Change Your View

Blessed Are Those Who Seek the Lord

Change Your View

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Welcome! How good it was to have the little children come to Good News Club! 

So great to see many children gathering, laughing, and learning about Jesus! They were so eager to be here and looked forward to coming back! I love to be part of events like this because it’s such a good reminder of what God desires from each of us whether we’re 5 or 95…he wants us to come to him in childlike faith. He wants to come with eagerness and joyful expectation of how He will show up. This is to His joy when He sees His children joyfully seeking Him, hearts open to learning. You know children are so receptive to the Gospel, their hearts are so willing to receive and believe, they don’t have to see God physically to know He is real and He is present with them. They can just feel Him. They trust He is there. 

Oh, that we can keep this childlike faith and joy. We become so serious as adults. Joy doesn’t have to leave because we have greater responsibilities as we grow older. Joy doesn’t have to leave because we carry burdens in this life. Our joy comes from the Lord, not this world, so it is not dependent on what we’re experiencing. And it’s that joy that is eternal that enables us to endure difficult times-it carries us and lifts us. 

Let us remember what it was like to be joyful as a child. Can you picture it? Can you allow yourself to feel that joy again today as you fix your eyes on Jesus? 

I pray there are many of you here today who woke up excited, eager and joyful to come and gather as the Body to worship our Lord! I pray there are many with hearts open, seeking and expecting God to show up today and ready to hear His Word in truth. 

Let’s pray and invite Him in.  Gracious Heavenly Father-we welcome You into our hearts today. We welcome You Holy Spirit to move in us and teach us new things according to Your Truth. Open our eyes anew and show us the wonders of Your love. Show us the depths of Your care for us Father. Show us how You are the Good Shepherd Jesus who is ever watching over us. Draw near to us as we draw near to You today Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Have you ever been somewhere there are so many people you can’t see the main event? You can’t see over the people to get a really good view? I mean for me that can be a regular occurrence depending on where I’m at. That’s why I love riser seats! At the school, they used to have these really nice seats that were up on risers so everyone just got higher and higher and all could see. This was great for the music concerts we attended. Then those broke and they replaced them with folding chairs-many rows all on the same level. That was no good for someone like me and I’m guessing many others. Because if you didn’t make it to one of the first rows or sit on the outside of the row, your view was surely going to be blocked. 

For any big event, we attend- people might arrive hours early waiting around all day, just so when the event begins they have a good seat. 

Can you think of extremes you have taken-be it pay for some over-priced seats to get a better view, show up hours early, climb to some higher ground, crawl under, through, or over people to get to a better view of something you really wanted to see? Many of us have done that at some point haven’t we? When it’s important, we’re willing to go to great lengths and change our view so we can see better. 

Sometimes we also need to change our view in life so we can see everything more clearly or from a new perspective. Have you been there? Where do you need to step back and look again at your life with fresh eyes, from a different view and see what is really happening? It’s good to do this from time to time. Sometimes, we need to do this in our faith too. Things can get fuzzy, confused, or seem distant depending on what we’re walking through and we need to earnestly seek after Jesus. We need to change our view so we can see Him more clearly again. We might need to take some extreme measures to make Him front and center in our lives. But when we do, Jesus sees and surely rewards those who earnestly seek after Him! 

We’ll be in a new series this month, Blessed Are Those Who Seek the Lord. 

Each week we’ll be looking at people in the Bible who took extreme measures to come near to Jesus and see Him more clearly. We’ll look at how Jesus responded to their genuine desire to know Him and their level of faith believing in Him.

Today we’re going to look at a man named Zacchaeus. 

Here was a man who built his life around worldly possessions and status. He traded his identity with his own people to work for the Roman government, just so he could personally benefit. By worldly standards, he was incredibly rich- able to have pretty much anything money could buy. 

As the stir of Jesus was growing among his people and he saw crowds following after Him, Zacchaeus couldn’t resist being curious as well. There was something drawing him to Jesus and he had to know more about him. He had to experience Jesus for himself. Could Jesus really be the Messiah his people have talked about and prayed for all these years? Could there be something more to this life than money and material things? The urge would not go away so when Zacchaeus heard Jesus was passing through, he had to see for himself. 

                                                                    Luke 19: 1-10 NIV                                                                             

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. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 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.”

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.”

  • Jesus Searches Out 

That urge and curiosity welling up in Zacchaeus was a drawing from the Father who pursues the hearts of His people. God is always drawing us back to Himself, even as we stray. Zacchaeus had become a lost sheep and gave into the temptations and pleasures of the world over living by his faith. God was about to cause Zacchaeus to change his view and see things more clearly again. 

 

We read in verse 1- Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through

We have to know God never just happens to do anything. All things are perfectly planned and timed out. Jesus was not just coincidentally passing through Jericho and happened upon Zacchaeus-no more than he just happened upon the woman at the well in Samaria. There were divine encounters. God knew Zacchaeus was searching in his heart for truth and something greater than what he had been living. God was drawing him back to Himself and knew he was ready to respond. So He set up a divine appointment to give Zacchaeus exactly what he was longing for, a front-row seat with Jesus, the Messiah. 

 

Ezekiel 34:11 11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.

Matthew 18:12 12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?

Zacchaeus was the one that had wandered off and Jesus as the Good Shepherd was going to gather him back into the flock. Let us not miss what care He shows for His sheep-for you and me. He was heading somewhere else-notice he was passing through Jericho-not staying there. But he made time to meet with Zacchaeus and give him what he needed so he would return to his faith and leave that way of living behind. 

