A Publican's Guest; or, Two seekers, and what each found.
Every one in this audience tonight will at once perceive that there are two exceedingly anxious seekers in this passage, and it is not to be wondered at that each found the other. I read of Zaccheus, that "he sought to see Jesus." The Lord Himself says, "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (ver. 10). These two are the complement, the one of the other. I find a Saviour seeking a sinner, and I get a sinner seeking a Saviour. Of course they meet. I never knew a man yet, and I never expect to meet one, that really sought to find Jesus, and did not do so. No, I have been hunting for the last seven-and-thirty years for the man in this world that wanted Christ, and could not find Him. The man does not exist.
If you want Christ, dear friend, I have very good news for you; He wants you. You may say to me, But does it not say in Scripture, "There is none that seeketh after God." That is quite true; the Word of God does say so. "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Rom. 3:11). That is what man is by nature, but when light breaks in upon man's soul, it sets him seeking to find out God. When divine light breaks in upon the soul of man — I do not say how it comes, for God has wonderful ways of letting the light into the soul — it makes him feel that there is something wrong with him, that there is a void, a vacancy, an emptiness, a want; that he is not satisfied. That is the first thing. Then, very likely, he will find out that he has to meet God. You have to meet Him; so have I. Every sinner has to meet Him sooner or later. The man finds out that he has to meet God, and the next thing he will discover is, that he is not fit to meet Him. Let me ask you, Has the light ever entered your soul yet? Has light from God entered your soul, the dark chambers of your heart, my friend? Have you found out, that you not only have to meet God, but that you are not fit to meet Him? Ah! I will tell you what it is; the man who gets his heart illuminated, gets earnest, begins to get anxious, and says, How can I meet God, and where can I find Him?
Whenever that is the case, God puts the gospel in his way, just as you have it in this remarkable scene here. Here was a man who was very desirous of seeing Jesus. Now, I wonder, if God were writing your history — and you must not think He does not take a note of your work — I wonder if God's recording angel has ever been able to write down, in the page of your life's history, that you are anxious to see Jesus. You have desired much, and you have desired to see plenty of things in this world. There have been many desires in your heart, and perhaps they have been gratified; but has there ever been in your history, such a record by God as this, that you desired to see Jesus. It is a wonderful moment in the history of a man when he wants to see Jesus, and when, in plain language, he sets out to seek the Saviour.
I quite admit that there may have been, and there usually is, some kind of preparation in the man's soul for his search. The heart is quickened, or the conscience is troubled, and there is a desire after Christ. It is a wonderful moment when the soul sets out in search of Christ. It may be through the achings of an empty heart; for some people are led to seek Christ through these. Others, again, are driven to Jesus, through the writhings of a guilty conscience. You will find, all through Scripture, illustrations of this. Look at Nicodemus! What drove him to Christ? His conscience. If I take the woman in the fourth of John, what brought her to Jesus? Undoubtedly, it was the aching of her heart. Her heart was empty. Aye, and there is many an empty heart in this hall tonight. You are having your fill of the world, but you are as empty as a deaf nut, and when the nut is cracked — and the day of doom is coming — its condition is manifest. If you are honest, you will admit your heart is empty and unsatisfied; you know what I mean. There is no satisfaction in it. But what did that woman find, when she came to the Saviour? — satisfaction in Christ.
Now, Zaccheus was drawn to the Lord in a remarkable way. Doubtless he had heard of Jesus previously, for the Lord had passed near, if not through Jericho on a previous occasion. He never passed through it again. That is what gives the story its great force. The man had one last opportunity, and he took it, of getting into contact with Jesus. Mark you, he embraced it; he seized it. I can understand why the Lord says, "Make haste and come down, for today I must abide at thy house" (ver. 5). Suppose the man had put it off, and declined the Saviour's call, as you know many of you here have declined His call for many a day, what would have been the result? He would never have got another opportunity. Jesus never passed that way again. Let me say then, before I go further, it may be the last time that God will give you a call; it may be the last opportunity that God will give you of hearing anything about His blessed Son. That is why I reiterate, with all my soul, the words that we sang tonight, "Decide for Christ today." How much is wrapped up in that word "Today! Today!"
