Summary: This sermon deals with how a person can come to know Christ even in the midst of their lifestyle.
“When A Crook Met Christ”
credit given to another source of sermoncentral for the introduction of this sermon
For those of us who own and operate an automobile, we understand that our manuals as well as the car manufactures have instructed us that we should change our oil after so many thousand miles. Some cars recommend every 3,000, some every 4,000 miles, some every 5,000, and if you have what they call synthetic oil, it is suggested you could go farther than that. When we began to look at these different recommendation by our manuals, they may not all agree as to when you ought to have your oil changed, but the one thing that is common with all of them is the recognition and the acknowledgment that at some point a change is going to be needed. How long do you think you should try to live before checking in with Jesus to ask, “Lord, is it time for a change in my life?” When was the last time you went for a heart change?
By heart change, I’m not talking about that little thing you feel beating inside your chest. The heart is actually the part of your mind that decides what you are going to do about your behavior. When we invite Jesus into our heart, we’re not talking about opening up our chest and putting God on the inside of our heart. We are talking about not making decisions to do things, without first asking, is that what Christ really would want me to do. When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we are giving Him permission to change our hearts, to change our way of thinking and our way of acting and reacting.
We all know that an alcoholic or crack addict will not change until he or she has hit the bottom and genuinely wants a change. They have to admit they’re an alcoholic or an addict. Some times we are addicts and don’t know it. Just like the alcoholic uses alcohol as means of dealing with life, we can use jealousy, bitterness, envy, materialism, greed, unforgiveness, anger, lying and a host of hidden sins to deal with life.
When we think about a changed heart, we have to think in terms of the whole heart. What would you do if you went to get an oil change in your car and the guy changed the oil and the filter but was short on new oil? So he tells you, “I put in three quarts of new oil but I ran out, so I just tapped it off with some of your old, dirty oil to fill it up completely but you don’t have to pay me for that.” Are you going to say thanks, I really appreciate it?
Sometimes we are praying to be drawn closer to God, and yet at the same time we insist on leaving in some of that old, dirty oil in our hearts. What dirty oil did you bring in to church this morning? Are you going to be brave enough to let it go and admit to God you need another change today? Or will you settle for less than what God has in mind for you? Will you walk out of here today protecting your dirty oil? I want you to know, that God does not have a problem dealing with people who carry around dirty oil in their lives. As a matter of fact the church is here to help those with dirty oil.
I want to introduce you to a man this morning that felt the need to have a change of heart. He’s a man that we have often talked about in church. Matter of fact when we were children, we used to sing that song that said:
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.
I want to introduce you to this man who saw the need for a change in his life. And upon looking at the story of Zacchaeus there is something that we can learn from this man, the story of Zacchaeus tells us about a big change in a little man. So when we look at the passage, we want to see what really happened when a crook met Christ. And all of us know the definition of a crook right? A crook is somebody who is crooked. As we look at the text this morning and we study the life of this crooked man, I want us to note several key factors about the text. First of all we want to look at Zacchaeus the sinner, secondly we’ll look at Zacchaeus the seeker, thirdly, Zacchaeus the sought, and finally we will look at Zacchaeus the saved.