Tag Archives: Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Ephesians Study: Least of the Saints

[Ephesians 3:1-13]

Paul wrote over half of the books in the New Testament. Paul knew the Scriptures well. Paul had an encounter with Jesus and a special calling to preach to the Gentiles. He had many reasons to be puffed up. Instead we read:

1 Corinthians 15:9 “least of the apostles,” Ephesians 3:8 “very least of all the saints,” 1 Timothy 1:15 “foremost of sinners”

  • We are dead – we need to be made alive

Romans 3:23-24We are all sinners – we all fall short of the glory of God

Ephesians 2:1 – “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins”

Ephesians 2:5 – “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”

Colossians 2:13 – “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”

  • God humbles Himself – He makes us alive

Psalm 113:5-6 – “Who is like the LORD our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth?”

Psalm 18:35 – “You have given me the shield of your salvation. Your right hand supports me. Your gentleness makes me great.”

Philippians 2:7-8 – “Rather, He (Jesus Christ) made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!”

  • Exalt self = humbled, humble self = exalted

Luke 18:9-14 (Parable of the Two Men Who Prayed / Pharisee and the Tax Collector) – We get full of ourselves – We become like the self-exalting man Pharisee from parable – he prayed that he wasn’t like that sinner

1 Peter 5:6 – “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.”

Numbers 12:3 – “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” Aaron and Miriam trash talked Moses, God exalted Moses – with him I speak face to face

Proverbs 29:23 – “Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

Bible Study Questions:

  1. In the Bible, humility is seen as submissiveness toward God. What are some things we need to recognize to be humble?
  1. If we are humble, we recognize God’s power and wisdom. This leads to accepting His will and leads to obedience. How do we see this in life?
  1. With humility comes suffering, hardships, and even persecution. Why do you think these things related?
  1. We are to be humble / meek; however, this does not mean we submit to everything. When are we not supposed to submit?
  1. How can we stay humble?

6.  How does humility keep us from sin?

 

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:

1- Sons and Daughters

2- Immeasurable Greatness

3- God’s Workmanship

4- Our Cornerstone

5- Least of the Saints

6- Love of Christ

7- Abundantly More

8- Unity of the Body

9- Anger Management

10- Exposed by the Light

11- Submission

12- Prepared for Battle

 

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Keeping the Father Waiting

We often keep our Father waiting. We don’t spend time with Him. We go through our entire day and don’t even speak to Him or even think of Him. Sometimes we walk away. And as the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, our Father waits. He’s always reaching out, always wanting us to just speak to Him—to have a relationship with Him.

Make Time

In Psalm 90:12, Moses said, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (ESV). He understood time was our most valuable possession. As such, we must always be reviewing how we spend our time because that’s our priority in life. Is God your top priority—your number one priority?

Matthew 13:45-46 speaks of the pearl of great value. This pearl was found and because of the great value, the merchant sold ALL that he had just so he could buy it. But what do we do? Sometimes we do not consider our pearl of great value – Jesus, our prized possession. Instead we choose lesser pearls in life (possessions, power, pleasures).

Make Room

You need to make room for God’s presence. In 2 Kings 4:8 we read about Elisha going to Shunem. A wealthy woman there fed Elisha when he passed through. She spoke with her husband about building a room for him—she wanted that man of God to come whenever he passed through and stay at her place. Do you have a place where you go to read your Bible or pray? A special place to push away the noise of the world and fix your eyes on Him? In Matthew 6:6, before Jesus tells the disciples how to pray, he tells them to “go into your room and shut the door” (ESV). Why? To shut out the worldly noise.

Routine – Not Routine

Routines are great. They help you to get a better night’s sleep. They help you to have less stress in life. But the issue is that sometimes routines are like traditions. The Bible doesn’t speak about too many traditions we are to keep. Most of the traditions we have are man-made traditions. I love traditions but sometimes we find our hearts not ii them because it’s simply routine. Like this man I met once. He sang the words, “Jesus loves me, the silo.” Yes, that’s not how the song goes, but he didn’t know that. He heard it wrong and continued to sing it wrong for over a decade. He didn’t know the truth—his life was built around tradition. Only when he was an adult did he learn what those words truly were and what the song truly meant.

In Luke 18, we read of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Pharisee was all about tradition. He was going to the Temple to pray. He was fasting twice a week. He was tithing from all that he got. Yes, he was going through the motions, but his heart was proud. He didn’t have his heart fixed on God. The Tax Collector, he stood before God as a humble man, emotionally beating his chest. He recognized his need for God. He truly was baring his heart before God. That’s what God wants. He wants honest, raw, truth. He wants you to open up and pour out your heart. And He wants your ears to listen when He responds.