A Self Righteous Man

Form Worship
Luke 7:36-50
Objective Sentence: Everyone can avoid being a self righteous lost person by recognizing the character traits of Simon the Pharisee and making sure not to emulate his behavior.

Introductory Story: My high school principal was Mr. Hartman and His assistant was Mr. Able. My friends and I vandalized a laundry mat and I had to stay in jail for six days. This caused me to miss some days at school. Right after that I got in trouble for skipping three weeks of typing class and giving myself an extra lunch period. Mr. Hartman called me in to his office and talked with me about my behavior. He seemed very much concerned and urged me to change the way I was living. He even went so far as to schedule an appointment with his Pastor. I was high on speed the day we talked so I agreed to go. The next day when I was supposed to go and talk with the preacher I skipped because I was not high and was afraid. Although I did attend a Sunday School class at the First Baptist Church because of Mr. Hartman.

A few weeks after that Charlie Reynolds and I got caught smoking in the boys bathroom and Mr. Able was going to paddle us. I told him that he wasn’t going to touch me. I was expelled indefinitely. My probation officer found out about it and said that if I didn’t get back in school he was going to violate my probation and send me to Indiana Boys School. I went back to the school and talked with Mr. Able. He didn’t want to talk at first but I was persistent. After a whole lot of begging and pleading he decided to give me another chance. I had to take my swats and a few extra for being a jerk. Before he paddled me he told me about fighting in some war. He said that the enemy had a habit of stripping dead soldiers on the battlefield of their valuables (money, watch, rings, anything they could sell). He said I was like those people. He must have been saying that I didn’t have any respect for anyone or anything. Nothing was sacred to me. He didn’t care or even try to point me in the right direction. He sought to humiliate and put me down.

Initial Invitation

Background Information: Simon was a rich man. The houses of the rich always had an open courtyard around which the house was built. Occasionally the rich would allow the public to stand around in the courtyard and listen to discussions, especially when the chief guest was someone of prominence. Rick Gillispie: Simon set up dinner at his home in the customary way. One did not hold a banquet in honor of another in a closed room. In that day when hospitality was viewed as a great virtue, the host often set tables in an open area and left the gate open, so that others might see how generously he had provided for his guests. Some passers by might even stand in the courtyard, admiring the food provided.

#1. Self righteous people disrespect the Lord by neglecting their spiritual priorities
Withholds the respect that common courtesy demands we give God
(Luke 7:44-47 You gave me no water…no kiss…no oil)

A. Alexandre Dumas: Without respect, love cannot go far or rise high: it is an angel with but one wing.

1. Spiritual neglect reveals a lack of respect (James 4:17)
a. Gerald Flurry: It was normal, when a guest arrived in a Palestinian home in the first century, to make the guest feel welcome by going through certain common courtesies. First of all, his feet would be washed. A guest’s feet would be caked with dirt after walking in sandals on the dusty roads. So a servant would greet him at the door with a basin of water, and would wash and dry his feet. After his feet had been cleansed, the host would come and greet him with a kiss to make him feel welcome, and let him know that he was an honored guest. Then it was a matter of courtesy to anoint the head of the guest with some cooling oil. It was customary to use oil to anoint the head of a guest. All of these things went together to say, "You are welcome in our home." But when Jesus visited the home of this Pharisee, none of these things happened. Simon offered a cold, loveless welcome.
b. Proverbs 4:20-22; John 14:21, 24; Joshua 1:8
c. William Penn: I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
d. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Luke 18:1; Psalms 119:164-165
e. James 2:17, 26 Faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Eerdman’s Commentary: There were some good points about Simon. He was an eminently respectable man…. He conformed his conduct to a high standard of morality. He was an open handed hospitable man. He was an open-minded man—it was not every Pharisee that would have invited Jesus to supper, or would have given him such freedom to speak his mind without resentment.

#2. Critical of those not measuring up to their expectations
(Luke 7:39 a prophet…would know who and what manner of woman this is)

A. Eerdman’s Commentary: Our Lord is very tender in all this to Simon and men like Simon. This Pharisee had evidently tried to live up to his light,though his life was disfigured with censoriousness, narrowness, harshness and pride—the many faults of his class. He too had heard Jesus, and had been moved and struck by his words, and, after a fashion, loved him; only the world—his world—came between him and his love, so that it was only a poor, pale reflection of the real feeling after all.

