Volume. XXVI, No. 23
Sunday, 04 December 2011


Zacchaeus: Marks of True Conversion-Part 2


 

Last week, we explored some of the marks of true conversion based on Zacchaeus’ conversion testimony and experience. This week, we will continue to consider some other marks of Zacchaeus’ conversion based on Luke 19:7-10.

Genuine Conversion Produces A New Code of Conduct (vv.7-10)

It was marked by placability (v.7)

The word placability means forgivingness, mercifulness; state of being easily appeased, state of being easily pacified. When the spectators in the street heard that Jesus was to be Zacchaeus’ guest of honour, some murmured of Jesus, …that he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner” (Luke 19:7) It is very likely that Zacchaeus could have overheard what they had said, but the Bible did not mention any of his response or reply. Perhaps, Zacchaeus didn’t care, but more likely because Zacchaeus’ joy overshadowed every sarcastic comment he heard from the crowd.  Zacchaeus could have a reason to get angry over these people, but he did not. Zacchaeus was a different man. He was already a new man when he placed his faith in Jesus Christ and he had learned to forgive despite of the criticism, accusations and backbiting of people.

It was marked by generosity (v.8a)

It is also marvellous to read how God transformed Zacchaeus from a pathetic miser to a generous philanthropist. Having experienced peace from the forgiveness and the unfathomable grace and immeasurable love of God, Zacchaeus resolved to do what is right with his wealth and he said, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor…” (19:8a). Imagine how Zacchaeus went into his secret chamber or his safety box and started distributing his wealth to the poor, and after which he said he would give half of his goods or money to them!

There is no doubt Zacchaeus was a “new man”. A new man who knew how to share God’s blessings he had received with others. Indeed, like what the Apostle Paul says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:25). Today, God’s people can also exhibit their generosity by sharing some of their time and resources that they have received from God with others who are in need. It is always encouraging to see God’s people give to the cause of God’s kingdom. Zacchaeus gave because he knew how much God loves him, even a sinner like him. Similarly, Christians today who love the Lord should also be generous. Because they know what the Lord has done for them, and they find it unimaginably hard to reconcile if they don’t give back a portion of what they have abundantly received from the Lord. Let us be generous in giving our resources, talents, gifts, time and energy for the right cause! 

It was marked by integrity (v.8b)

Perhaps, during most of his career as a publican, Zacchaeus had been dishonest. It was most likely that he constantly deprived his own people in order to make much unjust gain through collecting exuberant taxes. It is amazing to find this same man now wanting to do what is right through his self-devised compensation programme, “…if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8b). This not only shows that he suddenly became a generous fellow, but it means that he endeavoured to be a man of integrity. To be a man of integrity means to be honest and morally upright. We find Zacchaeus wanted to make right with his fellowmen by doing what is honest and morally upright by returning to the people four-fold according to the Law of Moses which says, “If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep” (Exodus 22:1). Yet, we find that this instruction is relating to the case of sheep stealing, not money. The Jews are aware of this law quite well so Zacchaeus could not have mistaken it. Nevertheless, in the case of Zacchaeus, the law only required the principal, with the fifth part added to it as Leviticus 6:2,4,5 instructs, “1 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour. 4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found. 5 Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.” Nonetheless, we read Zacchaeus proposed as much as four times to repay to those he had cheated—he really wanted to do what is right and more!

Now, remember Zacchaeus seemed to have kept half of his goods or money (Luke 19:8) and given the other half to the poor. Some may say, “Why didn’t he just gave all his money away?” Well, Zacchaeus needed to provide for his family as well (1 Timothy 5:8), but apart from that, how much money would he still have if he were to restore everyone four times whom he had extorted? He would have not much left for himself because he probably had been cheating people all his life. Yet, Zacchaeus was willing to do this, and he wanted to do this to make right with his fellowmen, not so much to please men, but to please God – that was Zacchaeus. A man’s conversion marked by not only placability, generosity but also integrity—what a different man Zacchaeus was!

