Heavenly Party Scene, 1of2, Pastor Phil Sessa

Luke 18:10-14,"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ "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.’ "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

God loves parties I know that is hard to believe!. God loves to celebrate with His heavenly hosts. But what is it that causes heaven to throw a party? Well let’s look at the prayer of the tax collector.
He was right there with the Pharisee in the Temple. This man was on a mission to meet with God. And in the Temple he probably heard the Pharisee put him down, mock him, and compare the Pharisee’s good deeds with the unrighteous deeds of the tax-collector, their hearts were different. The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven. Why did this man distance himself, and not even lift his head? You may have heard people say things like, "If I go to church the building will fall down, or God will strike me with lightning" This is a jokingly, superstitious expression, but yet it carries with it the connotation (implication) that I can’t be in the presence of God, I am not good enough. And anyone who thinks that they are not good enough is 100% correct. We are not good enough for God. This is where the Pharisee went wrong, but the tax-collector went right. Look at the repentant attitude and godly sorrow of the tax collector. It says that he "beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner." This seven word prayer was received more than the thirty-three word prayer of the Pharisee! Why, because God is looking for an honest heart, not a self- righteous one.

In Luke 15 Jesus spoke of lost things. He told three parables which are common earthly situations told as a story to explain transcendent heavenly truths. Jesus often swung his listeners from the natural to the spiritual. And in these three parables He speaks about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. The shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one, the woman swept her whole house to find that precious coin, and the father of the prodigal son ran to his son when he saw him coming home from squandering his wealth in wild living. In each situation when the lost thing was found, what was the result? The shepherd, the woman, and the father ALL had the same response, they threw a party! Verse 6 says of the shepherd, "And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home” Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ Verse 9 reads of the woman, “And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, `Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ And verse 23 states of the prodigal son, “Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrateThis was all over the lost things being found. But here is the bigger picture. Oh yes there was a party going on down below, but it could not compare with the party going on up above in heaven. Jesus said in Luke 15:7, "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. And again in Luke 15:10 "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

We all know what it’s like to lose something for a time, search diligently and the finally to find it. If you are not a Christian then measure your life against the 10 Commandments seeing if your broke them one by one, and then repent of your sin, receive His forgiveness, and live for God, being faithful in prayer, Bible reading and obedience. If you are a Christian then you need to be telling people about the truth of Christ. Has heaven ever thrown a party because you lead someone to Christ, or is heaven disappointed because you have been a party popper, not sharing your faith in Christ with non-believers? Who are you actively sharing the gospel with, and praying that heaven has a party in God’s honor. You share, God saves and He gets all the credit and heaven rejoices over Him who has saved a lost soul. Think about it, and obey the Lord. Blessings Pastor Phil

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