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Jun 14, 2021 18:00pm
Humility: The Proud and the Humble
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There are three segments to our Legacy Lesson:

1. Icebreaker

2. Legacy Lesson–Bible point: Are you more like a Pharisee or Tax Collector?

3. Wrap-up: Apply the message to our own lives; work on memory verse

Last week, we learned about Naaman, leprosy, and humility. Can you remember how

Naaman was healed?

He dipped himself in the very dirty river called the Jordan River.

God can heal us in different ways and different manners. Many times, he tests our

obedience to help us get a “healing” in an area in our lives. Each time we say “yes” to God, it helps chisel our heart to rely more on God than ourselves. This is a form of humility. Does anyone remember 1 Peter 5:5?

God is against us in our times of pride. (I don’t know about you, but the thought of having God against me sends shivers up my spine!!) HOWEVER, having a more humble heart opens the door to God’s kindness in our lives. (I vote for this option!)

I. Icebreaker: Comparisons

Discussion Question to get your people thinking about today’s topic:

⇢Tell me a few times when you have compared yourself to someone else.

⇢How does that make you feel?

Many times, when we compare ourselves to others, we feel like we don’t measure up. That just plain makes us feel badly about ourselves.

Sometimes, when we compare ourselves to others, it compels us to try harder to do something better. That is a competitive spirit. 

And sometimes, when we compare ourselves to others, we secretly think, “I do that better. I am better than ____. “ This is pride.

Let me tell you about someone else who got caught up in comparison: this person compared himself to God. In fact, this person wanted to be like God. Not only that, he wanted to be higher than God. He wanted to be more powerful than God. Do you know who that one person is? (I am willing to bet they will be good guessers!) That person was Satan. In fact, his name was Lucifer when he was one of God’s angels. Because of his prideful thoughts, he kicked him out of heaven. This tells us a few things:

1—God knows our thoughts. Even our thoughts can get us into trouble…sooner or later, if we think about it often enough, we will act on it.

2—God is serious when it comes to pride. Pride was enough for Lucifer to get removed from heaven, becoming Satan.

Today’s lesson is all about comparisons and pride. Let’s check it out!

2. Transition over to Legacy Lesson:

Feel free to modify for your sphere of influence. Add, revise, or delete sections that would help keep attention for 30 minutes or less. (For younger audiences, I would aim for 10-15 minutes!)

Jesus taught many of his lessons in parables. A parable was a simple story that shows us a spiritual or moral truth. It was basically an easy way for people to understand how we are to act as Christians.

One of his stories was about comparisons and pride. Before we read this parable, we need to understand a few more key concepts.

#1 Pharisee:

•Pharisees were basically religious “experts” who separated themselves from the rest

of the Jews. They had formal training in the laws that Moses taught.

•They felt like they were “higher” than the rest of the Jewish society.

•They were known for following Moses’ laws strictly and enforcing those laws.

•They didn’t like Jesus’ teachings about love and forgiveness because they were

proud they kept God’s laws and severely punished those who didn’t.

#2 Tax Collector:

•First of all, no one likes to pay taxes, especially if the money goes toward a

government that forces its citizens to pay more than necessary. (For the Jews, it was

the Roman government.)

•Tax collectors were Jews who worked for the despised Roman government; they

were considered traitors to their culture and were outcasts because of it.

•Tax collectors were dishonest, requiring more than necessary from the citizens and pocketing the profit.

•Tax collectors lived very upscale lives because of their dishonesty.

Pharisees looked down upon tax collectors and criticized Jesus for dining with them. They saw tax collectors as public enemy #1; Jesus saw them as people who were sin-sick people who needed forgiveness and a new way of living.

Read Luke 18: 9-14 (TLB).

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18: 9-15

Narrator: Then Jesus told this story to some who boasted of their virtue and

scorned everyone else: 

“Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a proud, self-righteous Pharisee, and the other a cheating tax collector. The proud Pharisee ‘prayed’ this prayer:

Pharisee: ‘Thank God, I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t commit adultery, I go without

food twice a week, and I give to God a tenth of everything I earn.’

Narrator: But the corrupt tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even

lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed, but beat upon his chest in sorrow,

exclaiming….

Tax Collector: ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’

Narrator: I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home forgiven! For the

proud shall be humbled, but the humble shall be honored.”

Discussion Questions:

⇢ Who had the more humble prayer?

