I don't know where this is, you know, And I remember it being lost in my grandma's neighborhood, but every brick house looked like every other brick house in Dayton, Ohio, West Carrolton. And they all these little ranch style houses. And my mom said, "Just go down the block." She dropped us off, gone. And people one block over didn't know where Schenley Avenue was. I'm like, "What in the world?" 2999 Schenley Avenue. I can still see it to this day. I couldn't find it to save my - I mean, it's awful. Asking directions, we were totally lost. I don't even know how we got to where we ended up, but it took forever, which would've taken three minutes if we'd known how to get there.
But I remember one time when we were really lost; I was a trustee for a seminary out in San Francisco Golden Gate Seminary. And another friend of mine, he was from the East Coast, I'm from Indiana. We were the representatives there. And we had a meeting that evening. When you're on this side of the country, you can fly out there and get there in time. You're dead tired, but you can leave out in the early morning and with all the lag time of the time change, you can be there in time to actually enjoy the afternoon if you're awake. And you can actually then be, even then for a six o'clock meal and then in a meeting. And we were in our business attire after a little bit nicer dress than this actually that day. And I had my street shoes on, my kind of dress shoes with no tread. I'm just giving you a hint here. And we went to go see Mere Woods.
Mere Woods is right up north of the Golden Gate Bridge. And it's just these big cedar, I mean, it's redwood forest, It's just the massive. You can't even take a picture to get the understanding of the grandeur of these. They had one, it had fallen and they cut it and they said, "This is when Columbus came, and this is..." You're like, "That's how old the tree is." It's just huge and it's just so amazing. And we said, "Well, let's walk around. We got time." So Ronnie and I, he's a police officer, retired now from the Capital Police Department in Washington DC and he had his little go bag. He always had a little bag with him. Washington Redskins, I didn't hold it against him that he rooted for the wrong team, but that's okay.
But he would have his little go-bag and I thought his go-bag had all the important stuff in it, which I think it had some things in it, but it didn't have what we needed because by the time we got off the pavement, big mistake. We start walking up into more of a gravel area. And then we start going up and up and up and up and up, and we're talking and we're talking about family and catching up because we don't see each other every six months because we were on this board together. And finally, it dawns on us we're lost. Like where are we? We had the paper map and our GPS wasn't working because in the middle of those woods they didn't have anything set up for us to get any signal and we didn't have any water with us.
I thought the go-bag. I mean, come on dude, you're the officer, you know what's going on. And we didn't have any preparation. Did I tell you we were in our street clothes and at some point we get over this summit and we're too far in to go, go back and we don't have... it's also a time crunch. We got to get to this meeting, right? I told you about that. And so we're like, we got this meeting to get to, but now we got like, we need to survive. We need to like not... And so we're looking at the map and we're trying to figure it out. And pretty soon the Sierra Club - I don't know what they were, we call them the Sierra Club people. And they had ponchos and they had rain gear and they had walking sticks and they had hiking boots and they had a tire that was fitting the trail we were on.
And we're looking at them like, you know, we're sitting there like getting ready to go to a business meeting and they're like, and they frown at us and I'm sure they had names for us when they walked away. Anyway, I won't say them out loud, but they just thought we were the craziest people. And we were. Like, what in the world are we doing? And when we finally find our way out of that, we get down to the ranger at the little information booth and we say, "You know, I think we got off the path that we were supposed to be on. We wanted to do this one." And they said, "Oh no, you were on that one." She says, "Not very many people take that trail." I said, "Yeah, that was crazy." It was a fun thing afterwards. And it's a fun story to talk about, but it's no fun being lost.
It's no fun being lost, especially when our pride gets in the way because we don't want to ask how do we get unlost, if that's the right way to say, it's not, but that's what I'm saying. At some point we got to admit we're lost. At some point we have to say, "I need help." And that's where we find Zacchaeus in this story. And the key verse, I'm going to read it first and then I'm going to read the whole passage, but I'm going to read it first. The whole point of this story is, Luke 29:10 says, "For the son of man has come to seek and save the lost." Jesus, referring to himself, the Son of Man, His favorite term for himself, identifying himself and His humanity; fully God, fully man, but identifying himself and His humanity and His humility to come down to us, to seek and to save the lost.
