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A Sinner, a Savior, and Surrender

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2021 5:00 am

A Sinner, a Savior, and Surrender

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 31, 2021 5:00 am

As we continue our “In Step” series through the Gospel of Luke, Pastor Curtis teaches about a wee little man we all know—Zacchaeus. What changed Zacchaeus? Not biblical principles. Not personal devotion. Not religious duties and deeds. No, what changed Zacchaeus is what changes us—a glimpse of God in the flesh.

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Welcome, Summit family, at all of our locations.

My name is Curtis. I'm one of the pastors here. We're going to continue in our sermon series in the book of Luke. So if you have your Bible, go ahead and pull it out, turn it on over to New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke. We're going to be in chapter 19 is where we're going to dive in in just a second. Before we dive in, I kind of need to do a little business with y'all, if you will.

I'm being dead serious in this. I need to, as one of your pastors, I just need to honestly confess and repent of something here for a minute. This week, I preached on Thursday night. Obviously, we have a Thursday night service, and the message I'm about to give to you, I've been praying one singular focus for this message. And it was that God, as we're going to see in verse 10, would seek and save that which is lost. That God would save people.

That's it. And so I preached this message Thursday night, and I'm not kidding, when I got done, I have never felt like I have preached such a horrendous sermon in my entire life. Like, I'm not kidding, I thought it was just terrible. And so here I am, I've been praying this to God that he would save people that are lost, and I feel like at least from an earthly human standpoint, I did not hold up my end of the bargain. Well, lo and behold, we had nine people make professions of faith and repent of their sin and become believers in Jesus Christ on Thursday night. And so I spent my entire drive home on Thursday just doing that repenting, saying, Lord, help my unbelief. It was God's not-so-subtle reminder that he doesn't need my eloquence or my creative presentation to save, that my preaching just needs to be in demonstration and power of the Spirit and the Word of God. Amen? And so I'm believing the same thing for this morning, in fact.

Check this out, if we can zoom in. I've got, look at these socks I've gotten. They've got little skeleton prayer hands, because I'm believing that God is going to bring somebody to life who's dead today, okay?

I'm wearing them not because I'm superstitious, although I might be a little stitious, all right? Luke chapter 19. Why don't we do this at all of our locations? Why don't we stand? Wherever you are, let's stand in honor of the reading of the Word of God. Luke chapter 19, beginning in verse one.

The author Luke says, Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through, and there was a man named Zacchaeus. Let's go ahead and just get it out of the way. Who knows the song?

Y'all know the song? Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he. Come on. That was horrible. We gotta be a better Baptist church, y'all.

Come on, let's do this. All right, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich, verse three. The man came down and received him joyfully, and when they saw it, they all grumbled, for 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 is also a son of Abraham. Verse 10, this is where we're gonna land today. For the son of man came to seek and to save the lost. God, I pray that you would do just that this morning. On January 31st, 2021, God, would you seek and save that which is lost. If you agree, Summit Church, would you say amen? Amen and amen.

Y'all can be seated. Hey, how many of you, by show of hands, would say, would consider yourself good with directions? Just in general, you know where you're going, anybody consider themselves good with directions? Every male internally is probably like, of course I'm good with directions.

Come on, like, don't kid yourself. How many of you, this is probably a much more show of hands, would say, I am not good with directions. I'm terrible.

I've been living in the same house for 10 years. I still have to use Google to get to the grocery store. I'm not saying Pastor JD is bad with directions. I'm just gonna say Pastor JD is horrible with directions, okay?

That's all you need to know. Kids, kids, if you're a kid in here, how many of you kids, if your parents dropped you off at Chick-fil-A, could find your way home? Could you find your way home? Okay, your parents, as long as you behave today, they're not gonna drop you off at Chick-fil-A, okay?

Wouldn't be the worst place to drop you off, all right? Anyways, my dad, my dad, his name is Willie, Big Willie. They live in North Georgia. My dad is phenomenal with directions. Most of his life, his career, he's grown up driving around.

