George Whitefield Sermon Summary:
The Pharisee and the Publican: Luke 18:14
Rev. Whitefield begins with the assertion that most souls are seeking to justify themselves by their works though they may claim the Lord Jesus to be their Savior.
He says that the Lord Jesus preachd to both poor sinners and proud self-justifiers. Whitefield lists the types of means of self-justifiers. All seemingly to be seen by their fellow man;
- Prayed long prayers.
- Prayed on street corners to be seen by man.
- They made the borders of their phylacteries broad
- They sewed pieces of parchment with Scripture on their robes.
- They washed at the going in and coming out.
- They exalted the washing of pots and cups.
- They were zealous for the tradition of their fathers to the point of breaking God’s law.
- Finally they were antagonist to the Lord’s healing of a blind man on the Sabbath.
Thus the people held them in high esteem though the Pharisees were blind guides of the blind.
The Publicans were not so. They were probably Gentiles who robbed people while collecting taxes and even Jesus said an excommunicated man was ‘like a heathen man or a publican’.
But despite the differences both men went to worship God and to pray.
The Pharisee while standing declared the fruit of his righteousness: he was not an adulterer or extortioner, he fasted twice weekly, he gave tithes of all he possesses.
The Publican standing afar off would not even look up but beat his chest saying “God be merciful to me a sinner”. He demonstrates no confidence in the flesh. He did not boast in his works or of his own holiness.
The Lord Jesus declared the Publican went home justified and said that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he that humbles himself will be exalted.
Rev. Whitefield says there are two types of people in the world: those who trust in themselves wholly or in part that they are righteous and those who have no confidence in the flesh. The response that the Lord gave them Pharisee and the Publican are what will be similarly given to the two types of people in the world.
Rev. Whitefield begins to close his sermon with an exhortation to the self-righteous or self self-justifying Pharisee to humble yourself before the mighty hand of God while to the humbles man he says you will be exalted spiritually.
Finally Rev. Whitefield calls all of hearers to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.