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LOSING OUR RELIGION TO RECLAIM CHRIST

UNDER CONSTRUCTION PLEASE BE PATIENT

Welcome to Ambassadors of Christ. We are a group of Holiness congregations who are independent. Our goal as Holiness People is to declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that we are made Holy--Not because of who we are, but because of who Jesus Christ is. Below you will find a video that explains our mission as Christians.

Our Mission

A Message From Bishop Richard J Lee

This sermon was originally prepared for a Summer class by Rev. Richard Lee, and was later delivered as the opening of Ambassadors of Christ Theological Synod 76 General Assembly. May this message permiate your heart,  thinking and actions; as we find our way to being Ambassadors of Christ and the Church where the Unwanted are Welcome.


The Transformational Journey Our On A Limb
Scripture: Passage/Text: Luke 19:1-10

1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it.

Now a man named Zacchaeus was there; he was a chief tax collector and was rich.

He was trying to get a look at Jesus, but being a short man he could not see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, because Jesus was going to pass that way.

And when Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, because I must stay at your house today.”

So he came down quickly and welcomed Jesus joyfully.

And when the people saw it, they all complained, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I now give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone of anything, I am paying back four times as much!” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this household, because he too is a son of Abraham!

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

The Main Idea: As Christians, we are called to view people on the basis of their potential for the Glory of God, and abstain from finding faults.

Goal for Life Application: The goal of this passage is that we would see Jesus and others from a different perspective than just a religion, and that we would seek Him sincerely so that We Would Be Found.

INTRODUCTION

When I was young, I loved climbing trees. Climbing a tree takes some skills, to figure out how to get up a tree, and there is also skill to determine how to get down as well. But the truth is, that no matter how good you are at climbing trees, there is no way to climb a tree in a dignified way. But the benefit of climbing a tree is that I could see things from a different point of view.

The great thing about climbing a tree is that we can gain a new perspective of who Jesus is. Our need is to see Jesus with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength. If we are willing to do whatever it takes, even if it may be undignified, to see Jesus, then He promised, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened,” (Matthew 7:7).

Whatever circumstances got you up a tree; you are in the right place to see Jesus. As we look at the Word of God, let us look at what God says about being up a tree.

  1. Zacchaeus desires to see Jesus. (vs.1-3)
    He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature;

    1. Why Did Zacchaeus desire to see Jesus? Israel was under Roman occupation. People like Zacchaeus who worked for the oppressor extracted an unfair tax. They earned their living by adding an extra surcharge for themselves. These Jews who worked with the Romans were considered traitors. In the sight of the Romans Zacchaeus a person to be used for personal, gain of the Roman.

    2. To the Jewish society Zacchaeus was lower than a pig. To them, he was lower than the lowest unclean animal. To the Jews, Zacchaeus was like a dog who returns to its vomit. Zacchaeus may have had wealth, and a nice home, but when it comes to community, Zacchaeus was socially and spiritually unacceptable.

  2. Zacchaeus sets his dignity aside and climbs a tree just to see Jesus (v. 4)
    So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.


  • b.In light of being a social and religious pariah, Zacchaeus went up a tree.

There are a few thoughts that relate to this passage. There are times when we find ourselves treated like Zacchaeus. I suspect that Zacchaeus went up into a tree so that he could see Jesus, but for fear, or anxiety, that he will be seeing Jess really soon—the Son of God—it is very possible that he was scared out of his wits to be seen by the Son of God so he could be hidden. It is possible that in Zacchaeus’ thinking that if Jesus, the Messiah would look at him and he would be rejected. What would he do if Jesus rejected him? What about us? When Jesus passes by us, what are those things that we hide from Jesus as He walks by?


  1. Jesus knew exactly where Zacchaeus was, and called him to come down and stay at the home of Zacchaeus—and he welcomed Jesus joyfully (vs. 5-6) 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 down and was happy to welcome him.
    1. As we see from this passage, Jesus looked into the tree, and saw Zacchaeus, and I am sure that Zacchaeus was freaking out! What does Jesus see? I am sure that He sees the reality of sin, I am sure that he sees the fear, the rejection, the hurt, the loneliness… Jesus saw Zacchaeus for who is was right down to the core. I suspect that after the reality that Zacchaeus realized that Jesus saw Him, and he was still alive. What happened next probably blew his mind.


    1. Jesus called Zacchaeus by name. I do not know about you, but if I were in Zacchaeus’ sandals, I would be absolutely blown away. See, Jesus saw everything—even the hidden things—in Zacchaeus’ life, and now If Jesus chose to, He could name every one. However, there is something different about Jesus. He did not judge him like society or the religious society judged him. No, Jesus saw Zacchaeus and his potential for the glory of God. This is a big problem in the Church as a whole. We judge people according to what we perceive as right, instead of looking at the people around us with potential for the glory of God. Otherwise, we are no better than the religious crowd in the days of Zacchaeus.