The tax collector did. He didn’t even feel worthy enough to come close to the Temple, standing afar to pray. He didn’t raise his eyes to heaven. He struck his chest in humility and repentance, acknowledging that he was a sinner and deserved God’s wrath.

⇢ How was the Pharisee’s prayer prideful?

He compared himself to “sinful” people—people who are greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or tax collectors. He brags about the “rules” he follows—fasting twice a week and tithing 1/10 of his earnings.

⇢ Why did Jesus commend the tax collector over the Pharisee?

The tax collector humbly acknowledge his sin; however, the Pharisee compared himself to others and was proud of his behavior. Not once did the Pharisee acknowledge his sin. 

Humble attitudes come from a humble heart; proud attitudes come from a proud heart. That means, it doesn’t matter what rules we follow if our heart isn’t right with God. Humility trusts in God; pride trusts in itself. The tax collector reached out to God; the Pharisee trusted in his own actions.

Are you more like a PHARISEE or a TAX COLLECTOR?

Let’s put what we learned to the test! For each situation below, I want you to answer PHARISEE for TAX COLLECTOR.

Situation #1: When your parents criticize your music choices, you defend yourself by saying, “It’s not as bad as what my friends listen to!”
Are you more like a Pharisee or a Tax Collector?
PhariseeYou are comparing yourself to others, justifying your wrong music choices.
Situation #2: When your parents get a phone call from the bus driver about your after-school behavior, you put your head down and admit your part in the problem.
Are you more like a Pharisee or a Tax Collector?
Tax CollectorYou are putting your head down in humility and being honest about your sin.
Situation #3: When talking about things of faith at school, you choose not to listen to a girl’s thoughts about Jesus because she doesn’t go to church.
Are you more like a Pharisee or a Tax Collector?
PhariseeYou are looking down on someone because she doesn’t follow the rules of going to church.
Situation #4: You get into trouble at home for having a bad attitude with your parents. You defend yourself and say, “I’m not as bad as my friends—you should hear how they treat their parents!”
Are you more like a Pharisee or a Tax Collector?
PhariseeYou are comparing yourself to other sinful people, making yourself feel better about your own sin.
Situation #5: You get into a fight with your younger sibling, hurting him/her and causing him/her to cry. When your parents ask you about it, you tell them it’s really your youngest sibling’s fault; you argue how out of control he/she is, and how he/she caused you to lash out. Your bottom line: If he/she wasn’t so annoying, you wouldn’t have done it.
Are you more like a Pharisee or a Tax Collector?
PhariseeYou are pointing your finger at your sibling vs. yourself and your reactions to a younger sibling. Refusing to take blame for your part is a proud reaction.
Situation #6: You got caught cheating on a test at school. You knew it was wrong, but you forgot to study and panicked. Though the teacher isn’t calling your parents, you know you have two choices: 1—be truthful, or 2—lie and blame it on the teacher. You choose to be honest and tell the whole story, knowing there will be consequences. You say a prayer for God’s strength andcourage as you ride the bus home.
Are you more like a Pharisee or a Tax Collector?
Tax CollectorYou made a bad decision, but you’re taking responsibility for your actions and turn to God for help.

3. Wrapping-Up: Applying it to our lives

Comparing ourselves to others is never a good assessment of how good we are. I mean, we can always find something else far worse than us to make us feel better. We are to compare ourselves to God’s standards and God’s commands. Having a humble heart is far more important to Jesus than the number of “rules” we follow. If we have a heart that acknowledges we are sinners and that we need help, that is the humility he desires. Pride doesn’t acknowledge its wrongdoings or sin. Pride says, “I am still way better than ____.”

It’s all about the heart of a person. If we have a proud heart, like the Pharisee, God is against us. (1 Peter 5:5) But, if we are brave enough to see our sin-sickness like the tax collector, and admit our weaknesses, God is kind to us. (1 Peter 5:5) God forgave the tax collector because of his humble heart. He forgives us too when we come to him with a heart that is truly repentant for our sins.

Our verse this week is how Jesus ended his parable↓

Want to be honored by God? Be humble. Confess your Pharisee attitude when it surfaces and seek God’s strength to overcome it. Come to God as the tax collector…out of grief, humility, and repentance. Like the tax collector, we are all sinners. Our sin should grieve us. When we get to the point it doesn’t, it’s time to hit the deck, friends, and pray. Looking good from the outside will never pay off. God wants to change us from the inside out.

Copyright © 2021 by Amber Spencer @lionesslegacymama. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.