“And Jesus entered and passed
through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which
was chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press,
because he was of little stature. And he
ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him; for he was to pass
that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked
up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for
to day I must abide at thy house. And he
made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a
man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus
stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the
poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is
salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to
save that which is lost. And as they
heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to
Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately
appear. He said therefore, A certain
nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to
return. And he called his ten servants,
and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a
message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it
came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, he
commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money,
that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first saying, Lord, thy pound
hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto
him, Well, thou good servant: because
thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten
cities. And the second came, saying,
Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept
laid up in a napkin: for I feared thee,
because thou art an austere man: thou
takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth
will I judge thee, thou wicked
servant. Thou knowest that I was an
austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow;
wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I
might have mine own with usury? And he
said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten
pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto
every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he
hath shall be taken away from him. But
those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither,
and slay them before me.”
“‘Father we settle our hearts before you, and we thank you for this opportunity to gather, and Lord, that you made us a family. Lord we are constantly, Lord, hungering and thirsting for a greater experience, Lord, of your presence and of your love, a deeper understanding of your Word, a greater filling of your Spirit, Lord, as this world disintegrates around us, Lord. We are groping, Lord, for those things in your presence that can never be shaken. Lord, we believe you’re coming soon, and Lord we pray in the time that remains, as short as it is, Lord, that we might be light and salt, filled with your Spirit, Lord. Not something, Lord, that we are trying to do in the energy of our flesh, but the love of Christ being shed abroad from our hearts to a lost world. Lord, you have to fill us to overflowing for that to take place. We have no resource, Father, in an of ourselves. But we desire Lord, to be earthen vessels, Lord, filled with your glory, Lord, that that glory may be of you and not of man. Lord we don’t have any desire to touch the glory, Lord, only to see it manifest Lord. We look to you, Lord. As we have opportunity to sing your praises, to study your Word, we open our hearts, we open our lives, we put before you those sins that so easily beset us. Do your surgery Lord on us, Great Physician. We know Lord that you are willing and able, we pray in your holy name, Lord Jesus, amen.’
Luke chapter 19. Our context is from chapter 18, verse 31, “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated and spitted on. And they shall scourge him, put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” (verses 31-33) Of course, the footnote for the disciples was “They understood none of these things.” But that’s our context. Jesus has set his face “like a flint” towards Jerusalem. He is passing through the Jericho’s, plural. Out of Jewish Jericho, into Roman Jericho, headed up to Jerusalem. Jericho was the Palm Springs of the day. Herod’s son, Archaeus lived in a palace there that Herod built. It had a gymnasium, it had a theater, it had saunas, it was lavish. There was a strong Roman community in Roman Jericho. And then the priests and Levites had set themselves up in one of the cities, the 48 cities, as Jericho, because of its proximity to Jerusalem. There was a wealthy community of religious Jewish leaders that lived there [in Jewish Jericho]. And there is the Passover throng that comes down on the far side of the Jordan River, so they don’t have to go through Samaria, and then cross over there, and begin then to head up from about 1200 feet below sea level to 2500 feet above sea level, and they sing the songs of ascent (you might read them, from Psalm 118 to around Psalm 133), as they lift up their eyes, to ascend. ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help, my help cometh from the LORD who made heaven and earth. He shall not suffer my foot to be moved. He that keepeth Israel shall not slumber, behold, he that keepeth Israel shall not slumber nor sleep, the sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night…’ And they go on and on, as the pilgrims were coming up these massive hills, barren hills, the wilderness of Judea to Jerusalem. The normal population of Jerusalem, about 600,000, swelling to between two and three million at these feast times. So the throngs are moving, and Jesus is moving among them. He has healed Bartemeus, this blind man who cried out to him. And now as he is moving he encounters this man named Zacchaeus. I remember some song we used to sing in Sunday school, about climbing up in a tree, teenie-weenie man was he, or something, I forget, something about this man. This is the man. We know of him. “And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.” (verses 1-2) Zechariah means ‘The LORD is righteous,” Zacchaeus means ‘the righteous one, the pure one’ is the idea behind it, telling us Zacchaeus no doubt has Jewish parents, who had hope, as they gave him this name as a young boy. The problem is, that the publicans were despised by the Jews. The Jews resented the fact, first of all, that they were under Roman bondage, would not acknowledge it, and that they had to pay taxes to Rome. What they despised all the more is when a Jew sided himself with the Romans, and then collected the taxes for Rome from the Jews, from his own countrymen. And they considered him a traitor and worse. And that’s what the publican was. The Romans would say to a man like Zacchaeus, who collected taxes at Jericho, there were three main [taxation] stations, Caesarea by the Sea, Capernaum (all because of trade routes), and Jericho (strong balsam trade there). And Zacchaeus is the only man we’re told in the New Testament is “the chief among the publicans”, so he’s a head honcho. And the Romans would sell this district to a Jew who would bid on it. And the Romans then would say, ‘This is the amount of money we feel we should get in taxes from this particular community.’ Anything above that, that the tax collector collected, he kept for himself. So, Levi, Matthew Levi, had been collecting taxes in Capernaum, standing there with a Roman soldier there behind him with a spear and a sword, signifying that all of the authority of Rome was behind this tax collector. One author I read said that Matthew was the man, or Levi [Matthew Levi] was the man who taught Peter to curse. We love to have an excuse, collecting tax on his fishes when he brought the nets in. [Probably wasn’t true, Peter remember was a fisherman. Just watch The Perfect Storm to see what a rough-cut group of men fishermen are. Must have been an interesting crowd Jesus chose as his 12 apostles, a good portion of them were fishermen J] A different tax collector in Caesarea by the Sea, and then here in Jericho this little man, Zacchaeus, who is the chief of publicans, hated by all, despised by the Jews. And what an embarrassment to his parents, who named him Zacchaeus, the righteous one, he ends up to be the head of the publicans, the tax collectors. And it says that he was very rich, and that was on their money.
