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Rebuking Self-Righteousness

Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Christ And His Righteousness - Isaac Watts, 1709. 1 No more, my God, I boast no more    Of all the duties I have done;    I quit the hopes I held before,    To trust the merits of thy Son. 2 Now for the love I bear his name,    What was my gain I count my loss;    My former pride I call my shame,    And nail my glory to his cross. 3 Yes, and I must and will esteem    All things but loss for Jesus’ sake:    Oh may my soul be found in him,    And of his righteousness partake! 4 The best obedience of my hands    Dares not appear before thy throne:    But faith can answer thy demands,    By pleading what my Lord has done.
Of all the duties I have done;
Of all the duties I have done;
Luke 16:14-5
I quit the hopes I held before, To trust the merits of thy Son. 2 Now for the love I bear his name,    What was my gain I count my loss;    My former pride I call my shame,    And nail my glory to his cross. 3 Yes, and I must and will esteem    All things but loss for Jesus’ sake:    Oh may my soul be found in him,    And of his righteousness partake! 4 The best obedience of my hands    Dares not appear before thy throne:    But faith can answer thy demands,    By pleading what my Lord has done.
I quit the hopes I held before, To trust the merits of thy Son. 2 Now for the love I bear his name, What was my gain I count my loss;    My former pride I call my shame, And nail my glory to his cross. 3 Yes, and I must and will esteem All things but loss for Jesus’ sake:    Oh may my soul be found in him, And of his righteousness partake! 4 The best obedience of my hands    Dares not appear before thy throne:    But faith can answer thy demands,    By pleading what my Lord has done.
Luke 16:14–16 ESV
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.
Luke 16:14–15 ESV
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

“God’s Children” and Money Grabbers?

The Pharisees - By way of reminder, the Pharisees are the religious elite of the nation of Israel. They are the conservative scholars and regulators of worship. There are four primary ways the these “separated one” are described in the New Testament:
The Pharisees - By way of reminder, the Pharisees are the religious elite of the nation of Israel. They are the conservative scholars and regulators of worship in the nations. There are four distinct ways the these “separated one” are described in the New Testament:
(1) positions of religious authority in the community
(2) concern for outward recognition and honor
(3) enthusiasm for making converts,
(4) emphasis on observing the legalistic minutia of the law.
However, Luke gives describes them in another way in this passage, who were lovers of money. They were immoderately desirous of acquiring wealth. This group of leaders and elites used their specific influence for financial gain. Often, at the expense of others. Jesus has already said they were filled to the brim with an intense and selfish desire for money and possessions.
Luke
Luke 11:39 ESV
And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
Later on we will see Jesus warning others of the Pharisees.
Luke 20:46–47 ESV
“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
The key phrase for us today is “who devour widow’s house”. These religious elite, who should be serving those who were most destitute and vulnerable were taking advantage them Robert Stein writes, “This statement may refer to the teachers’ cheating widows of their houses and estates while serving as the executors of these properties. This is more likely than the view that they were abusing the hospitality of poor widows.”
These men were unprincipled, hypocritical lovers of money. They schemed and plotted to gain and accumulate. They were overcome with the desire for riches and wealth. They thrived on the calm of comfort and the reputation of prestige. They also believed themselves to be the chosen of God because of their geneologies and morality. Luke continues...
Luke continues
Luke 16:13 ESV
No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Luke
Luke continues

The Money Grabbers Mock

Heard all these things - They have just heard Jesus tell the group listening to him this phrase we saw in previous weeks:
They have just heard Jesus tell the group listening to him this phrase we saw in previous weeks:
Luke 16:13 ESV
No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
And they ridiculed him - In response to the warning of Christ about loving money before God, they ridiculed him. This word describes an extremely hostile attitude. They mocked him or sneered at him. Said another way, they turned their noses up at him. They absolutely hated and despised him for what he said and they were like this because they were guilty of and did not want to change. They were concreted in their hearts and would not be moved.
Let’s pause to consider what is happening and how bad this situation is. This great teacher is none other than God the Son, second person of the Trinity and The Son of God enfleshed to be to the Messiah of God. He is the anointed One that all the Old Testament foretells. He is the fulfillment of all the Messianic prophecy and the promises of God. He is ministering the truth of God’s kingdom so that lost humans can enter into it by the grace of God. These Pharisees, who are the supposed best interpreters of the Old Testament, are mocking the One who is supposed to be their Savior.

