Faithlife Sermons

2016-11-13 Luke 19:5-7 Incarnation's Purpose (2): Jesus is Everything

Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:50
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INCARNATION’S PURPOSE (2): JESUS IS EVERYTHING (Luke 19:5-7) November 13, 2016 Read Lu 19:1-6 – John Bacon was an 18th century British sculptor of some of the most famous works in British history. But he had this inscribed on his tomb in Westminster Abbey: “What I was as an artist seemed of some importance to me while I lived; but what I was as a believer in Jesus Christ is the only thing of importance to me now.” He’s right, Beloved. When it comes to eternity, Jesus is everything. Bc He can do the impossible – save us. This little story of how the hated and lost tax collector Zacchaeus became found is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. According to v. 9 the impossible happened. “Salvation came to his house. It can come to yours too. The purpose of the whole incarnation was to save Zacchaeus, to save John Bacon, to save me, to save you and to save anyone who is willing to be found. The story divides into 3 parts -- The Sinner, The Savior, The Salvation. Today, we look at the Savior and the part He plays in bringing salvation. I. He Is the Initiator V. 1: “He entered Jericho and was passing through.” Throwaway verse? No. It shows the personal nature of Jesus’ seeking and saving ministry. It shows salvation BEGINS with God! Look at v. 3: “And he was seeking to see who Jesus was.” Zach thought he was seeking Jesus. Instead, it was Jesus seeking Zach. That’s why He came – “to seek and to save the lost.” And He’s come to Jericho to find a single man. Zach is the lost. Jesus came to seek and save him. Notice He entered Jericho and was passing through.” Why passing thru? Because He was focused like a lazer on Zach, and He knew Zach had run on to beat the crowd. You say, “Aren’t you reading a lot into those words?” I don’t think so. Skip to v. 5. Jesus says, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” Must, δει, it is necessary. Physical necessity? Nope. He could have gone a hundred places other than Zach’s. So why must? Because He is seeking him individually! He’s come to Jericho for Zach. Isn’t that beautiful? He’s demonstrating the personal nature of His call. We see the same language in John 4:3-4, “He [Jesus] left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria.” “Had to” = δει. It was necessary to go through Samaria. Really? Didn’t Jews going from Judea to Galilee normally avoided Samaria, taking the longer route east of the 1 Jordan? Yes. It wasn’t physically necessary at all. So what? It was a divine necessity. So He can meet the woman at the well. So He seek and save her. He must go thru Samaria, not bc there were no other roads, but so He can find one outcast woman. Just like He must go thru Jericho to find Zach. He came to seek and save because the truth is we’d never seek Him on our own. This passage shows us that long before Zacchaeus determined to find out more about Jesus, Jesus had already planned to come this way. The Bible is very clear on this. If our salvation depended on us taking the initiative to find God, it would never happen. Isa 53:6 makes clear, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way.” His own way. Even what we call seeking God is really just a selfish attempt to define a God of our own liking – who will fit in with our agenda. None of us deliberately set out to find a God to whom we must be accountable. That God is not lost. That God has revealed Himself powerfully – in His creation, in His Word, in His Law written in our hearts and in His own Son. That God is right in front of us, but we don’t want that God. That’s why Paul rightly says, “No one seeks for God” (Rom 3:11). If He did not seek us, no one would ever be saved. Stan Telchin, a successful Jewish businessman, felt betrayed when his daughter, Judy (21), called from college to say, “I believe Jesus is the Messiah. I’ve given my life to Him.” Stan seethed! He began an energetic quest to prove her wrong. He wasn’t seeking the true God. He was seeking to destroy the true God. But God was seeking him. So the evidence kept pointing toward Him, not away from Him. Months later Stan went to a National Convocation of Messianic (believing) Jews – to work the crowd for business contacts. But by day 3 he was at a crisis point. He couldn’t sleep. Next morning someone asked him to pray over breakfast. Startled, he complied: “Praised be Thou, Lord God of the universe. Thank you for what we have learned at this meeting. Bless this food, in the name of Jesus, the Messiah.” It was out before he knew it. One man said, “Stan, you are a believer!” And so he was – and so, it turned out, were his wife and other daughter. He thought he was seeking Jesus, but it was quite the other way. It was Jesus who found Him. I hope you’ve allowed Him to find you. II. He Is the Implementer 5 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.” Here is a loaded verse. Where does salvation originate? Paul knew. Eph 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed 2 us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” We not saved because we were smart enough to accept Christ. We are saved because “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world.” That’s Luke’s precise point. Look: “When Jesus came to the place.” What place? A sycamore tree! So what’s so special about that tree that it is specifically “the place” where Jesus came? That’s where Zach was, that’s what! And when Jesus gets there, He stops. Then He looks up. He’s passed a thousand trees and never looked up, but now He looks up. And He says, “Zacchaeus.” He’s never met him, never texted or emailed him. Yet -- He knows him by name; and He knows exactly where he to find him. Why? I’ll tell you why. It’s because this very event was determined by God long before time began. And now, after all these millennia of time, the moment has come. Zach thinks he’s seeking Jesus, but it’s Jesus who has come all the way from eternity past, -- all the way from heaven to earth so that on this day, at this place, He can stop, look up into the face of Zach and call him to repentance. The time has come for Zach to be found. Gives you goose bumps. Jesus goes on: “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” I must stay at your house. Why must? Because you’ve been chosen. And now’s the time! This is your divine appointment. SO have you had your divine appointment? You say, “What if I’m not chosen. How do I know I’m chosen?” Well, if you’re asking that question, you probably are chosen. But the only way to know for sure is by saying “Yes” to Jesus. Those who are chosen repent their sin and open their life to Jesus. Those who have not harden their hearts just like Pharaoh did. God’s choosing is always placed side by side with our choice. You can’t change God’s choosing, but you can and must make your choice. You’ll never be able to say, “It’s your fault.” Spurgeon: "I believe in the doctrine of election because I am quite certain