How Many Rich
Men Do You Know, Wealthy Men, That Would Climb Up A Tree To See Jesus?
“And he sought to see Jesus who he was;”---interesting, ‘who he was’, not just wanting to see Jesus physically with his eyes. He had been hearing, wanted to know who he was---“and could not for the press, because he was little of stature” vertically impaired [laughter], gravitationally challenged. He was short of stature. Now, he’s a picture for all of us, by the way. Because it tells us in Romans chapter 3 that “All have sinned and come” Zacchaeus, “short of the glory of God.” We all come short. Not just of being a pretty good guy, not just of being straight up. What we come short of is the glory of God, all of us. He’s a picture of that. He couldn’t see above the crowd because he was short, couldn’t get on his tiptoes, couldn’t see what was going on. He knows Jesus was coming, he wanted to see who this man was. “And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.” (verses 3-4) Now, I think this says something about Zacchaeus. How many rich men do you know, wealthy men, that would climb up a tree to see Jesus? I mean, there’s something cooking in his heart. You know, he’s got it all, and he knows he ain’t got nothing, he’s empty, and he’s been hearing about this Jesus who is called “the friend of tax gatherers and sinners.” So he wants to see who he is. ‘Who could this prophet, this rabbi, this teacher, this healer be whose the friend of publicans?’ You see, he was named that way, and here’s Zacchaeus in a religious community, and no doubt he heard ‘Oh, Jesus is coming, whose the friend of publicans and all these sinners and prostitutes’ because they would be the people who hang around the publicans, because no other proper Jew would hang around with a publican. But now he’s heard, no doubt, this man is “the friend” of tax gathers and sinners. And I’m sure he finds that hard to believe. Just like many of us do when we hear Jesus loves us. Because we know there’s not anything lovable about us. That’s not why he loves us. It isn’t as though God was looking down from heaven, saw us, and said ‘You know, they’re so cute, I’ve gotta go die for them.’ It isn’t because of anything in us that he came, it’s because of who he is that he came. He is love, it’s his very nature. And what group of people was more desperate for love than we were? Zacchaeus climbs up in a tree. So imagine this little guy, he had to find one with branches low enough, no doubt, to get started, climbs up on some branch, where this parade of pilgrims is going by, and he gets up there ‘So I can see who in the world this guy is when he comes by.’ “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.” (verse 5) Now, you’ve gotta get the scene. Zacchaeus can’t push through the crowd, he’s too short, he’s too weak, so he gets way up in a tree, hears the procession coming, Zacchaeus is stretching his neck, he’s kind of hid up in the sycomore leaves, and hears the crowd coming. And all of a sudden crunch, crunch, the whole thing comes to a halt, and Jesus looks up. And Zacchaeus is on the spot. Not only are the people looking at him, he’s hanging up in a tree branch, and maybe he’s thinking ‘Maybe he won’t know who I am’, and Jesus says ‘Zacchaeus!’ Oh no, how embarrassing. The whole parade stops and Jesus is standing underneath you and calling your name in front of everybody, and the people are going ‘What is he doing up in that tree? What is he doing now, a tree-tax, what’s he up to up there?’ Isn’t it interesting, nobody introduced Jesus to him, he knew who he was. And he knows who we are, knew our names when he called us. He knows your name this evening, if you haven’t realized his call yet. And he calls Zacchaeus, and by the way, he calls him publicly. It’s one of those places. You know, when we ask people to come forward to accept Christ, some people think ‘Well that’s so embarrassing, being called publicly!’ You know, I look at this, and I think the one who should be embarrassed is Jesus! I mean, when he called me, he should have been embarrassed. If I was him, calling me, I would have said ‘Well, let’s not do this publicly. Let’s go aside somewhere, if I call you publicly people are going to come up and say to me, ‘You died for him?’ and I’m going to have to say ‘It’s grace, you know it’s kind of extended to everyone, and if I want to extend it to everyone, I had to include him too’’ You know. And we talk about ‘Oh, I’m embarrassed.’ No, no. Isn’t it remarkable that he’s not embarrassed? He calls Zacchaeus publicly, and he says ‘Come down, quickly, I MUST go to your house for dinner today.’ Now, this is the only place in the New Testament, where Jesus invites himself over for dinner. Now he had to do that, because Zacchaeus would never have invited Jesus for dinner. You think Zacchaeus would have hung on a tree branch ‘Yo, stop! My wife’s cooked, you’re coming to my house!’ And then in front of everybody Jesus said ‘Not! You think I’m coming to your house for dinner?’ He would have never thought of asking Jesus, because he’d have thought, because of how people saw him, that the last place in the world that he would have come was Zacchaeus’ house. So Jesus had to invite himself. Now the only other place we find that is in the Book of Revelation chapter 3, we find Jesus standing at the door and knocking. And he says ‘If anybody opens, I’ll come in, and I’ll sup with him.’ That means to eat. In the Jewish mind if you sat at the table and you ate together, you became one with that person you were eating with. If you broke the same piece of bread, you were receiving sustenance from the same piece of bread, you became one with each other. And it is remarkable that the Bible portrays Jesus, and you know that famous picture of Jesus knocking on the door, many of you see him holding a lantern, knocking on the door. The interesting thing, of course, there’s no handle on the outside, on that picture. Because the painter realized that it’s up to you to open, if Jesus is knocking on your life, knocking on your heart. The handle’s on the inside, on your side. He’s not out there going ‘I’m going to huff, and I’m going to puff, and I’m going to blow the door down!’ No, he’s knocking. He’s calling. Remarkably Zacchaeus responds.
You First God Saved?
‘Make haste, come down.’ Isn’t it interesting, “I must abide at thy house.” “And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.” (verse 6) The Greek is “rejoicing as a child”, Zacchaeus couldn’t believe it that Jesus would come to his house, that Jesus would want to sit at the table and become one with him, that Jesus would want to share life with him. I remember when I first, all of you probably do, when you first got saved, we hear David crying “restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” because when Jesus first comes into our life, and we realize that he loves us, when he first comes and partakes of life with us and puts his Spirit in our hearts, we just are flabbergasted, we can’t believe it. You’re overwhelmed, you’re telling everybody about Jesus, you’re driving your relatives sick, you take tracts and put it between the slices of white bread of their sandwich, and somebody’s eating their lunch and a tract comes out of their sandwich. I mean, when you first get saved, you drive everybody crazy because you have what Zacchaeus had, you’re like a child. He came down from the tree rejoicing, he couldn’t believe it.
Is All About Seeking and Saving That Which Was Lost
And you have to understand what’s happening, because this is a religious community. All of the religious people are saying ‘What!? That’s not the Messiah I’m expecting! That’s not the Messiah I’m expecting! This is what he’s doing right before Jerusalem? He couldn’t do anything worse to ruin his reputation. Zacchaeus, in a community of priests and Levites, a man that everybody hates? He doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s making a mistake. This is not the business of the Messiah.’ But how wrong they were, because that was exactly what he business was. His business is all about seeking and saving that which was lost. That is his business. That is his business. You know, it’s interesting, watching the news last week they’re talking about Philadelphia, it says Philadelphia has the purest heroine in the United States right now. People are coming from all over the country to buy heroine here. Dallas, which is a big heroine city, 7 percent pure there, 80 percent pure on the streets of Philadelphia, 80 percent. And by the way I found out that two weeks ago, we had two girls that got saved on Sunday morning, one at the second service, one at the third service, got saved, gave their lives to Christ, both of them OD’d the same day, Wednesday, three days later and died, both of them. And you look at the problem, you know the police aren’t going to deal with it. You know “the system” can’t deal with it. But you know, I look at it, and I think Jesus can deal with this, Jesus can deal with it. Rob, leading worship tonight, was a heroine addict, Jesus saved me out of that culture, drugs. That is his business. That is his business. And give me a church filled with saved sinners that are on fire for Jesus, and keep all the Pharisees somewhere else. This is his business. ‘Zacchaeus, come down, I’m going to eat at your house.’ Zacchaeus comes down rejoicing, received him joyfully. “And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.” (verse 7) Now, who are “they” anyway? We hear about them all the time. People say to me, ‘You know what they say?’ And I think ‘Who are “they”? You know we’ve been hearing about them, here they are! They’re in our study!’ “When they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.” Isn’t it interesting, the word “guest” there is the same word, only in verb form, same word, as chapter 2 where it says ‘That she brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for him in the Inn, the catalooma the carivanzei, same word here, “guest.” He’s gone to be the guest of a sinner. There was someplace for Jesus. No room for him in the Inn, but there was plenty of room in the heart of every sinner, in the life of every sinner. And there is today. And by the way, if you’re here and you don’t know Christ, your sin will not send you to hell. There is only one sin that sends people to hell, and that’s rejecting Jesus. There is no other sin that sends people to hell. Because he can forgive every other one. The only sin that is unpardonable is that of constantly grieving the Holy Spirit, quenching the Spirit, blaspheming the Spirit until the moment of death. And if we die having rejected Jesus, that is the unpardonable sin that will not be forgiven. [Some parts of the Body of Christ have different views about the “unsaved dead,” so their interpretations of this doctrine about “the unpardonable sin” differ somewhat. Some view the unpardonable sin as the sin of rejecting Jesus once you have accepted him and received the Holy Spirit, and then one goes about through continued sin to grieve the Holy Spirit. Paul warns in Galatians 5:19-21 that certain ones having a sinning lifestyle would not enter the Kingdom of God. So there are differing interpretations within the Body of Christ, just so that you are aware of it.] But it doesn’t matter what else we’ve done, he forgives.
Happened In His Life Before, He Doesn’t Care About His Money---Isn’t It
Interesting To See Somebody’s Life Change?
“Zacchaeus” now we don’t know what’s happened between verses 7 and 8, watch this, Jesus comes to his house to eat dinner. Dinner’s over, we don’t know how much time has passed, “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” Something happened during dinner, I guarantee you. Isn’t it interesting here, Zacchaeus stands up, whatever’s happened in his life, he don’t care about his money anymore. Whatever’s happened, he’s got a brand new God. ‘I’m going to give half my goods,’ that was his god before. To the rich young ruler, Jesus said ‘Give your goods to the poor, come follow me’, he went away very sorrowful. Zacchaeus without being asked by the Lord stands up and says ‘I’m giving half of my goods to the poor, half. And any man I’ve wronged, I’m gonna restore fourfold.’ The Bible says if you’ve cheated somebody, you only had to give a fifth, 20 percent above. He’s giving fourfold, back, which is the price of a rustler, ‘I’m giving fourfold’ he says, back to any man I’ve wronged, restitution. Isn’t it interesting to see somebody’s life change? You know, so many times we hear that. Somebody who was crazy, somebody whose life was a mess, was a shambles, and Christ changes them, and changes them. And so often we have their parents come here and say ‘What is going on in this place? My kid came back to me, and asked me to forgive them for everything they had done, and the watch that I couldn’t find that’s been missing for two years they told me they stole it, and now they want to pay for it and make restitution.’ What a powerful, powerful thing happens when a life is transformed, and we put the right God on the throne, and you actually find people that get saved, and then have this conviction that they want to make restitution, they want to make things right, without anybody saying anything. I remember the Jesus Movement, that was one of the most powerful things about it, and we didn’t have all of these counseling groups and all of these support groups, and God blessed us. And I think we need to do that, we need to do the best we can. But I remember when we see a move of the Spirit, people get saved, and there’s conviction. They want to be a good husband, they want to be a good wife, they want to make restitution, they want to turn away from their drugs. They get saved and they actually look in the Bible to find out how Jesus wants them to live. It’s a phenomenon. And Zacchaeus wants to make restitution, he wants to make restitution. “And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.”---Jesus acknowledging that faith now is being exercised by Zacchaeus---“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (verses 9-10) Imagine how the religious Jews were angered. Because there were plenty of houses in Jericho that belonged to Levites, or priests and religious leaders. Jesus says to one man who they all despised ‘Zacchaeus, I must come to your house today.’ Because the time was short. His crucifixion is not far ahead. Right in the midst of a religious community, that was not bearing any fruit---they were like the fig tree without any fruit on it---Jesus picks the sinner who is at the bottom of the rung in all of their minds, really no different than any of them, but in their minds, and he holds him [Zacchaeus] up as a trophy right in the middle of that community, he says ‘I have to come to your house, yours is the house, yours is the one.’ And Zacchaeus is transformed by his time with Jesus, being in the presence of the Lord. And Jesus says ‘Salvation is come to this house…he’s a child of Abraham by faith.’ “Because the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which”---two great words that go together really, really nicely---“was lost.” I like those two words together, ‘was lost.’ Not ‘is lost’, ‘was lost.’