He's fantastic. Now, he's kind of one of these old school guys, and so I kid you not, this is a true story. My dad still uses a paper map, a paper map. For those of you who don't know what it is, it's basically Google on paper, okay?

That's what it is. And every time he comes up and visits, about every other time, he brings me an updated paper map for me to keep in my car. Every time we have the same conversation, I'm like, Dad, why in the world would you bring me a paper map? And he's like, I mean, what if you're out and you're lost somewhere and there's no cell phone service? I'm like, I don't know, I keep driving or I die.

I feel like those aren't my only two options. But my dad, if you were to meet him here this morning and you said, Willie, awesome, nice to meet you, you live in Georgia, where at? How do I get to your house? He would describe how to get to their house by using landmarks. So the directions would go something like this.

They'd be like, all right, from here I am at the Capitol Hills campus, just go out onto the main road, Capitol, then you're going to go west. Now, the second you see the old mill, where the old mill used to be, you want to get on the highway and go east. Now, you want to take east about as far as the crow flies, and then you're going to take a south, okay? You go south until you get to like the stone that has seven markings on it.

It's kind of yellow now. You're going to get off the highway. You're going to head east into town. Now, once you get to the corner store, like not the newfangled corner store with the nice sign, but the corner store, you know where Bob works?

You're going to get off of the corner store, go left, we're down in the cul-de-sac, you'll see the dog in the yard, all right? And I'm like, with my paper map, do I need a time machine? Like, I don't know where I'm going. Quit using landmarks. You see, landmarks are helpful to know where you are going insofar as ultimately, essentially, you know where you're going.

They help you know that you're headed in the right direction. But the problem comes when you come to a crossroad, because a crossroad forces you to choose a direction, right? And I think one of the main problems with Christianity today is that we actually believe that salvation is something that is compiled with landmarks. So in general, we think when it comes to our spiritual journey or Christian faith, whatever you want to call it, we think that we know where we're headed, that we can kind of go along on our own timetable, at our own leisure, and that we can end up finding Jesus when it's convenient for us.

But here's the problem with that. Jesus is not a landmark along the way in life. Jesus is a crossroads, because when you are confronted with Jesus, you have to make a decision.

What direction will my life take from here? And so I kind of hinted at it already, but if you were a first time guest with us or somebody who would not consider yourself a Christian, I am so glad you are here. I'm so glad you've chosen to spend your morning with us. But I'm just going to go ahead and lay it out there.

This is probably not the best weekend that you could have come. Hear me out. And the reason is, is because everything you have ever believed about Christians, all the reasons you have ever hated us, are about to be confirmed.

Because here it is. I am going to try to convert you today. I'm not pulling any punches. This is not any type of emotional trickery.

It's just at the end of the day, you need to know that I love you enough to tell you the truth. And I know Jesus. I met Jesus. Jesus changed my life. He's given me eternal joy and peace and satisfaction. And all I want is that exact same thing for you.

It's that simple. Nothing more, nothing less. And in fact, I believe the heart of the gospel, the heart of this book that we stake our claim on, is that Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost. And so I'm believing today that some of y'all showed up lost and dead in your sins, separated from a relationship with God. But you were going to leave here a new creation because today is the day of your salvation. The hounds of heaven are on your heels.

Anybody else believe that this morning that God is still in the saving business? I almost titled this message It's Time to Decide because my plan is to simply set Jesus in front of you. And at the end of my message, the choice is going to be yours. We're at a crossroads. Are you going to take Jesus or not? Very simply, here's the title of my message today. A sinner, a savior and surrender.

That's it. So let's learn about this seeking savior who came for sinners. First, we're going to be introduced to the sinner. Let's look back at verse one. We're just going to walk through these 10 verses line by line.

Verse one says, Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and was rich.

