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HOW ZACCHAUES WAS SAVED
Intro: We can all remember the little song we sang in VBS about Zacchaeus. Do you remember that song?
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.
And as the Savior passed that way,
He looked up in that tree,
And He said “Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I’m going to your house today!”
That little song contains a whole lot of Bible truth, about as much as any song I ever learned in my life. But, it doesn’t tell the whole story! Oh, Zacchaeus met Jesus and Jesus called him down out of that tree, but that isn’t the whole tale! Oh no! Far more happened that day!
You see, when Zacchaeus climbed up into that tree, he was a lost sinner, but by the time he got back to the ground he was a child of God. I am interested in how that happened in his life. You know why? Because it has happened in my life, it has happened in the lives of other people in this room and it can happen in your life as well. Let’s take a few minutes to look at this passage and consider together this thought: How Zacchaeus Got Saved!
I. V. 1-4 HE EXPERIENCED A DIVINE CONFRONTATION
A. V. 2 His Description - He was chief of the publicans and he was rich. He was no doubt despised and hated by all the people in Jericho and the surrounding area. After all, he was an employee of the Roman government. The publicans were tax collectors and were notorious for overcharging the people. If Rome, for example, levied a 5% tax, the tax collectors could charge 10% or 15% or whatever they wished. As a result the publicans were guilty of gross extortion of the people. They were viewed as the worst of sinners!
B. V. 3 His Desire - The Bible is clear when it says that Zacchaeus was a rich man. He had grown that way on the backs of his fellow Jews. Still it would seem that his money wasn’t able to quiet the turmoil in his soul. His position would have given him much power over peoples and properties. It may be that Zacchaeus had a “Napoleon Complex”. He was short and perhaps he tried to compensate for this by throwing his power around. Yet, his power and position couldn’t satisfy him. It seems that something in his life is missing! Then he hears that Jesus is passing that way and he wanted to see him.
C. V. 4 His Decision - Because he is a small man, he is unable to see the road for the crowds that have gathered to see Jesus as He passed by. Not to be deterred, Zacchaeus finds a tree and climbs up into it to see Who this Jesus is. What was it that made this small man humble himself like a little child to climb a tree so that he might see above the crowds? What was it that got him so interested in this man named Jesus?
Well, I think he had heard some stories. Perhaps he had heard how an old blind man named Bartimaeus had been healed earlier that very day, Luke 18:35-43. Zacchaeus probably knew Bartimaeus! Maybe he had heard the stories about how Jesus had healed sick folks, cast out demons and even raised the dead. Maybe he had heard about the miracles and the claims of Jesus. Maybe, in spite of his power, his position and his prosperity, Zacchaeus was a miserable, lonely man who knew something was missing from his life. He had everything but the one thing that mattered and when he heard about what Jesus had done for others, it may have stirred his heart. Maybe he began to think about what Jesus could do for him. I think that’s why he climbed that tree that day. He wanted help and he wanted peace and nothing he had tried had given him either. When he heard that Jesus was passing through Jericho, he may have thought, “Surely this Man Who has done so much for others can do something for me. I’ve got to see Him for myself!” By the way, it was no accident that Zacchaeus heard about Jesus! God was working ahead through His Spirit in the heart of this little lost man.
(Note: What a picture Zacchaeus is many those who do not know the Lord Jesus! From every outward appearance they give the impression that they have it all together and that all is well in their lives. But, if you could rip off the veneer and look into their hearts, you would find that most folks are empty. They are longing for something they do not have. They are hunger and they cannot be satisfied by their sins, by their possessions or by their lifestyles. They need something and they do not know what! (Ill. Some lost people will try anything and everything to scratch their spiritual itch!)
Then, one day they see a changed life, they hear a sermon, they hear a Gospel song, or some event takes place in their lives and they are introduced to Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God begins to point them in His direction! I know that is how it worked for me! He began to show me that all the things I was seeking weren’t the things that could satisfy. But, it was the Bartimaeus’s around me that began to get my attention. It was the lepers he had healed. It was the lives He had changed. It impressed into my heart by the Spirit of God that what Jesus had done in the lives of others, He could do in my life too!
That is the essence of conviction! The Spirit of God confronts the lost sinner with the claims and demands of the Gospel, John 16:7-11. By the way, this is an essential component in the process called salvation.)
II. V. 5 HE EXPERIENCED A DIVINE CALL
(Ill. As Jesus passed the place where Zacchaeus was up in that tree, Jesus stopped and began to speak to Zacchaeus. He issued a call to this little man. This call would result in an eternal change of life for the tax collector. Let’s listen in. )
A. It Was A Personal Call - When Jesus spoke, he called Zacchaeus by his name, which means “Pure” by the way! I doubt many people called Zacchaeus by his name. Most probably had some nasty little names for him. I doubt many called him “Pure”. But Jesus saw him, not as he was, but as he could become through the power of God!