Jesus does this for you and me too. Maybe you have been the one that has wandered off at times. Know this- Jesus is on a mission to gather you back to His flock. There will be a divine appointment set up for you and Him to meet again or maybe for the first time, and you will know Jesus is truly Lord of all and Your Savior who loves you. There is nowhere you can run that He won’t find you. He is searching and keeping careful watch over you. As your heart is receptive, He sees and He responds. 

 

  • Jesus Responds to the Seeker 

Zacchaeus went to some extreme lengths to be able to see Jesus above the massive crowd.  Now you can quickly read over the fact that he climbed a tree, but I want you to think about what climbing a tree really entails. This was not a child. This was a grown man. So men who are thinking back to your youth and how easily you might have scaled certain trees, think about doing that today. Might it be difficult? Might it be painful, scratching you? Might you feel at risk in climbing a tree that you could fall and get hurt? The point is, Zacchaeus a man, did what he felt was necessary so he could see. He wasn’t going to miss Jesus and Jesus saw his earnest effort to find Him. 

In verse 5 we see Jesus’ response to Zacchaeus’ earnest effort to see him.  When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 

Jesus always responds to those who earnestly seek Him. When you cry out to Him, He responds and hears you. When you want to know Him more and seek Him in His Word and in prayer, He shows up and reveals Himself to you. He grants you a greater understanding of His Truth. 

But He is waiting for us to seek after Him. We must make the effort and have the genuine desire to know our Lord. He rewards those who chase after Him and willingly change their view so they can see Him more clearly. 

What do you think that did for Zacchaeus to not only have Jesus acknowledge him above all others in that crowd but to sit down and eat with him in his house? Remember he was an outcast, a traitor to his people. Likely his own family disowned him because tax collectors only increased the oppression for Jewish people and often cheated them by adding on more tax for their personal gain. 

What riches might Zacchaeus have experienced that day, that no worldly riches could ever compare to? 

Listen, God is pursuing your heart even now as we speak, calling you back to Him; calling you to His grace and redemption through Jesus; calling you to riches indescribable until you know Jesus personally. If you have been sitting on the sidelines figuring you’ll get on board later in life, don’t wait.

The time is now to seek Jesus.

Open your heart and see how good He is! If you have been wandering and chasing after worldly pleasures and status like Zacchaeus-know those things- will perish. They will not last and will only leave you chasing after more. They never fully satisfy. Hear me, the Good Shepherd sees you as the one who has strayed, the one who is lost and wandering, and He is lovingly coming after you because He cares for you. See Him as the Good Shepherd over your life and give thanks that He cares for you that much, that He will make special appointments just to meet with you.

Turn towards Him and return your heart to Him, for that is where you find eternal satisfaction and joy. 

Isaiah 55: 6-7 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 

Let this be our response and our cry, as King David cried out. 

Psalm 27:8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek.

 This is our heart cry because this is how we are made to be joined together with the Father. So this proclamation is us listening to the deepest desires of our heart and telling our mind to follow what our heart cries out for a relationship with our Savior, to be in God’s presence.  Too often as we have discussed, we let our mind guide our actions when it should be our heart that is tuned to the Spirit within us telling our mind what we will do.                                                                                           

  • Jesus Saves

When we earnestly seek after the Lord and draw near to Him, He saves us! 

 In verses 9-10 we see why Jesus was passing through Jericho-to find his lost sheep and save him! 

Look how Jesus responded to Zacchaeus’ earnest desire to see and experience Jesus. He saw faith rise up in him. He saw Zacchaeus’ heart believe in Him. 

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.”

We must remember the Jews would have never considered someone like Zacchaeus a son of Abraham for the choices he made. Jesus not only saved him for eternity, but He also made it known this man is restored fully as a child of God, a son of Abraham-because it is those who believe who truly are the sons of Abraham. Then Jesus made it very clear why He was willing to call out and meet with Zacchaeus personally- because His whole purpose was to seek out and save the lost. 

This salvation is not just for our eternity with Him and overcoming death; it is for here and now. He rescues us as we wander and stray in this world; as we enter unfamiliar places and become disoriented; as raging storms beat against us He holds us; as we lose our identity, He helps us remember who we are; when temptations want to overcome us, He shows us a way out. He is our Savior in every regard now and for eternity! Jesus saves! 

 

Romans 10: 12-13 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

At every moment of our lives, our Lord and Savior searches us out, responds to us as we seek Him and saves us! For He is our Good Shepherd who cares for us and willingly laid down his life for us. 

 

John 3: 16-17  16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.   

                                                                                                        

Conclusion:  Zacchaeus went to great lengths to see Jesus. His earnest seeking to encounter Christ offered him far greater riches than all his earthly wealth acquired. May we all earnestly seek after Christ and make knowing Him our greatest treasure. May we change our view when it’s blocked so we always see Him clearly, in Truth and Love

How might you need to change your view so you gain a fresh perspective of Jesus? What might you add in to improve your vision of who Jesus is? Let’s all be willing to take necessary measures that we keep growing in the Lord.

Let’s pray: Lord Jesus we thank You for being our Good Shepherd. We thank You for being willing to leave the 99 and come searching for us (the one) as we have wandered or get lost in our way. You are so good and ever faithful. Thank You that You always see our heart and call us back to You, to living in communion with You, to living under Your grace and blessing. Thank You that Your heart is to seek and save the lost. Thank You for finding me and gathering me back to the flock. Your love is amazing.  Today I surrender my heart fully to You, my Good Shepherd, my Lord and my Savior. Lead me in my life. Guide my path and show me the way to righteousness. Let me not stray from Your Truth, but help me through Your Spirit to walk in it daily. I need You Jesus and want You to live in my heart. Teach me Your ways that I might walk in them and have greater understanding of them. Be my Light and my salvation. In Your name Jesus I trust and pray. Amen. 

 

 

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