Luke 18:9-14, My Justified Confidence
1. Confidence In My Good Works Is Misplaced (v11-12)
2. Confidence In My Advantage Over Others Is Misplaced (v11)
3. Confidence In My Need For Mercy Is Justified (v13-14)
4. My Confidence In The Atoning Sacrifice Is Exalted (v13-14)
Luke 18:9-14, My Justified Confidence
Luke 18:9-14, My Justified Confidence
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As we look at Luke Chapter 18 this morning, I'd like to take a moment and welcome you to Super Communion Sunday. It is a great day of celebration as we gather together in the word and we'll be partaking together of communion at the end of service and to conclude our time together and you know. As we prepare our hearts for communion, this parable really does. A significant work in helping us to evaluate our hearts, helping us to prepare ourselves and put our minds and our hearts in the place that they need to be in order to really appreciate what Christ has done for us. This parable here in Luke Chapter 18, verses 9 through 14. Is a powerful. It's an impactful. Parable and and I hope that you understand that when Jesus shared this parable, those who were listening on that day when they heard the parable that Jesus told when they heard the conclusion, the application that he gave in verse 14, they were shocked. I think it's not. Nearly as shocking for us as we look at these things, it's not surprising, especially if you've read the parable before. Heard it taught before. If you've, you know, been around the things of the Lord for a while, it's not that shocking, but for Jesus's listeners, for the Jewish people, although they were very religious. They had some things mixed up. They had some priorities out of place and they would have been completely surprised by the way the parable concluded. Jesus here tells a parable, a story about two men. And both of these men, I would suggest, had great confidence. One was confident in themselves. And the other was confident in the Lord Jesus says in verse 10, two men went to the parable to pray or went to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other was a despised tax collector. Here's why it would have been shocking to the people who were there that day because these two people were very well known. These were like the the kind of roles that were understood to be the highest and the least in their society. One of these people they viewed as the most righteous and most. Close to God type of person. There could be the Pharisee. We often. Looking at this today put the Pharisees in a different camp. We don't see them as the most likely to be close to God. The most holy and devoted in their relationship to God, we we have a different perspective because of what took place and their interactions with Jesus. And so we have a little bit of. Bias is not quite the right word, but we have a better informed perspective as we consider the Pharisees today. But for the people today, try to imagine yourself, put yourself in their sandals and and understand we're talking about someone who is the model. Of right relationship with God. And then on the other hand, the other person that Jesus brings into view here is a tax collector. A despised tax collector this. Role of a tax collector again we. Perhaps have some context from previous. Seasons in the scripture and understanding from teachings that have been given, but. From the here's point of view. The role of the tax collector was a. Role that could. Be used as a symbol of the most wicked person. That was really far from God. And so Jesus here tells this parable and and to his hearers. He's talking about one who was. The most holy example of a person that could be found, and one who was the most wicked example of a person that could be found. I don't know how we could really. Compare that. In today's world. Who is there? That is the model of righteousness that we would look at that collectively we would all accept as yes that that is the role. I'm not sure that we have anyone who is really viewed this way today. Historically, perhaps you know, we might have looked at the priests or a pastor or someone in ministry, but you know, with all of the scandals and things and news that has come out over the past decades, like I think that that is not really an. For its depiction of the role of the Pharisee in the mind of the people of Jesus Day any longer, like maybe Mother Teresa, you know, maybe that like that was the level that was like the high esteem. There could be, no one's holier, no one better off in God's presence or in. Standing before God, then the Pharisee, then the religious leader. And so we have to have that perspective and understand that and then we have to. Go to the other side and. Someone employed by the IRS is not, you know, really the depiction here that's not really going to capture it. What captures the? The most wicked person as viewed by society, just except that everybody knows that person is completely far from God. Human trafficker. That's maybe the the closest one that I could think of. Perhaps there's more. Maybe there's some other ideas in your mind that are are resonating there and you can meditate on those things and understand this is the the the examples that Jesus is seeking to use, that the one who is closest. To the Lord and the one who is farthest from the Lord, the one who is considered wholly and righteous, and then the one who is understood to be wicked and far from God. And so Jesus tells this parable. About these two persons, these two