were a religious sect in the time of Christ and before and after they were noted for they strict adherents to the law they would zealously and rigidly a bt and to every law struck qua and then that they could find or even invent in the books of the law they wanted to show how. They would if there was a way to earn your way to heaven Pharisee would definitely his way to heaven over the Philippines chapter 3 with the Apostle Paul recounts his pedigree his history if you like he says that he was a Pharisee So he was so blinded he would defend the church by persecuted and believes in Jesus that is he would defend the Hebrew faith so he you have somebody who brings a measure of spiritual blindness the Pharisee nothing wrong with wanting to obey God Nothing wrong with zeal nothing wrong with really wanting to do what's right in the sight of dog but nothing rights with trying to obey your way to him and nothing right with thinking that because you do this and there's said this and this and this then that's what makes you righteous and fine in the sight of God nothing right with looking at others with hatred or contempt and despising them as this fellow did the publican on the other hand poor guy he was a tax collector think about this he went up to the temple said he was Jewish. But he was collecting taxes for who he was collecting taxes for the Roman government the Romans were occupying Jerusalem occupying Israel imagine as a Jew This is God's country we are God's people and he he these Roscoe's these invaders these occupiers these heathens these gen tiles and they are preventing us from carrying out our society the way we would like they are preventing us from ordering out Temple services and I would ship and then and and connecting that with society the way we want to do we we have no self-determination we are not the monsters of our own destiny we are God's people and these dogs are getting in the way and so he the publican is collecting the revenue collecting taxes from Jews and delivering it to their own government to fund their occupation so he was an out and out enemy all his own people what a terrible situation to be in to hear the righteous the righteous Pharisee and over there the publican who was despised and scold and treated roughly the Bible says they went up to the temple to pray the one a Pharisee the other a publican the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself and listen to his prayer this is a wonder God I thank the that I am not as other men. Extortion an. Unjust adulterous or even as this publican What does he go on to say he says I Fost twice in the week. I give Tod's all that I pose is now let's see if anything wrong with fostering it may even be a very good thing but imagine fasting for the purpose of self righteousness I give tides of all that I possess into the wrong with that no no that's right that's appropriate but the problem was this man felt like these were the things that made him righteous and he was missing the true source of true righteousness if I just do enough to aids if I just buy enough rules if I just pos myself off as a living in such a way then somehow I have standing in society and standing on the side of God Christianity is a balancing act I've said this many many times and I'll say it again you hear me say it again I'm sure if you look at a piano What is it that causes the piano to make beautiful music you might say the piano player sure but a piano player cannot make beautiful music on an instrument that's out of tune what is it that keeps the piano in tune you know what it is it's tension you press the key it activates ahem a little ahead I think what they should wrapped up and felt I think some of them. Hits strings and they are stretched out across the piano board and the strings vibrate and that's what makes beautiful music now if the strings on it at the right tension if the piano is out of tune or you've got as a noise then it's not very nice so beautiful music depends on the right tension used to play the guitar quite a lot and you've got to have the strings at the right tension that's what puts them in tune and if a string is out of tune then you tighten it up or loosen it off you get 10 shin right and then the instrument starts to sound good this is a certain tension in Christianity if we don't get the Christian if we don't get the tension right then we don't get the Christianity right if we don't get the the strings about Christian experience at the right tension then we're going to be out of whack Let's see if we can understand this is a rifle Christians to do good would that be a yes or no is it right the Christians to do good yes or no. I think I heard you the answer is yes it's right for Christians to do good that was really an easy one should you feel good about good things being done in your life well you might say yes you might say maybe it'll depend on how you on some might understand my question maybe you should merely feel neutral but you shouldn't go around with a long face because you were faithful to God you should be happy on some level that your relationship with God is such that he is clearly working in your life sure is a right to tie the yes has a right to eat according to the biblical menu sure. You could dress right and you could wish it right as a right to worship right yes is it right to worship God on the right day of course it is the Bible says remember of thus Sabbath day to keep it all in 6 days your labor and your will your work but the 7th day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God sure that's all right. So we understand that. It is right to do right I read where somebody says that righteousness is right doing I've no problem with that so it's right to do right and it's right to want to do right Ok so now that you're doing right now that you've changed your diet now that you've pulled you lick it down the sink now that you've burned up all of a nasty videos that you had on that shelf in your living room now that you've figured out which day is the day to go to church according to the Bible now that you've figured out that you can trust dog and be faithful with your finances and give God that food is 10 percent and the list could and probably should go on know that you've found that out how does that make you feel about yourself when you know how the Pharisee felt he said Lord I thank you that I am this and that and I'm