Now, in reading Scripture, it is always interesting to observe the context. Sometimes you will find in reading the Word of God, that some circumstance leads to the unfolding of a parable, and then that you get an instructive narrative connected with the doctrine which the Lord enforces. On the other hand, you may find that you get a striking narrative, and out of it flows a statement by the Lord of unspeakable importance. That, I think, we have in this Scripture, when the Lord says, as a reason why He should go to Zaccheus' house that day, that "the Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which was lost" (ver. 10).
Before dwelling upon the narrative, I should like for a few moments to draw your attention to verse 10. That is just what Jesus tells us tonight. Though we have not the same kind of opportunity of coming to Jesus, as Zaccheus had, of getting to the Lord — for He was then in this world — still our need, the guilt of our souls, and their state, before God, is described, and marked in verse 10, in the clearest way. What does Jesus say? "For the Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which was lost" Oh, but, you say, you do not mean to tell me that I am lost? I do not tell you, that you are lost, but I will tell you what the Word of God says, "The Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which was lost" And if you are not a person saved by grace, do you know where you are? If a man be not in the enjoyment of the gospel, and if he has not received forgiveness, then he has not peace, nor eternal life. He is still lost. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." What? Lost? Yes. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world" (that is Satan; I hope you know whom you follow, if you are not Christ's) "hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor. 4:3, 4). I find, then, the distinct statement, made by the Spirit of God, that the man who has not received Jesus as his Saviour, is lost.
I know there are people, who would say to me, Oh! I thought a man would be lost if he died in his sins? Scripture does not put it that way at all. And you say, Will a man not be lost if he die in his sins? He is lost before he dies; and, if he dies in his sins, then he has to meet something else; he has to meet judgment and damnation, the consequences of those sins. I do not think you and I had better tone down the truth. God knows what is ahead of us. I do not think our Lord Jesus Christ came into this world, "to seek, and to save, that which was lost," and I do not think He went to the cross, and bore the judgment of sin upon it, if there were no judgment, no punishment ahead. To put it simply and plainly, the Word of God declares that we are lost, every one of us, if we have not known Jesus. There is but one word applies to us, it is the word lost! And after death there comes the judgment. It is a solemn word that; I would to God that every man in this hall tonight felt the weight of it. I know we live in a day when men tell us, God will never judge people for their sins; God is too good, too kind, too loving to judge them. Well, I again repeat, dear friends, that you and I had better listen to the words of the Lord Jesus, and I find Him saying here, "The Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which is lost."
Oh! but, you say, that refers to Zaccheus the publican, and from his occupation — a tax-gatherer — we know what sort of a man he was. Well, do you think your life will compare with his? Do you give half of your goods to the poor? He did. Will any man stand up in this meeting and say, "The half of my goods I give to the poor." No, he cannot. I am not going to stand up and say it, because I do not. Nor do I expect to be saved on that ground. He says, "Lord, the half of my goods I gave to the poor; and, if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold" (ver. 8). I think honestly that Zaccheus' life will compare most favourably with that of any living man here. Every soul, without exception, has to be saved, but not on that ground. The Lord knew that he was lost, and then out came the glorious truth, "The Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which was lost." Man is a lost sinner. On every man, old or young, rich or poor, learned or illiterate, the Spirit of God fixes that word — "LOST."