Now let's stop. This is important to understand because I know in our context, we love tax collectors, right? Like we love the IRS. And so I know this sounds crazy, but in this time, people hated tax collectors. Tax collectors were swindlers. They were thieves. And what they did, they not only collected money that was owed to the Roman government, but they also extracted over and above that and kept that portion for themselves. So they were crooks. Now, Zacchaeus, the text says, was the chief tax collector. It means he was kind of the head of this Ponzi scheme. So everybody in town knew him and they absolutely hated him.

He's the most despised man in town. OK, verse three. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was. Now, why was this wealthy government official seeking Jesus?

Honestly, we don't know. The only thing we know for sure is that the Holy Spirit made sure that Zacchaeus was in the right place at the right time to encounter Jesus that day. I'm going to hammer this home until you're tired of hearing it. But in much of the same way, you may not know it, but the fact that you're here today is evidence that God is already at work in your heart and your life. And what you're about to see is how God has been actively seeking you and desires a relationship with you. All right, so let's keep reading. Zacchaeus was seeking to see Jesus, but on account of the crowd, he could not. Why? Because he was small in stature.

Let me translate that for you. He was short. OK, he was vertically challenged. We're not going to make fun of him just because he doesn't measure up. We're not going to belittle him.

We're not going to put him down. OK, you've goaded me enough. All right, here we go. Zacchaeus was so short. OK, let's try that again.

Kids, you can do it too. When I say Zacchaeus was so short, you say how short was he? OK, Zacchaeus was so short that every time he sneezes, he hits his head on the ground. OK, just give me a few more.

OK, let me try again. Zacchaeus was so short, every time he jumps off the toilet, he breaks his leg. OK, last one, last one, just for good measure.

Last time, Zacchaeus was so short, that man couldn't get any higher if he smoked pot. All right. Hey, dad joke.

Just give me my dad jokes. All right. Kids, don't do drugs. All right. Verse four.

So he ran on ahead and climbed up into Sycamore tree to see Jesus, for Jesus was about to pass that way. Some of y'all haven't recovered from those awful jokes, right? That was like the cheesiest, whitest 45 seconds I've ever had at the summit church. Just give me. All right. It's fine.

All right. So Zacchaeus runs. He climbs up this tree, which honestly, this might seem a little normal, but keep in mind Zacchaeus is a grown man.

Well, at least like Dana DeVito grown. But nonetheless, there's a grown man. He's running through a crowd. It would have been highly unusual and actually frowned upon in this day for a man to run one. It's just kind of improper to he's wearing a robe. He's got sandals on.

It's just not a good look for him. All right. And so even today, if I'm being honest, I can only think of about three reasons that a man would run athletics, defense or thievery, like you're trying to get in shape. You're running from something or you stole something.

All right. Those are about the only three reasons I could think of a guy why a guy would run. Now, Zacchaeus isn't running for any of these reasons. He's running through town. Just picture this.

A government official, a wealthy government official. He's running through town like a little boy who is excitedly and curiously following a parade. And then in the same way that a child would, he jumps up in this tree and he climbs it. You see, without even knowing it, Zacchaeus is exhibiting this childlike faith, the same childlike faith that Pastor JD taught us about last week. The type of faith that Jesus is looking for. We're not sure why.

We're about to see. But for some reason, Zacchaeus is setting aside his pride, setting aside his dignity, setting aside his ego. Three things that I would argue are often the first and biggest barriers for people to come to faith. He's setting those things aside all to get a glimpse of this man, Jesus. And so that's our sinner. Let's get a glimpse of this man, Jesus, too. Let's look at our savior. Verse five.

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today. Again, this is just how my mind works. But when I read the Bible, I mean, these stories, this really happened. And so I want us to really think about how this played out. It's not super descriptive in the text.

