Summary: In essence Dr. Luke says, anything we use as an eternal strategy that is outside of the shed blood of Jesus is a tragic mistake and will cause us to be in peril of eternal death.

This sermon was preached by Scotty L Killingsworth to the congregation of Evergreen Church on Sunday morning February,16 2003

Catastrophic Choices series part one Luke 12

Last Sunday we followed Zacchaeus around for 30 days. We watched as he became aware of the consequences of his life, and the deepening conviction that he needed to meet Jesus. We went with him as he collected taxes and interacted with people. We felt his growing despair with his life and thrilled with him as he climbed the tree wanting to see Jesus.

Today we will try to get in his head and see the failed strategy he lived the first part of his life under and see with him how miserably it failed. We will look at the new strategy he found for life when Jesus found him.

Dr. Luke collects for us these stories of Jesus’ ministry. They seem to fit loosely together, but taken together they weave a powerful message together for us to hear and use to make our lives work.

In essence Dr. Luke says, anything we use as an eternal strategy that is outside of the shed blood of Jesus is a tragic mistake and will cause us to be in peril of eternal death.

There are life actions we use as substitutes for genuine faith in Jesus.

What choices keep people from trusting Jesus?

Choosing to hide your sin from God 12:2-3

Zacchaeus rationalized his sin and was able to put it in a part of his heart where stealing from his own people was acceptable. It was a mind game, but for a while it worked.

People who fail to trust Jesus are often self-deluded and doubt the all-knowing nature of God. They tell themselves, “Surely God does not know all my sin.” I have it hidden so deeply no one knows what is really in my heart. Are you willing to bet your eternal soul on this belief?

Jesus in a huge crowd of people turned for an intimate conversation with his inner circle and warned them about hypocrisy. He plainly said you can’t hide anything from God-even hypocrisy!

God knows everything. Part of his nature is omniscience. Read Luke 12:6-7

Our world is full of some very good people. They rationalize in their minds that because they are so good in most ways that God will accept them on their merit. Truthfully, under our goodness is a cesspool. God sees both.

How many sins does it take to send a person into an eternity without Jesus? One!

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad

King David tried to hide his sin, but God whispered it in the ear of his prophet Nathan.

Life Application:

#1. Refuse to believe the lie that you can hide sin

#2. Choose to hide your sin in the fountain drawn from Immanuel’s veins.

#3. The very thing you have been trying to hide all your life will be public knowledge in heaven unless it is forgiven and forgotten.

#4. When you choose to trust Jesus and accept his forgiveness all sin is gone.

It is ridiculous to try to hide sin from an all-knowing God, but we try because we have lost our perspective.

Choosing to fear the wrong one 12:4-5

Zacchaeus’ worst fear, during the first half of his life, was poverty. Later it may have been the Romans as he went to work for them. Notice that his fear reversed itself when he met Jesus. He learned to fear no man, and instead his fear of God changed his life.

Some people obsess about anything that can kill the body. They take every vitamin, care and precaution. Driving without wearing a seat belt to them is a cardinal sin because they place such a high value on physical life. There is something so much more serious that should occupy our thinking and planning. We have a spirit that lives on after our death and we should fear the one who has jurisdiction over it 100 times more. Life is precious and it is to be guarded, but the God who gives or removes eternal life is fearful.

For years in preaching I would have taken several minutes at this point in the sermon to define and describe the fear of God. I would have told you our fear should be just reverential awe etc. At this point in my preaching career I hesitate to mediate the fear of God even by explanation. A being that with a spoken word create an entire universe is a being that I no longer choose to try to mediate or explain. Is God to be feared by modern saints and sinners? Yes. Is He good? Yes, but he is God. Should we fear him? You better!

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