not like that guy I'm not like these folks who are extortion and there are unjust and there are adulterers and I'm not like this publican the off scouring of our society you know it's interesting too when people start to make a noise a loud noise about the faults of others very often you will discover it's because they see those on those same faults in themselves so we may not know what this Pharisees vices were. But we can know that he had them and we can know for sure perhaps his favorite vice was self-righteousness Oh I'm glad I'm not like the others look at me let me recount my good deeds I foster and I talk I give Todd's of old that I possess he was feeling good about himself he was deceived of course because self-righteousness is deception it's worth thinking about that you know. It's worth stopping to realize that you will good deeds don't mean that you are now able to recommend yourself to God our deeds do nought salvation now you will read in the Book of Revelation that people are judged according to their Whoops now you whoops don't sell vacation but your Whoops certainly do reveal whether or not you have received salvation you see that when they flow out of a hot filled with love for God This gives evidence that you have a changed life but there are some people who will themselves to behave in a certain way who will themselves to at least on the surface look like they are following God's plan I had a young lady come to me recently and she asked out enough was a cryptic question but it was obvious that she wasn't coming out and saying what she meant to say she said what about someone who gives evidence that he's a good Christian but when he's at home it's clear that he's not given the way he treats his family she was asking me about her father how about that you know what she was saying she was saying my dad is old tall out in public he carries himself well out in public he acts like a Christian but at home behind closed doors he doesn't treat my mother well he raises his voice he says the most horrible things he's judge mental and condemnatory he's not a loving father. Ino the beauty of the gospel is that when Jesus comes to be alive each changes you from the inside out and I want it to thaw down on yourself if you're not yet the completed product we older have some growing to do that's true. But we Christianity defense from every other religion I've ever heard of is that Jesus will save you from your sin and it's God's plan to give you a new hot it's God's plan that His Grace woops in you in such a way that you're not merely reformed you not renovated like an old house but you'll need a new let's talk about those old houses from it you bought an old house they call them fixer uppers you buy the old house and you fix the old house what do you do when you paint the old house you tore up some floor boards that had gotten bad and you replaced them you fix the front stick you cut down all those ugly Bush's and those other grown things got rid of the uprooting back the trees maybe even torn down you put a new fence around you might have a place some Windows thing needed a new roof you copied it you put in a new kitchen you know what I'm talking about and when you're old done what do you have no you don't have a new house what you have you have an old house what you've got the old house is still there it's simply being improved That's all it's the old house with some cosmetic surgery is like an old person who's hot is maybe failing and I don't know where else we go from there. But cosmetic surgery makes him look younger he wears a toupee a so you can see that he's bolding he wears fancy clothes to try to make himself look younger than he really is but on the inside is hot is so cool a Tory system maybe his lungs you see you read about an old house you've still got an old house it's just being renovated it's an old house that is being improved you come to faith in Jesus here's what happens Jesus fills the house with dynamite and blows it up and then he says grapes the lot clean and there's nothing left of the old house and then he rebuilds the house and it's a new house that's what Grace doesn't your life that's what Jesus will do in your life it's not about renovation it's not about modification it's not about cosmetics It's about Jesus remaking you as the Bible says if anyone is in Christ that person is a new creature old things passed away behold all things become new this is what God wants to do in a person's life we can be hypocritical and we can say Oh look I've tried so hard I haven't proved I am doing better look at me everybody but what about you hot has your hot being made you this man had a hot problem he was a hypocrite he was Judge Mental he was self-righteous he was deceived you would have voted him in on your church board to be the chairperson. You would want to be one of the leading light people in your church you would ask him to preach because he talked a good talk he talked a big game he looked like someone who was holy and good and righteous but an actual fact he was all white and simple looked good on the outside but beneath he was full of dead men's bones says we don't want to be like that the good news is we don't have to be like that that's the good news did you know that according to the Bible we are living on the edge of eternity Cheese's is soon to return and when Jesus comes back he's not coming back hypocrites no no what you mean I know what you mean there's a little hypocrite inside of all of us I understand. But Jesus is not coming back for the self righteous for those who cling to their self-righteousness he is coming back for people who have received from Jesus Himself His righteousness our righteousness can never help us his righteousness can if you have your Bible and I think you do then you will turn with me to Philippians and chapter 3 I alluded to this before and now I want to look at it with you Philippians chapter 3 Paul says that if anyone has occasion to have confidence in the flesh he has even a greater occasion he says I was circumcised on the 8th day the right day of the stalk of Israel the right nation of the tribe of Benjamin right tribe in as much as Sol was probably pole was sold you know and as so he was probably named after the 1st king of Israel King Saul who was from the tribe of Benjamin I was a Hebrew of the Hebrews as touching the law of Farah see concerning zeal persecute