- Sermon Notes
Doing Life Right
August 1, 2021
ILLUS – Albert Einstein and a train ride from Princeton.
1. When it comes to life, I believe there are many who would say with Albert Einstein, “What I don’t know is where I am going.”
2. And like Einstein, that feeling of lostness is deeply disturbing;
a. It’s the kind of question that will haunt your soul in the middle of the night, “Where am I going?”
b. It’s the kind of question that will give you chest pains as you look in the mirror at the dawn of each new day, “Where am I going?”
3. Ultimately what we’re asking is, “Am I doing life right?”
4. Now, the Bible has a lot to say about “Doing Life Right.”
5. That’s what we will discover as we study Jesus Christ’s example and teachings in Luke 19:1-27.
a. You see, God wants us to do life right.
b. He has given us the road map and the means to do just that, to live life to the full, the way life is meant to be lived.
c. Our heavenly Father never wants His children to haunted by the question, “Where am I going?”
1. Massive crowds followed Jesus as He journeyed to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city.
2. The crowds were impressed whenever Jesus challenged Israel’s religious, ruling elites. (18:9-17)
3. And as Jesus approached Jericho, the crowds were equally amazed when He healed a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. (18:35-43)
4. Now, the city of Jericho, in Jesus’ day, was not the ancient city destroyed by Israel as they entered the Promised Land in Joshua 6.
5. The Jericho mentioned in Luke 19 was located about a mile or so from its destroyed namesake.
a. In fact, the newly rebuilt Jericho was the “Palm Springs” of the ancient world.
b. It was warm 365 days a year, blessed with an abundance of date palms which spawned a thriving commercial industry.
6. But as Jesus traveled through Jericho, He did something that stunned the crowd; Jesus reached out to a sinner named Zaccheus and saved his soul.
a. Now this sinner wasn’t just any old sinner.
b. This sinner was a despised tax collector.
c. But this despised tax collector wasn’t just any old tax collector, he was the chief tax collector.
7. From Jesus’ interaction with this chief tax collector, along with the parable He taught afterwards, we will discover God’s road map for doing life right.
Transition – The first principle we discover from this passage is that to do life right we must. . .
I. Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
• Zaccheus is an interesting study in the Bible. Luke notes that Zaccheus was what we call “challenged” when it came to his height. (3)
• But that’s not the only area where Zaccheus fell short.
o The name Zaccheus is the shortened form of the name Zechariah which means “righteous one.”
o Now, if you know anything about tax collectors in Jesus’ day, you know they fell short of God’s standard for righteousness, and Zaccheus was no exception to the rule.
• Tax collectors collected taxes for Rome.
o As it is today, so it was then, people have strong feelings about paying taxes.
o But the Jews had even stronger feelings about paying taxes because Rome never used their taxes to fund their schools, improve their roads, or build them hospitals.
o All of their hard-earned money went to Rome; well, not all of it because tax collecting was a lucrative business.
• In order to make a living, tax collectors would bid for the rights to tax a region and then charge whatever they could extract.
• As the chief tax collector, the tax collectors who reported to Zaccheus would give him a percentage of what they collected from the Jews.
o So Zaccheus was very corrupt and the Jews despised the ground he walked on.
o Though a fellow Jew, Zaccheus was considered a traitor to his people, the Benedict Arnold of Jericho.
• But something started to stir in the soul of Zaccheus; he wanted to see who Jesus was.
o No doubt he had heard many things about Jesus; the healings and the miracles.
o No doubt he also heard that Jesus had invited a tax collector to be one of His disciples; the apostle named Matthew.
• We must also remember the context for in Luke 18:9-17, Jesus had just taught a parable about two men who went to the Temple to pray; one a self-righteous Pharisee and the other a despicable tax collector.
o The tax collector repented of his sins as he cried out to God for mercy but the Pharisee boasted to himself about his accomplishments.
o Of the two men, Jesus declared that it was the tax collector who “went to his house justified. . . for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (18:14)
o Now on a personal note, I have to wonder if that parable made its way to Zaccheus.
o If so, can you imagine the hope it would have brought this little, rich man who always fell short of what really matters most in life.
• Luke records this despised chief tax collector would not be denied the chance to see Jesus with his own eyes. (3)
o He calculated the route Jesus was taking.
o He ran ahead, which by the way, men of that day, especially rich men, did not do for to do so would have been odd at best; but Zaccheus did not care. He wanted to see Jesus, the One who invited a tax collector to be one of His twelve apostles. (4)
o Then he climbed a sycamore tree, which by the way, men of that day, especially rich men, did not do for to do so would have been humiliating; but Zaccheus didn’t care. He wanted to see Jesus, the One who said a tax collector could be justified by God. (4)
APPL – Now, you can learn a lot about a person when you discover what they hunger for.
