Gatekeepers or Followers? Who are we most like?

Gatekeepers or Followers? Who are we most like?

April 2, 2023

Scripture: James 2:13

HANDOUT FOR SERMON:  GATEKEEPERS OR FOLLOWERS.                    Manchester, TN April 2nd, 2023

INTRODUCTION: It would be very helpful if Christians questioned themselves by asking:  How are we behaving and how do others perceive our behavior and treatment of them?  It was never Christ’s intention that we take on the role of “judge and jury” over other people.  We are instructed to be followers of Jesus and treat others as He did. Jesus is the way and He is the one and only gatekeeper.  In Mark 2 & 3 Jesus contrasts the behavior of the Pharisees and His disciples. The Pharisees were “gatekeepers” for the righteous. Jesus is the true gatekeeper as He is described as the door, the gate, the way and the Shepherd. In our lesson today we will look at the stark contrast between the things of Jesus and the mission of the Pharisees.

I fear that if not careful we, the followers of Christ, can have issues with reaching out to everyone and anyone equally.

The way of the Pharisees: they were unwilling to socialize with other people, only with those who were just like them, they tended to be negative and restrictive, they were suspicious of everything, things had to be done as they deemed were correct.

The way of Jesus: a bearer of good news, mercy triumphs over judgments, He is the way, the door, He seeks and searches for all, He came to bring joy and life abundantly and came to forgive sin.

  • Are you more like the Pharisees or Jesus when you interact with others?
  • Are you more like the disciples of Jesus or Jesus when you interact with others?

LESSON:                                                                                                                                                     1.LEARNING FROM THE PARABLES OF JESUS: THE PROPER AND IMPROPER MANNER TO TREAT OUR FELLOWMAN.

LUKE 18:9-14 THE PHARISEE AND THE TAX COLLECTOR.  Which one is “you” in this story? How can you become more like the tax collector?

  • The Pharisee sees himself better than he was. He over evaluates himself based on his accomplishments. He can not and does not see himself as God sees him. His own pride and arrogance has blinded him. He compares himself to those “below” him to justify himself.
  • The tax collector: this man struggles with looking to heaven where God is. He has a sense of reverence and unworthiness; he does not try to justify himself at all but sees himself as God sees him=a sinner!

Do followers of Christ today still have a sense of unworthiness? Do we lose this because we are baptized? Has going to church services a number of times made us feel worthy of salvation?  I fear there is a danger that we could lose our compassion for sinners and thus not have a devoted spirit to evangelize everyone! Sharing the Gospel to everyone was the spirit of Christ.

LUKE 10:35-37 THE LAWYER, THE PRIEST AND THE SAMARITAN. Which one are you in this story?

  • The lawyer knows the law and knows a lot of correct things but has the need to justify himself. He pushes Jesus to expose himself and Jesus shows him sin!  Jesus tells a parable to help this man.
  • The story mentions a Levitt, a Priest and a Samaritan. Who are you more like? Which one best describes the Jesus who came to this world? Which one truly understood and practiced the law?

LUKE 21:1-4 THE RICH PEOPLE AND THE POOR WIDOW.  Which one are you in this story?

  • The rich: as for the whole world’s standards, most Americans are in the wealthy group, we have a surplus and abundance. In some ways we may even identity with both, the rich and the poor.
  • The poor widow: she was amazing because she put God at the center in her life and it influenced her completely. She learned to trust in God 100%. Much like the Christians of Macedonia, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. Doing the work of God is an “all in effort” and not giving from the top or of my surplus.

LUKE 7:38-50 SIMON THE PHARISEE AND THE SINFUL WOMAN. Which one are you in this story?

  • Simon felt that he deserved the recognition and respect of Jesus. He saw himself as an important person, he saw himself as above others, he was surprised Jesus would allow this sinful woman to touch Him. Simon despised Jesus for what He allowed others to do.
  • Jesus noticed the woman and acknowledged what she did. Jesus allowed this woman to touch Him, Jesus saw her for what she was and wanted to help her, Jesus is the healer, the helper and the savior. Do you remember all the people that Jesus touched? The leper, the blind man, the lame man, the woman with the blood issue, this sinful woman.

We learn that those who think they do not need much forgiveness most likely loves less! This woman loved Jesus because she needed much forgiveness. Have we lost our need for our redeemer?


These religious people were concerned with the tradition of the elders and the topic of unwashed hands. These religious people were binding law of cultural issues and making them law for themselves and for others. However, they set aside the commandments of God for their own interpretations. Jesus teaches that love is the center of every law, Matthew 22:37-39. No law matters unless you love God and the people around you. Their pious law keeping and their attitude of “look how faithful I am to God” took them away from loving people as Jesus loved.



In this unusual story the message of Jesus is “I am more concerned about your heart!”  Isn’t it amazing that this non-Jewish woman had such a caring, loving and persistent heart?  She was not a religious, pious or self-righteous woman, yet she was driven by her love for her daughter.  She is even referred to as a dog.  However she knew what she needed and wanted- she loved her daughter and wanted her healed.  So which am I?



Jesus, through His parables and stories, presents to us different kinds of people. We are to learn from His teachings.  Jesus often would contrast people and their behavior. He did this for the people of His day and it is recorded for the people of our time, which includes you and me.

2 groups of people:

  • A Pharisee, a priest, a Levite, a rich man, Simon, the Pharisee.
  • A tax collector, a Samaritan man, a poor widow, a sinful woman and a Greek woman.

I wonder which of these groups describe “us” best?                                                Which one of these group would Jesus place me?

Scripture to consider: 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 & 26-31 and 1 Corinthians 8:1

“Knowledge will make us arrogant if we are not careful. Please leave today with the determination to use all your knowledge to love God and love others!