Pure Hearted Initiative - Luke 19:1-10 NIV
Intro - Context in Bible is key. Let’s review where we are.
(1) Judge v. Widow - Power in God’s kingdom is about persistent prayer.
(2) Pharisee v. Tax Collector - Righteous is a matter of the heart.
(3) Rich young ruler - Heaven cannot be purchased; Almost impossible for the rich!
“How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:24, 27 NIV
(4) Blind from birth beggar receives impossible gift - His sight back!
(5) Today the case of the powerful, wealthy, tax collector becoming saved!
“Today salvation has come to this house… for the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:9-10 NIV
(6) Combined with the rest - a new era is beginning. Jesus tells them plainly he is about to be killed. They will live as exiles. With new people. And new opportunities for the church.
4 Lessons For Church People!
#1 - Pure ____________
- New people bring new opportunity to God’s kingdom.
“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.” Luke 19:1-4 NIV
This story much more than a song!
(a) Zacchaeus means “pure.”
(b) Chief tax collector - tax farming for Romans.
(c) Wealthy - even more so than rich young ruler.
(d) Like rich young ruler and others, wanted to see Jesus! Wanted to know that there was more to life than making money.
(e) Aware of own weaknesses (short) & able to strategize (find a tree.)
Today’s lesson: purity not a matter of checking off boxes of right things accomplished or right theology memorized, but purity comes from heart:
“God does not see as humans see. Humans look at outward appearances, but the LORD looks into the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b GWT
For millennia the church has to be reminded of this truth. Still today!
#2 - Pure __________
- Jesus extends grace to all people.
“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.” Luke 19:5-6 NIV
Nothing Jesus had done could have been more unfathomable than this. Soft-hearted may be able to forgive accepting & forgiving prostitutes, but traitors to the Hebrews? Extortionist? Collaborator? Thief? Thug? Zacchaeus had mob abilities to take money and hurt people and he did! Yet Jesus was going to have dinner with this guy? Our children’s song takes away the revulsion, abomination, horror of this moment. Jesus knew exactly what he was doing and the impact it would have. All need grace!
“Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” Romans 3:23-24 MSG
Grace is not something earned or deserved. None of us are any better than an extortionist, traitor, thief compared to God’s righteousness. We receive God’s grace as a gift. “Sheer generosity.” Yet after a while we begin a pretense of being better than other people.
#3 - Pure ________________
- We respond to different people with ignorance.
“All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’” Luke 19:7 NIV
Given who Zacchaeus really was, muttering was understandable but unacceptable in God’s kingdom. Why?
* We misunderstand God’s ____________ .
Christ did not come to this earth, sacrifice his life, rise again on the 3rd day, begin his church so that bad people would be made good. Jesus came so that dead people would be made alive!
* We misunderstand our ____________ .
We could begin to think that we are good because of our actions, but it’s entire because of what Jesus has done for us. Consequently we forget the nature of good and bad in the world. Because of our freedom of will we have the opportunity of evil. Bad things happen here. God is an expert at turning bad into good, turning crucifixions into resurrections, changing the hearts of tax-collecting, extortionist, thieving traitors into pure-hearted Christians.
* We misunderstand others’ ____________ .
We tend to look at current status quo as the way it will always be. But God can bring in a new person, with raw abilities that His kingdom needs. God changes hearts and uses pure hearted to accomplish new initiatives…
#4 - Pure ____________
- God brings new opportunities with a changed initiative.
“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.’” Luke 19:8 NIV
Zacchaeus didn’t need to have Jesus spell it out for him (like Jesus did for the rich young ruler.) His life was already changed. His heart was as pure as his name! He volunteered to give half of all he had to the poor and offered to pay back 4x any cheating. Add it all up and it might have been even more than what he owned! Zacchaeus was a new creature!
“If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone. Everything is made new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NCV
Tradition tells us that Zacchaeus became Matthias’ right hand. A powerful, influential, wealthy member of Jesus’ new church, ultimately becoming bishop himself in Caesarea.
Conclusion - when it comes to seeing new people in the church, do you see them only in the light of what they have done up until this moment? Last week we talked about imagination and faith. Sometimes we need to imagine what God could do with a life that is changed from the inside!