that if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him. And I am quite sure that He chose me before I was born, or else He never would've chosen me afterwards." Brilliant – more importantly – biblical. "And he must've elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why he should have looked upon me with special love." That is the biblical explanation for each and every believer. He chose us. III. He Is the Invader 3 Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” Jesus’ next step in bringing salvation? Full-scale invasion. He didn’t just say, “Come on down for tea, Zach.” He said, “I’m coming home with you.” All-out assault. Full-scale invasion. Nothing hidden. No secrets. Jesus is moving in – lock, stock and barrel. That illustrates another aspect of salvation – one Jesus described in Lu 9:23: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” This isn’t just a brief visit then back to normal. It’s not just a trip down the aisle, a brief prayer, and then business as usual. Salvation means a new king on the throne – new priorities. Billy Graham says, “When Jesus said, “If you are going to follow me, you have to take up a cross,” it was the same as saying, “Come and bring your electric chair with you. Take up the gas chamber and follow me.” He did not have a beautiful gold cross in mind - the cross on a church steeple or on the front of your Bible. Jesus had in mind a place of execution.” Execution of self – painful, yes, but also the entry point to a whole new life. We die to self only to come alive in Christ! That’s the best exchange you’ll ever make. We’ve misled many on this. We’ve told them just believe and live as you like. But that is nowhere found in the Bible. We’ve told them you can accept Jesus as Savior now – and as Lord later, when you feel like it. Or if you never do, that’s okay too. But that’s not what the Bible says. The Bible says, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [boss, master, sovereign] and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The belief that the Bible speaks of is one of total commitment and surrender. He either invades all or He doesn’t come in at all. Rev 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” To eat with someone in that culture was an act of intimate act of fellowship and commitment. You can choose not to let Him in. But if you let Him in, it’s for good. You’ve given Him all the keys or you haven’t let Him in at all. Tim Keller tells of a woman who came to his church having been taught that God accepts us if we are good and ethical. When he explained the gospel, that Christ has done it all, she said, “That is a scary idea – good scary, but still scary!” He asked her, “What’s so scary about unmerited free grace?” She replied, “If I was saved by my good works – there would be a limit to what God could ask of me. I’d be a taxpayer with rights. But if I’m a sinner saved by sheer grace – at God’s infinite cost – then there is nothing He can’t ask of me.” She’s right. Grace is scary. It means new management for your whole life! But believe me, it’s a glorious invasion! One you will never regret. 4 IV. He Is the Indemnifier What is an indemnifier? Someone who pays damages. That’s Jesus. That is the price of seeking and saving the lost – He must pay the price for their sin. Jesus says in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He indemnifies us with His life! Jesus could only save Zach because of what He was about to do in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, He intentionally and purposefully climbed up the tree so that He could invite Zach down. Isa 53: 5) But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Jesus is the indemnifier; paying the price we could not pay so we could have the life we could not earn. On Nov 26, 2008 Islamic terrorists stormed the historical Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India, killing 200 innocent people. An Indian-born English actor survived. He said he’d been eating with friends when the shots began. Someone grabbed him and pulled him under the table. The assassins came striding thru the restaurant, shooting at will, until they thought everyone dead. When asked why he was still alive his answer was sobering: “I suppose it’s because I was covered in someone else’s blood and they took me for dead.” That’s a perfect illustration of God’s gift thru Jesus to everyone who will believe. We can be saved only if covered by His blood. Salvation was costly to God. Trevin Wax comments. “Because Jesus said, ‘I thirst,’ we can drink from the fountain of living water and never thirst again. Because Jesus said, ‘Woman, behold your son,’ and felt the pain of separation from His earthly family, we can experience the blessing of being united with a heavenly family. Because Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’ our new life can begin. Because Jesus committed his spirit into the Father's hands, God commits His Spirit into our hearts. Because Jesus said, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,’ we can say, ‘My God, My God, why have you accepted me?’” Because Jesus hung on that tree, Zacchaeus could come down, and so can we. He’s indemnified us (paid our damages) if we will but accept it. “Because the sinless Savior died, / My sinful soul is counted free; / For God, the Just, is satisfied / To look on Him and pardon me.” Can’t you see why it’s a disaster to refuse such love? Conc – So what is Jesus’ part in salvation. Everything. Everything. He is the initiator, the implementer, the invader and most importantly, the indemnifier. 5 He’s everything. Which is exactly why He said in Jn 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” When it comes to salvation, He is everything. D. L. Moody used to tell of a CW vet who was engaged when the war broke out. He and his fiancé wrote constantly. But after the Battle of the Wilderness the letters stopped coming from him – until one arrived in strange writing. It said, “We have fought a terrible battle and I have lost both arms. A friend is writing this for me. I love you more tenderly than ever, but I can never support you and release you from your promise. I can not ask you to join your life with this maimed life of mine.” He got no return letter. Instead, that young woman was on the next train, seeking his hospital and his row and his cot. She threw her arms around his neck and said, “I love you, not your arms. I’ll never desert you. I will take care of you if you will have me.” It didn’t take him long to choose her all over again. Beloved, I urge you, don’t resist the love of the only Savior you will ever have. When He stops at your place and calls you name, let Him save you. Jn 10:3, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” Zach responded in faith when he heard his name. And Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house.” Why? Because Jesus came to that house! And if you hear Him calling your name, today could be your day. When it comes to eternity, Jesus is everything! Let’s pray. 6 7
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