in the church touching the righteousness which is in the law I was blameless but what things would gain to me those I counted loss for Christ and then he says this in those 8 in these are beautiful words Yea doubtless and I count a whole things about loss for the excellent c. of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and I count them but dung all refuse that I may win Christ and be found in him. Not having mine own righteousness which is of the law but that which is through the faith of Christ the righteousness which is of God by faith that's what God wants us to have the righteousness of Christ Jesus gives to us the gift of His righteousness to Wales in us lives in us changes our characters so that we become more and more like him and we grow so that we lists and lists make those mistakes full into those same sins that we used to make all fall into Once upon a time the one thing that we need to enter into heaven is righteousness heaven isn't for good people it's a holy people it's for righteous people when you get that righteousness there's only one place you receive it from Jesus how do I get it from Jesus you receive it by Thank you believe that Jesus died for you The gives you of your sins freely and gives you the gift of eternal life you say yes I believe that what does God give you he gives you and we're not talking figuratively here he gives you the righteousness of Christ you receive that and when God looks at you he doesn't see a thing least garments he doesn't see your own works he sees Jesus in your life and friend you can't have it you know one of the mistakes we make is we judge ourselves and we judge ourselves Hashmi sometimes. He is somebody right now saying Oh Ok So God gives me the righteousness of Christ but not me because I'm a sinner not me because I've been too bad not me because I have failed and I will fail again you're wrong God will give you the righteousness of Christ you believe it and now you say look at this I have a. And when God looks at me he looks not of my sin he looks at the righteousness of Jesus now what is that is it a cloak is it a cover is it a wall so that God looks at you and sees the wall of the righteousness of Christ but behind that wall you live in a reckless life of sin no that's not what it does you receive the righteousness of Christ that covers you and it would in you to change you don't factor this out factor it in we begin to grow and the tree might take 70 years to grow to maturity a Pinus radiata a moderate pine 20 to 25 years to grow to maturity before they start harvesting it. In a forest you see now when that tree when the oak tree is 10 years old is it any good Sure it is a great 10 year old oak tree but it isn't fully mature and so it grows at 20 it's still good but it's not fully mature your child at a year old 2 years old 5 years old 10 years old good really good not fully mature but it's way you expect the child to be at a year you don't expect your kid to be driving the car when she's one year old you don't expect your kid to be running a major international corporation when he's 10 years old you don't expect your daughter to be performing heart surgery at 14 she might do it at $34.00 or $44.00 but not 14 she shouldn't be doing surgery at 14 years of age that comes later she's growing we growing you understand so growing our hope is in the righteousness of Christ not in the righteousness of the maybe that is no righteousness at all Paul said I want to be found in Christ. Not having my own righteousness which is according to the law but that which is through the faith of Christ the righteousness of God by faith God's righteousness stop and think about that that is summary old righteousness and where do we get it through Jesus by faith how do you know that you have it you believe it but I don't feel worthy bug bit about that of course you will not but I stumbled today the likelihood is you will stumble to lower No I'm not condemning you to a life of sin but if you are growing and learning. Is alluding to. This your growth trajectory you understand no Christian ever came to faith in Jesus Christ and then walked off fully machu it doesn't look that way this is why when Jesus spoke to Nicky Demas he described the baby Christian as having being what born again and if you are born grow nicotine must get born again and grow I would say the same to you Christ would say the same to you know the fact that you figured out which day to go to church doesn't prove nothing the fact that you're willing to write a check doesn't prove anything the fact that you are saying in the choir or act as a deacon or stand in the foyer saying it's nice to see you would you like a bulletin We're so glad that doesn't prove anything it's good. But the minute we say that's evidence that I'm a righteous That's the minute that we give evidence that we absolutely not instead when you receive the righteousness of Christ and Jesus directs you then you would speak come on out flowing. They become a reprise in Taishan of the fact now that dog is whooping in your life and the hope is that he's working powerfully and wonderfully in fact that's the reality and we surrender to Him Not my will but your Will Be Done Paul wrote to the Romans don't you know that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey His servant she watches him you obey whether of sin unto death or a bt and unto righteousness we yield we surrender we say God do in me what I cannot do it myself the Pharisees down there in the temple he was praying and saying look at me he look our righteous I am we may all fall into that trap we may all I don't want to ask you Do you know somebody like that I want to ask you. Somebody like that and I want you glad that God doesn't just leave you aren't you glad and you glad God does not say to self righteous I'll have nothing to do with him and you're glad that God saved the wicked king Manasseh and you glad you're glad that Jesus reached out to Nick a Demas on you thankful that the wicked heathen King Nebu can never was brought to faith in Christ name and they kept it in the Syrian army saved through the grace of God If God can save them he can say to you there's no question about that at all and so we go on and we finish out this passage of scripture that Jesus introduces to us in Luke Chapter 18 remember what the parable was for it was because there were certain people who trusted to