Turning neighbors to friends | Chapel Hill Online | Gig Harbor
Ever found yourself in your own neighborhood, but feeling alone? In this sermon from Pastor Larry Hackman, learn how to turn your neighbors into friends, and why it is so important to do so! Learn about being a good neighbor, being deliberate about where you live, and how to witness to the neighbors in reach in your life!
1. Think about where you live. Why did you choose to live there? Do you live in a neighborhood? If so, what kind of relationship do you have with your neighbors?
2. Read Luke 19:1-10. What was Jesus doing in Jericho? What are the first things you learn about Zacchaeus? What was his reputation among his neighbors? What did he do when he wanted to see who Jesus was? What did Jesus say about this? How did Zacchaeus respond to the attention Jesus paid to him, both at the tree and at his house? Jesus made two statements about how Zacchaeus responded, what were they? How do you think this might have changed his neighbors’ perception about him?
3. What do you think makes a good neighbor? As a believer in Jesus, how can you share your faith in a way that attracts your neighbors to him?
Hi, I’m Larry Hackman, I’m the Executive Associate Pastor here. I’m married to Pastor Megan who is the lead pastor at our church plant up in Port Orchard, so most of the time I am worshiping with my family in Port Orchard on a Sunday, but this weekend I get the privilege of sharing God’s Word with you.
Did you know… that the Queen of England has visited the United States five times, in 1957, 1976 for our bicentennial, in 1991, in 2007, and in 1983 she came the closest she ever has to Gig Harbor when she visited California and Seattle. How many of you remember that 1983 visit? Me too, me too. During her trip she hobnobbed with President Reagan on his ranch, went to Yosemite national park, and hung out with Mayor Tom Bradley in L.A. then she jumped on a plane to come to Seattle… for four hours. She met the mayor, walked around on the streets and made a few stops, then got on the super-yacht Britannia and sailed off into the sea, never to grace our coast again. To my knowledge, there’s one thing she never did, on any of her visits: walk into a neighborhood, point into the adoring crowd and say, “You there, I would have you prepare a meal for me in your home.” Can you imagine? What if that had been you, would that have been a life changing experience?
The passage we are reading today is not too far from that kind of scenario. We have been talking about what it means as Christians to be For things. We’re often known as a people who are against so much, but when we realize God is for us, then we know can be for so much with him. We’ve talked about being for our cities, for our crew, and today I want to talk about what it looks like to be for our neighborhood. And as we read the passage today, I want you to keep that image of Queen Elizabeth walking into your neighborhood, pointing at you and asking for a meal in the back of your mind.
Read with me from Luke 19:1-10.
He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And 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 and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
This is the Word of the Lord [Thanks be to God]
Every story has a setting, and this story is no different. It helps to realize that Jesus is on a journey here, and he has a mission on that journey. This journey began all the way ten chapters previously in Luke, in Luke 9:51. There it says simply, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” And the next ten chapters are the journey he takes from going from village to village on his way to Jerusalem. Now this verse in Luke 9 is heavy with meaning because it tells us, very succinctly, that he was on a journey and on a mission. You see, readers who were familiar with Scripture would have understood the phrase, “To be taken up…” to be shorthand for “taken up to heaven, to be throned as King.” We see this at the very end of Mark where it says that Jesus was “taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God…
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