    1. Jesus calls Zacchaeus to come down because He needed to stay at his house. This is a really important point. Jesus was intentional in calling Zacchaeus out of the tree. Consider this: Jesus saw Zacchaeus and everything about him, but he also saw the potential. Jesus knew Zacchaeus so much so that He called him by name, but also Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ potential, and now Jesus is saying come down, my home is with you.


    1. In the Jewish culture of the time and even now, when you invite someone into your home for a meal, it is because you find them worthy of heaven. It is no wonder that the crowd had a real problem with Jesus’ choices.


  2. The crowd (religious society) was offended because Jesus chose a “hopeless sinner” over the religious casts, despite Zacchaeus’ repentance (vs.7-8). All who saw it began to grumble and said, ‘He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.’ Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’
    1. Who does Jesus think He is? He is supposed to be the Son of God, and he is supposed to choose one of us. Why is he going to go and eat with someone who has the social standing of a dog?


    1. Remember that Jesus did not see Zacchaeus in the same way that society saw him. Jesus knew Zacchaeus in a way that the religious society could not know him, and Jesus extended His invitation with the result of Zacchaeus’ potential in mind.


    1. Zacchaeus publicly demonstrated the potential that Jesus saw. Zacchaeus sought Jesus, Jesus saw him, knew him, and called him out of his circumstance which led to repentance. He gave his money to the poor, and repaid everything that he had stolen.


    1. But as the Church, we do the same thing as the religious society. We go from being run up a tree, to “why didn’t Jesus choose me?” He knows I am better than that one, why not me?


    1. Instead of looking at the potential of the person who has come to Christ, we react with suspicion, and doubt instead of being like Jesus.


    1. Intentional means to point beyond oneself and to something greater than the self. In the Christian sense, this means to point beyond us to Jesus.


    1. If the Church—that’s us—would begin to look at people in the same way that Jesus did, it may surprise you what will happen.


    1. Jesus sets an example for us how to live. He declared that Zacchaeus was just as worthy as they were. He understood that in order to follow Christ that he had to lay everything down. We could learn something from Zacchaeus we can learn not to look at the exterior of a person, but at their potential.


  3. Jesus declares that Zacchaeus is just as worthy of the saving grace of Christ because Jesus came to seek and save the lost (vs. 9-10 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.


    1. In the previous passage, we read that Zacchaeus gave half of his wealth to the poor, and repaid those he stole from four times more. This is repentance. When Jesus called Zacchaeus to relationship with Him, Zacchaeus no longer needed excess, because he had everything—he had relationship.
    2. In response to Zacchaeus’ repentance Jesus declared that in Jesus Christ there is nothing higher, or lower than the other is.


    1. It is also clear that if one lives his or her life according to only the rules and regulations of religion, that is great, but that is not what Jesus calls us to do.


So What? (Why we need to know this – connecting passage with need)

Jesus called us, and calls us still to realize that we are broken, we are lost, we are sinners, and we may have everything, but without realizing that we are nothing without Jesus. We need to realize that circumstances are actually opportunities to respond to Christ and press in to Him, and like our passage has shown, be transformed, knowing that Jesus sees, knows, and calls us out of those circumstances for the glory of God. It is also important to realize that Jesus does not care about what people may think, he is more concerned with the potential of the person.

For those who identify with the Church, we have responsibility to stop trying to tell God what he meant, and do what we are called to do and look at people in the same way that Jesus does. We are called to this because Jesus purpose is not for a religious group, but to see and save the lost.


The question now becomes, What about you?

CONCLUSION

Now What?

YOU I want you to take some time and consider where you are with Jesus. If you have a solid relationship with Jesus, that is great. For you, I want you to look at those opportunities, or lost opportunities, and I want you not only to see them, but realize that these were your God given opportunities to glorify Him; and they were missed. They were missed because you may have been like the crowd, looking at people in their circumstances and judging them according to their circumstances instead of with the Christ Like Possibilities that Scripture tells us to do.

If you are here today and you have not come to know who Jesus is as Savior and Lord, I invite you to come and receive Him now. You may be someone who has been really good at following the rules and regulations of religion, but you have come to realize that you do not have the relationship with Christ that you should. I want to reassure you that you will not be judged, because we are going to be intentional and look at you with the potential that Jesus looks at you.

There are a few ways that youn make your decision known. We do not have a whole bunch of space here, but you can pray where you are asking Jesus into your heart, then on your welcome card, there is a decision section. Please add your name and your decision, and a phone number or email address for us to contact you.


If you are watching us online at YouTube, please look in the description box below this video. At the end of this video, click the link Decision link. You will be redirected to the church contact page, fill in the information and send your decision. We will contact you to follow up. If you are viewing this video from the Church Website, click on the Connect Link and share your decision.


WE: As we close this time together, remember that as Christians we are called to be His Ambassadors. This means that, in Christlikeness, we are called to view people on the basis of their potential for the Glory of God, and abstain from finding faults.


Let us say the follwing statement together: Jesus, Let Me See People in the Same Way That You See People. As we leave this opening session of the General Assembly of Ambassadors of Christ Theological Synod, let us remember to pray “Jesus, Let me see people in the same way that You see people.