Sunday School Material 5-29-16: Joyous Faith

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus pronounced salvation on a man who showed signs of repentance. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure that we show signs of repentance and allow God to use us to help others repent as well.

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Read Luke 19:1-6

I. Two Desires. Jesus was entering Jericho  Sunday School material. A wealthy chief tax collector, Zacchaeus, wanted to see Him. Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus. As Jesus came by, He called for Zacchaeus to come down and essentially hosted Him. Zacchaeus gladly complied. 

Applications –

- Our journey. Notice in vs. 1 of our Sunday School material that Jesus is journeying through Jericho to Jerusalem. In like manner, we are all on a journey. 

On one hand, we should make sure we are headed to where God is calling us to be. God is calling us to be saved and focused on loving Him and others, as we love ourselves.

On the other hand, we should learn to appreciate the journey, which often has many twists and turns along the way. 

Too many only appreciate the end of the journey and miss out on all of the beauty and opportunities along the way. Let’s work on both journeying to where God is calling us to be and appreciating the journey.

- Zacchaeus. Notice in vss. 2-6 that Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector who was very eager to see Jesus and gladly welcomed Him into his home.

First, as Zacchaeus was a sinner but yet spiritual sensitivity towards Jesus, there are those who have done and are doing terrible things, but they often yet have a spiritual sensitivity towards Jesus. 

We should not treat people as if they are only sinners. People who sin (e.g., rapists, child molesters, people getting out of jail, etc.) also have a spiritual sensitivity that may allow them to experience the transformative power of God. 

Second, we should be as eager as Zacchaeus to see Jesus and welcome Him into our homes. Think about our attitudes as we stroll into churches, when we come. Think about Jesus’ place in our homes. 

Do you want Jesus to see what you watch, listen to what you listen to, hear what you say, and see what you do, in your home? Let’s work on seeing people as more than sinners and being enthusiastic about seeing and receiving Jesus. 

Read Luke 19:7-10

II. Three Attitudes. The people around Zacchaeus and Jesus were perplexed about Jesus spending time with a sinner. in our Sunday School material Zacchaeus seems to look pass the crowd and says that he will give to the poor and repay four fold those whom he has cheated. 

Jesus talks about Zacchaeus being a son of Abraham and how He came to seek and the save the lost. 

Applications –

- Popular opinions. Notice in vs. 7 that Jesus did not allow the attitude of the crowd to stop Him from His ministry. In like manner, we should be careful about giving in to popular opinions (e.g., homosexuality, immigration, and abortion).

The prayerful understanding of God’s word should be our source of authoritative truth. Let’s lean on God’s word more than popular opinions. This application calls for our prayerfully studying how to live by God’s word and then striving to do so. 

- Transformation. Notice in vs. 8 that God can change a person’s heart. First, no matter how bad a person was before they yielded to God, God can change their hearts and, by extension, change their entire life. 

Second, God changes us into those who treat people right. God doesn’t change us into simply people who pray to and praise God but continue to curse people. Loving one another is the greatest evidence of being right with God.

Let’s work on both allowing God to change us and accepting the change that God can create in others. 

- Seeking and saving the lost. Notice in vss. 9-10 of our Sunday School material that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. First, Jesus is seeking and looking for those who are lost, not those who think that they are found. 

The church should be doing the same. It is said that 59% of the American population doesn’t go to anyone’s church. These people should be the target, not those who already go to someone else’s church. 

Second, Jesus seeks the lost, but He also wants to save them. As with Zacchaeus, salvation leads to transformation or change. Jesus is very liberal about who He seeks because He always has plans to change them. 

Thus, the Church of Jesus Christ should have the same agenda of seeking and saving with the hope of God transforming. Let’s work on seeking the lost, letting God use us to help them get saved, and be a part of God transforming the worse of us into the best of us. 

Conclusion: Let’s work on making sure that we show signs of repentance and allow God to use us to help others repent as well. God has much for those who obey His will.

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