The readings for this morning's sermon came from 2 Timmothy 4:6-8 & 16-18
6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
16At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
And Luke 18:9-14
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector is about two people praying, something that we have been told to do continually. One of these people was 'self focused' instead of 'God focused'.
We nee to be open to listen as well as speak. Each of us wants to be seen as special but we are all sinners and need forgiveness. No one is justified before God no matter how much better than others they think they are. We can't achieve holiness by following a set of rules.
If we think we will be acceptable to Go by our actions we will be disappointed when Jesus returns.
In spite of our sins we ARE special to God, so special that Christ died for us.
Do you feel special today?
May God bless you richly this week.