characters, these two people that symbolize these roles in their minds, but Jesus is addressing this account to the people who are listening. And so the people who are listening it tells us in verse nine, he told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else. This was deliberately addressed. To those. Who have great confidence. Confidence in themselves. Who have great confidence in their own righteousness. And so in. Addressing religious people who are really confident in their standing before God in their efforts and endeavors to walk with God, Jesus says OK, I want you to think about the best example that you could think of and the worst example that. You could think of. And then understand this parable that I'm. About to tell you. As we look at this parable and dig into it, I've titled the message this morning my justified confidence. My justified confidence as Jesus addresses this to those who have great confidence. I would suggest to you of course the Pharisee had great confidence. That's obvious from the passage. But what maybe is not obvious is that the tax collector also had great confidence and I'm kind of using justified in the double meaning of it this morning as we walk through this. Together there is the sense of the word justified, which means it's there's good reason for it. And sometimes we have confidence that is not justified, right, like we have no reason to have that kind of confidence that that confidence is not justified. But there's also the legal sense of the word justified, which means to have a completely perfect standing before God. My justified confidence, I pray at the end. All of us are able to own this type of message to say my justified confidence that that is in both ways there is good reason for it. And because I have this confidence, and because there's good reason for it, I have been justified. I have that complete right standing before God. That's the goal. And that's the objective of this parable, to bring us to. Do right relationship with God to have that place and that standing before God, as if we had never sinned, not even once. That's the idea of justified in the legal sense. And we have good reason. We are justified in having that kind of confidence that we stand before the Lord in that condition. And so four point. This will walk through this morning as we consider this parable. Considering these two examples, the Pharisee, the highest example of good that could be imagined for the people and the tax collector, the lowest form of wickedness that could be imagined for the people. Here's point #1 looking at verse 11 and 12. Confidence in my good works is misplaced. If I put confidence in my good works, my confidence is misplaced. Look at verse 11 and 12, it says. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer. I thank you, God, that I am not like other people, cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I'm certainly not like that tax collector. I fast twice a week. And I give you a tenth of my income. Here is the Lord Records this parable. He records this prayer. Of a pharisee. Both of these figures, the Pharisee and the tax collector, are going to the same place they. Go to the temple. The place where God had established that he would meet with his people, the place where the people would have opportunity to communicate with God and pursue the relationship with God that he extended to them. So the Pharisee goes to the temple. And he begins to pray. Now this is a parable. It's not necessarily, you know, an exact accounting of a real situation that happened, but at the same time, we could understand this was a very realistic parable. It was not really an exaggeration, but this was probably very close to something that would happen quite regularly in their lives and in their society. And so here's the Pharisee at the temple, ready to pray. And it says in verse 11 the Pharisee stood by himself. And prayed this prayer. He stood by himself. Now you might get in your mind a picture of, you know the Pharisee off, secluded from everybody else by this like it's a very personal time of prayer. But another part of the picture that the Lord is painting here. Is that his prayer is not so much an interaction with God. As it is an interaction with himself. The wording here is indicating that the new King James version of Verse 11 puts it this way. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself. Other versions take it so far as to say that he prayed to himself. The idea here is he's. Putting on the show and in his mind, he has fully convinced himself that he is talking to God, but the reality is he's really just talking to himself. He's taking the form. Of prayer, the posture of prayer. But not the heart of prayer. Commentator Paul Weaver says even though the Pharisee addresses God, Jesus notes that he was really talking to himself and reviewing his own self righteousness. And this is something that is useful to know because. Well, we can find ourselves very often much like the religious leaders, the Pharisees, going through the motions and practicing things in a way that it looks like prayer. When we hear the words, it sounds like prayer. But Jesus is pointing out it's not actually prayer. He's praying with himself because. Of his great confidence in himself. He says in this. I thank you, God, that I'm not like other people. I thank you, God, that I'm not like other people. There's a comparison going on. Do you see that? He is looking at himself. He's looking at other people and he's saying. I'm