Now, as you think about the punchline that Luke intended every reader to understand, let's read this story in the context of Jesus being the hero and the subject and the whole point of this story. Yes, Zacchaeus is a part of it. You're important, God's working in your life and you're important to God. But the biggest thing in this world is not your story; it's God's story working in and through to make your story something special. Let's look at the story. "He entered Jericho," Jesus did, "and was passing through. There was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector and he was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was not able because of the crowd since he was a short man. So running ahead, he climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus since He, Jesus, was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, hurry and come down because today it is necessary for me to stay at your house'. So he quickly came down and welcomed Him joyfully. All who saw it began to complain, 'He's gone to stay with a sinful man.' Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, 'Look, I'll give half my possessions to the poor, Lord. And if I have rent extorted anything from anyone, I'll pay back four times as much.' 'Today salvation has come to this house,' Jesus told him, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost." Jesus came to seek and save the loss. That is the point of this story, and that's the point of our time together this morning.
You see, we know that Jesus is the one who seeks us and we don't see God. He seeks us. He's seeking you, He's seeking me, He's seeking all of us. I stand at the door and I knock, if anyone will open the door, I'll come in, I'll have supper with him. We'll have fellowship together, we'll have a relationship conversation. We will be with one another. Jesus is seeking us. It said He was passing through Jericho. Now in this story, in the life and times of Jesus Christ, Jesus has crossed, He's forded the Jordan River. They don't really describe how and when, but He'd been ministering on the other side of the Jordan. He's now coming across and He comes across the Jordan River to Jericho, which is a town on the outskirts, which was a pretty big town at that time period. I don't know what it's like today, but at that time period, it was a pretty big metropolis little place. And it was on the outskirts of Jerusalem. And it was possible for Him to actually get to Jerusalem from Jericho that day. He didn't have to stop there at Zacchaeus' house.
We don't know if maybe he even spent the night there. We're not sure, We're not told exactly the whole details, but we do know that he said, I got to stay at your house Zacchaeus, but He didn't have to. Logistically, He's also very popular at this moment because this is before he's crucified. So they're all kind looking at Him like the savior, like a military savior. Like He's going to come and he is going to conquer, He's going to bring the Israelite back to their glory, that they're going to get back into the way that they believe that God would want them to be. They would throw off this Roman oppression and there would be this wonderful euphoria. And so this crowd is building - He's a celebrity. And so these people are lining the streets and they're looking at Him and they're coming with Him down. It's this mob of people that are following Him, walking with Him as He goes to Jerusalem, the city. And it's getting close to Passover, so people are already coming that way for the high holy moment of Passover season. And so, the Israelite pilgrims were coming that way.
Jericho was also a, an area where it seems as though the Roman government had set up a tax office there, instead of setting it up in Jerusalem, which would've incited a lot of rebellion and a lot of angst, they put it on the outskirts. And it was very strategic because all of the commerce and all of the stuff had to come through Jericho to get into Jerusalem. And so the Romans who taxed everything and anything there was to tax, whether it be the wheels on your cart, the cart itself, everything in the cart, all the people in the cart and even the clothes on your back. Whatever they could find a way to extort you and take taxes from you they did.
And here is Zacchaeus called the chief tax collector, not just a tax collector like Matthew, who he was at his little booth and Jesus said, "Come follow me." This is the chief tax collector. It looks like he was kind of like in charge of tax collecting in that area. He was a rich man, which is nothing wrong with being rich, but for him to have been a Jew who had been extorted by the Roman government because he's a Jew, he's an occupied nation, and here he is a tax collector, but now he is a chief tax collector. There's some indication possibly by saying that he was a rich man, that he actually had extorted even more than he should have, and he had far more wealth than he deserved to have in any quite a normal occupation that he would've had as Zacchaeus is the Hebrew.
Again, just giving you color to the picture based on exactly what the scriptures are saying here and based on the timeline that all the other scriptures talk about his timeline of where Jesus was going. But it said he was passing through Jericho and he seeks us. What is he saying? We'll look at the story. "He looked up and he spoke to Zacchaeus." Now Zacchaeus had climbed out on this limb, probably might possibly climbed out to the point where he's over the top of the trail where Jesus was coming and he is looking down at Jesus. Or maybe he's to the side and he is looking down at Jesus. We don't know exactly how, but we do know that Jesus looked up, saw Zacchaeus.
