Scripture: Luke 18:9-14 (NIV) – The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
What if a lot of what you’ve learned about God isn’t right?
What if the gap between what scripture says and what we’ve been told it means is bigger than we imagined?
What if what Jesus said doesn’t mean what we tell ourselves it means?
That’s why we are spending August considering the mind of Christ and opening our spirits up to the terrifying liberating truth of Jesus. Because (spoiler alert) Jesus thinks differently than we do. That’s why he taught in parables–to expose the gulf between our expectations and God’s truth. This Sunday we are considering the church through the lens of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, where the one who was confident in himself remained far from God and the one who despaired was saved by grace. Like the Pharisee, too many of us Christ followers come to worship full of ourselves. We seek out the faith communities that will justify us. We want churches to exalt our righteousness and condemn the sins of our neighbors.
But salvation comes not to the (self) righteous, but the repentant sinner. Our church shouldn’t confirm our suspicion that we are righteous, it should lead us to repentance.
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