God’s Way                  July 16, 2017

Luke 19:1-10 “He entered Jericho and was passing through.  And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.  And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature.  So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.”  So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.  And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”  And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  

Many will remember this scripture by the little song that reminds us “Zacchaeus was a wee, little man,
And a wee, little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree,
For the Lord he wanted to see”

 We tend to lose sight of the reality that this text is not about Zacchaeus but instead about how God effected Zacchaeus’ life and family.

This scripture is about God and how God reaches us, the hurting people who need Him.

God’s Way, not our way.

  1. God’s Way is to be there
    1. Jesus was “passing through” Jericho
      1. He was not there by accident
      2. God knew there were lost and hurting people there who needed Him immensely
  • God knew Zacchaeus’ need long before Zacchaeus knew his need
  1. God is everywhere
    1. He is exactly where you need Him
    2. He is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
  • He is near everyone who calls on Him in truth – Psalm 145:18
  1. He is the God who is near – Jeremiah 23.23
  2. He is not far from each of us – Acts 17:27
  1. God’s Way is to know everything about us
    1. He knew who Zacchaeus was
    2. He knew him and his family
    3. He knew his sins and his need for salvation
    4. He knew Zacchaeus was ready for new life
    5. He knew Zacchaeus had to repent
  2. God’s way is to show us His Way.
    1. We need to Know that God’s Way is the BEST way
    2. He knew Zacchaeus was trying to see Him Zacchaeus’ own way
      1. He climbed up a tree
        1. Was not really thinking of a personal relationship
          1. God was
        2. Contrast with the Lady with the issue of blood who crawled on her belly though a crowd to reach Jesus and just touch the hem His robe. God had more for both of them!
        3. He made Zacchaeus come down from the tree he found himself up for all the wrong reasons
          1. Ever found yourself up a tree or out on a limb?
          2. He was about to begin a new personal relationship with Zacchaeus
  • But FIRST Zacchaeus had to come down from the tree…undo the WORKS he had done
  1. What barrier or DISTANCE have you put up to Jesus?
  2. Are you wanting to see who Jesus is but have no real interaction with Him?
  3. Maybe you think it is enough to get “in the same general area” as Jesus but not get to know Him?
  1. Zacchaeus repented – he changed his heart and promised to restore what he had stolen
    1. Even while the ones he would return the money to were grumbling and complaining that Jesus was going to his house
  2. God’s Way is to bring salvation
    1. Jesus came to seek and save the lost
    2. Jesus saves
    3. Even the worst of sinners with the worst reputations
    4. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

You cannot ALMOST be saved but you can be DECEIVED

Luke 11:24 – 26   “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’  And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.  Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

We are a people who are good at starting things and making promises to start things but we really don’t follow through well.

We don’t finish well…or at all.

We have unfinished projects around the house…next month…2017

We plan and prepare but PROCRASTINATE

How many New Year’s Resolutions have you kept?

We do the same thing spiritually as well.

We come to an emotional moment with God and make promises.

“God if you deliver me from this I will……..”

We work hard changing our life, removing the bad chunks as we can.

We clean our life up.

But.

There is that word again.  We often want to live a Christian life….BUT:

But, we really don’t want to change

But, our friends will think we are weird

But, we do not follow through.

  • We plan and prepare to go pray every day…BUT
  • We plan to read our Bible for 1 hour every day….BUT
  • We prepare to be more faithful and obedient…BUT
  • But.
  • We think we have done enough.  So we stop.
  • We stop short of actual faith
  • We stop short of actual commitment
  • We stop short of a moment of conversion
  • We stop short of NEW LIFE.

WE, WE, WE, WE

Then WE learn a hard lesson.

What WE can FIX satan can easily BREAK

First, we revert back into some old patterns

Then, we gather new bad habits

    Habits made worse since we THINK we are OK with God now

But, in the end, we are in worse condition than when we started

  • Maybe we keep coming to church but feel empty.
  • Maybe we keep coming so we can FEEL faithful to…something
  • Maybe we grow dry and drift off as on a slight wind
  •             No LIVING WATER
  • Maybe we just give up and look elsewhere.

 

  • Not because God somehow failed…
  • Not because GOD is not able to save…
  • Not because God does not want to save…

But because we stopped short of allowing Him to save us.

We never receive NEW LIFE – we never accept HIM

Many, many people only THINK they are saved.

But they only straightened up for a while but soon found their lives more frustrating and messed up than before.

  • Some think they can save themselves.
  • Some think they can buy their salvation through much giving
  • Some think they can earn their salvation through much serving
  • Some think they deserve their salvation because of who they are
  • Some think they will receive salvation because God is love.
  • Some think they will get their salvation because of their family ties
  • Some just sit and HOPE they will be saved

Empty hulls waiting for something to fill them.

     God desires to fill your life

     Satan will use every opportunity to gain your empty soul

            ONE WILL FILL YOUR HEART AND LIFE

Christ or Satan?        YOUR CHOICE

Neither the church, your family’s heritage in the church nor how much you give or serve the church can save you.

You can ONLY be saved by GRACE alone through FAITH alone in JESUS CHRIST alone.

Everything else leaves you EMPTY.

Everything else leaves you VULNERABLE.

Everything else leaves you LOST.

Everything else leaves you HELL BOUND

There is a reason the musicians sing of a “Highway to Hell”  but only  “Stairway to Heaven”            They are speaking of the traffic each one is carrying to their final eternity.

God had Matthew write the concept for both these songs:

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”   ESV

Matthew 7:21 – 23  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Let God change you then fill all of the chasms of your heart and mind with Him!

Saying IS NOT ENOUGH – There must be the Will and ACTION of BEING a Christian actually OBEYING the Will of God!

  • FOLLOW THROUGH to TRUE FAITH!
  • Follow through with Baptism and Discipleship
  • Follow through with service and obedience

Spiritual Formation and Growth is NECESSARY for the Christian. 

Bible Study and Devotion is NECESSARY for the Christian.

OBEDIENCE is NECESSARY for a Christian

            (“IF you love Me, obey my Commands”- Jesus, John 14:15)

2 Corinthians 5:16 – 21  “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 

Is your NEW CREATION visible and active? Has GOD changed you?