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RETURN TO TASK
Introduction We are closing out our series on Awake: A Call to A Renewed Life Wraps up our three-part teaching series: Philippians: renewing the joy of knowing Jesus To love and serve Jesus is joy in growing together praying together giving together When you trust your life to Jesus a certain peace and joy flows out of that faith and permeates your entire life… everything is different: your view of the world your view of people your view of God… Ephesians: how our faith connects us to one another. We are not just a bunch of individuals doing our own thing we are united and connected to one another out here… because of our common love for Jesus in here. We are related to one another by a common inward grace: and that Grace pulls us together in our prayers in the way we speak to one another in the way we grow together in our care for one another our worship People whose hearts have been changed, connected together in a unique community called Good Shepherd Church Awake: “The Call to a Renewed Life” We are drawing from that inward joy and grace and re-newing it… building on it… There is the sense that each of us is called to enliven our faith by going back to the basics…. Returning to God’s call on your life by remembering the joy of Jesus, your first love by fervent prayer and serious study of God’s word
RETURN TO TASK
Introduction We are closing out our series on Awake: A Call to A Renewed Life Wraps up our three-part teaching series:
All of this is part of a natural flow…. There is not fire out there (gesture out) if there is no fire in here (gesture to your heart) The idea is to get the Gospel from in here… to out there. — the spreading of the Gospel through the church and out into the world - begins in here…. with you.
Philippians: renewing the joy of know Jesus To love and serve Jesus is joy in growing together praying together giving together When you trust your life to Jesus a certain peace and joy flows out of that faith and permeates your entire life… everything is different: your view of the world your view of people your view of God…
Ephesians: how our faith connects us to one another. We are not just a bunch of individuals doing our own thing we are united and connected to one another because of our common love for Jesus. we are a “called people” We are related to one another by a common grace: and we share that grace.. because it pulls us together through our prayers in the way we speak to one another (are honest with… ) in our care for one another
Awake: “The Call to a Renewed Life” Taking what we have learned and letting it permeate our hearts, our minds and our lives with all what we talked about in Philippians and Ephesians, hopefully you have learned from this last series,
AWAKE, the the call for renewal - the spreading of the Gospel through the church and out into the world - begins with you. There is no fire out there (gesture out) if there is no fire in here (gesture to your heart) This morning we finish up with a section called “Return to Task.”
This morning I want to take a look at Luke Chapter 19.1-10. This is the familiar story of Zacchaeus: A really short guy among a crowd of tall people. And I want to draw from this, not what our specific task might be… nor even the idea of doing a task itself;
This morning, we wrap all of this up with the theme “Return to Task.” I think we all know what the task is…. It’s to spread the Gospel… to get it from in here to out there. But this morning, I want to refresh our minds on WHY we should do the things we are called to do. Why should we do outreach and mission? Why should we spread the Gospel? Why should we do anything at all? Luke Chapter 19.1-10. This is the familiar story of Zacchaeus: A really short guy, with a really big problem, living among a crowd of tall people. Jesus’ exchange with Zacchaeus reveals a beautiful image of Jesus… it says something about his nature, his character, his desire and his purpose. And all these things say something about why we should do the things we should do.
RATHER… I want to refresh our minds as to WHY we should do the things we DO. Why should we do mission? Why should we spread the Gospel (other than that Jesus says so)? Why should we do anything at all?
This exchange with Zacchaeus reveals a beautiful image of Jesus… it says something about his nature, his character, his desire and his purpose. And all these things say something about why we should do the things we should do.
Setting the Stage Zacchaeus: short man who desires to see Jesus. We don’t know how he found out about Jesus, we don’t know what about Jesus character drew him to want to see Jesus but we know that he is there for that purpose alone. but because he was small in stature the only way to accomplish that is to climb up a tree. Jesus sees him in the tree and he CALLS HIM BY NAME and in that moment, Jesus changed Zaccheaus’s life forever. What does it tell us? In this account, Jesus has only 3 lines. But they are filled with so much punch, so much grace, so much love. And these few short lines have so much meaning in them, that they are inspirational.
Setting the Stage
Zacchaeus: short man who desires to see Jesus. We don’t know how he found out about Jesus, we don’t know what about Jesus character drew him to want to see Jesus but we know that he is there for that purpose alone. but because he was small in stature the only way to accomplish that is to climb up a tree. Jesus sees him in the tree and he CALLS HIM BY NAME and in that moment, Jesus changed Zaccheaus’s life forever.
What does it tell us?
