LIFE CHANGING POWER OF CHRIST
· Lk. 19:1-10
· Jesus’ whole life was focused on one purpose – bringing God to men and men to God.
· His actions in reaching out and befriending people often caused strong reactions.
· He deliberately broke through social, racial and religious barriers to touch broken people.
· His attitude to people reveals the heart of God to touch and change lives.
2. GOD HAS DESIGNED US FOR RELATIONSHIP
· ‘Zacceus’ – “Pure, transparent, clean” – did not live up to name, destiny.
· “Tax Collector” -acted on behalf of Romans to set and collect tax of Israel.
-often dishonest, unfair extortion, false accusations, control over people.
-Feared and despised as traitors to own people, lonely.
· “Chief” – He was a prominent and influential civic official.
· “Rich” – wealthy because of tax collecting – had all that money could buy.
· Several difficulties associated with riches and wealth.
i) Self sufficiency – tend to trust in riches, lack any sense of need
ii) Distrust of people – uncertain whether friends genuine or not
iii) Deceit of riches – can’t take with you, often fail when need them the most.
· “Sought to see Jesus” – something missing in spite of material success.
· Spiritual emptiness – hunger for spirit life that no things can satisfy.
· Youth today - explosion of interest in occult, seeking spiritual experiences.
· Jn.7:38 If any man thirst - emptiness and longing, not satisfied by outward success. Come to me and drink - invitation to relationship.
3. TIME SUCCESS BEGINS INWARDLY NOT OUTWARDLY
a) Success in material riches without relationship with God is temporary and deceitful.
· Mt. 16:26 What is man profited if gains whole world and loses his own soul.
What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Material wealth cannot purchase a relationship with God or substitute for it.
· Accumulation of material possessions creates false sense of security.
· Lk12:20 God said “Thou fool - this night thy soul is required - whose shall those things be which you have provided. So is he that is rich to self and not to God.
· It is right to invest wisely and to plan for the future.
· The rich man’s mistake was not in investing or planning but in failing to see his need to build relationship with God and invest in spiritual things.
b) No person is beyond the reach of God.
· Priority of God - build the Church - reach the Lost.
· You never looked in eyes of one person God does not care about.
· Love of God is a passionate force that takes initiative to reach people.
· Jesus came to seek and to save.
· Seek =
1. Conscious daily priority to discover people spiritually hungry
2. Alert to opportunities that spontaneously arose
3. Sensitive to prompting of Holy Spirit to reach out and speak to people
4. Maintained this focus through prayer
5. Willing to interrupt schedule and to face criticism and rejection
· People are often unaware of spiritual need - just feel deep dissatisfaction.
· Only Christ is able to save - our part is to bring Christ to them.
· Rom.10:13 whosoever call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. God is rich to all who call on Him. How call on Him who have not believed, how believe unless hear.
· Four requirements:
i) Spiritually open - hungry
ii) Relationship with someone who brings love and life of God to them
iii) Hear the gospel - how a man can be made right with God
iv) Respond in faith and put their trust in God’s Word and Power to save.
4. GOD EXTENDS FRIENDSHIP TO ALL WHO ARE HUNGRY
a) 1 Sam.16:7 God sees not as man sees - outward appearance; God looks on heart.
· God knows the details of our life, who we really are what we really need.
· God sees our potential, our future possibilities, people see our past and present.
· People become familiar, judge, resist you changing by holding you in the past.
b) Jesus extended acceptance and respect to Zaccheus (v5)
· Accept person = accept the sin, lifestyle
= attitude that sees person as valuable to God and allows to be themself.
· Respect person = gave him what everyone else witheld from him - respect
= used his name (Word of Knowledge!!)
= came to home as honoured guest.
c) Grace and kindness of God affects people in different ways change or offended.
· Zaccheus was changed by the kindness of God
· Religious people were offended (v7) and their attitude of pride exposed (v7).
· Religious concept - must work, try harder to please God, be good enough. Judges people and attempts to limit how God will act.
5. KINDNESS OF GOD RELEASES OUR POTENTIAL WHEN RESPOND TO IT
(V6) “Made haste, received joyfully” = strong desire, response.
· Desire of God is to dwell in our house, our life, within our heart and spirit.
· Jn.1:12 To as many as received him he gave power to become children of God.
· Heart of Gospel - believe and receive Christ - who He is and what He has done.
· Everything receive from God comes as believe and respond.
· Rom.2:4 Goodness of God leads people to repentance - changed attitude, heart.
· Responding to Christ releases our potential.
(v8) Changed Life - Power of Spirit of God impacted Zaccheus where focus of life was - money and riches.
a) Give - Generosity to needy people instead of selfishness.
b) Restore - Put right with people where he had wronged them. Willing to go far beyond the requirements of law. (Lev. 6:5).
· True conversion affects the areas of our life closest to heart and releases generosity and desire for relationships to be put right.
· Changed life -
i) Is outward witness of power of Christ
ii) Answers criticism and accusation with action, reality.
Read Lk.19:1-10 - Don’t attempt all questions. Focus on an area most relevant for your group.
1. Public Opinion
· What was the community attitude towards Zaccheus?
· Why did they have this attitude?
· Have you ever experienced being despised or rejected by those around you? How did it affect you? How did you respond?
· What affect does opinion of others around you have on your ability to change and grow?
2. Spiritual Emptiness
· List some of the problems wealth brings and then some of the benefits.
· What are the obvious benefits of investing wisely and planning for your future? What are the dangers of not doing so?
· What was missing in Zaccheus life that caused him to desire to see Jesus? Who do you know who is like this?
· What did Jesus mean when he said ‘Come to me and drink’ (Jn.7:38)
3. Seeking the Lost
a) Discuss each of the 5 suggestions given that are involved in seeking the lost.
· How active are you in each of these ways of seeking the lost.
· How could you become more active? What hinders you?
b) What is the role of the Holy Spirit in saving the lost?
· What did you think the Holy Spirit di in Luke 19:1-10?
· What was Jesus part?
c) What is the Gospel?
· Can you share a simple outline of the gospel?
· What is the major difference between religion and Christianity?
4. Changed Life
· Why is generosity such a strong evidence of a changed life?
How generous are you? Where do you need to change and grow?
· Why is restitution such a strong evidence of a changed life. Has anyone made restitution to you for a wrong done? How did if affect you? Do you need to make restitution to anyone for wrong done? How and when could you go about doing this? What makes it difficult?