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To Seek and Save

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Oikos
To Seek and Save
Our neighborhood and how our neighbors love our kids
Oikos
God has planted us in where work, live, and play so our conversations and interactions and our relationships are not by chance
God uses our relationships as a conduit to bring Jesus Christ into other peoples lives.
Luke 19:1–10 ESV
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, 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 in 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.”
Jericho was a great place to be a tax collector
Jericho being the place to be a tax collector
Zacchaeus was a very rich man. He was the chief tax collector. He had many men who would work under him collecting the taxes. They would collect from the people, usually collecting more than Rome required, and bring it to Zacchaeus who would then pay Rome after he skimmed what he wanted off the top.
Tax collecting was not exactly a profession that made you popular, but it was lucrative.
What we know about Zacchaeus
· Isolated, different social class
· Has wealth, but not satisfied
· Not very popular
· Lonely, no real relationships
What Zacchaeus knew about Jesus
· Could heal blind
· Heal the sick
· Raise the dead
Zacchaeus wants someone to validate his life.
Isn’t that what we do today?
There is a huge crowd wanting to see Jesus, but Zacchaeus has a problem. He is vertically challenged.
So he gets desperate to see Jesus. To just catch a glimpse of this prophet, this man who can change his life, give him some purpose.
So He sees a Sycamore tree. Now I don’t know when the last time you climbed a tree, but that is not normally what grown adults do right.
Can you imagine all of us men 40 and older out in front of the church trying to climb a tree? People would think we were insane.
But this is how desperate Zacchaeus was. So he climbs up in the tree. Now the opinion that people had of Zacchaeus was not that great already, and now they can see him climbing up a tree. This will not exactly improve his social standing. But he doesn’t care. He must see Jesus. He was so desperate and isolated and lonely that he didn’t care. He didn’t care about his pride, or what other people would think of him.
So he scurries of the tree like a little child into the tree.
This brings to mind the previous chapter
Luke 18:15–17 ESV
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Luke 15:15–17 ESV
So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!
-17
Luke 18:
Explain the verse
Jesus is always looking for people with a child like faith. People who don’t care what other people think, and are willing to be humble and just want to see Jesus.
Not that we are to act childish in our faith. The most spiritually mature person can have the faith of a child.
Luke tells us that Jesus looks up and sees Zacchaeus and says to him
Luke 19:4–5 ESV
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.”
Luke 19:5–6 ESV
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.
Luke 19:5–7 ESV
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.”
Could you imagine the surprise on Zacchaeus’ face. He never even thought that Jesus would notice him, let alone talk to him and want to spend the day with him. So Zacchaeus quickly came down and joyfully went home to his house with Jesus.
Now of course all of those who did not like the little man were indignant. They already have a low opinion of Zacchaeus and now Jesus is at his house. And they wonder if Jesus realizes who He is spending time with.
Could you imagine the surprise on Zacchaeus’ face. He never even thought that Jesus would notice him, let alone talk to him and want to spend the day with him. Could you imagine Zacchaeus say, “Me? You want to eat with me?”It is a wonder he didn’t fall out of the tree.
Jesus bypassed all the “religious” people to get to a little man who everyone obviously knew was a sinner.
Now of course all of those who did not like the little man were indignant. They already have a low opinion of Zacchaeus and now Jesus is at his house. And they wonder if Jesus realizes who He is spending time with.
Now of course all of those who did not like the little man were indignant. They already have a low opinion of Zacchaeus and now Jesus is at his house. And they wonder if Jesus realizes who He is spending time with.
Zacchaeus is a sinner. In the Bible a sinner is someone who missed the mark. A sinner missed the mark of God’s glory. He is God we are not. And sin is anything, any action, behavior, attitude that separates us from God.
Now today if at the end of the service today I came up and said, “Hey, I am coming to your house today for lunch.” You would probably be whoa, didn’t see that one coming. Not sure that would be such a good idea.
Could you imagine Zacchaeus say, “Me? You want to eat with me?”It is a wonder he didn’t fall out of the tree.
Jesus bypassed all the “religious” people to get to a little man who everyone obviously knew was a sinner.
Jesus isn’t asking, He is telling, but in that day it was not unusual for this to happen. And this wasn’t just a quick one hour meal. This would have been a long 3-4 hour process and you would invite all of your friends to come and eat and fellowship with your honored guest. But Zacchaeus does not have any friends, so probably these people who were in the crowd as Jesus entered Jericho just followed along to Zacchaeus’ house.
Probably thinking that Jesus was going to realize who he was eating with and put Zacchaeus in his place. Right? Don’t we always like to see people get what they deserve?
Now Zacchaeus was probably thinking, “You guys don’t like me. You judge me, You treat me badly and talk behind my back, and now you want to come and each my hors d’orves and watch Jesus and me eat, and you don’t even care about me. But Jesus comes to his house.
Jesus once said, “birds have nest, and foxes have holes, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”
Jesus did not have a house, or a headquarters that he did his ministry out of. He was always on the move to where ever God led Him. He is on His way to Jerusalem to die, to be crucified for the sins of Zacchaeus, for the people of Israel, for everyone who has lived, and for us today.
So we use this word Oikos, to describe the people who are in your sphere of influence. For some it is walking out to the end of your driveway and looking around at who is around you. It may be the people in your office.