You have the same truth brought out in the fifteenth of Luke by the blessed Lord. I find Him, in the figure of the Shepherd, seeking the lost sheep; He goes out to seek and save it. The same idea is present in the lost bit of money. The woman swept the house till she found it. And when the father received back the prodigal, he said, "This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:24). The Lord points out there the truth as to man's condition. He is away from God; he is no longer with God. He is lost; and if he be not delivered by sovereign grace, where is he for ever? He remains where he is. Therefore the Lord announces that He is come "to seek, and to save, that which was lost." I know this is not a very palatable doctrine nowadays. But it is not a question of whether it be palatable or not. Is it true? is the question. It is far better to know the truth, because if I do not know the truth, I do not see where I am, I do not learn my state before God, I do not learn what my condition is, and in consequence do not seek to remedy it. Consequently it is of unspeakable importance that every one should know where he is, and what his condition is in the sight of God. Lost, is the emphatic word which describes the condition of every unsaved man.
The Lord Jesus says here, "The Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which was lost" What does He mean? Let me illustrate it. I was passing along Princes Street a few years ago. It was a fine bright, sunny afternoon. I came to a cross street where a little lassie, about five years of age, was standing. She was in floods of tears, with her hat in her hand, and her hair hanging down her back. The child was the picture of misery and distress. I was naturally touched. "What is the matter, my little one?" I said. She lifted up her hands, and piteously said, "I am lost" That one word "lost" explained all. She was away from home, was alone, and lost, in this big city, with no one to help her. That, dear friends, is where you are. You are away from home, and away from God. It is a great thing to know you are lost. I debated with myself what I should do for the child, and thought of handing her to a policeman, when I noticed a girl of about eighteen running down the street, as hard as she could, and looking this way and that, as if she wanted to find some one she had lost At last she saw the little lass, and rushing up to her she cried, "O Jennie, Jennie, I've found ye." The little creature, immensely relieved, rushed at once into her sister's arms, and I thought, that is just my history. The Saviour has come out to seek, and to save me. That child was found by her sister, and the man who speaks to you, tonight, has been found by the Saviour. Have you been so found? I have got to know the truth, that the Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which is lost. Oh! friends, let us face the truth. It is good to do so. It is an immense mistake not to know the truth. It is of paramount importance to know the truth about ourselves, about our souls. I must know where I am. It is an immense thing to get light as to what my state before God is, for light shows me just what, and where I am, and also reveals to me who, and what Jesus is.
An old man came into my consulting room a few years ago. He was a stranger from the country. "Doctor," said he, "will you give me a little medicine?" "What for?" I asked. "Oh! I do not feel very well." "But," said I, "What is the matter?" "I have got a little pain here," putting his hand to his breast. "What is the source of the pain? Let me see the place where the pain is?" He opened up his coat and vest, and revealed to me a huge pulsating tumour, which indicated to me that the man's life was in jeopardy. "How long has that been there?" I asked. "What?" said he "That," and I put his hand on it "Dear me," he said, "I never knew it was there. Is it dangerous?" "That is not the point," said I; "how long has it been there?" "Well, Doctor, I never knew it was there at all." "It has been there for many weeks, possibly many months." "Well, I never knew it was there." Then he asked what it was, and I told him that it was an aneurism. He next asked if it was dangerous, and I had to tell the man the truth. "Do you think I shall have long to live," he next asked, and I said, "Do you want to know the truth?" "Yes, I do." Oh! Then I do not think that you will live very long," was my reply. I then asked him, "Are you converted?" "No:" he replied, "I never thought much about those things." "Well," I said, "I do not think that you can be cured, and I think it is about time you got ready for the march." Thank God! he did get ready. He went into the Royal Infirmary, there found Jesus as his Saviour, and soon died, prepared to meet God.
