I apologize, I have once again become very lazy in coming out with posts. I've been a little busy, but most definitely not busy as I say I've been, that much is for certain. The post on this sermon comes from almost three weeks ago. Of course, I did lose my notes and my Bible for a time, but they were found on Sunday. :)
Anyway, this sermon focuses in on the beginning of Luke chapter 15. Primarily the two parables: The Lost Sheep, and the Lost Coin. Unfortunately, I feel like it's a bit too long to put up here, so I would ask of you to look up Luke 15: 1-10. If you do not have a Bible, just Google it, and that should take care of it. :)
Really, so many sermons of different types can be preached from Chapter 15. SO many. Lots. But we see several things in just the first little verses of the selection. The focus that we'll take is looking at how God goes to great effort to seek and find the lost...and that He really REJOICES when the Lost have been Found.
I. Sinners Are Lost Until God Finds Them.
Pay attention the seemingly Biblical description of Sinners here: They are Lost, not unsaved. It's not that everyone is just 'unsaved'. We are all God's, and we were before. But our society has rebelled against and forgotten.
Look at the Pharisees' comment when they see Him receiving 'sinners' and 'tax collectors'. They GRUMBLE and COMPLAIN. I believe you see several different things in Jesus' response. Oh how I wish Luke could have gone into more detail about HOW Jesus responded. When I read over his response in the parable, I just feel as if He seems to be laughing at their complaints. I also think that verse four holds some interesting stuff.
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?"
I believe that in saying this, Jesus gets a little bit more into their hearts. They don't really care for anyone...they don't care about the sinners and tax collectors around them. In their eyes, they are just 'filth'. But that's not how Jesus sees them. It almost seems as if Jesus is asking a sarcastic question...saying that this OUGHT to be the way they go about things...but yet they don't. And if they don't...what does that say of them to everyone else? They're heartless, and cold. So many times, we act like this: Heartless and cold, not really caring. We say we do, but we don't really...and we become self righteous. (Which we'll get into more with the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which will be the next blog post. :)).
Another thing that the Pharisees may be thinking: It's just one sheep, you have ninety-nine others. Why is the absence of one such a big deal? But Jesus says it is. He cares more for the one that is lost then the ninety-nine that are found and safe. The other thing is that sheep are 'dumb'. They can't find their way back to their master, the master must go and find the sheep. In the same way, we are represented as sheep, my friends. We are unable to find our way back to Him...but that doesn't stop Him from coming after us.
Which leads us to our second point:
II. God Goes To GREAT Effort To Seek Lost Sinners.
It even went to the point where He gave His very LIFE for us to be found. What Love is this? What Grace is this? Too much for my weak-willed mind to understand or fully define. Let's take a look at both of the Parables at the same time.
What does the Shepherd and the woman do similarly?
Well, they both search UNTIL they have found what they're looking for. They don't ever give up, or rest. They constantly work at pursuing and seeking...until they have found it. In the same way, my friends...That's how Jesus comes after us. He won't give up, and He will keep after us, even if we try to get further away from Him. Aye, you could even say that Jesus used these two examples to try and describe how He cares for us: But I tell you, although it's a GREAT illustration...it really doesn't even completely cover it, it just gives us an idea. How great my friends, is this idea?
He takes the initiative in seeking us, and as I've already pointed out, it doesn't matter to Him the personal cost of this search. This then gets us to our third point:
III. God Rejoices Greatly When Lost Sinners Come To Repentance.
We will see more of this in the following post on the Prodigal Son. But we still see it here as well: The Pharisees care nothing about those being found. They think that they're found and they're in the right, but that's just the point: They've deceived themselves into thinking that they are one of the elect, when really, they're just as lost as anyone else is.
The real call for those of us who are already Christians is this: Jesus rejoices greatly when the Lost are Found. He invites us to take part in that joy. He also invites us to take part in the search for Lost souls.
How joyful were we when we were found? I've grown up a Christian myself...but I never really understood how sinful I was until last year. I experienced a joy that one can't really even fathom...and when others are found by Christ, that'll be their reaction. Don't we want to be a part of that search? Don't we want to come alongside them and rejoice with them?
Here's something else: Even our great joy at being saved and found cannot even come close to the joy that God has in finding us! He is in rejoicing of an amount that no word or picture can accurately describe. He wants us to taste that joy by sharing His heart for the Lost. When we see His heart for the Lost accurately, it's really powerful. Desiring to follow and be like our Lord...we can't get such a heart as His, but we can imitate it to the best of our abilities.
We are represented by the sheep: We aren't of really true value. But then we're also represented by a coin: Not that WE are precious, but God DEEMS us as precious. To Him, we're all precious. No matter who you are and what you have done...You're precious to Him. Us sinners of evil and filth, (and I deem myself really high on the list of the worst) are precious to Him. Mind blown.