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Lostand Found Integrity Luke 19

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LOST & FOUND: INTEGRITY

 LUKE 19:1-10

INTRO: (EX: MAN BOUGHT CASE OF RARE, EXPENSIVE CIGARS & INSURED THEM AGAINST FIRE! AFTER HE SMOKED THEN HE FILED SUIT SAYING HE LOST THE CIGARS IN A SERIES OF SMALL FIRED.  THE INS. CO. REFUSED TO PAY—THE MAN SUED AND WON! THE CO. PAID HIM $15,000 AND THEN ARRESTED HIM FOR 24 COUNTS OF ARSON!)—NO DOUBT THERE HAS BEEN A SERIOUS BREAKDOWN IN INTEGRITY IN OUR COUNTRY—POLITICS, BUSINESS & EVEN THE CHURCH—WE HAVE BEEN AWARE OF MORAL FAILURES OF PRES., GOV, CONGRESS—THEN THE BERNIE MADOFF’S AND BIG CORPORATE CEOS—BUT WE MUST NOT BE TOO QUICK TO POINT FINGERS—MAYBE WE LIED TO CLIENT ABOUT DETAILS OF PRODUCT—PROMISED DELIVERY THAT WE KNEW COULDN’T BE MET—INFLATED EXPENSE REPORT—OVERCHARGED A CUSTOMER OR TOOK SUPPLIES FROM WORK.

I. ZACCHAEUS WAS CONSUMED WITH HIMSELF

LUKE RELATES THE ACCOUNT OF ZACH (CHIEF TAX COLLECTER) ONE OF LEAST LIKELY PEOPLE TO RECEIVE SALVATION—IF MOVIE WERE MADE OF HIS LIFE DANNY DEVITO WOULD GET THE ROLE—BUT ZACH WAS CHIEF TAX COLLECTOR OF JERICHO & HE WAS WEALTHY(MANY WERE NOT)—A JEW GIVEN JOB OF COLLECTING TAXES FOR ROME FROM HIS FELLOW COUNTRYMEN—NATURALLY THESE PEOPLE WERE HATED BY THEIR FELLOW JEWS—BUT ZACH GOAL WAS TO SERVE HIMSELF—HE DIDN’T CARE WHAT OTHERS THOUGHT—HE HAD NO REGARD FOR HONESTY—ONCE HE GAVE ROME WHATEVER WAS AGREED ON HE COULD GET WHATEVER HE COULD FROM THE PEOPLE.  TAX COLLECTORS WERE SO HATED IT WAS OK TO LIE TO THEM (DON’T TRY THAT WITH IRS!)—(HALF OF AMERICANS SAID THEY RATHER BE MUGGED THAN AUDITED BY IRS!  ZACC WAS TRAITOR & THEIF TO HIS OWN PEOPLE—HE NEEDED TO BE FOUND!

II. ZACCHAEUS WAS CURIOUS ABOUT JESUS

ZACC WORKED THE SYSTEM—HE WAS CHIEF COLLECTOR SO HE HAD OTHERS UNDER HIM—RALEIGH WASHINGTON SAID “INTEGRITY IS LIKE OXYGEN—HIGHER YOU GO THE LESS THERE IS”   (EX: STUTTGART GOLF CLUB)—NEWS SPREAD JESUS WAS COMING—TO NEW PART OF JERICHO—HE HAD JUST HEALED 2 BLIND MEN IN OLD PART OF JERICHO—THAT WOULD BRING A CROWD!  WHY ZACC EAGER TO SEE JESUS?  HAD HE HEARD HIS TEACHING OR SEEN A MIRACLE OR JUST THE REPORTS FROM OTHERS?  WAS HE IN CRISIS IN HIS SOUL—WANTING TO CHANGE WAY PEOPLE THOUGHT OF HIM? THE MAIN REASON SUCESSFUL PEOPLE DON’T COME TO JESUS IS PRIDE—IT ALSO KEEPS THEM FROM RECONCILING WITH OTHERS.  ZACC DID SOMETHING VERY UNUSUAL ESPECIALLY FOR WEALTHY GOVT OFFICIAL:

1.     HE RAN—AHEAD OF THE CROWD—IN THAT CULTURE IT WAS SHAMEFUL FOR ADULTS TO RUN IN PUBLIC.

2.     HE CLIMBED A TREE—LIKELY FIG-MULBERRY TREE WITH LOW BRANCHES & LARGE LEAVES THAT WOULD BE EASY TO CLIMB—TREES WERE SOME DISTANCE FROM TOWN—SO HE HOPED CROWD BE DISPERSED BY TIME JESUS GOT TO THE TREE. ZACC DIDN’T WANT TO BE SEEN