Perhaps you will say, You are a funny doctor! Well! I think it is best to tell people the truth. If you do not want the truth, do not come to me. If you do not want the truth, spiritually, do not come back next Sunday, because we must have the truth. The truth is worth everything. And what is the truth? I was a lost sinner, and so are you, my friend. But by sovereign grace, I know what it is to be saved, or I would not be speaking to you this evening. I know what got into that old man's mind, after I told him the truth as to his body. It was this: I know perfectly well my days on earth are short, and I know I am not fit to meet God. I will lose no time; and he did not lose any time. He was a wise old man. I traced him out, and I heard of his evening days. In these he came to Jesus, and passed away rejoicing in the Saviour's love. I will tell you what it is, my friend, you may not have a malady, that will cut you off so quickly, but you are nothing more nor less than a target for death to shoot his arrows at. And I should not wonder if the archer, Death, were standing, the string of his bow drawn tight with arrow set, and that, ere the morning light, that arrow may have found its target in your heart, and that you have passed into eternity. Tell me, into what kind of eternity would you go, if tomorrow found you there? Whether you are an old man, or a young man, a man gone o'er the summit of life's hill, or a man in the heyday of youth, I put it to you, Are you ready? Not unless you have come to Jesus! If you have come to Jesus, then, thank God, you are ready; you are saved. "For the Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which was lost." It is a great thing for the soul to discover, I am lost. It must be learned sooner or later. The truth must do its work in the soul.
I do not dislike the idea of being lost, and there is no hardship in hearing that truth, when along with it I hear these words, "The Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which is lost." If a man were told that he was lost, and that there was no Saviour, it would be bitter indeed. If there were not a single chance of my returning to God, and if there were no Redeemer, and no redemption, it would be bitter, and bad, my friend; but God tells me I am a lost man in one breath, and in the next, He presents to me a loving, living Saviour. That is the very thing I want. What I need, as a lost sinner, is what the grace of God provides for me — a Saviour. And let me ask you, Did you ever think calmly that the blessed Son of God left the realms of glory, and came into this world to seek you and me? Did you ever ask Him to come? He tells us He came to seek, and to save, that which was lost. It was His own heart that brought Him. His love prompted Him: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16). The blessed Son of God became a man, and came into this scene to seek, and to save, that which was lost. Glorious tidings! And, has He not sought you, worldly man, time and again? Does He not seek to attract you to Him now? I will tell you what has happened. You have hitherto managed to evade His grasp; you have eluded Him; you have kept Him at arm's length. Do you think you are wise; do you think you evince wisdom by this?
It is a startling thing to say, but I know well its truth, that if you draw near to a worldly man, to tell him about God's salvation, he will avoid you. He will shrink from you, as though he feared you wished to infect him with small-pox, or some other terrible disease. This only brings out the real state of the heart, and the blinding, deadening power of sin. It only shows where the sinner is with regard to the Lord.
On the other hand, Christ is the joy of the believer's heart, and there is nothing sweeter to his ear than to hear about Him. If I meet you, and it turns out that I know some intimate friend of yours, who is also a great friend of mine, why, at once, there is a bond of union linking us together. I am a Christian, and every Christian is my brother. I was walking down Leith Walk some time ago, when I overtook two men. One of them remarked as I passed, "It is sweet to hear of Jesus." I was pinned to the spot. Jesus! why, that was the name of my Saviour. I confess I was arrested. I said to myself, These men must be two of my brethren, two of the same family as myself. If you meet a Christian in a tram, or a train, your heart begins to warm up immediately. You say, But my heart does not warm up. No, of course not; you are not a Christian. That is the reason. I will tell you why; you have never learned His grace to you as a lost sinner, but when you learn that He has saved you, a wonderful change will take place.
"For the Son of Man is come to seek, and to save, that which was lost." How does He save? He saves by His death; He saves by the work He accomplished for us on the cross. The only way we can be saved is through the death of the Saviour. Sin is on us; we have all sinned, and our sins must bring us into judgment. But what has taken place? The blessed Lord Jesus Christ has gone to the cross, and borne our sins, and the judgment of God, in respect of sin that He may bring us to God, through the work that He alone could accomplish. It is wonderful news, that the "Son of Man came to seek, and to save, that which was lost."