You are always in an Oikos where ever God has planted you.
Jesus knew that where ever God led Him, while He was there, that was His Oikos. Jesus’ Oikos changed every time He entered a new town or village. There was a reason God wanted Him there. God wanted Jesus to build a relationship with the people in His Oikos.
And there is a reason God has planted you on your street, or in your office, or in your family. He wants you to build a relationship with the people in your Oikos.
So Jesus is at Zacchaeus’ house and the people are judging Jesus because in that day if you spent time with a “sinner” you were considered a sinner just like them. You shared in their sin. Zacchaeus was dirty and by association so is Jesus.
But Jesus doesn’t list out Zacchaeus’ sins and tell him that he has to change his ways before He came to his house.
We need to stop asking people to clean up or modify their behavior before we start being with them. Jesus was more concerned about being with Zacchaeus than He was about asking him to change who he was before He came to his house.
Jesus doesn’t say why don’t we go to local restaurant and rent a room and you can come and spend some time with me. No, he goes to the one place where Zacchaeus would be the most comfortable, was the most convenient for him, and where Zacchaeus would be the most relaxed. So Jesus says, I will come to you.I will make this as simple and easy on you so we can establish a relationship.
Now Scripturally, the church comes together on Sunday’s to make much of Jesus, to encourage each other, and several other things when we gather.
But we spend about 166 hours a week outside these doors. So Jesus is setting the example that we need to go where those that God wants us to reach feel the most comfortable. What I am saying is we don’t want to keep asking people to come to us, we want to come to you.
There are people that I would love to have them come to church on Sunday morning. I know that they need to know that Jesus loves them, that He died to save them from their sins and separation from God, and that He has a hope and a future for the life to come for them in Heaven where there is no sickness, no death, no sorrow, no pain, nobody cries, but right now His kingdom is being ushered in with hope, and fulfillment and purpose, and He can restore and redeem relationships.
I want people to hear that, but some people aren’t interested in coming on Sunday morning. They are not mad or hostile towards the church, but Sunday morning church is just not their thing.
I want people to hear that.
If you go anywhere on Sunday morning you will find that life is happening and going crazy, and sometimes the hope of Jesus is the furthest thing from people’s minds.
But Jesus sets the example of what we are to do.
We have got to consider that maybe our relationship with someone may just offer someone who would never come to christ otherwise an opportunity to meet Jesus in fresh new way.
We have got to consider that maybe our relationship with someone may just offer someone who would never come to christ otherwise an opportunity to meet Jesus in fresh new way.
Jesus goes to Zacchaeus’ house without any expectation of getting a return on his investment. You and I
But we may need to forgo our comfort, convenience, our biases, we must do everything to not put barriers between people and Jesus.
Sometimes that means we go to them.
But the good news is that we are already in an Oikos. If you live on a street with neighbors, or work in an office, or shop at the grocery, live in an apartment complex, you are in an Oikos.
Invite people over for dinner. Have a cookout on your front lawn. Talk to people you run in to as you are walking the dogs. The list could go on and on.
Jesus goes to Zacchaeus’ house without any expectation of getting a return on his investment. You and I must not talk to people just because they are a target for conversion.
Jesus goes to Zacchaeus’ house without any expectation of getting a return on his investment. You and I
We must go and love the people where they are because we want them to meet Jesus, and if they say no, we love them anyways. We fellowship with them anyways. We do not judge them, we do not condemn them, we keep loving them and praying for them and keep finding ways we can serve them.
Jesus goes to Zacchaeus’ house without any expectation of getting a return on his investment. You and I
Jesus died on the cross even for those who will never accept Him. He is leading by example on how we are to love and serve others whether they respond or not, but on the chance that their heart might be changed and turn to Christ.
So Zacchaeus stands there while everyone is loathing him and waiting for the hammer to drop. Jesus knows what they are saying, but Zacchaeus stands there and says that he will give half of his fortune away and repay everyone he cheated 4 times what he stole from them.
Jesus goes to Zacchaeus’ house without any expectation of getting a return on his investment. You and I
Jesus tells him that salvation has come to this house today. This Oikos now has salvation because Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Zacchaeus is a changed man because Jesus went to where Zacchaeus was most comfortable and the place that was easiest for him, did not pass judgement and criticize him for what he had done, but just loved him and honored him with His presence.
Jesus is not afraid to be seen with sinners. It doesn’t matter what you have done, or how royally you have messed up, He is not afraid or embarrassed to be seen with sinners.
Jesus bypassed all the “religious” people to get to a little man who everyone obviously knew was a sinner.
I take it for granted that we all understand that we all are sinners and have fallen short of God’s glory. We don’t measure up. But if we would just have the courage, the humbleness, the child-like faith to climb that tree and see Jesus and say “You are exactly what I need Jesus.”
That is exactly what happened to Zacchaeus. Jesus had such an impact that He called him Lord.
Jesus had paid the price for our sins. He has forgiven us and given us grace. And Jesus is ushering in His Kingdom through us to the people who are lost in the places where we live, work, and play.
Thousands of people in our area woke up this morning knowing that they do not measure up. They don’t need us to tell them that. They need us to love them and serve them like Jesus would, by going to where they are. To seek them out and to show them how much Jesus loves them.
And this begins with prayer.
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