Now, of all the people in the crowds, he spoke to Zacchaeus. Of all the places that we see in the scripture where Jesus is with a bunch of people, it seems like he singles out one person, or at least the Holy Spirit inspires the writers to described to us moments in time, snapshots of the life of Jesus where He singled out people by name. How did Jesus know his name? Did people know it? Was he popular? Was this commonly known as the human Jesus or did Jesus supernaturally know it? We're not really told that. All we know is that Jesus saw the man and he called out to him, "Zacchaeus." Jesus seeks us. In fact, it is creation itself that's all around us that declares the glory of God. When you see the sun, when you see the things that we see in nature, it's to point us to the fact that there's a creator behind that, that loves us and cares about us.
When we see the stars that have been flung out into the sky at night and we look at or we see them at night, we see them in the day if we had the eyes to see it. But at nighttime it's when you really see it in the reflection of the sun on those stars, and we see all those stars out there, even beyond our own star being reflected on by other. It, it's amazing all the things, those little stars that are all out there, those suns that are all out there that's just like ours and go, what were they there? They're there far enjoyment, the Bible says. All to point us back to that God is God and that He has a purpose and a plan for our life. He's seeking us in creation, and it's the Holy Spirit that testifies.
Don't think, "Oh man, Greg's talking to me. I do not sit up in my office, look on Facebook and see who needs to be talked to. I just don't. I may look on Facebook, but I don't do my sermons according to, so don't go screaming out of here, "You read my mail." No, I don't think I... I might have read David's mail because if it came through here anyway. No, but seriously, I don't have a plan or an agenda for any one person in this room, but God does. He's seeking you, He's seeking me. He wants, if you don't know him already a relationship with you. And if you have a relationship with Him, He wants to walk with you and help you pursue those purposes and things in life that matter and to pursue a life of meaning that is part of His plan and His purpose for this world.
He seeks us. But not only that, but Jesus saves us. Skipping down to this whole story at the bottom of the story, it says there in verse nine, "'Today, salvation has come to this house because he too is a son of Abraham,' Jesus declares. Zacchaeus became a spiritual descendant of Abraham. He fulfilled the prophecy that God gave Abraham in the Old Testament, "you will have descendants as many as the sands of the seashore, as many as the stars in the sky, you're going to have descendants." And some people thought, "Well, those are just physical descendants." And as time progressed and as we see the New Testament revealing, it's the spiritual descendants of Abraham. We don't have to be blood relatives to Abraham to be related to him, because it's all one story of God's redemptive plan to save the world, to seek and to save the lost.
Now, Luke doesn't explain the details of how Zacchaeus is became a follower of his. We don't see where Jesus got out the Roman road. Now some of you in church, the Roman Road is based on the book of Romans and it wasn't even written yet, okay? He didn't get out the four spiritual laws. Bill Bright that wrote the little pamphlet called the Four Spiritual Laws, he wasn't alive yet, so we didn't have that. I don't know how Jesus did it. I have a favorite way of sharing Jesus called share Jesus without fear, and it goes through the New Testament. Oh yeah, the New Testament hadn't been written yet. We don't know exactly what happened. What we do know is that Zacchaeus gave his allegiance to Jesus Christ. In fact, it seems as though in the scripture's testimony, this was the last publicly identified convert to Jesus Christ before His crucifixion in Jerusalem.
And we know he was saved because of the things that will - and we'll talk about this in just a moment. He stood there and said to the Lord - Zacchaeus at some point, we don't know how he became a Christian. But in verse eight it says here, "He stood there and said to the Lord," it's like everybody was having a party at his house. Jesus is here, the buzz, what's going on here? And we'll talk in a minute about the naysayers of what was going on. But it's just like everybody's having this party and finally Zacchaeus stands up in the middle of the house. Everybody goes, "Zacchaeus going to say something." He says, "My life has changed and I'm going to give half of everything I own to the poor and I'm going to pay back everybody I stole from four times over."