You do not know how the Lord loves you, how He longs for you. He wants to save you this night; will you let Him? Will you have Him? He has come to seek, and to save, that which was lost. If there be a lost soul here tonight, one consciously lost, you may have Him. But you say, How can I have Him? Let Zaccheus show you the way. It was in a very simple way that he came to Jesus. He was a rich man; chief among the publicans; a kind of commissioner of customs or of taxes. He was evidently a high-placed official, but the publicans, or tax-gatherers, were not loved in those days, nor are they loved in ours. This man desired to see Jesus. His riches did not satisfy him. He knew there was something wanting, something lacking. Jesus had passed that way before, but he had missed Him. Just before this, Jesus had opened the eyes of the blind man, and this rich man said in his heart, I would like to see Him. That is a striking word — "He sought to see Jesus, who he was" (Luke 19:3). The man was in earnest. There is no doubt of that. Do you want to see Jesus? Jesus was the point of attraction for Zaccheus. It was Jesus whom he longed to behold. Say, have you beheld Him? You have heard plenty about Jesus; have you ever seen Him? Oh, no! you say, we cannot see Him now. If you had faith, faith in the blessed Son of God, He would become a reality to you. Faith sees Jesus; faith knows Jesus. There is nothing more real than this knowing Jesus. It is a far more real thing to know the Lord Jesus Christ, than to know anybody else in this world, and to know Him is eternal life.
Zaccheus wanted to see Jesus, "and could not for the press, because he was little of stature." Is that always the case? Invariably. The devil will always do his best to hinder a Christ-seeker. If any man says, I would like to be a Christian, I would like to have Christ, I would like to know Christ, I would like to see Christ, what will be the effect? Why, the devil will put every possible obstacle in his way. Here it was "the press." What sort of press was it? It was a big crowd that day, and Zaccheus was a little man; and I have no doubt the devil suggested to him that a little man like he could never see over the heads of the big people; and if he had not been in downright earnest, he would have said, "Here are hundreds of people gathered, this is not the time to see Him, and I will wait another opportunity." But no, Zaccheus is in downright earnest, so he clears out of the crowd. He sees ahead a sycamore tree, and do you think the devil helped him to get up that sycamore tree that day? I do not think so. In his earnestness Zaccheus had said, I want Him; I must go to Jesus; I desire to see Jesus; and I will see Him, if I have to go up that sycamore tree to accomplish my wish. I think I can see Zaccheus. Then the devil comes along and says: "Zaccheus, if you go up that sycamore tree everybody will laugh at you. You know you are unpopular; you are a tax-gatherer, and it is a most odious tax you have to gather — the Roman tax. You had better not do it." "Never mind," says Zaccheus, "I am in earnest this time; I missed Him the last time. I will see Him this time." And what do I read now? "And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him" (ver. 4).
He cleared the difficulty, and got out of the crowd. I admire him! Look here, young man, what is your crowd — your difficulty? Your difficulty in becoming a Christian is this, "What would my fellows say? What would my classmates say, if I were to become a Christian? They would laugh at me." Never mind that. When I was converted, my old companions had plenty of laughing at me; but I said to them, "My dear fellows, I have the best of it, depend upon it. I have Christ for time and eternity. I am safe for time and eternity. I am happy for time and eternity. You may laugh as you please, but, thank God, when you will be just finishing with the things of this world, and will have nothing but 'the wages of sin' for eternity, I shall be just beginning my joy." My dear friends, that is how the devil tries to hinder a man. Sometimes he says he would not hold out to the end; or, again, that he would not be able to stand against the mockery of his fellows; or, again, he suggests that he would be a contemptible fellow if he began to follow Christ, and did not hold out. In that way the devil seeks to hinder your blessing. Heed him not. My friend, you must get out from all this press; I implore you, break from the press. There is a man in this room who is anxious, but the devil says to him, "Your prospects would suffer, you must not be a Christian." I reply, "Better lose your prospects than lose your soul." "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36, 37).
Well, Zaccheus got away from the press; he wriggled out of it. He got clear of the thing that entangled him. If there be a convicted sinner here, who wants Christ, I will tell you what that man will do. In his heart he will say in the presence of God, "I will get out of the crowd; I will get clean away from all that hinders me." Zaccheus was a man with downright earnestness about him. He ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus. He just cleared out of the press. Every soul really has to do similarly.