pretty great. I'm not like those cheaters and sinners and adulterers now. It's not hard or difficult for us to laugh at this prayer, right. We can kind of chuckle that the the idea of the Pharisee praying this. But again. Rewinding back. To listen with the hearers as Jesus was first, bringing this forth. It wouldn't have been interpreted as some ridiculous, boastful prayer. The people in Jesus, they would have understood like. Yeah, that's a good prayer to pray that. Thankfulness to God that. You're not like those other people. They would have understood this as a prayer that. Well, they would desire to pray if they could. Some of them were honest enough to know. Well, maybe I I am like other people, so I can't thank God for that. But surely the Pharisees, the religious leaders, they truly are not like other people and and they had this reverence and respect for them in that way. And so they thought this was a valid prayer, that the Pharisee, this religious leader, really was not like other people. It's important for us to know and understand that there is no people who are not like other people. That that we as humanity. Share similar battles and struggles, weaknesses and frailties. They thought of the religious leaders in a way that put them in a different class. The religious leaders thought of themselves in a different class, but. It's not actually the case. The confidence that they had was in their good works and so he goes on to list out a couple of them. In verse 12 I fast twice a week and I give you a tenth of my income. I think you got. I'm not like all those other people. I think you got like, I'm not. A wretched person. But I'm a great person. I've got a lot of good works. Let me remind you of a couple. One of them is listen, Lord, I fast twice a week. How great I am. That's how great my works are. Great confidence in this work of fasting. God did require a fast for the. People of Israel. But it was one day a year, not one day a week. Not one day a month, one day, a year on the Day of Atonement. They were too fast. The religious leaders. Decided and be much better. Much more holy. Much better off before God if he fasted more frequently than that. And throughout Israel's history, they'd used fasts as a good work, as an attempt. To earn God's favor. And the Lord really rebukes that. Pretty strongly in Israel's history. I believe it's the prophet Zechariah. When the people come and said, hey, should we continue to fasten these special facts that we've set up that God hadn't commanded, but they have been doing and? The Lord through the Prophet says you called that fasting, but it's not fasting just because you're not eating doesn't mean you're fasting, because your hearts are still far from me. You're still practicing wickedness. It it's not a fast. Just because you are abstaining from food, that's not a real fast. You weren't doing that for me. In a similar way, the religious leader here is saying I fast twice a week. This is how good my works are. I don't just fast once a year, I don't just fast a couple times a year. I don't just fast once a week. There was a mentality in Jesus's day that. If you were especially righteous and close to God, you would fast once a week. But then the Ultra Ultra special relationship with God could be obtained if you would fast twice a week, and so they would fast sometimes on Mondays and Thursdays in order to reflect on they believed Moses went up on a Thursday to Mount Sinai, came down on a Monday. So Monday and Thursday. They fasted. And thought themselves great, they had great confidence. In this good work of fasting. And he says, I give you a 10th. Of my. Income. So I'm very diligent to Tithe, Lord. I pay you my 10% and I fast twice a week. Thank you, God, that I am able to produce for you such good works. Commentator John Mason says in terms of the law, he reckoned that he went far beyond the exacting requirements in terms of lifestyle. He considered that his deeds and works were over and above the Call of Duty and worthy of greater merit. It's not that there should be a dispute. Arguing you really didn't fast twice a week. There were many in Jesus Day. These Pharisees and religious leaders, they actually did. They sacrificed a lot. They they went hungry a couple of days a week. They did tithe. And we're careful, in particular in that it's not that the Pharisee is lying here. That's not the problem. The problem is the confidence. In their own good works, the confidence in their own efforts and attempts. To earn God's favor, to earn their position. Before God, and they thought these good works. Deserve merit. I deserve. Recognition. I deserve God's favor. I deserve God's work in my life. Very confident that their good works earned this place for them. But that's not the way that God works. It's not the way that God has ever worked. And sometimes we mistake that we kind of think of the Old Testament, the law, you know like that was. Like earning your. Place before God. It was never that it was always about Faith, Paul, in the Book of Romans walks through that. To understand, it's always been you go back to Abraham. It was always about faith. In Romans chapter 3. The apostle Paul says this in verse 19. Obviously the law applies to those to whom it was given for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. The purpose of the law, the purpose of the instruction that God gave, was not to make us right before God. The law was perfect, but humanity is not, and so no one can ever be made right with God. By doing