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Not Like Other Men – June 30th, 2024

Dr. Rob White - June 30, 2024

Not Like Other Men

In the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Jesus teaches us not to celebrate our virtues but to acknowledge our need of forgiveness.

Scripture References: Luke 18:9-14

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Not Like Other Men Sermon Notes

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In this week’s sermon at Athens Universal Life Church, Dr. Rob White delves into the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector from Luke 18:9-14, highlighting the dangers of self-righteousness and the power of humility before God. This story contrasts two men who go to the temple to pray: a Pharisee, proud of his religious observance, and a tax collector, who is despised and admits his sinful nature.

Dr. White elucidates that the Pharisee’s prayer, where he thanks God for not being like other men—extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like the tax collector—reflects a problematic attitude. He points out that while the Pharisee’s adherence to religious laws is commendable, his pride and lack of humility render his virtues hollow. The Pharisee stands as a figure of self-righteousness, believing his good deeds elevate him above others.

Conversely, the tax collector, despite his societal label as a sinner and a traitor for collecting taxes for the Romans, displays a profound humility. Unable to even lift his eyes to heaven, he beats his breast and pleads for God’s mercy, recognizing his faults and seeking forgiveness. This act of humility, according to Jesus’ teachings, is what justifies him before God, not his societal status or adherence to religious law.

Dr. White warns against the trap of the Pharisee’s pride, highlighting that whenever we judge ourselves as better than others, we fall into the same pitfall of self-righteousness. He challenges the congregation to reflect on their own attitudes, encouraging an honest assessment of whether we too might be thanking God for not being like others deemed less worthy.

This sermon invites us to embrace humility and to seek God’s mercy with a sincere heart. It’s a reminder that true righteousness comes not from a comparison with others but from a genuine relationship with God, marked by humility and the acknowledgment of our own imperfections.

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