III. ZACCHAEUS RECEIVED JESUS INTO HIS HOME

JESUS STOPPED & TALKED TO ZACC—THIS WAS GOD MOMENT. HE KNEW ZACC WAS THERE & HE KNEW HIS NAME (ONLY A PROPHET COULD DO THAT)—THEN JESUS DID SOMETHING VERY UNUSUAL---HE INVITED HIMSELF INTO HIS HOME—NOW THE CROWD IS GASPING—UNTHINKABLE TO GO TO TAX COLLECTORS HOME & EAT WITH THEM—BUT JESUS SAID “I MUST STAY (GOD DIRECTED MOMENT) AT YOUR HOUSE.”  THE VERB “STAY” IMPLIES FIND LODGING OR SPEND NIGHT. NOW THE CROWD WAS TURNING HOSTILE TOWARD JESUS—A TRUE PROPHET WOULD NEVER ENTER DEFILED TAX COLLECTORS  HOME.  THE CROWD HAD SHUT ZACC OUT BUT JESUS WANTED TO COME IN—JESUS LOVES FINDING LOST PEOPLE!  JESUS EXTENDS GRACE TO OPPRESSED (HEALED TWO BLIND MEN0 AND GRACE TO OPPRESSOR (ZACC)—HIS GRACE IS AMZING! AND ZACC WELCOMED HIM GLADLY—EVEN TAX COLLECTORS ARE LOVED BY GOD & NEED TO BE FOUND, WE ARE REMINDED GOD LOVED US FIRST—HE CONTINUES TO PURSUE US WITH THAT ETERNAL LOVE.  SO JESUS FOUND ZACC AT RIGHT TIME WITH RIGHT NEWS.  (EX: AS RICH MULLINS SONG SAYS “WE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT LOVE WAS TILL HE CAME—HE LOVES US ALL THE WAY TO KINGDOM COME”) JESUS LOVES US ALL THE WAY HOME!  IF YOU HAVE FOUND THAT LOVE YOU WANT TO GIVE IT AWAY—MAYBE SOMEONE IN YOUR INFLUENCE WHO IS GOING THROUGH MAJOR CHANGES—JOB, DIVORCE, DEATH, HEALTH ISSUE.  ARE YOU THE ONE TO SHARE THE LOVE OF JESUS WITH THEM? WE NEED TO BE OPEN TO OPPORTUNITIES THE HOLY SPIRIT PRESENTS TO US

IV. ZACCHAEUS TESTIFIED TO HIS CHANGED HEART

IT APPEARS FROM V.8 ZACC HOSTED A BANGUET (BUT WHO WOULD COME?) –AT SOME POINT AT THAT MEETING WITH JESUS HE MADE A PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT OF HIS CHANGED LIFE—THAT CHANGED WOULD BE IMMEDIATE—“LOOK, LORD (RECOGNIZED JESUS AUTHORITY) HERE & NOW” THE GREATEST TESTIMONY TO THE POWER OF GOD IS CHANGED LIFE—NO REPENTANCE IS GNEUINE IF IT DOESN’T BRING CHANGE—ZACC MET ONE PERSON WHO COULD FORGIVE HIM & RESTORE HIM TO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD & OTHERS—JESUS SPECIALIZES IN FINDING & MENDING BROKEN HEARTS. ZACC DECLARES WHAT HE WILL DO:

1.     HE WILL GIVE HALF HIS POSSESSIONS TO POOR—A TAX COLLECTOR?  TRULY A MIRACLE!  ITS HARD FOR MOST AMERICAN CHRISTIANS TO GIVE 10% LET ALONE MORE. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EASIER FOR HIM TO LEAVE TOWN BUT HE STAYED TO SHOW PEOPLE HE WAS CHANGED—2. THEN HE SAYS (AND THE GRK SHOULD READ) “SINCE I HAVE CHEATED (TAKEN) –YES HE HAD CHEATED THE PEOPLE. ROMAN LAW SAID IF YOUR DEFRAUD SOMEONE YOU PAY BACK FOURFOLD. THE LAW OF MOSES SAID THAT AS WELL (EX.22:1-4) BUT ZACC WENT BEYOND THE LAW TO THE LAW OF CHRIST.  THIS WAS VOLUNTARY—AN EXPRESSION OF FAITH—OF LOVE—OF THANKSGIVING—(EX: PIZZA EMPLOYEE CONFESSIONI)-WHAT A CONTRAST ZACC IS TO THE RICH YOUNG RULER WHO WALKED AWAY SAD AFTER JESUS TOLD HIM TO SELL HIS POSSESSIONS & GIVE TO POOR.  DID ZACC CHANGE CAREERS OR GO ON TO DO HIS  JOB WITH CHANGED HEART? 

V. ZACCHAEUS WAS FOUND!

JESUS ANNOUNCED THAT SALVATION HAS COME TO THIS HOUSE TODAY—JESUS BROUGHT IT.   BONHOEFFER SAID “THERE IS NO CHEAP GRACE—ONLY COSTLY GRACE. GRACE IS COSTLY FOR THE ONE WHO OFFERS IT & THE ONE WHO RECEIVES IT”  THE HOSTILITY OF CROWD SHIFTED FROM ZACC TO JESUS AS IT WOULD IN JERUSALEM WHEN THE CROWD WOULD SAY RELEASE BARRABAS & CRUCIFY JESUS. SALVATAION IS A RADICAL TRANSFORMATION & REFORMATION OF OUR LIVES—IT MUST BE LIVED OUT DAY BY DAY.  JESUS MADE SURE THE PEOPLE KNEW ZACC WAS FULLY ACCEPTED INTO GODS FAMILY—“YOU AREA SON OF ABRAM”—ZACC WAS ACCEPTED IN THE EYES OF GOD REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE COMOMUNITY SAID.

CONCLUSION: JESUS WILL SEARCH FOR AND BRING HOME THE LOST ---JESUS HAS CALLED THE CHURCH TO DO THE SAME—WHILE WE ARE GOING BE ALERT FOR OPPORTUNITIES THE SPIRIT GIVES US TO MAKE TRUE DISCIPLES—TEACHING THEM & BAPTIZING THEM IN HIS NAME

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