Christ Can Change Things!

Luke 19: 9

The Christ of the New Testament lives today as the conqueror of death.
That which He did during His earthly ministry, He continues to seek to do through
His followers today.
Christ came to change things for the better.
Jesus sought to change the heart and mind of individuals by giving to them new insights
concerning the nature and character of God.
Our Lord sought to change the structures of society by bringing about great changes
within every person.

Jesus came to Jericho when Calvary was only one week away.
It is interesting to note that He demonstrated deep concern for a man that was hated
and despised by the people of the city.
Instead of seeking popular applause, our Lord sought out the most hated man in town
and demonstrated concern for him in order that there might be changes in his heart
and life that would bring about many changes within the city of Jericho.
The pattern of our Lord should be our pattern today.

Jesus invited himself to the house of Zacchaeus.
" Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house."

There was something very personal and very pressing about this statement from our Lord.
This would be the only opportunity that Jesus had to provide a personal ministry to Zacchaeus.
This would also be the only opportunity Zacchaeus would ever have to have a personal
meeting with Jesus.
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem.
This was His last visit in Jericho.
Jesus took this opportunity to minister to Zacchaeus, and it was necessary that
Zacchaeus respond immediately and decisively to his opportunity.

Jesus came in love for Zacchaeus.
The source of love must be discovered in the heart of God rather than in the loveliness
of those who are the objects of His affection.
It would be helpful if we would personalize and individualize the truth of John 3: 16.
Because of God's love, Christ came to Zacchaeus, who was hated and despised.
He continues to love others in the same manner.

Jesus came to Zacchaeus because of His love for others.
God loved Zacchaeus' family.
If changes could happen in the heart of this man, a family would be blessed,
and would come to know a life of true happiness and usefulness.
God loved the neighbors of Zacchaeus.
He needed Zacchaeus to be a channel of love and a blessing to those neighbors.
God loved the enemies of Zacchaeus.
He wanted to change Zacchaeus so that these enemies would be transformed into friends.

Jesus continues to seek the Zacchaeus' of our day.
God does not avoid a person because that life is unlovely.
God's redemptive activity is motivated by divine love rather than by something lovely in man.
God wants to use each of His children so that He may bring redemption and the blessing
and privilege of sonship into the hearts and lives of those who are the outcasts of society.

A Seeking Sinner Was Found by the Seeking Saviour. (Luke 19: 3-6)

A sinner does not consciously and deliberately seek God.
Instead of choosing to cooperate with God, man rebels against God in self-trust, self-love,
and self-centeredness.
The Bible describes man as being dead in sin.
He is cut off from God.
He does not seek God consciously or deliberately. (Romans 3: 10-12)

Every sinner away from God is actually seeking what only God can give.
Deep within the heart of every man there is a " God-shaped vacuum"
that only God Himself can fill.
There are some who seek to fill this vacuum with the security that wealth brings
or the popularity that success brings.
Others seek to fill this void by trying to satisfy all of the appetites of their human nature.

Zacchaeus was rich, but he wasn't happy.
He had put riches above patriotism.
He had put riches above his religion.
He had put the desire for riches above popular approval.
Although his stomach was satisfied, his heart was hungry for acceptance by God
and acceptance by his fellowman.

Zacchaeus was loved by Christ even though he was unlovable.
He was unloved in his city.
Perhaps, he was unloved even in his own home, for the only thing that he had to offer was
on the level of the material.
Most likely, he could not see anything within himself that was very lovable.
Zacchaeus had been looking for life in the wrong way and in the wrong place.
It was so fortunate for him that Jesus Christ came his way.

Jesus came to change things.
Jesus did not come to justify the status quo.
He came to produce revolutionary changes that transform and enrich lives.
Jesus wants to change the attitude of those who consider themselves to be very religious.
(Luke 19: 7)
Our Lord exposed Himself to the hostility of the people within the city of Jericho
as well as that of His own disciples when He decided to express friendship toward
the publican, Zacchaeus.

Because of his relationship with the army of occupation, Zacchaeus was an outcast.
He was not welcome in any of the religious and civic activities in his city,
but he was not outside the love and the heart of God

Have we abandoned some segments of our society and considered them to be outside
the circle of God's love.
If so, we need to reexamine the pattern that our Lord followed and identify with His program.

Christ's helped Zacchaeus to make some changes in his way of life.
We can only speculate concerning the things which were discussed during the meal visit
that followed while Jesus was in the home of Zacchaeus.
It is interesting to notice some of the results of that visit.

Christ helped Zacchaeus replace the greed that was in his heart with graciousness and generosity.
(Luke 19: 8a)
Perhaps, our Lord helped Zacchaeus to see that true happiness does not come
as a result of greedily grasping after the material.
Jesus succeeded in helping Zacchaeus to change his whole philosophy of his life.
Perhaps, Jesus repeated the great truth found in Luke 6:38 and Acts 20:35 during that visit.

Christ helped Zacchaeus replaced selfishness with righteousness in his mind and in his conduct.
(Luke 19: 8b)
Only profound changes in the mind and life could bring about such an important change
in the conduct of this man.
It is evident that Zacchaeus decided to put the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first in his life.
(Matthew 6: 33)
Christ gave to Zacchaeus, and Zacchaeus accepted a new plan and purpose for his life.

Christ can change things today.
Christ will not come into your heart merely to occupy it as a silent, uninvolved spectator.

He will change your heart and mind.
He will be more than a Saviour from the penalty of sin.
He wants to be and will be the Lord and Master of your love life.
He will be your Teacher to give you real truth about God for the living of your life.
He also will be your Friend and Counselor.

He will bring about changes within your home life.
Christ will enable you to be a better husband or wife.
Christ will enable you to be a better parent to your children.
Christ will help you as a young person to relate yourself properly to your parents
in a loving and creative and stimulating way.

Christ will seek to bring about changes with in the city country, as individuals let Him
become a guiding, controlling factor in their lives.

Christ will bring about changes within the church. (Revelation 3:20)
Revelation 3:20 was actually addressed to a church.
Christ and wanted to use the church and to use you as an instrument through which
He would bless the community -- this community and the world.

When Christ walked down the street of Jericho and found Zacchaeus on a branch
of the sycamore tree, some great things were getting ready to happen.
Zacchaeus discovered:
He sees me!
He knows me!
He wants me!
He can have me!

If you have never received Jesus as your Saviour, then this is the day to receive Him!
Respond to Him!
Rejoice in Him!

Christ will continue to bring about change in the life and through those
who will receive Jesus into their hearts.
Then, Jesus will come to dwell within them as He came that day to visit in the home of Zacchaeus.

Sermon adapted