I am sure Zacchaeus thought he would get up in that tree, watch Jesus go by, then climb down and go home. He never expected the Lord to stop and talk to him. When Jesus did stop and when He did speak to this man, Jesus called him by his name. The very One Who had been offended the most, was the One Who spoke to Him in love and compassion! Don’t you think old Zacchaeus almost fell out of that tree when he heard Jesus call him by his name? All this does is show us that the Lord began looking for Zacchaeus before Zacchaeus ever started looking for the Lord! (Note: When the Lord calls a lost person to come to Him, He does not issue blanket calls. When He calls it is personal! When He began to call me, I found out that He knew my name. I also found out that He knew everything that I had ever done in my life. I also found out that this God, Whom I had so greatly offended, loved me with a love eternal and unspeakable, Jer. 31:3; Rom. 5:8. When He called me, it was a very personal call. If you are saved, you can testify to that fact as well! Notice the personal nature of God’s salvation call - John 7:37; Rev. 22:17; John 6:37.)
B. It Was A Plain Call - “Make haste and come down” - The Lord told Zacchaeus exactly what he was supposed to do! There would be no debating, there would be no need for second guessing. Jesus was clear and He was plain. (Note: When the Lord calls a lost sinner to Himself for salvation, He will leave no doubt about what he expects them to do! You see, people may not know how to pray when they get before the Lord, but they know what they need! They know they are pressed under a heavy weight of sin. They know they have offended a holy God. They know Jesus is their only hope and they know He is the key to getting that sin taken care of. They know that He has a plan and that following His plan in t heir only hope! He does have a plan! It is a simple plan. In fact, it is as easy as ABC.
B - Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ - Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9-10.
C - Consider yourself saved - John 6:37-40; Rom. 10:13.
That is His plan and it never fails!)
C. It Was A Promising Call - The words of Jesus promised much more than a casual meeting under a tree. Jesus said “I must abide at your house”. “Zacchaeus, none of your neighbors will come home with you. No one in this town will have anything to do with you, but I want you to know that I, the Lord of Glory am coming to your house!” What a promise! (Note: I found when I got saved that my association with Jesus wasn’t going to be confined to that altar or even to the church house. When I got saved, He went home with me, and He has never left! I also found out that He wasn’t going to leave anything at my house like He found it. He was going to change everything to suit Him. Many of you can testify to that truth today! You see, a life cannot stay the same when Jesus moves in, 2 Cor 5:17. Neither can a marriage! Neither can a home. Neither can any relationship in life. When He comes in, He changes everything to suit Him! He makes everything different and He makes everything better! Zacchaeus is about to find that out too!)
III. V. 6-10 HE EXPERIENCED A DIVINE CONVERSION
(Ill. Before he can set his feet back on the ground, Zacchaeus is a new man. Notice what happened in his life.)
A. V. 6 He Heeded The Call - Zacchaeus did exactly what the Lord has told him to do. He made haste and he came down. But, the Scripture also says that he “received Him”. The word “received” is a big word! In the original it means “to receive as guest; to receive beneath the surface; to take in”. The idea hear is that Zacchaeus received Jesus as guest, but at the same time, he was receiving Jesus into his heart as well. He had heard the claims, he had heard the call, now he makes the commitment! (Note: What is what salvation is all about! The lost person hears the claims of the Gospel, they feel the call of the Spirit and they receive Jesus by faith. Many go through steps one and two, but they never make it to step three. To be saved, you must come to that place where you come down from where ever you are in life and commit to Jesus. The Bible is crystal clear, faith is the only component that will bring you into a saving relationship with God, John 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9; John 8:24.)
B. V. 8 He Demonstrated A Change - It doesn’t take long for the new Zacchaeus to appear! He stands and makes a bold promise to give away half of his fortune and to restore fourfold anyone he has taken anything from under false pretenses. I wonder if his ears were shocked to hear what his mouth was saying? All he is doing here is publically renouncing the old life of sin, lying, cheating and extortion and he is embracing the new life of faith and holy living. Zacchaeus is merely displaying the kind of change Jesus makes in all those He saves by His grace! (Note: When you meet Jesus, you will never be the same! Ill. Eze. 36:36; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10!)
C. V. 9-10 He Received A Confirmation - He knew he was different, but it was confirmed by the words of the Savior. Jesus told Zacchaeus and anyone who was listening that this man was a saved man, that he was a new man in the Lord. (Note: Salvation always brings with the assurance that it is real. There is an inner witness, Rom. 8:16; 1 John 3:19-22; 1 John 5:10, and there is an outer witness, James 2:18; 2 Cor. 1:12. Do you have the inner witness of the Spirit to support your profession of faith? Do you have the outward witness of a changed life to support your profession of faith? If both are there, then rejoice, for it demonstrates the truth of what you claim to be. It is as if Jesus Himself were saying about you what He said about Zacchaeus!)
Conc: Jesus closes His remarks with a clear mission statement. He says “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” It is as if Jesus was saying to anyone in that room that day, and to anyone who would ever read or hear these words, “What has happened to Zacchaeus can happen to you!”
This is still true today! If your life lacks meaning, if there is no hope, if everything you have tried has left you defeated, discouraged, disillusioned and looking for more, then Jesus is your answer. You don’t have to climb a tree to meet Him, all you have to do is to respond to His call and come to Him right now. If you will do that and if you will receive Him, He will save your soul! Are you saved? Would you like to be? Do what He is telling you today! Even if you are saved but out of God’s will, you come. If you just want to bow at His feet and say “Thank you for stopping where I was that day and saving me.”, you come.