Sermon – When Jesus met a very rich man (Luke 19:1 – 19:10) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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When Jesus met a very rich man

Bart Erlebach, Luke 19:1 - 19:10, 21 August 2022

In this Special, Bart preaches to us from Luke 19:1-10. In this passage we see Jesus’ amazing encounter with Zacchaeus the tax collector, and what it means for us today.

Luke 19:1 - 19:10

19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

If you'd like to take your bibles, there's bibles on the table. If you haven't got 1, turn to Luke chapter 19, And you can find that on page 1 0 5 3 of the of the church bibles 1 0 5 3. And as we read this try your hardest to not the tune of the children's song. I will be trying myself as we hear it.

It's a great story though. We're really looking forward to to hearing this preached. Chapter 19 verse 1 then. Jesus entered Gerico and was passing through, a man was there by the name of Zekaeus. 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 Zekiya 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 4 times the amount.

Jesus said to him, Today, salvation has come to this house because this man too is a son of Abraham. For the son of man, came to seek and to save the lost. And thank you for your welcome. It's lovely to be with you this evening. And we're gonna look at that passage together, So if you've already closed your bible, maybe it would be good to open it up again, so that it's there in front of you.

And let me lead us in prayer. Let's pray. Heavenly father, we pray, please, that as we open your word together, so by your spirit, you would be at work in us. That we would understand this passage with our minds, but more than that, that our hearts would be changed by it and that therefore our lives would be transformed. As we read of Jesus in this passage, amen.

So, as Dean says, this may well be a very familiar passage to you. Jesus meeting Zakius, Zekius, the famously short man, nothing wrong with being short, of course, who had to climb a fig tree to see Jesus. But most significantly in the passage, not his height, but the fact he was a wealthy man, a rich man. And he'd made his money at the expense of others. And we know, don't we?

The rich the greedy. People like that. Those They're always the baddies, aren't they? In stories, they're always gonna be the baddies. Whether for you, that's a figure like scrooge or if you're from a different generation.

Mister Crabbs from spongebob square pants. If you love money, if that is your desire, Then that is a bad thing, isn't it? And we know well, we know there's scrooge and he's, you know, like that or crabs or whatever. And and you know, they're bad, they love money and that's not you, is it? Or is it?

Our first point this evening is, gonna have 3 points. Our first point is money has tentacles. Money has tentacles. Like an octopus. You know, you have seen the documentaries of, you know, our underwater animals, how the octopus, maybe it hides there, Can't be seen.

Something comes past, tentacle comes out and just grabs it. And then that that creature's done for. The octopus having got it, wraps around it, and he it. Money is like that. Even though we don't think that we can be fooled by it, even though we don't think that we're in the grip of it, yet at actually it can.

It can get hold of us. It had certainly got hold of Zakius. Let's find out about Zakius. Have a look, would you? Verses 1 and 2 of the passage.

Here's where we're introduced to him. Jesus entered jericho and was passing through. Jesus going through Jerico, and there's someone who wants to see him. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was wealthy.

So we know there, he's wealthy, and we know how he gets his wealth. So he gets his wealth, doesn't he from being a tax collector? Now, tax collectors were hated. If you know about this passage, you'll have heard this before, but collectors were hated by other Jews because they were working for the occupying Roman Forces, where the Roman Roman Empire, who were occupying Israel. And as the Romans demanded taxes from the people, and they would use some of the locals to collect those taxes.

And so, for Zakius, an Israelite, to be working for the Romans, was to be to be a traitor, hated by his own people. And He was a chief tax collector. That means he was very good at it. And tax collectors were allowed to add on an amount, however much they wanted, onto the taxes that they demanded from people, to line their own pockets. So a traitor and a crook really hated What would make someone be prepared to to turn their backs on their fellow countrymen Prepared to be betray to prepared to be prepared to betray their family and friends, prepared to be hated.

What would do that? And the answer is money, isn't it? That's why he did it. Here is a greedy man. And if we were there, we would have grumbled with the rest of the crowd.

At the fact that Jesus went to the house of this sinner. But as you go through the Gospels, you see that there's a repeated warning that Jesus gives. And the repeated warning is about greed. He says earlier in Luke's gospel, watch out. Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.

Now, you don't say watch out to someone about something that's blatantly obvious to you. If you're driving along and someone says, someone in the car says watch out. They're saying, they don't think you've seen it. Watch out. This is dangerous.

This this could get you. Watch out. Jesus is saying, watch out about greed because unlike some other sins, Grieve can get hold of you. It it money's got tentacles. It it can get you.