Rebuking Self-Righteousness

Jesus is not phased and is undaunted by their ridicule of him. He is the embodiment of the truth and is trusting his Father every step of the way. He responds with his pride devastating insight of reality.
You are those who justify yourselves before men- You can almost imagine Jesus pointing his finger to make sure they know with certainty he is addressing them. The Pharisees attempted to display their righteousness to others through merely external behavior. Jesus is telling these men they are hypocrites. They only have the desire to appear righteous. They only want to give the impression they are living for God. The are only acquainted with acting like they are the children of God in public settings and venues. He condemns them in for many things, but play-acting to be righteous is among them.
L
Matthew 23:27–28 ESV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Leon Morris writes about whitewashed tombs:
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel according to Matthew 2. Jesus’ Denunciation of the Pharisees, 23:1–39

The next woe likens the scribes and Pharisees to whitewashed tombs, which refers to the customs of burial. People were not necessarily buried together in cemeteries; isolated graves might be found in all sorts of places. A grave might not be well kept after a long lapse of time (the relatives of the buried person might all die themselves), and the grave could easily become inconspicuous. People not familiar with the locality but passing through on the way up to Jerusalem for a feast might well accidentally make contact with such a grave, and the contact would make them ceremonially unclean (see Num. 19:11–22; v. 16 explicitly says that anyone who touches a grave is unclean for seven days). As a help for such pilgrims (and others) tombs were whitewashed on the fifteenth of the month Adar, a month before Passover; the tombs would then be conspicuous and anyone passing through would be warned (see Mishnah, Ma‘aś. Sh. 5:1; Sheqal. 1:1; etc.), even though they had little local knowledge. The care with which such tombs were whitewashed made them beautiful, but it did nothing for the fact that inside such tombs there were dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. Nothing could be more “unclean” than the inside of a tomb.

But God knows your hearts - In this phrase, Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees for the foolishness of self-righteousness and play-acting in spiritual matters. In other words, he is telling them that they might trick men into thinking that they are justified in the sight of God, but God will not be deceived in such matters. Why? God know your hearts. God’s all-seeing eye pierces the whitewash of long-prayers, fancy, ornate clothing, giving under pretense into the dead bones of the heart that desires money and prestige more than God and that loves self more than neighbor.
1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
God’s ability to know the hearts of the Pharisees is related to an attribute that we describe as omniscience. God knows everything about everything at every time. R.C. Sproul writes:
But God knows your hearts -
1 Samuel

God’s omniscience, like His omnipotence and omnipresence, also relates to time. God’s knowledge is absolute in the sense that He is forever aware of all things. God’s intellect is different from ours in that He does not have to “access” information, like a computer might retrieve a file. All knowledge is always directly before God.

God’s knowledge of all things is a two-edged sword. For the believer the idea offers security—that God is in control, that He understands. God is not puzzled by those problems that puzzle us. For the unbeliever, however, the doctrine highlights the fact that people cannot hide from God. Their sins are exposed. Like Adam, they seek to hide. However, there is no corner of the universe that God’s gaze, either in love or wrath, fails to reach.

The omniscience of God is also a crucial part of God’s promise to bring about justice in the world. For a judge to render a perfectly just verdict he must first know all the facts. No evidence is hidden from the scrutiny of God. All mitigating circumstances are known to Him.

Jesus continues by telling the Pharisees of God’s utter rejection of the fallen world’s philosophy and values. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God - This is a proverbial statement by Jesus. He wants to teach the Pharisees and others hearing about what is important.
For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God - This is a proverbial statement by Jesus. He wants to teach the Pharisees and others hearing about what is important. Let’s break it down.

A

For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God - This is a proverbial statement by Jesus. He wants to teach the Pharisees and others hearing about what is important. Let’s break it down.
What is exalted among men - Jesus is referring to the world’s value system and what the people of the fallen cosmos find to be important. More specifically, it is what the Pharisees themselves find important and valuable: Self-righteousness, self adoration, self-pleasure, selfish ambition, self-reliance, self-exaltation, self-sufficiency, and all other out working of the depravity or man’s heart.
1 John 2:16 ESV
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
Is an abomination to God - This statement is that of fact and reality. The way the world thinks is detestable to God.
Is an abomination to God - This statement is that of fact and reality. The way the world thinks is detestable to God. God despises and hates the arrogant pride and self-righteousness of fallen man. This wicked activity is a stench in God’s nostrils.
Proverbs 16:5 ESV
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

Practical Application

Self-righteousness comes in various forms. If you recall, Luke uses the language of “justify”. Are you one that justifies what you do by worldly standards? Do you really desire to be right with God? The only way to be right with God is through Jesus Christ.
What is the nature of your spirituality? Does God have the hidden person of the heart? If your most spiritual moments are merely and mostly when you are around other people, you are a spiritual play-actor. If this is true or you, don’t scoff at this reality. Come to Christ, who is full of grace.
Self-righteousness comes in various forms. If you recall, Luke use the language of justify. Are you one that justifies what you do by worldly standards? Do you really desire to be right with God? The only way to be right with God is through Jesus Christ.
Do you love the world? Are you allured, enamored and pursuing as the greatest pursuit money, stuff, accumulation, comfort and possession? This world is passing away. You cannot love God and money. Submit to Christ as your Lord and Master.
How do we move forward? Do not conform to the way the unbelieving world thinks, reasons, acts and behaves. In contrast, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
What is the implicit warning here? Do not conform to the way the unbelieving world thinks, reasons, acts and behaves.
Romans 12:1–2 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Don’t you want to
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