Summary: This is a vision message for Phoenix Church - and ultimately for us all ...to love as Jesus loved Zacchaeus
What is Phoenix all about? Phoenix Church is a church that exists to help people far away from God, come explore what it means to follow Christ. The mission of Phoenix Church is to serve as a conduit for irreligious people to meet Jesus and learn to follow him. We want to be middle ground. We want to be a safe place for people far off from God to come closer...
In Luke 19:10 Jesus says he came to seek and save those who are lost... So how did Jesus do that? I want us to look at the story before that passage, it’s a story about a guy names Zacchaeus, because I think it speaks to who Phoenix Church is - who we need to be.
READ LUKE 19:1-10
Jesus reached out to Zach (Zacchaeus was a tax collector - he collected the Roman tax among the Jews. The Roman’s had taken over, but they hired some of the jewish people to collect the their taxes, only they didn’t get paid normal wages, so they just taxed extra...) Zach was not a popular guy - and then he was also short...
Jesus went to Zach’s house for dinner (When important people come into a new city, it’s an honor for them to stay with an important person - Jesus told Zach - you are that person...)
Jesus ignored the bad looks he got from other religious people (Everyone said, Huh?? You are going to his house, don’t you know who he is - he’s like the worst sinner around.)
Jesus let God work in the life of Zach (I think it’s cool that in this story we don’t hear the sermon - but we see God at work... Jesus doesn’t preach or judge, but Zach is clearly being touched by God)
Jesus praised him and welcomed him into the Kingdom family (Jesus comes out an says, guess what this guy got saved - let’s all celebrate him as ours...that took guts!)
Jesus said “this is exactly what I came to do” - Jesus said this was his mission to seek and save the lost...
Now, think about it for a moment - don’t you know some lost people. People who are far off from God. They don’t like the term lost - but that’s Jesus’ word. They are outside of the family. They have wandered away... Jesus says, I came to bring them back to the fold. If it’s going to be our mission then we as individuals and as a church how to figure out how to be like him.
How do we create a church that reaches out to people like Zach? - well we try at Phoenix to make a place where a Zach would feel welcome. Our irreverent videos and silliness - and loud music are all about reaching out - trying to say we see you, and we want to minister to you... You are safe - we aren’t going to judge you or beat you with a Bible - come have fun.
We need to learn to associate with people who are different than us - Jesus ate with him. Jesus gave him status. Jesus was willing to identify with a “sinner.” We are going to have to find ways to do that same thing - most churches are more like closed clubs...but Jesus wasn’t
As a matter of fact, the religious status quo thought Jesus was nuts. They wanted him out of the way because they were upsetting their status quo “You can’t do that” was their motto, if we want to reach Zach, we’ll know we are getting close when other churches start saying, “you can’t do that”