It was marked by teachability (vv.9-10)

Having observed the transformation in the life of Zacchaeus, our Lord concluded with verses 9 and 10, “9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Though the passage is silent, we can deduce that Zacchaeus sat there attentively with the disciples of Jesus listening to what the Lord had to say to them. As with other disciples of Jesus, Zacchaeus must have been eager to learn and listen to the gracious words of our Lord, which makes a sharp contrast with Simon the Pharisee in Luke chapter 5 who self-righteously regarded himself as holier than others (Luke 7:39). In those days, the Pharisees were regarded as the religious elites and masters of the law and the purest of all people respected by the Jews. And the publicans were in the eyes of the Jews social outcasts. But, most of the Pharisees weren’t so teachable in those days due to their “intellectual pride”. In fact, many of them confronted Jesus and his disciples and falsely accused Jesus many times during his ministry. On the other hand, many of the publicans and sinners were more teachable and would listen to the teachings of Jesus throughout like in the case of Zacchaeus. Do we have a teachable heart like Zacchaeus? Are we ready to listen to the gracious words of our Lord through reading, hearing and studying his words whenever available? Or, are we finding excuses not to learn anything new from the Bible and from his servants? May the Lord help us to have a teachable heart like Zacchaeus!

 

Conclusion:

Dear friends, the conversion testimony and experience of Zacchaeus should challenge each of us to examine our own claim to being a believer and a disciple of Jesus Christ. God had transformed Zacchaeus from a selfish and dishonest tax collector to a selfless and honest disciple of Jesus Christ. His new life in Christ was marked by evangelical repentance, joy, placability, generosity, integrity and teachability. Do you have a new heart that produces all these qualities and a new will to live with a new code of conduct to the pleasing of your Lord and Master who redeems you from sins? While our road to sanctification cannot go on without the divine assistance of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, we have a responsibility to live our lives worthy of our calling (2 Thessalonians 1:11) and work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). May the Lord help us!

 

Ps Weng

 

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Sis Suzane Lim. Next Lord’s Day: Sis Grace Gan.

*Welcome: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe.

*Hope Bookstore - open 12:30-1:45pm.

*Session thanks Dn Wai Kin Wong; Sisters Sally Teng & Corinne Teng; organisers, helpers & participants for the Christmas Concert yesterday evening.

*Today’s fellowship lunch is catered.

*Sunday School Christmas Party: parents, please bring food to share.

*Please note: No Adult Sunday School & Westminster Confession of Faith Classes this afternoon

Praise and Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Adl); Sis Myung Ki & Bro Daniel Ki (S’pore/Lond); Bros Yick Ho Lam (Adl) & Raphael Ng (S’pore),  Sisters Natalie Cheng & family (KI), Lydia Fan (Adl), Katrina Loh (S’pore) & Gillian Ong (Laos); & others who have arrived at their destinations. 

2. Christmas Concert: Rev Edward Paauwe, organisers, helpers, participants & public; The Gospel preached.

3. Other Church activities - over the past week.

4. God’s guidance & help during exam period for our school & uni students.

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

6. Visitors & new worshippers.

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Luke Kim (Post-cardiac surgery, S Korea); Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser;  Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Myung Ki, Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Tony Wong (Bro John’s father); Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction. 

2. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Penh); Bro John Saray & Ministry (Kampot).

3. Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki.

4. Batam Missions - Next year’s missions trip - 4-7 Jan 2012. Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

5. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr HS Lim (Melb).

6. IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman, Board & missionaries in India, South America & USA.

7. Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.

8. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.

9. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.

10. House of Hope, Cebu, Philippines - drug addicts: for their salvation & healing from drug addiction.

11. Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe (Per); Dn Yaw Chiew Tan (Syd); Bros Samuel Ki (S’pore/Lond), Raphael Ng (Adl) & Jason Teng (Melb); Sisters Natalie Cheng & family, Swee Yee Chia, Jillian Chia, Nichole Chia, Ashley Chia (S’pore), Yashu Qin (S’hai), Sally & Corinne Teng (Melb); & others who are travelling.

12. God’s comfort: Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser;  & others in mourning.

13. Logos International School (Phnom Penh) - Bro Peter Koo.

14. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

15. Sisters Clara Sim & Melissa Wong - God’s guidance, job & direction in S’pore or elsewhere.

16. Job - Bro Raymond Ang & our uni graduates looking for jobs.

17. Godly wisdom - Australian Federal & State authorities.

18.  Sis Gillian Ong - three-week missions work in Laos (Dec 2011). For health & protection.

19.  Believers under persecution in Islamic countries.

20.  Unity & fellowship of Australian B-P Churches.

 

 

 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063