What's In Going to Church

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What’s In Going to Church  Luke 18:9-14   EBC   4/25/10

  We have such a great privilege each week. We get to get into our cars and drive down to our local church to worship the Lord. This many times is a privilege we take for granted.

  Is there any preparation for going to worship?

   1-How much time do you spend getting your heart right to receive what God has for you

   2- How much time do you spend praying for the services?

   3- How much time do you spend praying asking God to use you to be a blessing to someone?

   1Tim. 3:14-15-

    a.The church is the bedrock of the truth. Paul viewed the church not as a building but as God’s family.  Pillar- that which is foundational, the prop. We need to represent the truth in the way we spend our lives. Conduct- of individual Christians.

      1.J.Vernon McGee- once knew a man that everywhere he went he carried a big Bible. But, he didn’t represent that Bible. He had some real integrity problems. Our lives need to be transparent. We need to really be what we purport to be. Paul is writing to tell the church how it should act so that it can represent and proclaim the truth of God to the world on the outside. The church at Ephesus was beginning to slip away from the fundamentals of the faith.

      2. John MacArthur- The church today sponsors a bewildering variety of highly specialized ministries, everything from race track evangelism to bowling leagues for blind bowlers. People can get lost in the superficial. It is all too easy for churches and believers to get so involved with peripheral matters or theological minutiae that they lose sight of the primary matters. Paul writes this passage as a reminder that the church must give its attention to the essential truths. All that is true comes from God and he has designated the church as the guardian and proclaimer of the truth.

In the passage before us today, the Lord Jesus allows us a glimpse into the Temple as some people gathered to worship. In this parable, we will see that one man came to church that day to worship himself. The other man came to church that day to worship the Lord.

I.We See Two Kinds of People

  A. A Pharisee- (10)

     1. He was a spiritual leader among men. He was known and respected as a true man of God.

     2. He knew the scriptures and had many verses put down to memory. He ever wore boxes containing portions of the Law on his wrist and forehead.

     3. He prayed at least three times each day.

        a. Matt. 6:5-8-

     4. He fasted twice every week. The Jews fasted every Monday and Thursday. This happened to be the same day that wares were brought into the market for sale. The practice of the Pharisees was to make their fasting very public.

         a. Matt. 6:16-18- the Pharisees would not wash their clothes, nor comb their hair, nor wash their faces. They also worn the most wrinkled clothes they could find.

      5. He also tithed of everything he had. The Pharisees often gave 20-30% to the needs of the temple.

         a. Mark 12:41-44-

      6. This man is a picture of many in the church. Everyone who sees them thinks they are pure, holy and righteous. They have convinced everyone that they are the epitome of righteousness, holiness and virtue. They have even convinced themselves that they are right end everyone around them who is not exactly like them is wrong.

   B. A Publican (10)

     1. He was a spiritual outcast. While he was welcome to come to the Temple to pray in the Court of the Jews, he would not have been allowed to attend the meetings at the synagogue. The other Jews hated him and looked down on him.

      2. He was a tax collector. He worked for the Roman government. Rome dominated and ruled Israel at the time.

         a. Rome collected three kinds of taxes- head taxes, land taxes and a custom tax. The chief tax collector would pay Rome for a certain area or district which gave him the authority to collect the taxes there. He would in turn sub-lease that area to tax collectors. The chief tax collector could set his own rates and the men who worked for him could set their own rates. As a result, Rome received its taxes, by the chief tax collectors and the local tax collectors grew wealthy from extorting large sums of money from the common people.

       3. This man is a picture of the other element we find in the church. These are the people who do not act like we think they should. They might not dress like we think they should. They might not do things and say things just like we think they should.

II.Two Kinds of Prayer

  Both of these men went to the Temple to pray. When they started to pray the differences of their hearts came out.

  A.Haughty prayer- this man was quick to tell the Lord how things were.

    1. He brags about his righteousness when comparing himself to others. He really didn’t go to pray he went to inform God about how righteous he was.

    2. He brags about his religious works and his giving. It was common for Pharisees to stand and spread their arms wide apart when they prayed so they could be sure they were seen by all.

      a. What was wrong with the prayer of the average Jew?

        1. Prayer was little more than ritual

        2. Prayers were formulated for every area of life

        3. Long prayers were held in high regard

        4. Many prayers were nothing but meaningless repetition

        5. The main desire was to be seen and heard

  B. A humble prayer- this man knows he has no reason for self-glorification

    1. He understands he is a wicked sinner with nothing of his own to offer the Lord.

    2. When he prays there is no pride, no self-centeredness no attempts to justify himself. He just asks for mercy.

III.Two Kinds of Results

  Both men went to the house and prayer and prayed. Both were where God told them to pray and he would answer them. But, there were two different kinds of results:

  A.The publicans prayer was heard

    1. God heard this prayer, his sins were forgiven and he went home justified in the sight of God

  B. The Pharisees prayer was rejected by God

    1. Although he went home feeling good about himself, he went home as lost as he came

Conc: One man went to church and left with nothing. He went through the rituals. He judged others by his standards. He prayed his self-serving prayers. He worshiped himself. This man went home feeling good about himself, but He received nothing from God for his efforts.

  The other man went to church and left with everything. He didn’t make a spiritual show. He prayed a simple prayer. He offered God honesty, confession and worship. He left that church right with the Lord.

        What was the difference between the two? The difference was in the attitude and condition of their hearts. One was full of himself and thought he needed nothing more. The other knew he was nothing and possessed nothing. He humbled himself before God and he was blessed.

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