good works. By doing what the law commands by doing the good things that we esteem so highly fasting twice a week, giving 10% of all we have, these are just a couple of examples that you know could easily be recognized in this parable that Jesus tells. The confidence that this Pharisee had in his good works is misplaced. Does not earn him the position that he thinks he has with God. It does not give him that opportunity to be right with God, to be close to God. It's misplaced. He's misunderstood the. Law of God, the heart of God. And he himself is far from God. This is important to consider and review because again, it is not difficult for us to slip into. The mindset and the heart of the Pharisees. And and there is so much that we kind of need to guard against and battle in our hearts to make sure that we are not developing a confidence in our good works for our standing before God. There is a place for good works, and God wants us to do good works. It's an outflow of God's work in us and and as we've talked about recently over the past couple of weeks, there's reward in doing the good works that God sets before us. And so there is a place for good works, but we need to be very careful to guard our hearts, to not put our confidence. In those good works, our confidence is not in what we do or have done to achieve our standing and position before God. Well, along those same lines, point #2, we're going to camp out just in verse 11 for a little bit point #2. Is that confidence in my advantage over others is misplaced. Not only did this Pharisee think his works were great, and he had great confidence in them. But in comparison to everybody else. He thought, you know, I'm really far ahead. That's the idea. That's the mentality of the Pharisee in Jesus. See verse 11 again says the Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer. I thank you, God they that I am not like other people. Cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I'm certainly not like this tax collector. The religious leader here, the Pharisee, he, is praying to himself. To God about how great he is, and in that greatness that he sees in himself it it involves a comparison to those around him. I thank you, God, that I'm not like other people. Now the idea here if not being like other people, it's a little bit more dramatic. In the original language. Where it could be translated also I think you got that. I'm not like everyone else. So not just like there are some people who are, you know, really terrible, but the the Pharisee saw himself and he said. Nobody else. Has the kind of position that. I have before God. Thank you, God, that I'm not like everybody else who is not faithful and everybody else. Are cheaters and sinners and adulterers and and they're all pretty terrible. But thank you God, that I am so great and so comparing himself to others around him now. It's one of the the dangers, of course, of many arguments and debates and comparisons that can happen a lot of times in a type of argument or debate. What you do is you take your strongest point and you hold it against the weakest point of your opponents that you're arguing against in a similar way we. To feel confidence in ourselves. Hold our highest trades up and we compare them to the worst of the worst so that we have great confidence and great victory in that comparison. And so the Pharisee looks at cheaters and sinners and adulterers. Thank you, God, that I'm not like everyone else who's like that. You can look at yourself. In your best moments of life. And compare yourself to others and their worst moments and feel pretty good about yourself. And that's often what we do, right? We excuse our own sins. We excuse our own failures. We have all kinds of good reasons for why those don't matter and why those aren't important. But when we look at others, we hold them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves to. And so we end up having great confidence in ourselves as we compare ourselves to others around us. We feel like we have an advantage over others. Now it's OK to be thankful. That God has done a work in your life. It's OK to be thankful. If you're not a cheater or a Sinner or adulterer. But don't take the credit. That's the religious leaders problem here. His confidence is in himself. He's not like everybody else because he has done such great things and worked so hard. And he says in verse 11, I'm certainly not like that tax collector. And so these two people in this parable that Jesus talks about, they're they're in eyesight of each other. And the religious leader is they're praying with himself and he sees this tax collector out of the corner of his eyes. Like, yeah, Lord, thank you that I'm not like that. The guy. I'm not looking at who I'm pointing at, so I don't. Know who I'm pointing. Out over there. But thank you God that. I'm not like them. Let's go back a couple verses. Verse 9. Remember what this parable is about and meant to do. Verse 9 says Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else. These two things go hand in hand. When I have great confidence in myself. It will lead to me scorning everyone else. It will lead to a despising of other people, the more I. Have confidence in my own self and my own works and my own goodness. The more I will demean and belittle and despise everyone else. This scorn, this disdain. Was expressed regularly by the religious leaders in Jesus Day to you. The common people and the people around them. And it is. Continuing to be expressed, this scorn this