Without you realizing it to begin with. How do we know if this is us? I read someone recently said that we do 3 things with idle in our lives, idols, things that we would worship in place of God, and money can be an idol. There are 3 things that the Bible says that we do with idols. We love them, we trust them, and we serve them.

Now just think about that in terms of money. If you love money, if you love anything, what do you do? Well, you you dream about it, don't you? Maybe if you in love with someone. You dream about them.

You think about them. In idle moments, you think about them. Well, if we love money, we will think about now you're not likely to dream about notes and coins or or more money, a bigger figure in your banker. I mean, maybe some of you do, in which case you've got problems. But but we're not likely to do that.

We're likely more likely to dream about the kind of life we would have if we had more money. Maybe it's the luxuries that we would want that we can't have now. Maybe it's just a less precarious life, a more stable life that we would have, more secure because because we've got more money. And the world around us wants to encourage us to love money, doesn't it? I mean, it there are so many opportunities.

If you Watch game shows, if you like watching game shows, where people can win huge amounts of money. I used to be in the old days when I was growing up. Which is a while back. They're the biggest prizes were a caravan. I mean, that's nothing now, is it?

I mean, it's not a caravan. It's hundreds of thousands of pounds, millions of pounds, isn't it? That people can win. And you look at that and you think, What would I do if I had that? Or you hear of someone who's won the lottery and you think would I do?

Or you watch programs about the rich and famous and you think, if I had what they've got, what would life be like? Now, we can love money and what it gives us. Watch out. Second, we we might trust money. This is very easy for us to fall into, isn't it?

That if we trust money, we find money is our security. In other words, we feel secure if we've got a certain amount in the bank account. When you look online, you look in your bank account, you say, okay, I've got that much in the account. Okay. I'm I'm secure.

I'm safe. I'm alright. Or if we've got a certain amount coming in month by month. And we can see if we trust money as our security when it's at risk, or when we lose it, or when we have to spend it. I don't know how you're feeling about the, you know, increasing the cost of living, the cost of living crisis, increase in energy bills.

On the radio, I heard someone say yesterday that by April next year, it might be that the average household is having to spend 6000 pounds a year on energy. That's a huge amount, isn't it? How you're feeling about that? You sort of think, how could how are we gonna be able to afford that? But for some of us, I mean, all of us, it's gonna be a concern, but for some of us, it's gonna hit home harder such that actually this is gonna really bother us because maybe we don't have that money or maybe we feel we're gonna have to go into our savings and use up what we've got and if our trust is in that, it's not just gonna bother us, it's really gonna bother us.

It's gonna keep us awake at night. We can trust in money, can't we as being our security With an idol, we might love it, we trust it, but we also serve it. And again, you might say, well, I'm not sure that I would serve money. After all, we'd like to think we use it. We spend it.

So it it we use it. It serves us. And yet, our idols, when we're serving them, we we have to sacrifice to them. They demand things from us, biblically. And that can be true of money as well, can't it?

I've got a quote here. I think I think it was Jean Hackman who said, tried to verify that online yesterday, but I couldn't couldn't quite find it. I think it's Jean Hackman who said this. He's a famous actor. Those who don't know.

He said, 20 years ago, all I wanted was to be rich and a star. I was prepared to sacrifice everything for that. Now I've made it, and what do I find? I've got all I ever wanted and lost all I ever value. That's quite something, isn't it?

Lost all I ever valued to get all I ever wanted. It's a sacrifice. He's actually ended up serving it. Isn't he? It's sacrificing things which I'm sure beforehand.

He wouldn't have said he would be prepared to sacrifice, yet actually did. Well, people do that today, don't they? Maybe working all hours. And therefore not seeing spouse or family so much. We'd say, yeah, I'm doing this for my family, but maybe that's just a veneer, maybe that's just a thin sort of excuse.

When actually it's for money. No. There are some jobs which are very, very demanding. You have to work hard, but sometimes it flips, doesn't it? Into serving money.

I wonder whether you can resonate with any of that, to say, you know, is that something Is this this true of you? I think it probably could be true of all of us, couldn't it that we might love money or trust it or service? If that resonates with you at all, Jesus says, watch out. Be on your guard against all kinds of greed. Money, you see, has tentacles.

You can get of you, it had got a hold of Zacchaeus. Second point is Jesus invites himself in. There's a wonderful moment in this, isn't it? Zakius wants to meet Jesus, wants to see Jesus. See, he doesn't want to meet him, so he just wants to see so did everyone.

There was a crowd. But Zakius couldn't get to him because he was a short man and don't start singing the song. But he wanted to see him, couldn't get to the front of the crowd, someone that said this morning at Emmanuel. By the way, that's why we're doing this passage because I preached morning on this 1. And so you get it as well.

