Summary: One day a guy climbed out on a limb and met Jesus. His life was never the same again.
Out On A Limb
Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being. How differently I think about him now! What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!
- 2 Cor 5:14-17
QUESTION – have you ever met someone who changed your life? I MEAN – before they came into your life you were…this person. YOU – thought, lived, acted and felt this way… BUT AFTER – they came into your life, you were never the same again. NOW – I am sure that most of us have had a few people that have had that kind of impact on our lives (a friend, spouse, teacher, pastor, youth minister…etc). MAN – it is pretty amazing what one person can do to AND for your life?
THIS MORNING – we are going to meet a guy who has encounter not with just anyone but with God in the flesh. NOW - before this guy met Jesus, he was this person (lonely, lost, afraid and really down on himself)… I MEAN – when this guy looked in the mirror what he saw – he didn’t like. BUT – after He met Jesus he was never the same again. YES – today we are going to meet a guy who literally climbed out on limb just to get a glimpse of Jesus… HOWEVER – that day in Jericho Zacchaeus got much more than a glimpse as he hung from the branches of that sycamore tree… AND – he was never the same again. BECAUSE – before he met Jesus – he didn’t feel like he mattered to anyone… BUT AFTER – he met Him, he knew that he mattered to God.
QUESTION – how do you ‘really’ feel about the person who stared back at you in the mirror this morning? Do you feel good about who you are and where you are? I MEAN – are you good with… the person you are and with the person you are becoming? NOW – anyone who knows me knows that I ask these kind of questions all of the time… AND – I am soo okay with that…. BECAUSE – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week we are bombarded with messages (from society, parents, family members, peers, and even other Christians) that attack our self worth… NOW - in the good US of A, we tend to base our self-worth on four things.
WE - base our worth by our appearance. How do I look? If I look good then I feel pretty good about myself.
WE - base our worth on our achievement. What have I accomplished? How successful am I?
WE - base our worth on approval – just what is my approval rating. How well am I liked? How popular am I? Do people want to be hang out with me, is everyone asking me to be in their life group? If a lot of people like us, we feel pretty good about ourselves…
AND 4th WE - base our worth on our affluence. What do I own? How much stuff do I have? Do I have more and better stuff then the next guy?
QUESTION – do you see any problems with these four standards? NONE - of them are stable. Everyone one of them can and does change. FOR - instance, can your appearance change? HEY - have you looked in a mirror lately (I graduated HS 28 years ago class of 1978) and let me tell you either some things have changed in my appearance or gravity has)… I choose to believe that gravity changed.
UNDERSTAND - Your appearance, your achievement, your approval and your affluence – are very shaky foundations to build your self worth on… AGAIN - if you choose to build your self worth on those things (appearance, achievement, approval, affluence) – HOW are you going to feel about yourself when you’re (unemployed, alone, old, ugly and broke)? BETTER YET – how do you feel about yourself right now based on appearance, achievement, approval, affluence…
LISTEN – IF you want to build your self-esteem on something that lasts… THEN - you’ve got to build it on something that can’t change. DO - you know what that something is? It’s how God feels about you. AND – when we begin to ‘really’ see ourselves; through His eyes, through His unfailing & unconditional love… WHEN – we begin to see ourselves through the lens of the blood stained cross -- the way we see ourselves will radically change. 2000 years ago a man went out on a limb and met Jesus and his life was never the same again…