Summary: Salvation comes to us when we are willing to breakdown the barriers that separate us from God.
Luke 19: 1 – 10 / When Salvation Comes
Intro: Randy Newman wrote a song some time ago called “Short People.” The lyrics go something like this: “Short people got no reason to live. They got little hands and little eyes and they walk around tellin’ great big lies. They got little noses and tiny little teeth. They wear platform shoes on their nasty little feet. Well, I don’t want no short people round here. Short people are just the same as you and I. All men are brothers until the day they die. Short people got nobody to love. They got little baby legs and they stand so low you got to pick ‘em up just to say hello. The got little cars that go beep, beep, beep. They got little voices goin’ peep, peep, peep. They got grubby little finger and dirty little minds. They’re gonna get you every time. Don’t want no short people ‘round here.” ---- I can tell you from experience that if it weren’t for us short people, the rest of you wouldn’t feel tall.
I. In VBS or Church School you may have learned the song about Zacchaeus. Just who was this man? Vs. 2 - 3
A. He was a little man (The Greek word for “short” literally means “the body of an undeveloped child.”) with a big, bad reputation. He was rich at the expense of other people, but that did not bother him! – Chief tax collector – he took a cut from every other tax collector in his area.
B. He was influential – people would make deals with him in order to avoid paying too much tax. He could use his power to extort money from people. He was rich, professionally successful and powerful.
C. People hated him and did not trust his family. He probably had to protect himself from his enemies. Socially, he was an outsider.
II. Vs. 4 – He RAN & CLIMBED He wanted a clear, unblocked view of Jesus. Perhaps he was a bit “star-struck” wanting to see this person who all the buzz was about.
A. At the time of Jesus it was “unseemly” for a grown man to run. It was considered behavior beneath a grown adult and something only a slave or lower-class person would do.
B. He climbed a sycamore tree. (A tree with branches from the ground up. An easy thing to do even for a short person.) This was also something a grown man did not do. Zacchaeus threw the barriers of tradition and social etiquette out the window.
C. We want a clear view of Jesus. To have it we must take down barriers: barriers of hatred, addictions, habits, attitudes, judgment, hopelessness and despair.
III. Did Zacchaeus know his life would be changed that day when he ran and climbed into that tree? Did he know that would be the day he would be changed forever. Did he know he would come to know the Lord and give to the poor or return what was taken from others fourfold?
A. If he knew, do you think he would have done it? Would you? Or would you hold back? Do you only give God what you want to give Him? We give him a piece of this problem; but, we hold onto what we like, our habits, our vices, our finances. We hold on to that which keeps us separated from God.
B. It is easier to keep doing what we like to or things that we are used to doing our way. It’s easier to keep worrying or chewing on the same problems over and over rather than go through the difficulties of changing our lives.
C. When people tell me they can’t change, I know they are not being honest with me or themselves. What they are really saying is they won’t change. Change is hard, change is yucky. When we change we leave the familiar behind and feel our of control. John Calvin said “We cannot aspire to God in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves.” (Institutes, Chapter 1, paragraph 1) Handing control of our lives to God is the greatest change we need to make as a person and as a church.
Conclu: “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist; If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer; But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior. (www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/c/Christ.htm)
VV. 8 – 10 – Salvation comes when we change our direction and hand our lives over to God.