Jesus saved him. There was an evidence of change in his life because again, as I've said this morning, Jesus saves the lost. Jesus himself identified Zacchaeus as a lost person who was found. What is it to be lost? Well, it's what Jesus describes us as before we know him. G Campbell Morgan in his book, "The Great Physician" says, he, Zacchaeus, was lost, was of no value to God, of no value to people, contributing nothing, having purpose and power in the procedures of life, contributing nothing to the wellbeing of his fellow man. And so by the calculations of eternity, he was spiritually lost. He was morally lost. And the tragedy of a lost soul in the last analysis is that God is robbed of His glory.
When we are lost, when we are apart from God, when we have refused or we just don't know and have not yet put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are robbing God of the glory of working through us to make a difference in the world for His name's sake. We're not in on His agenda or His plans. We don't have the Holy Spirit to empower us to do what he's asked us to do. And the kind of life that's fulfilling and meaningful and is a blessing not only to us, but to people around us - we're lost. And Jesus came to save the lost.
Zacchaeus is identified as lost, as a sinner, in three different ways. First of all, he's commonly labeled a sinner because it says he was a chief tax collector. It was synonymous with being a sinner. It is like many times today, and not every person is this way. And I've met many people in public office, but oftentimes when someone is way up in public office, even in a city you might say, "I'm sure they got their hands dirty getting there." We just have a suspicion about people in public office because you don't just get there without a little graft, without a little bit of wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, things that people don't want to talk about. The dirty side of politics. Again, I'm not saying that's true for every politician; I'm just telling you, isn't that kind of what we think about? And so when they said he was the chief tax collector, he wasn't just a trader to his nation taking taxes from his fellow people to give to an occupying nation. He was a tax collector of the worst kind. He was in charge of tax collecting. He was labeled publicly as a sinner.
He was also publicly declared by this crowd as a sinner. What'd they say? He's going to stay, Jesus, with a sinful man. What is that Jesus doing going to Zacchaeus' is house? What's he doing going to that kind of a person's house? Why? What's Pastor Greg talking to that person for? Why? And you just named somebody in our church that you think is really spiritually and godly; what is that person having a relation, a conversation with that person over there? Why would they go talk to that person? This us-them mentality? Dare I say discrimination, which is interesting because aren't we all sinners? Here's what part that I caught me in the middle of this passage as I hadn't seen it this before and it's like, they all said he's gone to a sinful man's house. They all said.
Now who's in the crowd? Friends, people that were on the bandwagon to see change in Israel but not real change the way God wanted. But who else was in the crowd? His disciples, the people that had watched Him reach out to sinners, The woman at the well, they'd heard Jesus say he left the 99 to find the one. The woman found one coin told all her neighbors and friends, "I found my lost coin." They knew the story of Jesus. Take this little child, puts it on his lap and says, "This is the kind of person that enters into the kingdom of heaven, child-like faith." They knew this kind of person; they still didn't get it. The moment we start seeing in us, them, those people out there, let's run to the church and hide from the sinner. Let's just fill the church with people running from sinner and then you'll have a church full of sinners running from sinner.
We're all in the same boat. We're saved by grace, but we're all sinners. And the moment churches get an us-them mentality ingrained in their system, they die. The moment we start thinking the us-them mentality, that we're better than those people at our workplace in the neighborhood, at the coffee shop. And the moment we start breaking a conversations with people who desperately need to know Jesus, the lost people who have not yet found Jesus is the moment we step off the path of the mission God intends for his people to be a part of.
He was commonly labeled, He was publicly declared, but He was also a self-feed center. Because at some point it doesn't matter what people think, we need to take stock in who we are in front of an almighty holy God and admit who we are. He himself said, "If I have extorted anybody, I will repay them back." And the way that Greek actually is written, it's not, "Well if I happen to have offended somebody," no, no, no. If I have and I know I have offended people and stolen from them, I will pay back. That's what Zacchaeus was saying. He wasn't saying. "Well," it's sort of like the person that truly offended you with their words. I mean they like really trampled all on top of you with what they said. And then they come to you and say, "Well, if I offended you, please forgive me." That's like a limp handshake. You know, like if you offended me - you know you did. Those words were like cutting and biting and they hurt and you know you did. Don't do this, "Well if I offended anybody, just ask forgive." No, no, no, no. Get specific. And that's what Zacchaeus is doing. He's like, I've offended people, I extorted them. I'm a sinner and I need to repay back. I get right with God and I got to make restitution with people around me that I've sinned against.