But here's how I think about it. I think Jesus was walking through this town. He's got this giant crowd around him when all of a sudden he stops. He looks up in a tree and here's this grown man who happens to be the most hated man in the entire town. And Jesus calls out his name. It's like a teacher singling out a rude kid in class. And I think what happens is as this crowd is following him and Jesus stops and looks up and says, Zacchaeus, I think the crowd just falls silent.

I think a hush comes over them. They're like, finally, finally, somebody is going to call this guy out. Finally, somebody is not intimidated by this tax collector. Finally, somebody is going to stand up to him and put him in his place. Finally, Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, is going to get what he deserves. They're hoping that Jesus is about to drop the hammer on this guy. The scene takes an incredibly unexpected turn because Jesus shocks them by saying, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down from coming to your house today.

And they're like, Jesus, what are you doing? Do you know who he is? He's a tax collector. He's a cheat. He's a thief. He's jacked up. He's the sinner of all sinners.

He's defiled. In other words, Jesus, come to our house, Jesus. We're the righteous ones. He's the sinner. But the thing is, they're not telling Jesus anything Jesus doesn't already know about Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus or Jesus knows everything there is to know about Zacchaeus.

Everything he's ever done, ever thought he's ever had. He knows the lives he's ruined. He knows the pain and frustration he has caused people. Jesus knows that Zacchaeus is not just chief tax collector in this town, but he is also chief sinner in this town. Yet Jesus still wants to meet him and stay at his house. Praise God that Jesus does not only hang out with people that have it all together.

Amen. It's just as important to notice what Jesus does not say in the story. He doesn't say, Zacchaeus, come on down from that tree, head on home, get your house together, get your life in order, become a better person, and then I'll come to your house. He just says, Zacchaeus, sinner of all sinners, come on down from coming to your house today.

And y'all, that's the beauty of the gospel. Yes, we are Jesus. Yes, he's savior. Yes, he's Lord.

Yes, he's sovereign. He's also a friend of sinners. He's a friend of anyone who would receive him. He's a friend of the rich and the poor. He's a friend of the righteous and the sinners. He's a friend of black and white.

He's a friend of old and young. Jesus does not care whether you showed up today via public transportation or in a Tesla. Jesus does not care whether you are listening to this sermon in your $800,000 house on your 80-inch TV or whether you are watching it in Section 8 housing on a government-issued computer. Jesus does not care whether you've spent your entire life playing the religious game, you've been at every church service known to man, or this is your first time in church.

The reality is Jesus loves you. He came to seek and save you. This is our God, this Jesus, clothed in flesh, divinity and perfection, deciding to hang with the lowest of low, the most despised in town, seeking him out in order to save him.

And so what I hope you hear from this is that even if everybody has written you off, even if it is deserved for you to be written off, Jesus has not. Today, listen to me, Jesus has come to the place. He's come to this place, the Summit Church. This morning he has stopped.

He's looking straight at you. He's calling you by name and he's saying, hurry and come down, for I must be with you today, exactly where you are, exactly as your life is right this moment. Thank God, church, that Jesus does not wait for us to get better. Thank God that Jesus came to make us better. I'm not here standing on a stage to tell you I have it all together because I don't.

I'm here to point you to the one that does. I'm not here because I need your approval or because I don't disappoint myself and others every single day because I do. I'm here to tell you about the one whose approval I already have and who, if you give your life to Jesus, whose approval you will have too.

Your life may be jacked up, your house may be jacked up, your kids may be jacked up. Nothing in your life probably looks like what you're portraying on social media, but you need to know that Jesus still loves you. The reality is that if he waited until our lives were in order, until we had done all the right things, until we've become the people that we were supposed to become, we'd never, ever, ever get close to him.

So if you're here and you're jacked up, you think you don't fit in with the church crowd, or you're filled with all sorts of regrets in your life, just join the club. Know that Jesus is calling your name today. He's at the front door of your heart, knocking, saying, Behold, I stand here and knock. And if you hear my voice and open the door and let me in, I'm coming to live with you forever and to change you and to give you joy and peace and satisfaction that will last for eternity. Jesus, friend of sinners.