The night I was converted, there was an awful press on my soul; I will tell you what it was. It was just a week before Christmas, and I was engaged to go down from London to Devon, because I had to sing at a concert during the holidays. This was the point; I was pledged to sing the comic songs, and the devil said to me, "You cannot go and sing comic songs if you become a Christian." I thought it was rather indecorous, and I said to myself, "How can I decide for Christ, and then go and sing comic songs?" Then the devil suggested, that I should put off deciding to be a Christian for a fortnight, that I could well defer for that short time, could go and redeem my pledge, and then return to town and be a Christian. I can tell you that he pressed this procrastination strenuously. However, I am glad to say that I came to the Lord that night.
"And what did you do about the concert?" I hear some one saying. I wrote to the conductor saying that I was converted, and that if I came down to the concert, I must sing about Christ; and I was afraid that would damage the success of his concert. People asked why I was not at the concert, and the conductor let out that I had been converted, and then my old friends said that I was gone wrong in my head. But no, dear friends, the truth was that I had got right in my heart. I was not wrong in the head then, nor am I now, as I speak the truth in love to your souls, and say that I want you for Christ. I want every one here tonight, by the grace of God to say, I will be for Christ. You would never regret it. I have been seven-and-thirty years on the road to glory now, and I have never repented of my decision for Christ for one solitary second. Repented it! Why, it is the grandest thing under the sun to be a Christian. If you are not a Christian, you may well be ashamed of yourself.
Now Zaccheus was in earnest, and would to God that you too were in earnest. I have no doubt that he got up into the tree with the thought in his heart, I hope nobody will see me. That is what our hearts say at the first, till we get into the enjoyment of the grace of Christ Then, when the love of God is enjoyed, and His salvation known, we want to tell everybody about it. That is always the way. When a man really gets to know Christ as his Saviour, then he wants to let everybody know about it
What happened next? When Jesus got to the spot, He looked up, and saw him. Zaccheus hoped nobody would see him. He sought to see Jesus, and as He moved along in the crowd his wish was gratified; he saw the Saviour. Happy man. At that moment Jesus "looked up, and saw him" (ver. 5). Ah! friend, He has His eye upon you also. Jesus saw him, and then said, "Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house" (Luke 19:5). He knew what was in Zaccheus' heart. He knows what is in your heart; He knows exactly what you want, what you desire. He knows you want Him? Do you want to be His? Do you want to be washed in His blood? Then you will break through the press to get at Him.
"Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house." That is a lovely word, "Today!" Ah, friend, do not despise it. Today! That is just now, where you sit at this moment, and the blessed Saviour says to you, "Today I must abide at thy house." He wants your heart for Himself. He wants your heart filled with the knowledge of His own grace, and calls to you to "make haste, and come down, for today I" — Jesus, the Saviour — "must abide at thy house." Is not that sweet? I, Jesus, the living, loving Saviour, must abide at thy house. What then did Zaccheus do? "And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully." Do not you put it off. Do not you delay till the morrow. Do not you say, I will think about it; I will give it my best consideration; I will ponder the matter carefully, I would like to be a Christian some day.
Stop, my friend, this will not suffice. The Lord says, Today! If you put it off till another day your fate may be that of a lady, who had been prevailed upon to go to the theatre to hear a well-known preacher. The realities of eternity were brought before her soul, and she was deeply impressed, for her diary revealed that she meant to turn to the Lord. After relating that she had been to the theatre, hearing So-and-so preach, her diary of that day contained these words, "I am determined, this day twelvemonth, to give up the world, and yield up my heart to Christ, and become a Christian." But conscience was not satisfied with twelve months. The delay of twelve months for an immortal soul is a heavy risk, depend upon it. Underneath was written, "This day, six months. I am determined to give up the world and become Christ's, and yield my heart to Christ." Apparently her conscience would not give her peace, and a third time she recorded her decision. This time she wrote, "This day month I am determined to give up the world, and give my heart to Christ." Her conscience was apparently dulled by the prospect of decision within thirty-one days, and she retired to bed. Next morning that lady was found dead in her bed. God says to you, dear friends, "Today." Jesus says, "This day." "Make haste, and come down, for today I must abide at thy house."