Jesus Gives A
Parable About Equal Opportunity---We All Have Gifts---If You’re Saved, You Have
A Ministry Involving Some Aspect of Saving That Which Is Lost
“And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” (verse 11) So he’s going to Jerusalem, as he’s going to Jerusalem, “they”, no doubt the religious leaders, the Pharisees, hearing Jesus say that Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham, hearing Jesus say that he had come to seek and to save that which was lost, troubled about ‘What kind of Messiah is this? What’s going on here?’, but thinking that as he’s going to Jerusalem he’s going to immediately set up the Kingdom, now he tells a parable in light of that. Now, when we have a parable, notice, you can’t build doctrinal truths on a parable the way you do on a passage in one of the Epistles. [Comment: That is why you can’t really use the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man to form doctrine. That is why they like to say the story about Lazarus and the Rich man is not really a parable. Every denomination has it’s inconsistencies, nothing new.] The idea is, there are truths here laid alongside of, parabalo, a picture that they understood. And there are truths contained therein that we need to make application to our lives. He lays out this parable. Verse 12, “He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds,”---these are silver weights---“and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” (verses 12-14) Now there’s an interesting backdrop here to this parable. They knew it well in this area. The son of Herod the Great, remember Herod the Great slaughtered the children of Bethlehem, the Innocents. Jesus and the royal family are down in Egypt, for several years. And then through a dream again, Joseph is directed to bring the family back to Israel. As they come back into Israel they hear that Herod the Great is dead, but his son Archelaus is ruling in his stead, and then they went to Nazareth, you remember. Archelaus had occupied the palace of his father Herod in Jericho, that’s where he stayed. And because the district of his father Herod was divided up between Herod and some other Herods and Archelaus decided he wanted to be called “the king” of this area that he lived in. But because it was a Roman province, he didn’t have the right to take that name to himself. So Archelaus went to Rome to receive a kingdom. He went to Rome to appear before the Roman Senate, and say, ‘I’m taking this portion of my father’s kingdom, and I want to be called king Archelaus, I want to reign in this area.’ And the Jews, knowing that he was doing that, sent word before him to Caesar, saying, while Archelaus is coming to the Roman senate, ‘We will not have this man to rule over us.’ That was their message. Archelaus prevailed. They understood what Jesus is saying. And he picks up on something that was familiar to them, and he says this… “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” Now he’s going to make application of this to himself, because they were expecting him to set up the Kingdom right then. And he [Jesus] wasn’t come for that, he was come “to seek and to save that which was lost.” He will return a second time to set up his Kingdom. “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.”---to become king and then to return---“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds,”---weights of money---“and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” Now, “Occupy” is the word of the marketplace that means “to trade or do business.” Don’t confuse this parable with the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. There as we read the parable of the talents, it’s a parable there about faithfulness. This is a parable about equal opportunity. Because these religious people didn’t think Zacchaeus at all should have anything to do with the Kingdom. Jesus is saying, ‘No, I came to seek and save that which was lost, let me tell you a parable about a nobleman’, and they understood the background, ‘who went to a far country to receive a kingdom, and he gave unto his servants equal shares, he gave out these weights of silver coinage, and he said to them ‘Occupy till I come.’’ Now the point Jesus is going to make is, we all have gifts. He’s given to us all a measure. It says ‘We’re all are able ministers of the New Testament,’ every single person in this room. If you’re saved, you have a ministry. You may not like that, but you have one. Hopefully, you love it. But every person in this room [and by extension, every Holy Spirit indwelt believer in Jesus Christ] is called to a particular ministry. Every person in the Body of Christ has been given a measure of the Spirit. We all have gifts, different gifts. But it says these gifts are to find themselves in the way of public concourse, out where business is done, out where people’s lives will be effected, out where they will bring a return. [That is why legalistic, Pharisaic, exclusivist, inward looking churches are not really following the full will of Jesus Christ. That group is described in this parable as well.] And we all have gifts. If, for example, and I’ve heard Chuck Smith do this years ago, I’ve heard other guys do it, it’s a great picture. If I was up here choking and coughing, in the middle of the study, and somebody realized Joe needs a drink, and they started to walk down the aisle here, and they might think, ‘Well, Joe doesn’t just drink in a Styrofoam cup, considering his $600 suit and his fine European automobile [Joe is being totally facetious here, he’s dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and probably drives a beat up Chevy], the way he lives, certainly we should bring a silver (this is a parable, if you’re a visitor, I don’t have any of this stuff), certainly we should bring a silver tray with fine China on it, a pitcher of water and a fine glass.’ And here comes the person down the aisle, and the person falls right there where the seam in the carpet is and crashes on the floor, and the water spills and the pitcher breaks, and everybody’s going to go ‘Gasp’. Now what’s going to happen is this. The person with the gift of helps is going to run across the floor to that poor person, they’re not going to lecture him, they’re not going to give him a theological treatise. They’re going to go over and start scraping together the glass and putting it on the tray, saying ‘Oh, are you OK? Let me help you.’ That person has the gift of helps. Someone else with the gift of mercies is going to come over and say ‘Oh, are you OK honey? Are you OK? You’re not cut, are you?’ Now, I’m a pastor/teacher, so I might look down and say, ‘You know, you should always carry a tray with two hands. [loud laughter] Don’t carry it with the one hand. And always put the pitcher in the middle of the tray, because that way it’s easier to balance, and if you learn these things.’ Somebody who has the gift of prophecy is going to say ‘I told you.’ [loud laughter] ‘And if you do this in the future, the same thing is going to happen.’ Somebody with the gift of exhortation is going to say ‘Now, don’t be afraid! Go get another tray right now. Because I know you can do it, it was just a dumb mistake, you can do this, God loves you, you can do this.’ Somebody who loves counseling is going to say ‘Now how do you feel about yourself?’ [loud laughter] ‘How are you internalizing all of this?’ Somebody with the gift of healing is going to say ‘Let me pray for you, is your leg hurt, are you OK?’ Somebody that loves to pray is going to sit there right in their seat and maybe not do what the others are doing, and they’re going to say ‘Oh Lord, I know they’re embarrassed Lord, please, Lord, just encourage their heart.’ But the point is, all of those things are necessary for a body of believers to be healthy. All of them need to be functioning. You do not want to be titled, when Jesus comes, as a pew-potata, you know, you have gifts. God has a calling on your life. You may be a grandmother, who has a brood of grandchildren, and you have been faithful in encouraging them and teaching them, chances are, way more faithful than I have been at my ministry. And when we get to heaven [on the Sea of Glass, 1st resurrection to immortality] you will receive the greater reward, because we are not rewarded according to the scope of our ministry in human assessment, but we are rewarded according to faithfulness. Look at Jonnie Erickson, look what’s fallen out to her. And yet I look at her in that wheelchair and I think ‘She has been more faithful to develop that barren wilderness that’s been handed to her, than so many of us that are well able physically in so many different ways have been faithful to the ministries that have been set in front of us that we can walk to, that we can run to.’ And that’s going to be the idea here. This parable he’s going to tell has to do with the fact that we all, all of us have opportunity, all of us, to come to seek and save that which was lost. He’s not closing the door to anyone in this room. He loves us all, equally. There’s no grandchildren in God’s Kingdom, only sons and daughters.
One Day When
We Stand Before the Judgment Seat Of Christ, He Will Give Us Rewards For What
He Did Through Us
“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.”---Occupy, do business, be busy until I come---“His citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.”---Now there’s many in Israel like that today, many certainly in America like that. ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ No doubt many in the world. “And is came to pass, that when he was returned,”---and Jesus is coming again [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_2.htm]---having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.” He, Jesus, ascended, having completed his work, the Bible tells us clearly, Revelation chapter 19, verse 16, when he returns, he comes as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. It says, “when he returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading”---by Occupying---“Then the first came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.” I’ve said that to him many times, I think I’ve gained twenty pounds [weight-wise]. Notice, he knows whose gift was in his life. “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” ‘And because thou hast been faithful’, and that’s the key. And the Bible says we’ll rule and reign with Christ. [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm] “And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.” (verses 13-19) Now notice, they’re saying “thy pound hath gained”, you know, the flesh doesn’t glory, it’s God’s gift that functions, if we yield, if we give ourselves, ‘it’s your pound that’s gained ten pounds, it’s your pound that’s gained ten pounds.’ And these people are called to the Bema, Throne of Christ. The Bible says, talks about the Great White Throne, and we will talk about it as time goes on. The Great White Throne, at the end of the Book of Revelation, when all the dead [“unsaved dead”] are gathered, from the sea and from the land from all ages, it’s a throne of damnation, it’s a throne of judgment., the second resurrection, the second death. [Comment: There are various differing beliefs about what happens at this Great White Throne, the 2nd resurrection and the second death within the Body of Christ. To read some of these, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm] The Bema throne of Christ is a throne of rewards. The bema throne in ancient Greece, and the Bible says we’ll stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we hear about it in Romans 14, we hear about it in 2nd Corinthians chapter 5, is the place where the Olympic athletes came to receive their wreathes, their rewards for winning. And the Bema Throne of Christ is the place that we come to receive our rewards, not salvation, salvation is a free gift. Salvation is never a reward, you can’t earn it, you can’t work for it. [And here is where we shed some essential light on the balance between Law & Grace. Even our lifetime of overcoming of sin, growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, our pursuing of sanctification, is for the reward end of judgment. Those who don’t use their God-given “pound” of silver, as this parable brings out, those who do not overcome, and pursue sanctification, and use their God-given talents in “seeking that which was lost”, will be covered at the end of this parable.] You don’t deserve it [Salvation], you got it for nothing. But every man will be rewarded according to his labor. Now that you’re saved, now that you’re in the Kingdom [in the spiritual sense of having the indwelling Holy Spirit], now that God has given you gifts, like everybody else, it’s equal opportunity, equal opportunity, you can take the gifts he’s given you and serve him. He’s your Lord and your Master, he’s given his life for you. And he’s asking you now to give in return your life for him. Paul says ‘It’s the love of Christ that constrains me.’ If you see his love and you know his love, and you’re not serving him because you’re a legalist, but you’re serving because he loves you and because you’re a Zacchaeus, and he’s come and to seek and to save you, the one that was lost, then you want to serve him because you love him. [Comment: Legalists are not those who are constrained by the love of Christ through the Holy Spirit to obey God’s Law. Legalists are those who, as they keep God’s Law (probably of and by themselves, their own efforts) are constantly looking over their shoulders at everybody else, looking down upon them for their lack of obedience that they might detect, in one area or another. When they should be judging themselves through God’s perfect law of liberty (cf. James 1:22-23) they’re too busy judging others by that same law, instead of themselves. That’s a legalist. Let’s be careful not to throw stones at those who might be in obedience to God’s Law of and by the power given to them from God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.] And you do that in return. And then one day when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, not the Great White Throne, he gives us rewards for what he did through us. This is a great system. It says in Ephesians 2 ‘there are good works foreordained that we should walk in them.’ So the remarkable thing is he saved us, we don’t deserve to be saved. He makes us his sons and his daughters, we don’t deserve to be his sons and his daughters. Then he gives us gifts, if we’ll just let them loose. And then he rewards us for the gifts that function in our lives, that he gave us, that function by his power and not by us. You’re a winner all the way through this situation.
If You Don’t
Use It (your gift), You Lose It
Look at the last guy. Verse 20, “And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept up in a napkin:”---i.e. I hid it. He did not Occupy, he did not trade, he didn’t do business with it. He didn’t touch anybody’s life with it---“for I feared thee,”---Now isn’t it sad that some Christians see God that way? They never grow in grace or in the knowledge of Christ---“I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him,”---the Lord now---“Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knowest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow; wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?”---or with interest. You didn’t have to do nothing with it if you laid it in the bank, it would have at least got interest. And what he’s saying to this guy, ‘I’m going to judge you out of your own mouth.’ It isn’t the true opinion. And whoever this person was, he didn’t know God’s love, and he didn’t really believe he was returning. And he thought that God is angry and austere, and separate, and didn’t really care about his life. And the Lord then says to him, ‘I’m going to then judge you out of your own mouth. If you really thought I was that way, why didn’t your behavior reflect the fact that you believed that. You could at least have put it in the bank and gave me interest when I returned.’ “And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.” (verses 20-26) Sounds a little bit like doubletalk. “Unto him that hath, shall more be given, and to him that hath not, even what he hath shall be taken away from him.” Let me read the same idea to you from Matthew. Jesus is telling the parable of the sower, and he’s talking about the way people listen to his Word and respond to his Word. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Then again he says to them, further down, Matthew 13, verse 12, “For whosoever hath” notice this is several verses later, “to him shall be given, he shall have more in abundance. But whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.” This is what Jesus is saying. ‘He who has ears to hear, to him shall more be given. He who does not have an ear to hear, from him shall be taken even that he hath.’ Because Jesus is saying all of you have been given a gift. What’s going to determine it is the attitude of your heart. Because it isn’t the physical ear, it’s the attitude of your heart. If the attitude of your heart is ‘speak Lord, thy servant heareth. You saved me, I was a Zacchaeus, I was the lowest man on the totem pole. If anybody would have ever told me that you’d have sat down at the table and partaken and shared life with me, given your life for me, I’d have never believed it, I didn’t even invite you [into my life] because I never thought if you were there you would come. And Lord, you invited yourself and knocked on my door. And Lord, I have ears to hear you.’ And Jesus says, ‘If you have ears to hear, then he will add unto you in abundance.’ He says ‘He that hath not, hard attitude, then even what he hath shall be taken away from him.’ Let me tell you something. I believe with all my heart, that Jesus is coming soon. I believe the American illusion we live in will be changing soon…[tape switchover, some text lost]…because I’m a sissy, I hope that the Lord gets me out of here before that happens. I am such a wimp, I want to fly, I don’t want to stay. Lord Jesus descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, and take me home. And all of you tonight should have ears to hear. He’s given all of you a gift, whatever it might be. It might be in your estimation the smallest thing. The question is, will you be faithful with it? That’s all that matters, will you be faithful with it? Jonnie Erickson tells about a good friend of hers that’s completely paralyzed, she lays in bed. Every night the nurse that takes care of her comes in, makes sure she’s covered up. They come back in the morning, not a ripple in the covers, the covers can’t move, because she can’t move a muscle in her body. There is not a single crease or wrinkle in the sheet. But on the wall above her bed she has a list of people that need to be prayed for, because she can move her eyes. So when she wakes up in the morning, she looks over and she starts to pray for the people that have needs that are on that list. And she’s going to get a reward that that’s going to be amazing. All of us have a ministry [or we should]. What a day it will be to stand before the Lord, and he’s going to give us crowns of life, crowns of rejoicing, crowns of glory, crowns of righteousness. And the Bible says, that when we stand around his throne, and the cherubim cry ‘Holy! Holy! Holy! The Lord God Almighty’ and they fall down on their faces, that all of us fall down and we cast our crowns at his feet. And you don’t want to be there saying ‘Could you lend me one of those, just for a minute? I just want one to throw, I just want to throw one.’ You want to have ‘em. Because he says there are going to be those that even what they have will be taken away from them. It doesn’t say they will be lost, it says in 1st Corinthians, but this is a parable, it talks about those who come into heaven [the kingdom of heaven], their works being burnt up, like wood, hay and stubble, and coming in, their soul being saved, yet as of by fire. You know they come into the kingdom of heaven with their white robes smokin’, no rewards. There are others who serve Christ with a pure heart, and it says their works abide the fire as gold and silver and precious stones.
For All Who Would Not Have Christ Rule Over Them
But there’s another class that Jesus tags on the end here…Lastly he says this, “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” (verse 27) Different throne, different throne. We’ll all stand before a throne. You say to me ‘Well I don’t believe God is real.’ That don’t change nothing. ‘Well I don’t believe he’s really up there.’ You got something to learn. If you’re perceptive at all, this evening. You know, we look through the story of Zacchaeus, this thing with the talents, one thing you should sense is, you know, I hope you’re sitting here, if you don’t know Christ, saying ‘Hey, this ain’t like church, what is this? You know, this is, they don’t even ask for money, what is this about? What is going on here?’ Well, what’s going on is the Kingdom of God is come unto you. The Kingdom of God is being presented to you [i.e. your opportunity to become a viable part of the Kingdom of God is being presented to you]. And if you have any sensitivity you’ll look around the world we live in, and you’ll see it crumbling and falling apart. And you need to ask yourself where your hope is. And you need to ask yourself, if in your own heart you’re wondering, ‘Is this true?’ Because if the Holy Spirit is dealing with you tonight and he’s touching your heart, that’s God’s love, you need to respond to that. And tonight needs to be the night in your life when you say ‘Lord Jesus, I am a Zacchaeus, I am up a tree, out on a limb, up a creek.’ wherever we are these days, ‘Call me back to yourself. Sit down Lord, and sup with me. If you came to seek that which was lost, and to save that which was lost, Lord Jesus, I am right up your alley, because that’s what I am. I can put the facade on the outside, but I know in my heart I ain’t going anywhere. I’m tired of the emptiness, I’m tired of the drugs, I’m tired of messing around, I’m tired of the struggling, I’m tired of the self-righteousness.’ (whatever it might be) ‘If you love me, and you came by me this evening, I came in this place, Lord, and climbed up on this tree to see who you were.’ And I know sometime tonight Jesus stood still and in front of some of you, and spoke to you, at some point, and said, ‘I must, I must come into your life.’ And if that’s you, I’m going to have the musicians come…[connective expository sermon going through Luke 19:1-27 given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]
Jesus is coming again, to set up his Kingdom on earth, the Kingdom of God. See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_2.htmand
Proof of the Bible. See:
Infallible Proof of who Jesus is. See:
First Resurrection to Immortality, What Jesus is Offering Us:
How Do I Become A Christian? See:
http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/2ndcoming_4.htm and scroll to the bolded paragraph titled “How to Become a Christian” and read from there.