themselves that they were righteous you understand and they despised others and so Pharisee he said Lord Is it a good thing that I'm not like the scoundrel and the scoundrel the publican standing afar off would not so much as lift up as to heaven but he smote upon his Prius. Citing Gawd be merciful to me a sinner. Lord I'm a sinner what can I do be most civil to me I want you to notice that I want you to stretch this tooth but I want you to notice that Jesus did not say that the man gave up all of his sin right away yet not now be careful how you hear me say that the Jesus made clear that right away he was forgiven you see forgiveness was not contingent upon the man having a clean track record forgiveness was not contingent upon the man. And. Going to months without falling back into sin God just forgave him given the power of that forgiveness innocent life that's going to bring about changes big changes I tell you Jesus said this man went down to a selfs justified rather than the other for everyone that exulted himself shall be abased and he that humbled Himself shall be exalted and not something you've read some 51 I hope David says being merciful to me oh god according to your loving kindness according to the multitude of you tend to blot out my transgression I have sinned he says Create in me a clean heart of God when you are right spirit within me. I have done with it really forgive me until you are willing to come to go all the end acknowledge the truth the god concept of you God He can save you against your will and if you don't acknowledge that you have a need of a savior what can go to then you can eat. And nothing you can do. But the publican maybe you know maybe it helped that he was a bad Jew Maybe it helped. Because he could easily look into his life and say yeah look at me bad guy may be the fairest he was it a bit of a disadvantage because he was so religious all he could see in his life was good religion if there is such a thing I'm sure there is all he could see was his own good deeds he ran with a good crowd he wanted to on a golf Ok he was a hypocrite maybe it's a little maybe there's a challenge maybe it's hard to get the tension right maybe there's a challenge when your in that should. Because perhaps you might say to yourself of course I'm a true believer I'm in the church of course I'm right with God I sing in the choir I'm on the church board I donate a bunch of money nothing wrong with those things but if that's your evidence that you're right with God you know right with on How about I've given my heart to Jesus. I've accepted him as my Lord and Savior. I've surrendered my life to him and I've said Lord live your life in me would you do that it would be now we're talking that's where we Stott we start at the beginning because as I said close to the beginning our righteousness is are as filthy rags where sin is we've been touched by sin affected by sin we've practiced send some of us we have a Ph d. in sin and this Pharisee sorry this publican who really was a dirty dog I mean collecting revenue for is own people and turning that of it to the Nazi Roman invaders and occupies with another man had to do what he had to do to live but that's a difficult place to be. And yet God forgave him he would have justified justification and pod in a one and the same thing he went home Pod and went home claimed it would him forgiven he went. In position of the righteousness of Christ Lord be merciful to me a sinner or the Preah or the prince and Jesus said everyone that exalts himself shall be a base the one who humbles himself or herself shall be exalted you know the Bible says that God's strength is made perfect in weakness of course it is it can't be made perfect in strength because your strength and God's strength would then be striving for the mustering and you open up your heart to God and say Lord such as I am without one plea come out of my life and make my life your life make my heart your dwelling place go to be willing to say I'm faulty I'm a sinner I need Jesus in my life because what's the alternative the alternative is coming to the judgement and discovering that vehicle was not everything you thought it would be so I'm looking underneath the vehicle and discovering Oh my. My Would the 2 frames have been welded together this is a rip off this is a disaster waiting to happen what's under the hood what's beneath the surface for you if we're honest we'll say sin we'll say unrighteousness once we say that we can say I'm going to Jesus and he's going to make it right I'm going to Jesus God be merciful to me a sin what happens then you're justified Pod and full given and you possess the righteousness of Jesus Christ. There's nothing to be gained by going through life as a hypocrite there's nothing to be gained by coming to church and putting on a show nothing nothing at all it's necessary and God is able to change our hearts why don't we let him do that and we pray together now and Doc's that God would indeed change our lives can be a little more public and a little less Pharisee and entirely right with heaven let me pray with you Father in heaven. We thank you today that you are willing to give to us the righteousness of Christ in the Book of Revelation in chapter 3 in a message to the church in the last day Jesus said The challenge with you is that you think you are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing and yet you do not realize that you are Richard miserable poor blind and naked. Allow us to see ourselves as we really but from an encouraging point of view that being that Jesus will save us God will make us a new. Salvation may be ours through faith in Jesus Christ Lord we believe that the climate for what you claim and raise your hand if you claim it would you claim celebration and the righteousness of Jesus sure you will raise your hand I'm not asking you can you promise God Absolute perfection from this moment on be that silly you go to grow. But can you say God I I j I claim can you say God I claim the righteousness of Christ God I choose to receive from you and you hot that's out Priya we thank you for it we love you for it we ask you for it and believe you for it and we pray in Jesus' name Come on let's say together a man and a man thank you for joining me let's do this again sometime soon God bless you and please do stay in the wood.


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