Summary: This sermon examines Jesus influence upon Zacchaeus and how we can make a difference on others for God.
(This sermon was introduced by playing a video clip from the movie “Mama Heidi.” This movie touches on one of the deepest desires that lies within the heart of man. This desire is in the heart of believers as well as non-believers. Every person was created with a desire to make a difference. The movie is about a missionary couple named the Baker’s. They served as missionaries in Indonesia, China and Mozambique. In Mozambique they adopted a dilapidated orphanage and made a difference by caring for, educating and feeding over a thousand children. Karen Baker made a statement that should be helpful to us as we seek to make a difference. "I really believe, that if we receive this pure heart of Jesus...we will start to see "the one" in front of us...they will be the one you can touch, they will be the one God put in front of you.”) The implication of her words is that we can make a difference in our world by making a difference in the lives of “one.”
How can we make a difference? I believe the key is to model our lives after the one who made the greatest difference in history, Jesus Christ. Jesus impact is undeniable. If we want to make a difference we should seek to model our lives after Him. I want to use a familiar passage from Luke 19 to highlight Jesus approach to ministry. In this passage we will see how Jesus made a difference in people’s lives but also in His world.
1. The first observation is that Jesus was involved with people. If you look back into chapter 18 verse 15 you will find Jesus disciples bringing children to Him. In that same chapter in verse 35 you will find Jesus involved in the life of a beggar. In chapter 19 Jesus is involved with Zacchaeus.
• God wants you to make a difference in the lives of your neighbors.
• God wants you to make a difference in the lives of your family.
• God wants you to make a difference in the lives of your work associates.
Illustration: A recent e-mail asked readers to reflect on the following questions: 1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world; 2. Name the last five heisman trophy winners; 3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest; 4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize; 5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress; 6. Name the last 10 World Series winners?
As you reflect on these six questions you quickly realize that very few people would know the answer to even one of them. The e-mail follows with another set of questions: 1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school; 2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time; 3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile; 4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special; 5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with; 6. Name six heroes whose stories have inspired you?
The point of the e-mail is this: “The people who have made a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards. They are the ones that care.” They are the ones who have been involved in your life.
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Jim Kane)
A. If Jesus made a difference by being involved in people’s lives I have an important question. How did he do it? To that question we find a simple answer. He got out among the people. In our text we find Jesus entering the city of Jericho. They were having an unplanned parade. Jesus was the master of ceremonies. It was at that parade that Jesus met Zacchaeus.
It has been noted that the longer we stay in church the fewer non churched friendships we develop. That is a natural process, unless we fight against it. If we are going to make a difference in our world we must intentionally make friends with people who do not attend our church. This will require that we get out of our comfort zone. When I came down last November I was asked if I would start a Sunday night service. My answer was that I would rather us be out among people than sitting in church for another service.
How can you be involved and get out among people. Have a block party for your neighborhood! Carry your neighbors a gift basket! Find someone who is moving into a new home and carry them a gift! Have a barbeque and invite all of your neighbors! One of my favorite stories concerns Matthew. Matthew was one of Jesus disciples. When Matthew met Jesus he invited all of his unbelieving friends to a party and invited Jesus to be the guest of honor.