disdain. By religious people today, when we are impressed with our religion religiousness with our good works, with ourselves, with our righteousness. It's bound together. That cannot happen without the scorning of others. Sometimes we catch ourselves. We realize I kind of. Have something against that person? Maybe you wonder how do I not pray with scorn? How do I not treat people scornfully? It starts not with great effort. And how you relate to people? It starts back with how you relate to God. The way to not scorn people is to not have scornful thoughts of people in your heart to not have a heart that is scornful already, and then you won't express it because it's not there in your heart. But but when you are impressed with yourself. When I am impressed with myself. I have a great confidence in my advantage over others and so there is this other side of the coin now that comes into play and there is this scorn that I have. For other people. And so as I talk about people. You may hear the scorn you may hear, the disgust you may hear the disdain. As I talk to people, they may hear that scorn. They may feel they may sense. They may understand. Yeah, Jerry thinks very little of you. Because I think so highly of myself. When I think myself grates when I think my. Advantage over others. Is significant. Than I see other people as having lesser value. We come to the point where we think there's nothing good that could come from that. Nothing I can learn from them. In John Chapter 9, Jesus healed the blind man. There was all kinds of. Hubbub and dispute over this because it was such a significant miracle. They wanted to know who they questioned the blind man. They questioned his parents. They're they're investigating this whole situation. They called the guy in for questioning again. How could this happen? How could this be? No one's ever heard of a man being healed who had been born blind. After several rounds of questioning, the guy who had been healed finally speaks up and he says. You know what I think? I think if this guy was a sinful man. Then he wouldn't have been able to do this if he were not from God. He couldn't have done this. Nobody's ever heard about a miracle like this. He must be from God. This miracle authenticates his claims to be sent by the father. And the religious leaders, in response to this guy and his statement, his conclusion evaluating these things. Their response to him was you are total Sinner. You were born a total Sinner. Why on Earth are you trying to teach us? How dare you try to teach us? You're a Sinner and we are righteous. Is the result of scorn. Where we find ourselves in a place where we say there's nothing you can teach me, there's nothing I can learn from you. I have significant advantage over you. We can. Start feeling pretty good about ourselves thinking. Yeah, I don't. I don't think that way about people. But let's go back to the. Beginning how do we? Think about these two roles that Jesus is portraying here in today's terms. So here you find yourself in church on a Sunday morning. The publicly known well known human trafficker comes in and sits next to you and tries to teach you the Bible. What's your response? You try to teach me? I don't think so. I have a significant advantage over you. A known drug addict comes in and sits next to you and starts telling you about the grace of God. And you say you're trying. To teach me I have a significant advantage over you. There's nothing you can teach me. I know God way better than you do. Confidence in my advantage over others. It's misplaced. Jesus has proven that parable he tells at the end. Jump into the end. Little spoiler alert here. It's the tax collector who goes home justified. It's the tax collector who ends up with right relationship with God. It's the tax collector, the despised 1. That is pleasing to God. And we can so easily find ourselves in a place where we are so satisfied with our religiousness. So happy about how good we are and how good and how much good we do. That we completely miss. The heart of God. And we miss right relationship with God while others around us that we deem less worthy obtain it. It's pretty powerful. To consider this, to wrestle with these things confidence and my advantage over others. Is misplaced, commentator John Meeson says it's easy and so human to be like the Pharisees in this parable, especially if we're actively involved in a church community. We can be proud of our good works, thinking they give us credit with God. When compared with the seemingly godless lives of others. It's easy to slip into this mode. To think of ourselves as having an advantage over others before God. But it's a danger. It's a misplaced confidence. Well, moving on to verse 13 and 14, we get point #3 confidence and my need for mercy is justified. Confidence in my need for mercy is justified. Verse 13 and 14 says, but the task collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, O God, be merciful to me, for I am. The Sinner. I tell you, this Sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God for those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be. Exalted and so we switch. Characters now in this parable, we've been looking at the religious leader. Now we're looking at the tax collector, the despised person, the worst of the worst. And where do we find him at the temple? Don't take from this the idea that this tax collector is going to the temple he's praying and then he's going back to his wickedness that he has always lived in. That