1. Life evolves around their own expectations of how things should be
a. 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:5; 1 John 2:15-18
b. Eerdman Commentary: Simon evidently (v39) had not made up his mind about whether or not Jesus was a Prophet. His soul…(v42) had received some great spiritual good from …the Master. But though he invited him to be a guest at his house, and evidently loved him (v47) a little, still he received his Divine Guest with but a chilling and coldly courteous reception. Simon the Pharisee knew he was watched that day, and that among his guests were men who would report every action of his on that occasion to the leaders of his party in Jerusalem. His cold courtesy, almost lack of courtesy, towards the Master was thus probably the result of his fear of man and of man’s judgment.

2. Admire others who are willing to cooperate with their wishes
a. Lyndon Marcotte: Simon never knew what it meant to have fellowship with God, although he came close. Jesus sat at his own table, yet Simon never accepted Him as the Messiah. A lot of religious people enter God’s house regularly, but never know Him personally. They remain emotionally and spiritually distanced from the Lord (V44-46).

Middle Invitation

#3. They fail to see in themselves the same evil they see in others
Luke 7:39 a prophet…would know who and what manner of woman this is

A. Lyndon Marcotte: One of the most radical statements Jesus ever made is found in (Matthew 9:12): "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ’I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matthew 9:12-13). They were both sinners. Simon was guilty of sins of the spirit, especially pride, while the woman was guilty of sins of the flesh. Her sins were known publicly, but his were hidden from everyone but God.

1. They feel others sins bother God more than theirs (1 Corinthians 11:31)
a. Rick Gillispie: Isn’t it amazing that we feel the sins of others bother God a lot more than our own sins do. We will tell God in a minute, Lord you need to do something with so and so because their behavior is so bad, it’s driving me crazy. We often fail to see in ourselves the same evil we see in others.
b. Galatians 6:4-5

2. They are self righteous and judgmental
a. Jeff Strite: You know, self-righteousness is an ugly thing. It puts an nasty “aqua colored” film over a person’s eyes and makes it so they can’t see the inner value in other’s souls. Self-righteousness like Simon’s is the type that scorns tears, laughs at repentance, mocks mercy. His is the attitude of the school yard bully that just knows he’s better than you are and he has every intention of reminding you of that.
c. Romans 12:3
d. Dave Weidlich: The scene is the home of a Pharisee – the purest of the morally pure. Pharisees were religious and often judgmental. They were strong on justice but when it came to mercy, there wasn’t any. Pharisees believed that holiness was defiled in the presence of the unclean but Jesus demonstrated that the duty of holiness is removing the stains of the corrupt by touching their lives with love. e.. Eerdman’s Commentary: It is somewhat striking that, although Old Testament Scripture abounds in passages which attest the greatness of God’s mercy to the repentant, the Jews [the religious leaders] of our Lord’s time had no place for such in their system or their practice. They did not acknowledge any sin in their own souls, any shortcoming in their own lives. Thus mistaking themselves…they took a false view of their neighbors; that they looked upon those who outwardly bad as hopelessly irrecoverable. But not so with our Savior.
f. Jeff Strite: He who has been forgiven little, loves little. What a scathing comment. Simon was a man who never felt the need for much forgiveness and therefore felt little love for those who did. In his self righteousness, he also had little love for God. As I John 4:7-8 tells us “love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” He or she who has been forgiven much, will love much. If we who are Christians do not sense how much God has forgiven us of, we will not love Him or others as we should.

#4. They have no consciousness of their own need (Luke 7:44-47 you gave me no)

A. Billy Graham: The smallest package I ever saw was a man wrapped up wholly in himself.

1. A consciousness of need is a prerequisite of growth (Pastor Dan)
a. James 1:5 If anyone lack wisdom
b. Author Unknown: Nothing blinds the mind to the claims of Jesus Christ more effectually than a good, clean-living, upright life.
c. Thomas Wilson: The greatest of all disorders is to think we are whole and need no help.
d. Revelation 3:14-22 The Laodicean church
e. Lyndon Marcotte: Simon also thought that simply because he had loved God for a long time, it meant that he loved God a great deal. Just because we’ve been going to church for a long time, does not mean we love God dearly. Jesus is saying the length of time has little to do with the depth of the love. Our love for God grows only as we understand just how pitiful we truly are in God’s sight, yet God valued us enough to die for us and to give us another chance in life. The more highly we think of ourselves, the less likely we are to truly be in love with Jesus Christ.

Closing and Invitation: What do I have to do?
You have heard the truth. What are you going to do about it?
You have to make a choice, you cannot remain neutral.

Eerdman’s Commentary: To whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. If we have a imperfect sense of our own guilt, and therefore of God’s mercy to us, our response in gratitude and love will be far below what it should be. It is, therefore, of the gravest importance that we should know and feel our own faultiness in the sight of God. For clearly, it is not the magnitude of our past sin, but the fullness of our sense of guilt, which determines the measure of our feeling in the matter of gratitude and love.