And what response did Zaccheus make? We read, "He made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully" (ver. 6). Blessed action. Blessed decision. "He received him joyfully."
And how may we receive Him? you ask. He is not here on earth as He was then, and we cannot receive Him in the same way as Zaccheus did. If you want to receive Him, the Word of God tells us the way: "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). The way we receive Jesus is by believing on His name. If you want to receive Him, He is willing to receive you. You believe on His name, and Christ is yours, and you are Christ's.
But the bough of a sycamore tree is too far away from Christ, and Zaccheus is bidden to come down. His heart is obedient to the call, and he comes down, and receives Him joyfully. The people murmured that He was gone to be the guest of a man that was a sinner. I would like you to take up this position of obedience to Him tonight, and what would be the result? You will hear. What is said here? "This day is salvation come to this house." The moment the will is bent to Jesus, the moment the sinner's heart is bowed at the Saviour's feet, then comes this word to the conscience, "This day is salvation come to this house." It is a present salvation, because it is God's salvation wrapped up in the person of Jesus. This day is salvation come to this house. It is a present salvation; a perfect salvation; a personal salvation. It is a salvation wrapped up in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the moment you receive Jesus, you are a saved person. You have received God's salvation. What a treasure to have in a world of death. Death has dominion over the believer no longer.
The man who receives Jesus receives eternal life on the very spot where he is, and the Saviour whispers to him, "This day is salvation come," not coming. There are a great many people who say, Salvation is coming. I beg your pardon; salvation has come. I will tell you what is coming; judgment is coming. Salvation has come in the Person of Christ, and the man who receives Christ has salvation. Can anything be more simple? "This day is salvation come to this house." The heart that receives Jesus can sing, I have a Saviour. Do not be afraid to confess Him. The difficulty that many a soul has to contend with, is confessing that you have received Christ. You do not need to wait till tomorrow morning to confess Him. You have the feeling, that if you confess Him tomorrow, men will laugh at you. Never mind that; who cares for that? He is a poor weak sort of a man that cannot stand something for Christ's sake. He is a very poor fellow that cannot stand up for Christ, and take his stand for Jesus in this world. Mark, for your soul to simply say, I am on the Lord's side, is to find that the Lord will sustain you, and you will find He will help you. Is there such a young man in this room tonight? God be praised for every man who stands for Jesus, and may you be able to stand for Jesus tonight. You will then find what Zaccheus found. The Saviour had found the sinner, and saved him. The sinner had received the Saviour joyfully. Each found just what he sought, and each had joy in the possession of the other. Have you sought and found the Saviour yet?
"If I could find the oldest heart,
That longest has withstood
The wooings of Almighty love, —
My Saviour could and would
Forgive the awful life of sin,
And take the aged offender in —
My Saviour could and would.
If I could find the hardest heart,
Receiving only good,
And yet returning only ill, —
My Saviour could and would,
With one sweet glance of patient love,
The hardened rebel's spirit move —
My Saviour could and would.
If I could find the coldest heart,
And in its coldest mood,
A stone beneath the brooding wings, —
My Saviour could and would
Put warmth into the icy thing,
And give it life and give it wing —
My Saviour could and would.
If dark despair had sealed the heart,
And like a sentry stood,
And cried, 'Life is impossible!'
My Saviour could and would —
He could give life, for He has died;
He would give life, though all denied —
My Saviour could and would.
My heart is charmed to sing this song;
And if perchance it should
Prove music to a hopeless one,
My Saviour could and would
That hopeless one this hour forgive,
If but God's message he believe —
My Saviour could and would."