Let's see how Zacchaeus responds to this. Verse six. So he hurried down and came, hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, the crowd, they all grumbled. They said he's gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner. Now, Jesus does hear what he's done consistently throughout his entire ministry. All he's doing is violating the established traditions of the Pharisees by hanging out with sinners and outcasts. This is nothing new, but what does the crowd do? What the crowd does is also nothing new. They grumble.

That's what the text says, right? Now, that word grumble is an onomatopoeia. Onomatopoeia is a word that, what, it just sounds like what it actually means. It's the one, you know, Pastor JD's kind of favorite one is splogma.

You know how he always does it? So this is going to be mine. The word is diagon guzo, is grumble.

Say it with me on three. One, two, three, diagon guzo. Okay, diagon guzo. They're all grumbling. Now, all through Luke's gospel, there's a series of stories of religious people acting in a way that actually hinders the gospel from advancing.

So it's these crowds of people who are all diagon guzoing, okay? For starters, there's Jesus' constant struggle with the Pharisees. We see that over and over and over. And then you go like just another story ahead. And then it's even the disciples.

That's what we saw last week, right? The disciples are so hell-bent on having these adult, grown-up church religious conversations that Jesus has to tell them, like, chill, y'all. Don't hinder the kids from coming to me.

Let the children come to me. And then right next to that, there's a story about a blind man. A blind man who finds out that Jesus is in town, and so he starts shouting out for Jesus.

And who is it? It's the crowd that tells him to shut up. Stop yelling for Jesus.

And then here we are. We're introduced in Luke 19 to Zacchaeus, the sinner who's seeking Jesus. And it's the crowd who is frustrated that Jesus is showing grace.

So the obvious question, as we're reading and as the author of Luke bunches all these stories together, is why would Luke group all these stories together? And I just have to wonder if he's wanting us to be thinking about whether the way we do things is actually making it harder for people to come to Jesus. See, one of the biggest problems people have with Christianity today isn't any different than the crowd back then. One of the biggest problems people have with Christianity today remains to be the moralistic, self-righteous, hypocritical, religious crowd. Yet, when I read my Bible, what I see is a savior who's trying to get to babies, to beggars, to blind people, and to bad people. While it's the religious people, even if unknowingly and not meaning to, who are often keeping that from happening. And here's the really scary part. At a pastor, at an awesome church, at a church this large and this incredible, I believe, this is what's scary, that the longer you are in church, the easier it is to become part of this type of crowd. And you're like, no, no, no, not me. I wouldn't keep people from coming to see Jesus. Just hear me out, all right? What happens is, this is my fear, that we become so consumer-based, that we show up ready to be entertained at church. Not ready to worship God, unabandoned, but ready to say, I want to sing the songs I like, and I want you to preach on what I want to preach, and I'm coming to get something out of it today.

To the point that some of you, I know it's going to happen, you're going to leave today, you're going to get in the car and you're just going to be like, I didn't feel fed today. It wasn't even Pastor JD. I don't even like that guy. He talks too fast, he thinks he's cool.

His stupid hair, ugh. First off, rude, okay? But this is how you're coming to church. Maybe in a positive sense. Even some of you right now, you're listening to this, you're like, man, this is good. I need somebody to hear this. And so you're on your phone, and you're tweeting this out, and you're texting, and you're thinking about how so-and-so needs to hear this message, when in reality, the Holy Spirit is actually trying to convict you of something right now. And so instead of saying amen, you should be saying, ouch, what is God trying to do in my life? And then this one, again, a church this big, this is my fear. This one might hurt a little bit.

I've been guilty of this. Sometimes we can be so busy trying to get to my seat, that you didn't even bother to stop and greet the lonely person who was sitting by themselves, holding a first-time guest bag, who came to church, because they're at the end of their rope, they're hurting, and they came here just to find an ounce of hope. And so even though our mouths would never say it this way, basically what our actions, as the religious crowd, are saying, is this is our religious club.

