Jan 06, 2019 | Lee Becknell

The Person You Always Wanted To Be

Jay Leno - "Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average…which means, you have met your New Year's resolution."

* My wife still hasn't told me what my New Year's resolutions are.

* To kick start my New Year: I took an IQ test and the results were negative.

* Be at war with your vices and peace with your neighbors will help you be a better person throughout the year.

* I was going to quit all my bad habits but then I remembered that nobody likes a quitter

 

* Lord this morning make the book live.  Show me myself that I may make the changes in my life that will please You. Show me my Savior!

* We meet Zacchaeus towards the end of Jesus’ ministry and life.

Zacchaeus, "pure", "innocent".

* In our passage we are given a few facts about Zacchaeus. He was a resident of the city of Jericho.  He was not a tall man.  Zacchaeus had sold himself out to the Roman government and worked his way up to chief tax collector.

* In other words he was in charge of the entire IRS.  You definitely did not want to have him looking into your financial affairs.

* This morning I would like to share with you the following lessons.

  1. Cultivate a desire to see Jesus.

 Luke 19:1-2, “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd.”

* Jericho means the perfume place.  Even in winter the weather was great.  My friend Bruce is in Sarasota Florida.   He would love Jericho during the winter.

* It was a trade city so there were always people to be taxed.

* This is the last account of a personal encounter before He enters Jerusalem.  Last opportunity for Jesus to meet and greet those who are interested in seeing Him.

* It is the only time in which we read that Jesus volunteered to go into any house. He never offers to go where He is not wanted.

* This interesting little man needed to meet Jesus. If He is knocking on the door of your heart the answer is the same.  Jesus came seeking the lost.

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

* This morning would you say to God, “speak to me as if there is not another person in the room.”

* But most importantly there is a line that we must look at. 

Luke 19:3, “He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because the of the crowd.”

* He was rich and found that riches did not satisfy the deepest needs of his heart. Jesus has told us that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God". Man is a soul and the soul is immaterial and material things can never satisfy the immaterial, we need the Lord Jesus Christ who is the bread of life for true satisfaction.

  1. Be honest with yourself.

Luke 19:8, “But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

* The story reveals that Zacchaeus’s encounter with Jesus changed him. He offered to give half of his possessions to the poor and to pay back four times what he had cheated from others. Zacchaeus no longer treasured his wealth. He realized that Jesus offered something so much better.
* Luke is telling this story and it is a little different from the way we are used to hearing a story.  Did you notice that nothing is mentioned about what took place at Zacchaeus’ home?

* In verse 5, Jesus states that He must stay at his home that day.  We are not told what happened at the house or what conversations took place.  Maybe it is because God works differently with us and He does not want us to be expecting or thinking that it will be the same for everyone.

* Verse 8, states that Zacchaeus stood up.  Beloved remember that they would recline at the table. We are not told about the arrival at the house of Zacchaeus or the meal.  At some point Zacchaeus makes a decision that will change his life. So he stands up and makes his great announcement.

Luke 19:8, “But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

* One meal with Jesus changes the priorities of Zacchaeus’ life.  Notice that he now has a concern for the poor.  He knows in his heart that he can live on half of what he makes and he should give the other half to those who are in need. (Thinking of others)

* Next he realizes he must make right what he has done wrong.  Now this is big.  We are quick to see the faults of others but not our own.  Notice he did not say well it would be too much trouble to go back and make things right I will just live right from now on.

* One lunch with Jesus was all it took to make Zacchaeus into a different man.

* Beloved, don’t let people define who you are!

* Don’t live what others expect of you. 

Illustration: A fresh minted lieutenant wanted to impress the first private to enter his new office, so he pretended to be on the phone with the General so the private would think he was somebody.  “Yes sir, General, you can count on me.” He said as he banged down the receiver.  Then he asked the private what he wanted.  “I’m just her to connect you phone sir.”

Luke 19:7, “All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

* They did not think that Zacchaeus could change!

  1. Don’t just live life, thrive in your life.

Luke 19:9-10, “Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

 * When you flourish, you become more you. You become the person God had in mind when he created you.

* God wants to redeem you not exchange you.  Some people think that if they were to grow spiritually they would have to become someone else.  But God won’t discard your raw material.  He just redirects it.

* FBCR is all about people coming to Jesus.  Oh that God would do what he did for Zacchaeus in the hearts of the people living in the city of Rockville.

* I went out to see Jesus but he came to Jericho to see Zacchaeus.

* Henri Nouwen wrote, “Spiritual greatness has nothing to do with being greater than others.  It has everything to do with being as great as each of us can be.”

Psalm 92:12-15, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lordis upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

 Henri Nouwen the great theologian left Harvard, Yale and Notre Dame to work in a small mental health home called L’Arche.  It was there that he made friends with a resident name Trevor who had many mental and emotional challenges.  One time Trevor was sent to another hospital for evaluation.  Henri called to arrange a visit and when some of the doctors and chaplains heard that the great Henri Nouwen was coming they set up a lovely luncheon laid out in the Golden room—but Trevor was not invited.  Henri asked where Trevor was and they told him that no patient has ever had lunch in the Golden room.  Henri responded; ‘But the whole purpose of my visit was to have lunch with Trevor.  If Trevor is not allowed to attend the lunch, then I will not attend either.” 

A way was found for Trevor to attend the lunch.  Some pretended Trevor was not there and some were upset that the rules had been broken. Trevor oblivious to all this sat next to Henri.  At some point Trevor stood to his feet. “A toast, Trevor said.  “I will now offer a toast” The room became quiet.  What in the world would this guy do? 

Then Trevor, began to sing, “If you are happy and you know it raise you glass.  If your happy and you know it raise your glass…”

At first people where not sure how to respond, but Trevor was beaming and his voice told everyone how glad and proud he was to be there with his friend Henri.  People began to sing—softly at first, but then with more enthusiasm until doctors and priest and PhD’s were almost shouting, “if you are happy and you know it…” No one was worry about the rules anymore. No one tried to separate the PhD’s from ADDS.  For a few moments a room full of people moved toward the best version of themselves because a wounded healer named Henri Nouwen lived among the challenged and because a challenged man named Trevor was living out the best version of himself.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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