Central Christian Church Lampasas
Parables: The Proud Praying Pharisee and the Humble Tax Collector
Pastor Nathan explores Parables Jesus told in Matthew and Luke.
Locations & Times
  • Central Christian Church
    204 S Broad St, Lampasas, TX 76550, USA
    Sunday 10:30 AM
Sunday July 31st
Aug 3rd — Women’s Wednesday 6 PM
Aug 7th — 1st Sunday Collection for Lampasas Mission
Aug 14th — Board Meeting
Aug 17th — Women’s Wednesday 6 PM
Aug 20th - Men’s Breakfast 8 AM
Aug 26th - Gospel Night with Sam Shurtleff 6 PM
Sept 11th — Patriot’s Day Prayer Service 6 PM
Oct 24th — Women’s More Event
Oct 31st - Neighborhood Block party


In the beginning of Luke 18 Jesus taught about the importance of praying persistently. In verse 9, Jesus tells another parable about prayer. To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else,
In Jesus’ time, the Pharisee would have been considered the good guy. He was a synagogue leader in his town. Pharisees were super-religious men who were extremely careful about obeying the Torah. They also followed the Mishnah, which explained how to obey the Torah. They also followed the Talmud, which was a commentary on the Mishnah.

In contrast, a tax collector was considered the scum of the earth, the very bottom of the religious food chain in Israel. Hired by the Romans, he could charge exorbitant taxes and keep most of the money for himself. He introduced a good guy and a bad guy, and by the time He finished the parable, the good guy had become the bad guy and the bad guy has become the good guy.
There are three important questions from this parable.

In the parable, both the Pharisee and the Tax Collector went to the temple in Jerusalem to pray. But when you examine their actions and attitudes, you discover they went for two different reasons. Why did we come today?

To be seen. The Pharisee was at the temple for others to see how good he was. To him it was a public performance and his behavior at the temple was just part of the script. He had given much thought about what he would wear, and where he would stand, and what he would say, because there was an audience. When he arrived, he walked up to the front and stood before the people in his flowing robe with the ornate prayer shawl the Pharisees wore. It just all part of the religious show for him. The words he prayed were not really directed toward God. He prayed to himself. He was there to be seen and to be heard by the other worshipers.
We all struggle with the temptation of trying to please other people rather than pleasing God. We must all guard against praying so others will be impressed with what we say. Prayer should always be directed to God alone.

The tax collector represents another reason you might be here today. To seek God.

The tax collector showed up because he was in trouble and he believed God could help him. His body language revealed his sense of unworthiness; he couldn’t walk to the front of the crowd, instead he kept his distance. He didn’t focus on the other people there, he focused on God.

Worship does involve an audience. But it’s an audience of one. When we come to church, we should be primarily concerned about seeking God’s face. You may receive the applause of man, but you should be deaf to it. You should be listening only for the applause of the nail-scarred hands.
Why are you here today? Is it just your habit, a part of your weekend routine? Perhaps you came because your parents or your spouse pressured you to come. Or maybe you feel guilty if you don’t come. Or did you come seeking to connect with the Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe?

In the parable Jesus showed two totally different attitudes people can display in worship. The Pharisee presented an attitude that said I’m proud of my goodness.

In some instances, pride can be good. It is okay to say you are proud to be an American, or that you take pride in your neighborhood. But the Bible warns against the dangerous kind of pride characterized by self-love, egotism, and arrogance. This kind of pride is revealed in the prayer of the Pharisee. He wanted others to know about his goodness, so he bragged that he fasted, tithed, and kept all the commandments. Here’s how you can recognize if you have pride in your heart:

1. Pride loves to talk about “I”.
2. Pride seldom admits a need. Pride gives a person a false sense of self-sufficiency.

3. Pride sees the faults of others. Pride blinds a person to their own faults and magnifies the failures and faults of others.

There was another attitude expressed in church. The tax collector displayed an attitude that said:

I desperately need God’s mercy!

He couldn’t even lift up his head, he was so burdened. He pounded his fist on his chest, a spontaneous gesture of his agony over his sin.
You don’t have to pray a long, eloquent prayer full of religious words. If you pray a simple prayer that comes from your heart, God hears you and He will answer you.

When the tax collector caught a glimpse of the greatness and holiness of God, he realized how dirty and filthy he was.
Is that your attitude? Have you come to a place in your life where you know you can’t make it another moment without God’s mercy, peace, and forgiveness in your life?

The final question to answer is HOW WILL YOU GO HOME?

In the parable, but Jesus said only one of the two men went home justified. “Justified” is a great Bible word meaning to be “right with God.” The only way you can be right with God is to receive His mercy and forgiveness. Whenever I read the word “justified” in the New Testament, I rejoice that God treats me “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned.

The world says, “Promote yourself, look out for #1.” God says, “Humble yourself, seek Me first.”

Just like in Jesus’ parable, you’ll go home today basically in one of two conditions.You may go home:

1. Unchanged–Religious and proud of it. The Pharisee was so committed to his religious observance that he could be proud by his performance. He went home unchanged.
Religion cleans you up on the outside, but only Jesus can clean you up on the inside.

Or you can go home the same way the tax collector did:
1. Unburdened–Right with God and thankful for it!