Inside-Out Living - Gospel in Life

Inside-Out Living

Tim Keller |  May 11, 2003

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  • Sin
  • Atonement
  • The Bible
Luke 18:9-14
RS 158-3


In today’s passage from the gospel of Luke, we’re taking a look at a parable which shows us a problem that everybody faces in life – it’s universal in scope. This is the problem of righteousness.

There are two ways to deal with this problem. The parable introduces us to two guys, each of whom represents a particular solution to the problem. One works (the inside-out approach) and one does not (the outside-in approach).

Luke 18:9–14

This story Jesus tells about a Pharisee and a tax collector teaches us the value of humility and the necessity of change within our hearts. It shows two different ways people try to live right: the ineffective way, shown by the Pharisee, where we try to change from the outside-in, and the effective way, shown by the tax collector, where change starts inside and works its way out. The Gospel of Luke shows us how the teachings of Jesus can make a big difference in our lives.

1. The problem

The sermon talks about righteousness as being about acceptance, approval, and passing scrutiny. It uses examples from everyday life and popular culture to show how it can change us. It highlights our common human need for approval and acceptance, a theme that applies to everyone, everywhere, at all times. The sermon ends by comparing two ways to live right: the ineffective outside-in way and the more successful inside-out way.

2. The outside-in approach

We look at themes of externalism, separatism, and cultural imperialism to understand that sin is not just about what we do, but also about our internal attitudes. True humility and selflessness are key in faith, and understanding how much God loves us is more important than relying on our own efforts. The idea of atonement is also important, with Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice making sure that believers are accepted and approved by God.



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