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Little Man, Big Apology: God Tranforms a Traitor

Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A pastor phoned the home of some recent visitors to the church. A voice on the other end of the phone answered with a whispered “Hello.” The pastor asked, “Who is this?.” The whispered voice said, “Jimmy.” The pastor asked, “How old are you, Jimmy?” The voice said, “Four.” The pastor then asked, “Jimmy, can I please speak to your mom?” Jimmy answered, “She’s busy.” “Then can I please speak to your dad?” “He’s busy.” “Are there any other adults in your home?” “The police.” “Then let me speak to one of the police officers.” “They’re busy.” “Jimmy, who else is there?” “Firemen.” “Well, can you put one of the firemen on the phone?” “They’re busy.” “Jimmy, what are they all busy doing?” “They’re all busy looking for me!”

5 Principles:

5 Principles:

1. There is no one out of Reach of the GOSPEL

IF YOU had been casting for Zacchaeus in a movie who would you pick
Maybe Danny Devito - Edward G. Robinson
A few things we know about Zacchaeus:
He was a chief tax collector - Maybe Matthew knew him from the old days
Tax Collectors were Jews who worked for Rome to collect taxes
They collected what Rome required and kept anything above that
They were considered scum and villains … associated with sinners in Luke.
The text also adds that he was rich … indicating that he got rich by his tax job … THis guy robbed his own people silly
His riches came from his villainy … from his skimming
WE also read that he was short … vertically challenged
IF YOU had been casting for Zacchaeus in a movie who would you pick
Maybe Danny Devito - Edward G. Robinson … Al Pacino
It was this man that Jesus Targeted … Or rather Called
Luke, Volumes 1 & 2 Zacchaeus, You Come Down!

J. C. Ryle said, “If ever there was a soul sought and saved, without having done anything to deserve it, that soul was the soul of Zacchaeus.… Unasked, our Lord stops and speaks to Zacchaeus. Unasked, He offers Himself to be a guest in the house of a sinner. Unasked, He sends into the heart of a publican the renewing grace of the Spirit, and puts him that very day among the children of God.”

Hebrews 7:25 NIV
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
This vile little tax collector … yes and worse
Listen to the testimony of another
1 Timothy 1:12–16 NIV
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:12-
Who do you know right now that you might consider a hard case … someone else maybe but never him … she's too hard … he is too far gone.
Im sure may thought this of Zach!
Don’t give up on people …

2. There are people out there seeking SOMETHING

Luke 19:3–4 ESV
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.
The tree probably a ficus sycomorus - A sturdy tree about 40 feet high … short trunk and wide branches … An easy climb
Was he tired of the life?
May be tired of being hated by people
For some reason beyond our understanding Zach wanted to see JESUS
Someday you should read the Confessions of St. Augustine

A sense of unease made every pleasure unfulfilling. Nothing lasted. This lack of satisfaction is what drew St. Augustine to Christ, as he wrote in retrospect to God: were always present, angry and merciful at once, strewing the pangs of bitterness over all my lawless pleasures to lead me on to look for others unallied with pain.” And again, “Your goad was thrusting at my heart, giving me no peace until the eye of my soul could discern you without mistake.”6

Maybe he felt like Solomon …
Ecclesiastes 2:9–11 ESV
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2:9
The first stanza of a hymn written in 1878 expresses what was happening in Zach:
I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
no, I was found of thee.
People are seeking something … you have something to offer them …
God sovereignly moves in peoples hearts and wills to bring them to Jesus.
Who do you know right now that seems to be looking for something … God may be at work
So what do you have to do???????? Next Slide

3. Keep your eyes open for people in TREES

Look for opportunities
Ephesians 5:15–16 NIV
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
That is Paul’s way of saying “Keep your eyes open for people in Trees.”

