Summary: A sermon examining the call from Jesus and our response to His invitation to salvation.
One Step Towards Jesus
Last week I was privileged to visit with a pastor/mentor/ friend of mine. In his sermon he shared a detailed account of his conversion experience. He mentioned that on the day he was saved, during the invitation, he gripped the back of the pew in front of him until his knuckles turned white... struggling with that spiritual battle between the Spirit and Satan. Then came the moment where he finally stepped out from behind that pew. He stated that one step was all he remembered taking. The next thing he knew he was in the altar surrendering his life to Christ.
As I listened to his testimony I noticed several parallels between his story and mine. Do you remember the day you were saved?Perhaps you had a "white knuckle moment" yourself. No doubt each born again child of God will agree that once you took that first step toward Jesus, the rest of them were completely effortless. I have heard countless people describe that walk down the isle as felling as if they were floating. I was saved in the pastor's office and I remember that walking on air feeling after Jesus saved my soul.
Maybe you are here today and you have faced that intense conviction of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has called you to salvation and you have endured that "tug of war" between the Savior and Satan. Maybe you refused to surrender, and up to this point in your life you have rejected Jesus and His offer of eternal life. It is possible that He is dealing with some of you right now... He is calling you to repentance! Can I encourage you to surrender while there is still time. For God says in His Word that " My Spirit shall not always strive with man" (Genesis 6:3)
It is my prayer today that you will come to a place of repentance and surrender. I hope you will comprehend the fact that you can be born again. So many people are basing their eternity on what they do or what they don't do. This works based salvation directly contradicts the scriptures. We are told in Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
According to these verses salvation is as simple as accepting the invitation that Jesus has offered you. Salvation is not about what you can do... it is about what Jesus has already done. In order to be saved you must trust in His finished work at Calvary. And the great blessing is the fact that He went to the cross to make a way for you! Not only did He make a way for you, He is extending you and offer of eternal life today.
Our selected text reveals why Jesus came. Look to verse 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. He is still doing just that today! I would like to look at Zacchaeus' story and consider this simple thought "One Step Toward Jesus" These verses record one of those great stories that we were taught as little children in Sunday School. For many of you every time you hear the name Zacchaeus your immediately start singing the song in your head!
"Zacchaeus was a wee, little man"
"And a wee, little man was he"
"He climbed up in a sycamore tree"
"For the Lord he wanted to see"
"And as the Savior came that way"
"He looked up in the tree"
"And he said," Zacchaeus, you come down from there,"
"For I'm going to your house today"
This story may be popular with the children in Sunday School, but there is a message here for those of all ages. As we examine Zacchaeus' encounter with the Savior, I would like to begin by considering:
I. THE CALL - v1 ¶And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
We are told that Zacchaeus was a chief among the tax collectors. It is also noted that he was rich. And it appears that he was a curious little man. So curious that he was willing to climb into a tree to see who Jesus was. Or maybe he had a motivation other than curiosity! Perhaps this man who was "rich" and had access to all this world could afford was looking for something more. Maybe he had a void in his life that could not be filled.