We don't really care about you. You can just go to hell. And so to those of you who have been hurt by this type of religious crowd, yet you've pressed through, I just want to say I'm sorry.

I'm so glad that you are here. I hope you know that Jesus sees you. I hope you know that Jesus loves you beyond anything you could have ever experienced before.

And I hope you find that the Summit Church could be a place where you feel welcome and that you can call home. But it starts with welcoming Jesus into your heart. Let's look at verse 8.

That's where we start to land the plane. Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold. Now, there's so much in here. Again, we're just going to keep taking this line by line.

So kind of this first part. Zacchaeus rises, him and Jesus are having a conversation in his house, and he says to Jesus two short words that are packed with so much meaning. He says, Behold, Lord. Now, kids, when I preached a few weeks ago, remember what I told you the word Lord means? It just means Jesus is the master. It means he's in charge now. He gets to make the rules now. And what's awesome, y'all, we got to see this, is that that is enough right there.

Don't miss this. It's foundational because we love trying to climb the trees of our religious moralism to get to Jesus. When this is enough, behold, Lord, Romans 10, 9, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Confession wrapped up in that is repentance. I repent of my sin. I'm confessing you as Lord and believing that Jesus is who he says he is. Wrapped up in those two little words, Behold, Lord, are an admission of guilt and a sign of Zacchaeus' new humility before God. It's his form of confession and belief.

You see, something dramatic has happened here. And again, to me, one of the most fascinating things about this conversation is, quite honestly, we don't know everything that they said, everything that was said, we don't know what was talked about. Now, if you read the rest of the Gospels, we probably have a pretty good guess about what Jesus talked to them about. But in this particular instance, we don't know the particulars.

All we do know is who was there. You see, it was less about what Zacchaeus and Jesus talked about and more about who he talked about it with. It was about being with Jesus and knowing that that was enough to totally wreck this chief tax collector and turn his life upside down.

Well, look at this. He doesn't just stop at confession. He immediately and publicly shows that Jesus has changed his life. He makes his confession public by what he's about to do next.

So look back at the text. He says, behold, Lord. And then this is his public show. He says, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I've defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold. So we've got this man whose entire life has been defined by selfishness now acting in an absolutely unselfish way. Because true salvation always results in a tangible transformation demonstrated by surrender. The entire point of James Chapter two, that faith without works is dead. If the faith you say you have doesn't lead to fruit bearing of the Christian witness, living more like Jesus than the faith that you have is actually dead.

Now, again, don't get this twisted. Zacchaeus was not saved because he promised to do good works. On the contrary, his salvation and his understanding of the grace and love of Jesus is what gave him the desire to do good works.

Having trusted in Jesus as Lord, he then gives evidence of his faith by his act of making. Here's your $10 word restitution to all those he has wronged. And before we jump off the deep end, let me real quick tell you what restitution is not. Restitution is not penance. Some of you probably heard that word penance is this false teaching that you need to pay God and others back in order to be forgiven.

And that's not true. See, penance or restitution has nothing to do with forgiveness in the sight of God. The only reason Zacchaeus practices restitution is of his evidence that he has received forgiveness from God. Restitution is just simply making things right to those that you have sinned against as a response to the work of Jesus in your life. And that's not penance, y'all.

That's justice. And as we know, as we've talked about, justice is the duty of every single Christian. And so again, remember Zacchaeus is Jewish. He would have known what the Levitical law said about restoring something that you've stolen. So what Levitical law said back in Exodus and other places is that anything you have stolen, defrauded somebody of, you need to give that back, pay it back in full plus 20%. Zacchaeus jumps right over that barrier and he goes straight to 400%.

That's how he shows his salvation. Again, we need to put this in modern day. Think about what this would be like. This would be like you're just sitting at your house. You live in this town at the time. You're in Jericho. There's a knock on your door.

