Summary: Jesus changes our lives we do not rub the lamp and ask him to grant our wishes
Jesus in a bottle, Luke 19:1-10
Eric A. Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ
June 9, 2002
A man is walking down the beach and comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie.
The genie says "Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes."
The man says "Great. I always dreamed of this and I know exactly what I want. First, I want 1 Billion dollars in a Swiss bank account." Phoof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand.
He continues, "Next, I want a brand new red Ferrari right here." Phoof! There is a flash of light and a bright red brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him.
He continues, "Finally, I want to be irrestible to women." Phoof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates.
Let’s be honest this morning. Not getting exactly what you thought you were going to get can be very frustrating. I remember one year when I was about 10 years old for Christmas I told my parents that I wanted a remote control airplane.
Now when I say that I think most of you get an Idea of what I wanted. I wanted an airplane that was not attached to any strings that would fly wherever I asked it to go by using the buttons and knobs on the remote control. What I got that Christmas was a plane that flew in a circle around me because it was attached to a kite control by a 25 foot string. It was not at all what I had asked for.
Sometimes we have expectations of Jesus. And when the results are in we find that sometimes we don’t think we received what we asked for. I hear stories all the time about people praying for something and the problem gets solved but the person praying is left disappointed because they feel like they didn’t get exactly what they wanted.
The purpose of the church is clear. It is the purpose that Jesus left us with right before he ascended into heaven. That we make followers of everyone. I can say with confidence that here at Farwell our goal is to bring people to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
That being said though, it is also important for the church to refocus on the main mission of the church. The church was established so that people could become closer followers. It’s not always easy to redirect. our main text is going to be Luke 19:1-10 this morning but before we get there I think we need to look at a little history.
On the day of Pentecost the New Testament church was born. The Bible tells us that about 3000 people were baptized on that day and in the following days the church exploded in size. Now there were things happening in the church at that time. First they were being persecuted. Second they were growing like wildfire. But God knew that they needed to get the message beyond Jerusalem. So the bible says that He scattered the church. This mainly happened by Roman persecution.
One hundred and fifty years ago the pipe organ was the main instrument of the church. Then someone brought in a piano. This spurred a heated debate because the piano’s were only found in saloons and taverns at the time. In Fact some of our favorite old songs would make people storm out of church because they were tavern hymns with the words changed to have Christian meaning.
Now you can look back at our history as the church of Christ and non instrumental churches and see that as a direct split from introducing the piano. How sad that churches had to split because they could not agree on the purpose of the church.
It’s no secret here that we exist to bring people closer in their relationship with God.
But those incidence in history were not the first time anyone ever questioned the purposes of Christ. We find one occasion in the book of Luke chapter 19:1-10
19:1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a ’sinner.’" 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." 9 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."