Zacchaeus is himself admitted that he had been lost and now he's found. When did you admit you were lost? When was it? I can remember. I was sitting on a second or third row on a hard pew bench in a church service and Eaton, Ohio on a Sunday morning. And the preacher wasn't talking to anybody else, he was talking to me. I can hear people say, "Oh, I was here." You don't have to know the exact day or time or was it the full moon, half moon. You just need to know there was a moment when you got arrested by the Holy Spirit, stopped in your tracks, the lights came on behind you and you pulled over and you didn't say, "What was I doing officer?" You know what you were doing. You were lost and you needed Jesus. When did you admit you were lost? I didn't ask you when you got wet. I'm asking you when you got right in front of a Holy God.
Now I want to point to a couple more things and then we're going to close this morning. I want to show you in this passage proof that Jesus is seeking and saving. And I want to, by using this story, maybe highlight proof in this room that Jesus is still seeking and saving people today, the lost. First of all, the proof that Jesus is seeking people out. We become curious, we become curious, we want to know more. Isn't this Zacchaeus, three piece suit, Zacchaeus climbing a tree? Is that not bizarre? I mean if you went downtown and in the business sector, they're still wearing suits and ties, especially around the courthouse, and you see these lawyers and business people and you see a big crowd coming through a parade of something special coming through. And then you see this guy that he says, "There's a tree" and he in his three piece suit with his slick shoes goes up into the tree in order to see this celebrity that's driving by or walking by. It's as crazy as two guys walking in Mere Woods in their street clothes. It's unusual.
Zacchaeus was curious. He had no idea that Jesus would call out him by name. Zacchaeus may not have even known that Jesus knew his name, but he was looking for Jesus because Jesus was looking for him. Lost people do whatever it takes to find Jesus. They ask questions, they read the Bible, they attend worship and Bible studies. They pray, they admit their inability to say themselves. They say, "I need help to show me what to do." One of my favorite questions is, I don't know what to do next. And you know what? That's God's favorite question from me.
I can remember when I was at my wits end in a situation and I didn't know what to do. I mean, I had tried everything under the sun to fix whatever the problem was that I was facing. And I remember falling flat on my face night after night after night. I go into our spare bedroom, before you have kids, you have something like that. And after that, it's a storage spare. Anyway, but I had this room and I would just flat on the face go, "God, I am bankrupt. I don't know what to do next." Now, I wasn't lost, I was saved, but I was lost in my moment of what to do next in my life spiritually and things that were going on. And I got to thinking about that earlier this week, that I have less times on my face before God because I don't often want to admit I need help as much as I do. And that's the curse of living a long time in the Lord, is that you get too familiar with God that you forget to talk to God more carefully, more desperately. But a lost person asks questions, reads the Bible, they attend worship. They do whatever it takes to find what they need to find. They're curious. That's got at work in their life. We've become committed.
I have no desire for you to make a decision because I've somehow emotionally manipulated you into coming here. Or I've given you some kind of a logical, it just makes sense to be part of a church because that's the new social club in town that's the most important thing for you to belong to. I'm not here to convince you with my wisdom of words. I'm not here to convince you with my great oratory skills of which there are many people who have much better than I do. We're not here to woo you with the way in which we do things. We're here to see, is God working on your heart so that you would want to commit your life to Jesus Christ. We become committed, we start obeying Jesus. "Zacchaeus, come down from there. I'm coming to your house today." "Okay." He climbs down quickly and follows Jesus and takes Him right to his house. He immediately begins to do what Jesus tells him to do.
We know that Jesus is working in our lives. When we start wanting to do what we might not have ever wanted to do before that, we start wanting to follow Jesus and do what He says. How do we tell the world that we're a Christian? In Romans 10:9-10, it says that we must believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead. And we confess with our mouth, Jesus is Lord. We tell the world that we're Christian. What did it say in Acts 2? I talked about it last week. Repent, turn away from the things you used to do that God says an abomination to himself, things that you ought not ever do. The Bible says it's not about legalism, it's saying that I'm not going to be in charge of me anymore. I'm done being the boss. I want Jesus to be the boss, and get baptized.