the idea here is that he's coming to get right with God. And so he's coming. To meet with God and be forgiven. It's a repentance that is being expressed here by this tax collector. He's not as versed in religiosity as the Pharisee. So perhaps. Approach to God is not as refined, not as impressive. Pastor David Guzik puts. It this way we can imagine the Pharisee praying with eloquent words and flowing spiritual style. Anyone who heard him pray would say that he was a spiritual man. In contrast, we imagine the tax collector praying awkwardly with halting phrases and fear. But his prayer please God. I don't know if you've ever. Prayed awkwardly with halting phrases and with fear. Been very conscious of how badly your prayers came out and sounded and came across, and why did I say it that way? And that's weird. And and you're very self-conscious about how you pray, but it's worth noting here. It's the tax collector who went home justified before God, you know, sometimes. We can be so distracted by the outward by the things that seem so impressive to us, but they don't have the same resonance with God. I want to encourage you that even. If you're in the worst of the worst. Position the worst of the worst that society looks down on and and disdains and esteems lowly. Even if you don't know how to pray, the specific words, the style that's not really important. What's really important is. How confident are you? And the idea that you need mercy from God. The tax collector stood before God. He wasn't eloquent. He wasn't. Full of good works and credentials to back up his claim that he should be. Observed by God or received by God. He can come only with. His acknowledgement. Of his sinfulness. And his need for mercy. So he stands at a distance. He didn't dare to lift his eyes to heaven. Now, that doesn't mean he couldn't and doesn't mean that God didn't want him to. It doesn't mean that he wouldn't grow to learn to look to heaven. But even in that state in in his inability. Because of his awareness of his sinfulness, he just felt overwhelmed. About how unworthy he was and how undeserving he was before God, he could not lift his eyes to heaven. But he prayed. And again, this is the the difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation gives this sense of oh, I'm so unholy, but pushes us away. Now run away from God because you're so unholy and that is never God's desire. God's desire is yes. Recognize your condition. Feel what you need to feel to stand at a distance and not even lift your eyes to heaven. But come and pray and draw near to me and let me transform you so that. You can draw near with boldness and confidence. Not in your works, but in my mercy. I was listening to Pastor Lloyd Pulley teach on this portion and he said something I thought was interesting. That kind of stood out of my mind. If you don't think that you need mercy. Then you do not know yourself. If you don't think that you need God's mercy, you don't know. And you're more like the Pharisee in this parable. Confused, deceived. Impressed with your own works. Feeling some superior advantage over others. We need to learn to identify with this tax collector more and more. Not that we stay away. Not that we run away, but that we. Realize our need for gods of mercy, humility. Can be defined as an accurate view of yourself. The Pharisees view of himself was not accurate. The tax collectors view of himself was accurate. He knew exactly where he stood and what he needed from God. And as a result, in verse 14, Jesus says I tell you this Sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. And here's the legal sense of that word justified. The tax collectors confidence in his need for mercy is justified in the. Sense that he really. Did it was a. It was a a good confidence to have. I need mercy. Yes, that that confidence is justified. You do need mercy from God, but when you have that confidence that I need mercy from God. God's response is not only is that confidence justified, but now you are justified and I look at you just as if you had never sinned. When I'm justified, just as if I'd never sinned. Jesus is saying God heard this tax cut, his prayer, he received his prayer, he forgave him. And this guy went home with rights, relationship with God. He went home justified. God gave him 90 days probation. If you don't do any of those wicked things anymore for the next 90 days, then we'll talk about you maybe being justified. No, he went home justified. And don't take it too far to say. Well, it took, you know, the time that it took to get home. Then he was just like he was justified. And then he went home. He he had immediate right standing before God. Because he came to God not with his own good works, not with his own impressive resume of how great he had been, and all the things he had done, he went before God with great confidence in. I need mercy from God. I deserve judgment. And I need God's mercy. Pastor David Guzik says the justification of the tax collector was immediate. He humbly came to God on the basis of his atoning sacrifice and was justified. He didn't earn his justification. He didn't have a probationary period. He was simply justified. He stood and right standing. Before God. FB Meyer says let it never be forgotten that those who will be justified and stand accepted before God are those who are nothing in their own estimate. Those who are not impressed with their good works, those who are not presenting their good works as a reason for God to forgive as a reason for God to