In this account, Jesus has only 3 lines. But they are filled with so much punch, so much grace, so much love. And these few short lines have so much meaning in them … so much.. inspiration
v.5 – READ IT -Zacchaeus is up a tree. Jesus stops to encounter people, no matter what our opinion of them might be. Zacchaeus lived life on the margins of his faith... he had accumulated his wealth, largely by nefarious means. He was not a very nice man. He was in charge of tax collection in Jericho And tax collectors were unpopular because they were thieves and cheats! They accumulated their wealth on the backs of other people’s labours. The crowd called him a “sinner”. But Jesus calls him by name
v.5 – READ IT Jesus stops to encounter people Calling him by name... meeting him face-to-face Zacchaeus, a Jew, heard about Jesus and was coming to find out what he was about. Zacchaeus lived life on the margins of his faith... he had accumulated his wealth, largely by nefarious means. The crowd considered him a “sinner”. Here is this short, wealthy cheat… but Jesus calls him by name and he invites him to participate in what’s going on. God hears what is not spoken and understands what is not explained, for His love doesn't work in the lips or in the mind, but in the heart. An invitation: to participate in what's going on NOT JUST to do something… He invites Zacchaeus into a new life; a relationship with Jesus. See how Zacchaeus responds to Jesus: Suddenly, his life pursuits have changed... Instead of hoarding his wealth, he is inspired to give half of it away. Starting over in life means being willing to let go of what isn’t working Responding to Jesus means letting go of what’s holding you back
God hears what is not spoken and understands what is not explained, for His love doesn't work in the lips or in the mind, but in the heart. (And Zacchaeus’ heart is about to change). when Jesus invites him to participate in what’s going on. He says to the hated man; I’m coming to your house tonight. This is NOT JUST to do something… He invites Zacchaeus into a new life; a relationship with Jesus.
v.9 - READ IT The announcement: Grace trumps sin. Zacchaeus, despite his cheating/sin, is still considered to be a son of the faith…. a descend from Abraham think about that…. where others considered him a sinner, and therefore an “outsider”, Jesus says “No, no… he’s still one of us. The promise to Abraham still stands with Zacchaeus.” a little bit of the prodigal son going on here: guy had two sons one son takes what’s coming to him and goes wastes it all comes running back to Dad Dad throws a party… the son who stayed is upset because he thinks his brother doesn’t deserve a party. does this story not echo that kind of grace from God… it tells us that the grace of the Father in welcoming home the lost now comes through Jesus…. Not where most would expect it to come When Jesus enters your life, salvation enters your life. when you seek Jesus and find him, you find your real place in the world… back where you belong… in the family of God. Zacchaeus who just that very same day, was socially and to some extent physically set aside and ignored as a cheater and a sinner.. who likely KNEW his station in life; is now lifted up from the crowd; and singled out as someone who has come home. Jesus says... salvation has come to this house: Even to a Jew who was both socially and physically challenged has found salvation in Jesus Christ. Open your heart and invite God into every circumstance because when God enters the scene, miracles happen
See how Zacchaeus responds to Jesus: Suddenly, his life pursuits have changed... Instead of hoarding his wealth, he is inspired to give half of it away. and not only that, but he is willing to pay back everyone he cheated. Starting over in life means being willing to let go of what isn’t working Responding to Jesus means letting go of what’s holding you back this is what repentance is…. this is the Christian life… starting over, changing your ways, and participating in the heart of Jesus. Zacchaeus is taking what has happened in here… and putting it out there.
v.10 – The reason... This is the whole reason any of this happening: This verse is the punchline of the story: this is the heart of God. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. This is the heart of God. And it becomes the mission of God.
Conclusion (What does it say again?) Zacchaeus is an example of Jesus personal, earthly mission to gather the lost. Jesus encounters the lost with a view to save them Zacchaeus repents: get’s it… he gives half of everything… and pays back the people he cheated four times as much as he had taken.
Application (What do we do about it? From this we can take away three things: God wants us to be in relationship with Him. It has been the plan since the dawn of time. The whole trajectory of the Bible heads toward a time when humankind will be united with God and with one another. Jesus came to encounter us face to face; to draw us out of life patterns that lead us apart from God. He takes away sin, so that we can repent… turn around… and head in the right direction… a relationship with Him. God wants us to belong. series on Ephesians and we talked about this sense of being in the right place... this idea of being exactly where we belong. We belong with God. I t has been the plan from the beginning that we should end up where we belong, in God's household, as loved members of His family. Although sin once separated us from God, Jesus and the Cross provides us a way back. God wants us to be engaged. He invites us still to participate in “what’s going on” Jesus engaged his disciples with the simple words "follow me." He engaged the Samaritan woman at the well with an interest in her life and faith. He engaged Paul on the road to Damascus. And he engaged Zacchaeus. (18b-19a): The Great Commission “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me ... Go therefore and make disciples of all nations Why? Because Jesus came to seek and save the lost. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Why? Because Jesus came to seek and save the lost. – Why did Jesus seek and save the lost? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” that is the heart of God. Every believer is invited to participate in what's going on; to share God's heart... To share his compassion; his love; his mission Everyone is called to be contributor. The scale, or level, or your participation: What you do with what you have.