That's why on October 23rd for someone that is ready to follow Christ, we want to give you the opportunity to publicly declare your faith in baptism. We get committed to Jesus. And the third thing we know, when Jesus is seeking and saving and lost, our lives change. Zacchaeus made an obvious commitment to change. He publicly stood up, he made a public statement. But not only that, he began to do things that were not just the natural thing to do as a Christian. They were pretty supernatural. When you think about it, he said, "I'm going to give away half of everything I own." That's like radical life change. That's like people selling out and saying, "I'm all in for Jesus. I'm going to live on less so that God can have more. I'm going to do more for God, so I'm going to start increasing what I give my time, my talent, my treasures, so that God is honored and glorified in my life." That's radical transformation of someone's life. That's not someone manipulating them into some kind of a plan so that they have some kind of an earthly thing that everybody says, "Oh, look at that person." It's just saying, "God, I want to live my life with you and everything I have is yours, and so I just want to do the right thing by it."
And you know, the Old Testament would've required him to give one and a half times what he stole from people. So give back and then another half of whatever you stole. That was the legal requirement. And somebody would've said, even if he said, "I'm going to give back two or three times more," nobody would've said, "Oh, you should've given even more than that." Nobody would've expected him to give more than one and a half times what he had stolen. He just prompted by this newfound faith in Jesus said, it's time for me to really do the right thing, and I'm going to give back four times what I stole from people as an extorting chief tax collector. His life was changed.
I have a question to ask you this morning. What is Jesus asking you to do? What is Jesus asking me to do? I'm not asking you what's the easiest thing He's asking you to do? It might be easy in your mind, I don't know. But what's He asking you? I'm not asking you to do the toughest thing. I always thought, if I surrender to the ministry, I'm going to be in Africa or I'm going to be in some nation that I have no idea about. I mean, that's just what you do, right? Following Jesus is following Jesus right where you are. And many people will never leave the places where they have grown up and gone to and are working and living. Some will. But most of us are going to be here and be missionaries in our own hometown. We're going to be sharing Jesus and being on mission for Jesus right here in Northeast Indiana. So what's He asking us to do? What is He asking you to do? What is He asking me to do?
For the new believer, for the person is seeking Jesus, what's He asking you to do? To tell the world you're a Christian? And for those of us that are already Christians, what's he asking you to do to keep moving forward and growing in your faith in Jesus Christ? I already said it and I'm going to say it again, "Jesus came to seek and save the lost." We got to recognize and realize we're lost. We need to recognize and realize that God has the answer. I'm going to ask you a question, a couple more and then we're going to be done. Our team can go ahead and come forward. Where is the place that you found Jesus?
Again, where is that place? Where is it that you can mark, you can reference that you found Jesus because you saw that Jesus was seeking you? I told you where mine was, where was yours? At what spot? I'm not trying to put doubt in your life, that's the last thing I want to do. But we all need to have a moment where we recognized I was lost and Jesus found me. I was in my sins and I realized Jesus was there to forgive me and clean me up so that I didn't have to live in the shame of what I used to do.
Another question is, what's the proof? When you found Jesus and you made a commitment to follow Him, was it real? Are you identifiable by people inside and outside the body of Christ that you are following Jesus and that your life is marked by a life of truly obedience, true obedience to Jesus Christ? What proof shows that Jesus has saved and changed your life? Those are the two questions that I would ask in a room full of people that I don't know everybody's heart. Only the Lord knows our hearts this morning.
I've been in church long enough to know that there's some people that do a pretty good job of hiding into the church as a cultural Christian, but they're not a committed Christian. And so, I just say before it's too late, before you face eternity and you didn't really have a relationship with Jesus, I implore you, I ask you, I beg of you; openly put your faith in Him and let Him begin to change your life the way He has always wanted to, but you've not let Him.
And finally this morning, for those of us that would say, "Well no, I've already done that. And there is change. And while it's not as much change as I'd like, I'm not there yet." Welcome to the club. We're hypocrites in recovery. But the last question I would ask us as believers, are we on mission with Jesus to seek and find the lost? How concerned are we for people who don't know Jesus or have we developed an us-them mentality?