But someone said this morning, the issue wasn't really that he was short. That's not the problem. That's not why you couldn't see Geez. After all, if you're in a crowd and there are short people, you'd let them through to the front when you say that they can see and you can see over them. The issue was he was hated, so they wouldn't let him in the front.

Well, anyway, he wants to meet see Jesus and he can't see him. So so he goes, he reckons, he knows the root that Jesus is gonna take, and he goes on ahead, finds a tree, a sick of more fig tree, and climbs it. And he's ready there for when Jesus walks past. And Jesus comes along and there's a buzz of a crowd as Jesus walks along with them. And just imagine this moment as he stops below the sycamore fig tree and looks up and says to Zekiya, Zekius?

Come down immediately. I must stay at your house today. So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. Well, that is a wonderful moment. Because remember who this man is, who was up the fig tree.

This isn't the kind of person that we think of as being someone who Jesus will be with. I genuinely think, I know we know Jesus was a friend of sinners, but we don't really think that Jesus would be with this kind of person. Because I think we tend to think Jesus will be with the victims, the unfortunate, And he was. He he was with those people, but we tend to think, well, that's gonna be the lame, the blind. And yes, he was with prostitutes and sinners.

But we tend to think, well, yeah, but they they were probably in that situation because things were unfortunate in their lives. Things hadn't gone very well. And therefore, that why they were, you know, doing what they did. But that's not true of this man, is it? He has chosen this way of life.

He's chosen to be a traitor. He's chosen to cheat people out of money. That's his lifestyle. He's wanted that. This is This guy is like the hoax caller who phones you up to get your PIN number so that he can steal your money.

He's that person. He was hated. And Jesus stops and looks up at him and says, I must come to your house. Dot, please, can I come to your house? I must come to your house.

Why? Why does he go to his house? Where Jesus says, it says at the end, the son of man came to seek and save the lost. And the lost, therefore, is not just those who are victims, Those were unfortunate, although it's true they are lost, but it's the mean, the nasty. They're lost too.

And Jesus came for them. And there is an important lesson for us here, isn't there? That Jesus doesn't say to him, zacchaeus. If you give away all your money, I'll come to your house. He doesn't say you've gotta sort your life out before I come to your house.

And we don't have to sort our lives out before Jesus comes into our lives. You don't have to get your love of money sorted first. Or your addictions sorted first or your relationships. They don't have to be sorted first. No.

Jesus comes in, doesn't he? He comes into the mess, into the badness and the wrongs in our lives. Now, of course, don't assume Jesus approved of what Zakius did. Or that he didn't care. Sometimes people assume that, or he sort of comes across that way, doesn't it?

When people say, oh, Jesus accepts everyone just as they are. Well, there's some truth in that. He accepts us as we are, but he doesn't wanna keep us the way we are. And that's true, not just of Zakius, that's true for all of us. He wants to come in and change our lives.

Come into the house and change, well not just the pictures, but the decoration, the whole layout. He wants to change the whole house. He wants to come in and change us. And actually, you can't really change before Jesus comes in. You need Jesus to come in in order to change?

Well, he says to Zakius, I must come to your house, and he says the same to us too. Because all of us without Jesus are lost. And though we often say to people, you need to invite Jesus into your life, Actually, very often it feels more like Jesus moves into our lives, doesn't it? And it's really good thing he does. Third point, it's a longer point, although longer in length of the title, not in length of how long it's gonna take me to preach it.

The third point is this. When Jesus moves in, Money loses its grip on you, and you lose your grip on it. Say it again. When Jesus moves in, money loses its grip on you, and you lose your grip on it. And we see this with Zakius.

Don't we verse 7, have a look. All the people saw this and began to mutter. He's going to be the guest of a sinner, but Zakius stood up and said to the Lord, look lord, here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I've cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back 4 times the amount. Now, that is an incredible turnaround, isn't it? Zakius, now giving away half of his, but can you imagine giving away half of your possessions?

It's an enormous man, isn't it? And on top of that, he wants to repay 4 times the amount that he has cheated anyone out of. And he's cheated loads of people out of money. Now, this is incredible, generosity. It's far more than actually the old testament demanded for in these circumstances.

I mean, just giving The old testament didn't demand that you give 50 percent of all you've got. I mean, you know, there are points where it says, you know, give 10 percent or that kind of He's giving 50 percent and on top of that, as I say, if anyone's cheated him, he said, I will pay you back 4 times the amount. Now, I was trying to work out in the old testament, how much it said that you should pay back. And I think certainly in in exodus, exodus 22, I think it is. It says, if you if you've stolen, then you you repay double.

