Let's begin by looking at Romans 3:19-31.
What does the Law do (verse 19-20)?
- Shows us that the whole world will be held accountable to God
Can we achieve what the Law asks us to do (verse 19-20)?
- No, no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law. The law is there to make us conscious of our sin.
No one will be declared righteous in the sight of God by their works!
Verse 22, instead we have been given this through our faith in Jesus Christ – to all who believe
Verse 23, we all fall short!
However (verse 23) we have been justified (found not guilty) freely
As a result (verse 27) we can not boast about ourselves!
Verse 28 says we are justified by faith, apart (or away/without/separate) from our attempt to keep the Law (our works).
Is the Law nullified or redundant then – is it worthless?
- Not at all. We are purposed to uphold the Law – to obey the Law
We are to produce fruit because of the love and grace we have received, but we can not achieve salvation through our works – very important!
How does this message line up to Jesus’s teaching in Luke 18:9-14?
- The Audience Jesus spoke to were those that were confident in their own righteousness and those that looked down on others
Why did He choose these two groups in the parable?
-The Pharisee was expected to be found to be the one saved, while most recognised the Tax-Collectors as sinners
What happens in the story?
- It is the Tax-Collector that went home justified before God
What are some of the huddles to hearing and accepting the Gospel of grace?
- What’s the catch to the gift of grace?
- Our own pride wanting to do something to achieve salvation for ourselves
Now read Luke 18:15-17
People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
How do we think this links with the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector?
Jesus uses strong words (‘rebuke’) to correct His disciples. Jesus then uses the children as an example of how we are to be if we want to enter the Kingdom. We are to be innocent and without pride like children are. Children a rarely self-righteous and often show humility. This is how we are to act!
Why does Jesus use prayer as the setting here to show us that we are to be humble?
- It is our time with God
What do we learn about God through this parable?
- We are to approach God humbly
Is this easy sometimes?
Sometimes we can be ‘puffed up’ in our own deeds and our own successes
What happens to our faith when that happens?
- Our faith can falter. As we trust in ourselves, rather than depending on God
We can now see why Jesus asked the question of whether faith would be present when He returns
Why is prayer and faith linked?
- Prayer is our time with God.
Remember faith is not a religion. Religion is the Law and the doing of deeds. Faith is trust and dependence in what is unseen. It is a relationship. It is our relationship with God, the Almighty, our loving heavenly Father.
How do we hear from God if we approach Him in a prideful way, arrogant and self-righteous?
We are instead to meditate on His Word and spend time in Prayer. Just like the Persistent Widow did in the first parable of Luke 18.
The Persistent Widow represents us. Are we like this?
Think of yourself as a child holding your parent’s hand when crossing the road. God is holding our hand as a loving parent every second of every day. We are to have complete trust in God like a child does of their loving parent!