• Zaccheus was rich and powerful but his soul hungered for something money and power could never give him.
• Like the tax collector in Jesus’ parable, Zaccheus knew he was not right with God.
• He hungered for the very thing his parents had hoped for their tiny son when they gave him the name Zaccheus; to be a righteous man, justified in God’s eyes.
Transition – God loves us and wants us to be righteous, justified in His sight and it’s. . .
A. God’s kindness leads us to repentance
1. As Jesus came to the tree where Zaccheus was perched, our Savior stopped, looked up, and said, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” (5)
2. Zaccheus hurried down and received Jesus gladly, or with great rejoicing. (6) In many ways, this is a picture of Revelation 3:20. . .
Revelation 3:20, Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
3. The crowd was shocked. There was a collective gasp. They thought, “Are you kidding me? Did that just happen?” (7)
a. If Jesus knew this man’s name, then He would know this man’s occupation.
b. And if he knew this man’s occupation, then He would know that Zaccheus was a sinner!
APPL – Unfortunately this is very common.
• You would think they would be excited to see a tax collector getting saved.
• Perhaps this is a revelation about the human condition; a window into our fallen nature.
o When it comes to us, we want grace upon grace and mercy upon mercy from God.
o But when it comes to others, we want justice.
4. Jesus knew all about Zaccheus and more.
a. Jesus knew all the pain Zaccheus caused in the lives of others.
b. But Jesus also knew all the pain in Zaccheus’s life.
c. He knew about the emptiness and loneliness in Zaccheus’s life.
d. And most importantly, Jesus knew about the hunger in Zaccheus’s soul; to be right with God.
5. Only through Jesus would that deep hunger in Zaccheus’s soul be satisfied.
APPL – The same is true for every soul.
Matthew 5:6, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
6. In love Jesus called out Zaccheus’s name.
7. In kindness Jesus invited Himself to the chief tax collector’s home.
8. Oh the goodness and kindness of God; it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.
Romans 2:4, Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
APPL – It’s very touching and personal when we first realize that God knows our names as well.
• He knows how we have done life wrong.
• He knows how life was done wrong to us by others.
• He also knows the pain and emptiness in our souls.
• And He knows when there is a sincere hunger to be right with Him and a desire for God to do something about it.
B. Jesus can change us from the inside out
1. Jesus went to Zaccheus’s house. They would have shared a meal together; which would have been extremely significant for the Jews in that day.
2. Put yourself in the sandals of Zaccheus and imagine what it must have been like to have Jesus come to your home and share a meal with you.
a. The breaking of bread, conversation, fellowship, even laughter.
b. What an amazing experience.
3. But at some point Zaccheus stopped and said to Jesus, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” (8)
4. What was happening to this chief tax collector?
a. Simply put, Zaccheus is with Jesus and in the presence of his Savior, he is being changed from the inside out.
b. Jesus did not need to ask Zaccheus to do these things.
c. Zaccheus wanted to do these things because something amazing was happening in his heart.
APPL – And the same thing can be true for us as well.
• God wants to change us from the inside out, to make us new. The question is, “How?”
• It begins with God’s presence.
• In God’s presence we are changed because we are changed in the presence of a holy God.
• We’re changed when we fellowship with Jesus.
• We’re changed when we delight to be in His presence, basking in the beauty of His glory.
2 Corinthians 5:17-18, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ
APPL – Someday, we will be with God and enjoy His glorious presence for all eternity.
Revelation 21:1-5, Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
• The beautiful thing is, we can have a taste of heaven right now when we hunger and thirst for righteous.
• This is why Jesus came to earth.
• Jesus declared His mission statement in verse 10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
APPL – Doing life right is doing life with God.
• Doing life right is hungering for what only God can give us; righteousness.
• Doing life right begins with placing our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and the salvation of our souls.
• Doing life right is walking with God daily from that point on, being changed from the inside out by His glorious presence.
II. Be Faithful Until Jesus Christ Returns
• Luke’s account of Zaccheus’s changed life seamlessly brings us to the parable that Jesus taught the crowd, “Parable of the Ten Minas.”
• The reason Jesus taught is parable is that the crowd supposed the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately because Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. (11)
• But through the parable Jesus declared that the kingdom of God would be delayed for He said that it’s just like a nobleman who “went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.”
o The nobleman is Jesus Christ. (12)
o The distant country is heaven where the Father will give His Son the keys to the kingdom. (12)
o The servants are Christ’s disciples. (13)
o The citizens who hated the nobleman and sent a delegation after him, saying, “We do not want this man to reign over us” are Israel’s religious ruling elite and the nation of Israel as a whole who rejected Jesus Christ. (14)
o And the return is the Second Coming, the Apocalypse of the Son of Man. (12)
• He called his servants and entrusted each with one mina, which is the equivalent of three months of wages for the average worker. (13)
• Now when people read this parable they often equate it with the “Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25:14-30 because of the similarities.
