When You Find Yourself Up A Tree

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. And he sought to see Jesus who He was; and could not for the press, because he was little of 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 was lost.”            Luke 19:1-10

When I was in High School I had a Vocational Agriculture teacher who would take some of us coon hunting in the Ozark hills here in southwest Missouri. It was beautiful walking and often running through the woods in the darkness, and listening to the dogs as they got on the trail of a racoon and then know that certain baying sound when they had one up a tree. That was several years ago; probably 44 to 47 years ago.

When those coons were up a tree they were not always caught or killed. Sometimes they got away.

Zacchaeus found himself up a tree. Of course, it was not for the same reason of those coons; or was it? He was wanting to see Jesus. We are not told that he was seeking Jesus, but that, “He sought to see Jesus who He was.” We are told that Jesus was seeking Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus found himself up a tree because he was not a very tall man.

Jesus does not seek one because of one’s stature, their beauty or lack thereof. He seeks those who are lost. He seeks those who are lost in the depths and darkness of sin. Do you find yourself up a tree today looking, wondering who Jesus is?

Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of Man, and He has come and died for our sins, was buried and He rose again. Just like Zacchaeus, when Jesus comes into your house He will make a change in your heart, mind and life. Believe Him.

Persistent Praying

And He said unto them,
“Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?’ And he from within shall answer and say, ‘Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.’ I say unto you, ‘Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.'”                                            Luke 11:5-8

In this short illustrative story Jesus is teaching us about persistent prayer. Persistence is related to having a burden, a need so great that you will not give up on seeing that it comes to pass.

Please note that I said “Need” not “want”. For the child of God the greatest need we see in our families, and  for our neighbors, and for strangers is that they need to recognize their lostness, their great need to turn from their sin, and to trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

In Jesus’s story it is of a friend who goes to a neighbor at midnight. The man has had a guest show up and he does not have the means of feeding and being a proper host to that friend. In his “troubling” his neighbor he awakens him from sleep to ask for help. It was a shame to a family in that day for a hosting family not to care for their guest by feeding them, even washing their feet. The man persist with his neighbor and finally wins out, because of his need and his persistence.

Now God our Father in Jesus Christ never sleeps, and He is never disturbed by our prayers. He is more disturbed by our lack of prayer, and especially our lack of persisting in prayer. If we have a great need, we ought to desire it so much; in His name; that we keep asking until God answers. We must remember it will be according to His will and in His time.

Do you have a lost friend, family member, neighbor? Are you continuing in prayer for them? Do not give up and quit. Keep on praying. Do you have a health need, or know someone who has a great health need? Keep praying, and be persistent in praying.

Read verses 9 through 13 as well.

The Rejects of Society

“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him,
‘Follow Me.’
And he arose, and followed Him. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples,
‘Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?’
But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them,
‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ ” Matthew 9:9-13

I am so grateful to the Lord for His bountiful love, mercy, and grace. He accepts those who are rejected by the elite, the powerful, and the popular, and saves all those who will come to Him and follow Him. I am grateful for that because I am one of those rejects of society.

The religious elite would not accept these tax collectors and sinners into their midst, but Jesus did. Jesus still does. He did not come to save those who are secure in themselves and their power and prestige. He came to save those who need Him. He came to save the sin sick, the lost, the dying the hurting.

If you fit into the category of one who is sin sick, lost, dying and hurting then there is forgiveness, there is healing, there is resurrection for you by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for your sins, our sins, and He was buried, and He rose again.

Will you call on the name of the Lord Jesus today?

Words of Jesus; Son of God, God the Son – 091120

“And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, a man named Zacchaeus, which was the 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 little of 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 was lost.’  ”  Luke 19:1-10  (KJB)

Fellowship Helpers of the Truth

“Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: because that for His name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.” 3 John 1:5-8 (KJV)

John had sent out other ministers of the gospel to this Church.  Gaius had gladly received them, welcoming them into his home and caring for their needs.  This was the normal and regular practice of local churches in the early Church age.

These messengers came back with a good report of Gaius, and John acknowledges his hospitality.  Jesus said, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matthew 10:41).  The reward for receiving the messengers of God is glorious.  Receiving God’s messengers means not only hospitality but also hearing the message by taking it to heart and being obedient to God’s Word.  It also means seeing that the messengers physical, and material needs are met.

It is the church’s responsibility to care for those who are faithful at preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Whether it is a pastor who feeds and leads the local Church, equipping them for ministry, or the evangelist, the prophet, or teacher: the local Church is responsible for their material well being (1 Corinthians 9:7-18).  This writing was certainly not meant to be a defense for material support of pastors and/or preachers, but it does provide the basis for doing so.  The Scriptures do clearly state that the Church is to care for its spiritual leaders (1 Timothy 5:17-18); and it probably should not be above and beyond the average income of the people he leads.  This frees them to pray, study God’s Word, and to be faithful to minister effectively according to God’s plan.

Notice John’s declaration that they – the messengers he had sent – received no support from “The Gentiles”.  If the Church is to preach the gospel powerfully we must not solicit funds or collect them from our lost and unchurched neighbors.  Members of the Church must commit themselves to tithe their income, and above that when possible to support the work and ministries of the Church.  A study of the Old Testament reveals that the tithe went to the Levites for their support while the tabernacle and temple were maintained through special offerings (Exodus 35:4-29;  Numbers 18:24-26).

The personal care that Gaius gave was far and above a tithe of income.  He gave his heart, his home, and his service to aid the messenger of the word of God.  Gaius showed himself to be a fellow helper of the truth.  There was another man who was the opposite of Gaius.  Read the rest of the chapter.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest message the world could ever hear.  The world needs to hear that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again the third day.  Hear the love of God as Christ Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  Through our fellowship with God through Christ Jesus, we are “Fellow helpers” of the truth.