overlook sin as a reason for God to do good and bless in their life. We placed no confidence in the flesh, Paul said. And our efforts and our good works. Our confidence needs to be. In our need for mercy from God. Well, the final point to consider this morning still here in verse 13 and 14, my confidence in the atoning sacrifice is exalted. My confidence in the atoning sacrifice is exalted. Again, verse 13 says, but the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying oh God, be merciful to me, for I am a Sinner. I tell you this Sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled. And those who humble themselves will be exalted. Here we see this tax collector. The worst of the worst, beating his chest in sorrow, asking for mercy. But what really? Stood out as I was. Walking through this passage this week. When he says, oh, God, be merciful to me. The word mercy there for merciful. It's not the typical word for mercy or merciful. It could also be translated be propitiated to me. It it brings out a whole new perspective. This is the same word that's used in Hebrews chapter 2. When it talks about Jesus being that great high priest who would be the propitiation for our sins, propitiation could be understood as a sacrifice that takes away the sins. Of the people. That appeasing of the judgment of God and the wrath of God when the tax collector. Here says, oh God, be merciful to me. It gives us a different picture now because he's not just using the typical word for mercy and asking for mercy. He is. Picture this. He's at the temple. He's not just there praying. He's brought a sacrifice. He's brought his land, his sin offering to the Lord. He's offered it. And he stands off. And he says God. Please accept this sacrifice on my behalf. Please let this satisfy. The judgment that I deserve. It doesn't make sense that this animal should. Have that effect on me, but but this is what you've declared. This is how you have instructed us to become in right relationship with you. And so I've brought the sacrifice. And, Lord, I'm just trusting you. Please accept this sacrifice on my behalf. And forgive me for my sinfulness. Oh, it's a powerful picture now. Understanding he's not just praying. He's trusting in the sacrifice. That God had instructed him to provide. As a result, he went home justified. And Jesus said he will be exalted. Because he trusted in the sacrifice, the atoning sacrifice. That was provided for him. As I mentioned, this is really a parable that sets us up, prepares us for partaking of communion together, because that really is what we need to do to put our confidence completely. In the atoning sacrifice, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that. Has been given on our behalf. That we would not approach God ever in a confidence of our own good works, our own efforts, our own, you know, impressive things in our own minds, not not ever considering ourselves, having advantage over others, but that we would come to God. Acknowledging our need for mercy and putting our full confidence in, I'm not worthy. I'm not deserving. I could never do enough good works. I'm not better than anybody else, but Jesus, I am trusting in what you have done for me and I'm receiving that for myself. That I could have right relationship with God, that my sins could be forgiven, that I could have the promise of blessing and eternity with you. And to me, that be the prayer of our hearts. May the Lord bring us to that place this morning as we prepare our hearts for communion, the worship team can come on up and get ready and the ushers can make ready as well. The apostle Paul on the night that talks about on the night that the the Lord Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and gave thanks. He broke it in pieces and said this is my body which is given for you do this. In remembrance of me. And so we partake of the bread. And we remember. The brokenness of the body of Christ. He then took the cup and he said this is the new covenant between God and his people. An agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it. And so the bread represents his body. The cup represents his blood. He said do this often and drink it. Of it Remember Me. Remember my atoning sacrifice? And come to me with great confidence, not in yourself, not in how far ahead you are of other people. Come to me with great confidence that you need. My sacrifice, my death upon the cross for you. Place all of your confidence this morning. As they lead us in worship, the ushers are going to pass out the bread and the cup. And I encourage you hold on to those portions. And consider where your confidence is. And when you place your confidence completely and wholly. And the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf. Then you partake. When you come to the end of yourself and you say, Lord, I'm not going to try to impress you with my good works, I'm not going to try to earn my way. I'm not going to try to deserve your goodness or blessings in my life. But I'm going to acknowledge my need of you and your mercy, and I'm going to put all of my trust. In your sacrifice on my behalf. At anytime during the worship song, you can partake. And enjoy that justification. That right relationship, that sweet fellowship with the Lord as we continue in worship. And so let's do that. Let's prepare our hearts and let's bring ourselves to that place where we trust completely. Our confidence is wholly. And the sacrifice that Christ has done on our. Behalf, let's worship the Lord together.