You look out the blinds. There's a little man Zacchaeus. You're like, dang it. Your wife's like, who is it?

Like, it's that dude. He's coming to take all of our money again. We don't have anything left to give him. And so you open the door and you're like, man, what do you want? We've already given you everything we have this month.

I have nothing left for you. And there he is. Zacchaeus says, hey, you remember how last month I took all that college savings you had saved up for your kids? He says, how much was that? And you give him a number and he busts out a blank check and he writes a number that's four times that amount and he puts it in your hand. And you're kind of standing there.

You're just you're just dumbfounded. You don't know what's happened. This is the guy that's taken everything you've ever had. And then he's like, oh, yeah, before I forget, and he reaches in his pocket and he pulls out a car key and he puts it in. And he's like, oh, yeah, I remember a couple of months ago when I when I took your Hyundai. He's like, you can you could have my Tesla. It's in your driveway. Some of you are like, Tesla's don't have keys. Get over it.

It's an illustration, OK? If this happens, you'd be like, what? What?

What is how? Like, why are you doing this, Zacchaeus? I have to imagine he'd say, I met this man named Jesus. And he's radically changed my life.

And I want you to hear about him, too. See, Zacchaeus' restitution was proof of a changed heart, not a means to it. It's just another reminder that we don't do good things in order to win God's approval. We do good things because we already have God's approval in Christ. That we are extravagant toward others because of the way God has been extravagant toward us. Not so that he will love us, but because he already does love us in Christ. Not so that he will forgive us, but because he already has forgiven us.

This evidence, one of my favorite quotes from the famous Jim Elliot. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. Zacchaeus meets Jesus and is transformed. He is now no fool for he gives what he cannot keep. The thing he's been striving for his entire life, his money and his power and his authority to gain that which he cannot lose. His savior, salvation, Lord Jesus himself.

Why? Because now Zacchaeus is thinking less about what he is surrendering and more about the kingdom he is pursuing. Look at verse nine. Because of this, Jesus says to him, Today, salvation has come to this house.

Since he also is a son of Abraham. For the son of man, what beautiful words here, came to seek and to save the lost. Brothers and sisters, the gospel. The reality that Jesus came to seek and save the lost will only become good news to you once you've properly understand your state as someone who is lost and without God.

Only once you truly realize that without Jesus, there is no one who does righteous, not even one. That even your best deeds, your best works are as filthy rags in the sight of God. That without Jesus, you are dead in your trespasses and sins. That without Jesus, you are a follower of Satan. You belong to the domain of darkness.

You belong to the prince of the power of the air, and he is at work within you right now. That's the bad news. That without Jesus, you are lost. Lost means that if you died today, you would spend eternity in a place called hell separated from the love of God. No peace, no joy, no satisfaction and eternally longing for Jesus to save you. But the time for saving will have passed. That's the bad news.

That's also why the good news is so dang good. Because Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost. That the broken relationship between you and God can be healed today in an instant. One theologian said Zacchaeus was saved between the distance from the limb to the floor. I love that.

In an instant. For the wages of sin is death. The wages, what you have earned because of your sin is eternal condemnation.

Bad news. But the free gift of God is life eternal in Jesus Christ our Lord. The truth is, church, every single one of us are sinners before God without Jesus.

The truth is you and I are Zacchaeus. Might not be short in physical stature, but certainly spiritually short in our ability and capacity to save ourselves. And so what we do in life is we try to climb trees thinking we are going to find salvation and satisfaction. But the reality is salvation isn't found in climbing a tree. It was found when Jesus died on one.

It was found when nine inch long spikes were drilled through his hands and his feet. It was found when this man Jesus died to save you and me from our transgressions, from our iniquities, from our sins. When this man Jesus endured punishment so that you could be brought peace and have a restored relationship to God the Father.