• For instance, the principle of being accountable for what has been entrusted to us is clear from both parables.
• But there are differences as well.
• For example, in the Parable of the Talents, each servant received a different amount of talents (five, two, and one) from their master, but in the Parable of the Ten Minas each servant received the same amount, one mina.
• In the Parable of the Talents, each faithful servant received the same reward, (i.e. “many things; enter into the joy of your master”) but in the Parable of the Ten Minas, each faithful servant received a different commendation and reward based on the return of their investment.
• Therefore, the Parable of the Talents reveals that each of us has been given different gifts and abilities and the question is, “What did we do with the talents that God gave to us?”
• But the Parable of the Ten Minas speaks to the fact that each of us has been entrusted with the same gift. What is that same gift?
o Some Bible scholars believe it is the gift of life itself; being alive.
o Others believe it is the Gospel.
• I suggest it’s possible to reconcile the two views by stating the mina represents the need to invest our lives in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
• That is doing life right.
A. God expects us to do life right
1. God has entrusted us with a sacred privilege to invest our lives in something that is of eternal value; to use our todays to make an impact for the kingdom of God.
2. And God expects us to do just that.
3. The picture of the wise servant is the one who received the master’s mina and then invested it, meaning, he did something with it, and it produced something more.
4. What was that something more? The good fruit of the Gospel in the lives of people like Zaccheus; the salvation of their souls.
5. God’s Word will accomplish God’s will.
Isaiah 55:11, So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
APPL – This glorious work is something God expects all His people to invest in like Paul.
Colossians 1:28-29, We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
• So why are some people not making a difference and producing godly fruit?
Luke 8:14, The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
James 4:3, You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
• The point is to be about our heavenly Father’s business.
• What is our Father doing?
o He is changing lives.
o That’s what He wants us to do with our lives and He wants to use us to do so.
o It’s all about being focused on and faithful to what God has called us to do with our lives, how we invest our lives.
o That’s doing life right.
B. God blesses faithfulness
1. This is one of those themes we see throughout the Scriptures; God blesses faithfulness.
2. The nobleman entrusted his possessions to his servants and expected them to invest well so that when he returned there was an increase.
a. The servants gave an account for what they did or did not do.
b. If they were faithful, they were blessed with a reward.
3. In this parable, the master accused the servant who hid his mina of being worthless because he did not even do the simplest thing with what he had been given.
APPL – When the unfaithful servant hid the mina in a handkerchief, what did he then do with his time?
• Did he play videogames?
• Or binge watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”
• Some people spend their life blaming others. In fact, that’s what the third servant did; he blamed the nobleman.
• Others don’t do anything because they believe their life is of little value.
o But God gave His Son for you and me.
o He also gave us His Word.
o He gave us the Holy Spirit.
o He gave us the very life we live.
o What more should He give?
APPL – One of the greatest rewards we could ever receive would be to hear the words found in verse 17, “Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.”
• We may not fully understand what it means to have rewards in heaven, but two things are for certain:
• God wants to give rewards and will do so.
• We should desire rewards.
Matthew 6:20-21, But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
APPL – Our world is falling apart; it’s filled with people like Zaccheus who need to get right with God so that they can do life right.
• The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that will change lives and heal the brokenness of our world.
• God has entrusted this message to us.
• He is calling us to rise up and go, to invest our lives in sharing the Gospel.
• Will you go? The Lord is calling you.
• Will you go and do life right by investing your life in the Greatest Commission ever given to man?
• If so, will you tell the Lord right now, “Here am I, Lord! Please send me?”
• Let’s pray.
Luke 19:1-27 NASB
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And [a]there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and he was unable due to the crowd, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up a [b]sycamore tree in order to see Him, because He was about to pass through that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down, and received Him [c]joyfully. 7 When the people saw this, they all began to complain, saying, “He has gone in [d]to be the guest of a man who is a sinner!” 8 But Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I am giving to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone, I am giving back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
11 Now while they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and they thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. 12 So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then to return. 13 And he called ten of his own slaves and gave them ten [e]minas, and said to them, ‘Do business with this money [f]until I come back.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be summoned to him so that he would learn how much they had made by the business they had done. 16 The first slave appeared, saying, ‘[g]Master, your [h]mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave; since you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to have authority over ten cities.’ 18 The second one came, saying, ‘Your [i]mina, [j]master, has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 And then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept tucked away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He *said to him, ‘[k]From your own lips I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 And so why did you not put my money in the bank, and when I came back, I would have collected it with interest?’ 24 And then he said to the other slaves who were present, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Master, he already has ten minas.’ 26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’”