How may I be right with God?

Sermon on September 4 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi

Scripture:  Luke 18:9-14

Is it possible to feel innocent and yet be guilty before God? How may anyone be right before a holy God?
If you want God as your Father :


  • Give-away number one : where he stands   

‘The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed …’ (v11a)

The fact that others may think we are good may deceive us into thinking that we deserve to be affirmed by the Lord

  • Give-away number two: what he says

‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people …’ (v11b)

Would you go to the doctor to tell him you are healthy? But the Pharisee goes to God to show him that he needs nothing.

‘You have said you have it all, you have asked for nothing. In what respect then have you come to pray?’

  • Give-away number three: who is number one in his heart

‘… I fast twice a week and I give a tenth of all I get’ (v11b)

We too may boast in our negative obedience ‘I don’t sin like others do’ or comparative obedience ‘ At least I am not like …’
Do you come to God to celebrate yourself? Or do you come because you know you need His forgiveness?


  • While the Pharisee shoves forward, the tax collector stands back

‘But the tax collector stood at a distance’ (v13a)

The more in touch with the Lord we are, the smaller we feel and the more conscious of our unworthiness.

  • While the Pharisee covers-up, the tax collector confesses

    ‘ God have mercy on me, THE sinner’ (v13b)

We see the variety of people God has created: races, colour, refugees, economic refugees. God only sees two groups.
Do you boast in the filthy rags of your righteousness?
Or are you one of those who look to shed blood of Jesus poured out to declare sinners not guilty?

‘I sometimes think that the very essence of the Christian position and the secret of a successful spiritual life is just to realise two things: I must have complete, absolute confidence in God and no confidence in myself’.
(Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

  • While the Pharisee goes home untouched, the tax collector goes home transformed

    ‘… this man, rather than the other went home justified before God’ (v14a)

How will you go home today? Will you keep God at arm’s length: ‘I am too good to need God!’
Or will you come to the Lord’s Table confessing: ‘I have nothing to bring to God but my brokenness and sin’?

Remember! ‘For all those who exalt themselves, will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted’ (v14b)
Don’t come to God so you can feel good about yourself. Come to Him because you can’t get over His mercy to you.

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Photo credit Skalstad