Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 19 Number 2 February 2017
Page 5

I’m Drinking from My Saucer
‘Cause My Cup Has Overflowed

Raymond ElliottWhen I was a lad, I often saw men pour coffee from their cups into their saucers. The reason being was to permit the coffee to cool because it was boiling hot. I can almost hear them slurping the coffee from their saucers. However, the title of this article is based on a religious song that emphasizes the goodness of God. I feel sure that the thought for the song was found in Psalm 23:5 when David wrote, “My cup runs over.” There is an outstanding statement made by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:21, “Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours.”

The fact is, you have been made richer than you have ever imagined. I am not necessarily thinking about the physical or the material blessings of life, even though we are recipients of a multitude of blessings from our Heavenly Father (James 1:17). However, if you have given your life in full submission to the will of God and the Lord Jesus Christ as a penitent baptized believer, you are rich toward God. A child of God is “rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom” (James 2:5). Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). We have been made “alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). We are a “holy priesthood” and a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Jesus Christ has made us to be “a kingdom” (Revelation 1:5). No wonder we are “drinking from my saucer ‘cause my cup has overflowed.”

The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Listed below are just a few of the spiritual blessings we possess and enjoy in Christ.

  1. We have been saved by the grace of God through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:5 reads, “By grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
  2. The blood of Christ continues to cleanse the faithful children of God. First John 1:7 reveals, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
  3. We are children of God by faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:26-27 notes, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
  4. We are members of the body of Christ, which is His church. Colossians 1:18 affirms, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” First Corinthians 12:13 declares, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”
  5. We have a peace of mind that surpasses understanding. Philippians 4:7 records, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  6. We have the promise that God will be our Provider and Protector. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Hebrews 13:5-6 reads, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So, we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”
  7. We have the hope of eternal life. Romans 8:24-25 has, “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” First John 5:11-13 declares, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”
  8. We have the promise that God will hear and answer our prayers. First John 5:14-15 records, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
  9. He will grant us strength to face the many trials, tribulations and temptations in this life. Romans 5:3 teaches, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Afflictions in life can actually contribute to our spiritual growth in Christ. Psalm 119:67 notes, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.” Psalm 119:71 says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.” First Corinthians 10:13 notes, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
  10. For Christians, death is our passage way from this world to life everlasting. To the unsaved, death is the beginning of eternal suffering. However, the child of God knows that it is the beginning of eternal bliss with God, Jesus Christ and the redeemed of all the ages. Philippians 1:21, 23 reveal, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” Revelation 14:13 has, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

It is because the Lord Jesus Christ gave His life on Calvary that we have become rich in Him and possess the manifold spiritual blessings that God has given to us. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” My, my cup is really running over and I indeed have to drink from my saucer!

The Parable of the
Pharisee and the Publican

Terry G. JonesMuch of Jesus’ earthly teaching was done in parables. He often used vivid images and illustrations to impress upon His hearers lessons of great importance. Luke 18 begins with two parables of Jesus, both of which are about prayer. The first has to do with persistence in praying (Luke 18:1-8), while the second emphasizes the proper attitude in praying (Luke 18:9-14). Let us examine what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.

The Purpose of the Parable (Luke 18:9)

Luke informs us that the purpose for which Jesus taught this parable was that some “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.” There are two things of significance to note here. (1) Trusting In Ourselves (9a). Trusting in ourselves should cause us to ponder two terrible things. First, there is the defilement of it. To trust in self reveals a lack of trust in God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Second, there is the deception in it. Trusting in self can cause us to believe that we are better than we really are. Jesus said religious people thought they were righteous though they were not. The world is filled with religious people who have deceived themselves that they are righteous.

(2) Treatment of Others (9b). Their self-righteousness led them to “despise others.” This violates everything that Jesus ever taught. It certainly contradicts the “golden rule” (Matthew 7:12). Paul said, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).

The People in the Parable (Luke 18:10)

In this parable, Jesus taught that there were two men who went up to the Temple to pray. The first was a Pharisee. The Pharisees were one of two primary sects among the Jews. They were known for their self-righteousness and their hypocrisy. The second was a publican. Publicans were tax collectors under the Roman government and were classed with outcasts and sinners of society.

The Pharisee in the Parable (Luke 18:11-12)

There are two primary points of emphasis about this Pharisee. First, His posture (11a). Jesus said, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself.” Standing was a common Jewish posture in prayer (Mark 11:25). However, the original word for “stood” here indicates that he struck a pose where he could be seen. Jesus condemned those who prayed “to be seen of men” (Matthew 6:5-6).

Second, His prayer (11b-12). (1) His prayer was ostentatious. The Pharisee went out of his way to draw attention to himself in exaltation both in his posture and in his prayer. He had put himself upon a pedestal above all others. (2) His prayer was obnoxious. He thanked God that he was not like other men, such as, extortioners, unjust men and adulterers. It is interesting that he did not compare himself to truly righteous men, but to the unrighteous instead. This is a common ploy to make one appear better than they are. (3) His prayer was offensive. He thanked God that he was not like this publican. Is it possible that the tax collector could have heard these words? Think of how offensive that would have been. Rather than pray for the publican, the Pharisee tromped him into the ground to make himself seem bigger.

The Publican in the Parable (Luke 18:13)

Let us also notice two things about this publican. First, His Position (13a). Concerning his position we can observe two things. (1) He was distant. He was “standing afar off.” This indicates that he was at a distance from the Pharisee not the sanctuary. He was certainly not positioned in a way that would draw attention to himself. (2) He was docile. He “would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven.” This is clearly an indication of humility and shame. Second, His Praying (13b). Three vital things can be identified in this man’s praying. (1) Contrition. He “beat his breast.” “The Lord is near those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18). (2) Crying. He cried “God be merciful to me…” He rightly understood his need for God’s mercy (Psalm 4:1). (3) Confession. He confessed to God that he was “a sinner.” The Lord promised to forgive those who would make such a confession (1 John 1:8-9).

The Point of the Parable (Luke 18:14)

Jesus concluded this parable by making the point that the publican was justified and not the Pharisee. Then, He told them why. “For everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” It matters how we live, and it matters how we pray.

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