If you were in church this past Sunday, then you no doubt went home and talked about the service. Maybe that is a little presumptuous...but when I preach from a 6 foot ladder in the middle of church, I am guessing that makes your conversation somewhere from the church doors to your driveway.
*Before you pass by this post, I think a few minutes of your time might be enriched by reading what is below. If you not Christian, or a Bible dude, do not worry about it...I think there is something in here for everyone...
The text I preached from is as follows:
"Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
13 “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, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 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.”
The Pharisee:The reason I was on the ladder preaching this past Sunday was because the Pharisee did not see himself properly; what better way to illustrate that point than by sitting on a ladder for short period of time? The Pharisee in the above story spent too much time thinking about others and being critical. In a real sense, he was on his "ladder" looking down on everyone. In short, he assumed the role of the Judge & the Jury. Just go back and re-read the way he prayed and the way he viewed the Tax-Collector.
On the other hand, the Tax-Collector had a much clearer view of himself. He was humble and not arrogant. If you notice, he was standing in the back of the Temple and not looking up (or around at anyone else). This man was fully aware of Who the Real Judge was.
John Calvin, the great theologian, said that in order for man to get a real understanding of who they are, they must have a clear picture of who God is. This is true. Only when the Pharisee stops looking horizontally and starts looking vertically will he stop his judging, climb down from his ladder of criticizing others and then give God his proper place. When this happens in a person's life, salvation is on their doorstep and God is drawing them to Himself.
Seeing yourself properly is all about perspective, and depending on who's or should I say, "Who's" you are looking through ,will determine on which end of the ladder you find yourself.
V. 15"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.”