CONCLUDING THE SERIES: THE MAIN POINT The point of this series.... from Sept. until now, as we close is to get help and encourage all of us to encounter Jesus where we are. Where are you? Your life has many stages... many scenes.. Right now, you're in church... did you come to sing hymns and have coffee... or did you come to encounter God? So that as we encounter God we can realign our hearts to serve him. To return to the task of the church.... “Inspiring people to love and serve Jesus:... Was to encourage you that “Size does not matter”. The size of the congregation does NOT MATTER. The pressure is not on us to grow the church: that's Jesus' task. Our task.. YOUR task is to get closer to Jesus; enjoy the benefits and the challenges of His love; and to allow him to (continue to) transform your life so that in it, people will see the Gospel. The size of your heart for God does. Because that's where it all begins. So it begins with joy in the Lord (Philippians Study) It begins with participation as a member of the church community (Ephesians) It begins with returning to the fundamental characteristics of faith: To God (as Jonah) did. To your “first love” To prayer To study To boldness
This is the heart of God... the expansion of the church happens when we move outside into the word, on the sure foundation that your heart is God's heart.
Jesus’ second line in the scene…. v.9 - READ IT - The announcement: You’re in Zack. Grace trumps sin. Zacchaeus, despite his cheating/sin, is still considered to be a son of the faith…. a descend from Abraham think about that…. where others considered him a sinner, and therefore an “outsider”, Jesus says “No, no… he’s still one of us. The promise to Abraham still stands with Zacchaeus.” a little bit of the prodigal son going on here: guy had two sons one son takes what’s coming to him and goes wastes it all comes running back to Dad Dad throws a party… the son who stayed is upset because he thinks his brother doesn’t deserve a party. does this story not echo that kind of grace from God… it says the Father now welcomes you home through Jesus.…. When you seek Jesus and he receives you, salvation enters your life. When you seek Jesus, you find salvation. Zacchaeus has found his real place… where once it was lost, Jesus draws him back where he belongs… in the family of God. He encountered the little guy in a tree…and singled him out as someone who should “come home.” Open your heart and invite God into every circumstance because when God enters the scene, amazing things will happen.
Jesus’ third and final line in the scene v.10 – READ IT This verse is the punchline of the story: this is the heart of God. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. This is the heart of God. AND DO YOU SEE WHAT JESUS IS DOING… he is taking what is in here (gesture to heart) and putting it out there And this the mission of God. Conclusion (What does it say again?) Zacchaeus is an example of Jesus personal, earthly mission to gather the lost. Jesus encounters the lost with a view to save them The purpose of Jesus’ coming was not to redirect the moral teachings of the world…. it was not to defeat a government structure or policy… it was not to make sure people recycle their plastics…. Jesus came to encounter the lost and save them Jesus came to take the love of God and put it out there Jesus came to call the world to repentance and to gather back in the family of God. Now, I don’t know about you, but as someone who was once lost and is now found… this is inspirational. I have my own form of “cheating” my own forms of “tax collecting”… I have my own sins… but Jesus encountered me in a pew in a dimply lit church on the east side of Hamilton… and he took what was in his heart and put it out to me.
There is not fire out there… if there’s no fire in here.
Application - Why should we do anything? From this we can take away three things: God wants people to be in relationship with Him. HE WANTS THE LOST… FOUND. He wanted the Zacchaeuses of the world since the dawn of time And all the Bible is an account of how God wants to. and does… encounter his people. And this mission of God to bring his family back together culminates in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to encounter us face to face; to draw us out of life patterns that lead us apart from God. He takes away sin, so that we can repent… turn around… and head in the right direction… a relationship with Him. Although sin once separated us from God, Jesus and the Cross provides us a way back. God wants us to be engaged. He invites us still to participate in “what’s going on” Jesus engaged his disciples with the simple words "follow me." He engaged the Samaritan woman at the well with an interest in her life and faith. He engaged Paul on the road to Damascus. And he engaged Zacchaeus. And without question, he wants us to participate in His mission. (18b-19a): The Great Commission “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me ... Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” Why? Because Jesus came to seek and save the lost. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Why? Because Jesus came to seek and save the lost. – Why did Jesus seek and save the lost? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” that is the heart of God. Every believer is invited to participate in what's going on; to share God's heart... To share his compassion; his love; his mission Everyone is called to be contributor. The scale, or level, or your participation: What you do with what you have. CONCLUDING THE SERIES: THE MAIN POINT The point of this series.... We all know that the task is to share the Gospel…. but … Whatever stage you are at…. you need to rekindle, renew, re-ignite, rediscover, enrich, nurture, grow, and build upon what Jesus has put in your heart… so that you can take what is in here and put it out there. The size of the church has no bearing on this: the size of your heart for God does. There is nothing wrong with a small church… there is nothing wrong with a large church…. You can have a church of 2000 members and not see the heart of God in it.. Our task.. YOUR task is to continually encounter Jesus; enjoy the benefits and the challenges of His love; and to allow him to (continue to) transform your life so that in it, people will see the Gospel.
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