If you're coming here to church to run from the world Jesus is seeking to save, you've come to the wrong place because there's that little... we did this last night at the concert. Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the church, here's all the people. But in about 10, 15 minutes, it's going to look like this - the church and the steeple. Where's all the people? They're out there. They're on mission with Jesus, seeking and saving the lost. What part are you in the mission of God? What names do you know don't know Jesus?
You know when I get serious about seeking and saving the lost, it's when I know the person that I know is not a follower of Jesus and I start praying for him and I start weeping about their lostness. And as much as I want Jesus to come back at any moment, and I hear that a lot lately, "Oh Jesus, come quickly, this world is going crazy." When was the world not crazy? But I mean, there's just people that are ready for just Armageddon to take place and just let the bombs reign and let's go home to Jesus because I'm done with this place. The problem with that for me, is that I know a bunch of people that will not enter into eternity with me. And I really don't want that to happen anytime too soon because I want my loved ones to know Jesus. I just pray that you and I will never forget where God found us as we pursue people who need that story in their life as well.
Jesus Finds Zacchaeus
Ever been lost?
Not fun, humbling to admit, wastes time/energy
-illust: lost in Muir woods with Ronnie Sweetman
Jesus came to seek and save the lost
1. Jesus Seeks Us
-passing through Jericho
-looked up and spoke to Zachaeus
-Jesus singles everyone one of us out in the crowd!
-Creation declares the presence and majesty of God
-The Bible reveals who Jesus is and how to find him
-The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus and convicts us of our sin
-see John 15:26-16:11
2. Jesus Saves Us
-“Today salvation has come to this house”
-Zacchaeus became a spiritual descendant of Abraham
-Luke doesn’t explain how long or the details of Zacchaeus’s
-vs “But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord…”
-he openly declared his commitment to Jesus with action
-2 Corinthians 5:15 we no longer live for ourselves, but for
him who died and was raised.”
3. Jesus saves the Lost
-Lost = this is how Jesus describes the people he came to save
-quotes from G. Campbell Morgan
-the person most concerned is Jesus, not the sinner!
-Zachaeus is identified as a sinner in three ways:
-commonly labeled: Chief Tax Collector- Hebrew traitor
-publicly declared: the crowd labeled him a sinner
-declared an us/them discrimination, as if they weren’t sinners!
-we may assume Christ’s disciples joined in on this too!
-churches die when members forget they once were lost
-self-confessed: he “extorted”, knew he owed restitution
-great sinners love Jesus greatly
-spiritually sick people seek a spiritual physician
-needy people come to Jesus with childlike faith
When did you admit you were lost?
Proof that Jesus is seeking and saving:
1. We become curious
-Zacchaeus overcame his stature and pride- climbed a tree
-Lost people do whatever it takes to find Jesus
-ask questions, read the Bible, attend worship and Bible
studies, pray, admit their inability to save themselves
2. We become committed
-We start obeying Jesus Christ!
-Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and welcomed Jesus into his
-Romans 10:9-10 Believe and Confess Openly
3. Our lives change
-Zacchaeus made an obviouscommitment to change
-public- he “stood up” ie, made a public statement
-supernatural- wanted to pay back 4 times what he stole
-What is Jesus asking me to do?
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost!
Where is “the place” you found Jesus?
-is it today, right now? Or when?
What’s the proof?
-What proof shows Jesus has saved and changed your life?
Are we on mission with Jesus to seek and find the lost?
-How concerned are we for people who don’t know Jesus?
-Have we developed an us/them discrimination attitude?
G. Campbell Morgan. The Great Physician: The Method of Jesus with Individuals. Tarrytown, NY: Fleming H. Revel Company, 1982.
“He [Zacchaeus] was lost, of no value, I repeat, to God, of no value to man; contributing nothing having purpose and power in the procedure of life, contributing nothing to the well being of his fellow man; and so by the calculations of eternity, he was spiritually lost, morally lost.
“The tragedy of a lost soul in the last analysis, is that God is robbed.”
Hello all, Steve Mante has graciously agreed to lead the small group this Sunday because Becky and I will be in Florida, have a great weekend and see you guys in a week!
Jerry and Becky
B: Bible book