4. Expect God to work and Expect Change

Luke 19:8 ESV
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.”
* Change is an evidence of genuine conversion
Luke 19:
Change is an evidence of genuine conversion
For Zacchaeus it seemed almost instantaneous
Exodus 22:1 ESV
“If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
In 1922 and 1923, in Belfast in Northern Ireland, the shipyard company, Harland & Wolfe — they’re still there today…this is the company that built the Titanic. And in 1922-23 there was a revival. It lasted just over one year. It utilized the ministry of one particular Presbyterian minister William Patteson Nicholson whose preaching God just blessed in an extraordinary way, just for a period of one year. Hundreds of thousands of people were converted. There were so many shipyard workers who were converted …there were so many shipyard workers who were converted in that summer of 1922, that they began to bring back to the shipyard stuff that they had stolen. The shipyard had to build a shed to house all of this stuff (named "the Nicholson shed"), and a notice was given..and you can see it. You can go to a museum in Harland & Wolfe today, and there on the wall…this notice was given telling these shipyard workers to stop bringing stuff back because they had no room to put it.2 It's an extraordinary thing. It was evidence, you see, of a changed heart.
Luke 19:9 ESV
And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.
Declaration of Jesus - This Man is a Changed man
Jesus is speaking as a Rabbi
WE know Zach is a Jew … a Son of Abraham … ancestry … roots … genes … lineage … thoroughly Jewish.
But this is not what Jesus is declaring in v:9 …
He is declaring that Zach is NOW REALLY a Son of Abraham
Galatians 3:7–9 ESV
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Galatians 3:
There are sons of Abraham, and then there are sons of Abraham. There are sons of Abraham according to the flesh, and there are sons of Abraham by faith in Jesus Christ, and Jesus is saying here, ‘This man, although he was in a covenant home and he had covenant lineage coming out of his ears, he wasn't converted. He wasn't a believer. But today he is.’

5. Dont forget the MAIN THING

Luke 19:10 ESV
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Do you know the story of the young man who did some terrible things, awful things, and his parents threw him out of their home? And he went away, and he was gone for many years until one day he wrote a letter to his parents and said, ‘I'd like to come home. I’ll be on the train next Friday.’ His home was adjacent to the railway tracks as it came into the town in which he lived, and the garden of his home ran all the way down to the railway tracks, and there was an apple tree in full sight of the tracks. And he said in his letter to his parents, ‘I’ll only come if I see a white handkerchief tied to a branch of that apple tree.’ And as he came towards his home, his face pressed up against the window pane of the carriage of the train in which he was traveling, he saw the tree — covered in white handkerchiefs. He was coming home, and his parents were saying to him, ‘It's okay for you to come home. Come home now.’ 3
That's what's happening here to this son of Abraham according to the flesh. Jesus is saying to him, ‘Come home. Come home to Me. Come home in fellowship and in communion with Me.’ You know, that's the kind of Savior we have this morning. He came, Luke says, to seek and to save the lost. He’ll never cast a sinner away — never. There’ll always be a white handkerchief hanging in that tree saying it's okay for you to come home.
In the mid-nineteenth century, major portions of the United States were infected with slavery. The story is told that on one occasion when he heard about a slave auction nearby, a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln went to observe what transpired at those events. When he arrived, he saw black Americans chained like cattle, auctioned off to the highest bidder. Eventually, a young woman was brought to the block and the bidding started. Lincoln put in a bid which was countered by another. He bid higher and was countered again. Finally, he outbid all the others and the auctioneer proclaimed: “Sold!” Then the slave traders brought the young woman off the block and set her at Lincoln’s feet. He reached down, unlocked her chains and said, “Now you’re free.” She looked up at him with a quizzical look and asked, “What does it mean to be free?” And Lincoln responded, “It means that you can think anything you want, you can say anything you want, you can go wherever you want.” The reality of her newfound freedom began to sink in and, with tears streaming down her cheeks, she said, “Then I will go with you.” That’s what Jesus wants to do with us. He has come to find us, to forgive us and to free us from the power of sin. Are we willing to let Him do that? And having let Him do that, are we then willing to go with Him wherever He wants us to go?
Will we be active in what is the main thing to Jesus … seeking and bringing salvation to the lost?
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