So you give back what you owe and then the same again. But this is 4 times the amount. This is huge. The amount that that he's giving giving away. Do you see something has happened in Zakius' heart?

This is not someone who's just being caught and feels bad and feels, oh, I suppose I better give it back. It's not like Jesus just said, you've been a naughty boy. You go, yeah. I suppose I've been naughty. I better give it, man.

It's not that, is it? It's not a reluctant heart. This is a transformed heart. And This is this is so staggering a change and yet it happens so quickly, doesn't it? Jesus goes to his house.

We don't know what was said. Be lovely to know, wouldn't it? But just in this 1 visit, he is turned around, what what is it about Jesus? That could just free up his heart. That he go I I now just wanna give it away.

I've lived my life for money, and now I wanna give it away. I wanna give it. I'm gonna give it to the poor. I'm gonna just give and give. You see, we see in Zakius, a huge heart change.

We see that Jesus moves in and his heart is freed. Now, how can a heart be freed from money's grip. And the answer is by finding something else that is more gripping, more it's exciting. The Puritan Thomas Chamors wrote a book with a title. I've not read the book.

I confess, I've not read it. It would sound so much better if I had. But I've read the title, which is the expulsive power of a newer action, which is a great title. The expulsive power of a new affection, which is a grand way of saying that when you find something else that is more exciting, you can let go of the things that held you before. So we know Okay.

Illustration. You know this with children. Children go through phases where they are gripped by something. They might be gripped by Harry Potter, say. Kids still love Harry Potter.

Some some kids still love Harry Potter, and they will be obsessed with them. Yeah? You've ever known a child who's obsessed with them. And they talk about Harry Potter nonstop. And they dress up in the clothes and they, you know, what and And if they're a relative and it's their birthday, you know what to get them.

It's dead easy, isn't it? You buy them something Harry Potter. And you buy it, and you think you found something great, and then you go to the house. And it's their birthday. And as you go in the house, you see there's nothing Harry Potter in the house.

And you think, going on. And the kid isn't talking about Harry Potter anymore. They're talking about Chelsea football club. And you go, oh, what's going on here? And you give them the present and they're not that lighter by it because everything now is Chelsea.

What's happened? Something else has gripped them. They love Chelsea football player. Who cares about Harry Potter anymore? I'm not a Chelsea fan.

I don't know. Maybe it's another football player. But, you know, that that kind of thing when kids, they just They switch and you couldn't tell them before. You couldn't say to them, stop liking Harry Potter. That wouldn't work.

There has to be something else that comes in that grips them more. So too with our hearts. The only way you get rid of the love of money is to see Jesus as being so much better. And that's what happened here. He'd met with Jesus.

And now, he loved Jesus. Trusted Jesus wanted to serve Jesus. And so money loses its grip. And you can see that because he then starts to lose his grip on money. He's giving it away.

And that's what needs to happen to us too. The only way we're going to stop loving money is if we see Jesus for how glorious and wonderful he is. And when we do, we'll start to lose our grip on money too. That we'll go from being people who say, how much do I need to give this month? To being people who say, how much can I give?

Could I give I wanna give more I wonder how you feel when there's an appeal. I'm sure as a church, you have appeals at times for to raise money for things. How do you feel about that? Maybe there are times where you just feel, always asking for money. People are always asking for money.

Or do you feel it's another opportunity to give money? Because when we're like that, when this grit money has on us has gone, and when we love Jesus all the more, we just wanna give. And if you're not yet a Christian, I just want to assure you that the application of this sermon is not give your money. That really isn't the application. And if you're a Christian, that's not really the application either.

The application is what has gripped your heart And what does your attitude to money say about what has gripped your heart? Is it money that's got Has it got its grip on you? And the answer, if the answer is yes, then what we need to do is to keep coming back to Jesus. Don't we? To see him for how glorious he is to keep reading God's word day by day, looking at Jesus coming along to church Sunday by Sunday.

And seeing Jesus and to be gripped by him. Such that we can join in with the old hymn singing be thou my vision. O Lord of my heart. Not be all else to me, save that thou art. Thou my best thought by day or by night waking or sleeping, thy presence, My Light.

Ritches, I heed not. Nor man's empty praise, thou, mine inheritance, now and always. Thou and thou only First in my heart. High King of heaven, my treasure, thou art. Let's pray.

Heavenly father, we praise you that Jesus turned Zakius's life around and we pray that you would give us a greater vision of Jesus. To behold his glory and his majesty and that we would love him trust him, serve him, and that therefore money would have no grip on us, and we wouldn't have a grip money either. Our man.

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