This is the beauty of it. It's his stripes that bring you healing. It's his grief that brings you joy. It is his grace, his free, rich, unsought, abounding, sovereign, entirely undeserved, infinite, unchanging, eternal, boundless grace, which is ready to save you from your sin, from yourself, from Satan and from hell. I believe with all of my heart that salvation is going to be found in this house today.

Because it's not a doctrine. It's a person. And this person, Jesus, is calling your name.

How do I know? Because in 2008, he called my name when I was sitting in my childhood bedroom. In 2007, he called my wife's name when she was sitting in a car in a parking lot. In 2003, he called Pastor John Moeller's name in a college dorm room and Todd Unzicker's name in a hotel bathroom. In 2014, Garrett, you back there, didn't he call your name up in a deer stand of all places? And in 2021, I believe he's calling your name today.

The only question is whether you're going to open the door to him. And so I told you at the beginning, my plan was simply to set Jesus in front of you and the choice would be yours. So why don't we bow our heads at all of our locations? Let's bow our heads.

Bow our heads, close our eyes. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes. But I want you to I want you to keep your hearts open.

All right. Eyes closed, hearts open. Remaining sensitive to what God wants to do in this moment.

And the question is simple. Will you take Jesus or not? You see this side of heaven, there's only two possible states to be in. You're either in a state of condemnation or you are in a state of salvation.

And I'm about to about to offer you the chance. And listen, indecision is not an option. To not decide to decide not to decide to not open the door for Jesus is thus to leave the door closed to Jesus. The time is now. The day is here. You're at a crossroads.

Salvation or condemnation, heaven, hell, Jesus and his righteousness will remain in sin in your unrighteousness. If you want to make that decision today, here's what I want you to do. I'm going to pray a prayer and I want you to repeat after me silently.

Just like this. If you want to make that decision, don't be ashamed. Don't be shy.

Be bold. Believe Jesus came to seek and save you right now. Pray this quiet. The rest of you, if you've already become a believer. I want you to pray right now silently for those that are praying to receive this. OK, so if you're ready to receive Jesus right now in your heart, pray this prayer. God, I repent of my sin. God, I'm grateful that you came to seek and save the lost. God, without you right now, I recognize I am lost.

Today, I give you my life. My life is yours, Jesus. I believe you have done everything necessary to save me. There's nothing left for me to do, Jesus. I'm willing to go wherever you tell me to go.

And I'm ready to do whatever you tell me to do. Jesus, I repent of my sin. I confess you a savior and I'll follow you as Lord for the rest of my life.

Listen with it, with every eye closed, heart still open. If you just prayed that prayer in the same way that Zacchaeus was bold and made a public declaration, heads bowed, eyes closed. If you just prayed that prayer, I'm going to ask you to do something bold right now. Right now, I just want you to shoot your hand in the air. If you just prayed that prayer, just shoot your hand in the air. Lift it up. Raise your hand.

Straighten out that elbow. Man, it's not because we want to shame you at all. We want to celebrate with you. We want to celebrate with you.

Okay? I'm going to ask you to do something even more bold right this second. Again, not to shame you because we want to celebrate.

There's nothing we want more than what you have just done right this moment. I'm going to ask you to stand. If you just raise your hand, would you stand? Don't be ashamed. I'm the only one looking right now.

I can't see it all over campuses. Would you just stand? Because I just want to pray for you. God, I thank you for the people that are standing at all of our locations. I can't see them all.

I can't see those online. I don't know what's happening right now, God. I do know that you are the God who has come to seek and to save that which is lost. God, we rejoice that there are new brothers and sisters. We can pray and clap. We can pray and clap.

Don't look out. We can pray and clap. So, God, we stand right now at all of our locations. Everybody, let's stand. Let's stand. Let's worship. Let's give honor and praise and glory to Jesus who came to seek and save that which is lost. If you agree, Summit Church, would you say amen if you were excited about our new brothers and sisters in the faith? Can we just give God a hand? Amen and amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-07 01:34:03 / 2023-09-07 01:51:16 / 17

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