Chardon church of Christ

Sermons from the Chardon church of Christ

The Lost Son

Posted by Chardon in Luke 15

The Lost Son

Luke 15:11-32

 

INTRO:

Good evening.   We continue our look at the parables.   Tonight we will look at the parable of ‘The Lost Son’ which is found in Luke 15:11-32. Also we are going to sum up the parables of “The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin” as we go along.

Usually we read the text together before the lesson but this evening it’s a lengthy text so we’re just going to read it as we go along.

Most people know the parable of “The Lost Son” pretty well, yet before we make some applications with this parable let’s look at the background to it.

 

Under Jewish Law the terms by which a father assigned his inheritance was quite specific.   How specific?   Let’s look at part of the law in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 21:15-17 – “15. "If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, and they have borne him children, both the loved and the unloved, and if the firstborn son is of her who is unloved, 16. "then it shall be, on the day he bequeaths his possessions to his sons, that he must not bestow firstborn status on the son of the loved wife in preference to the son of the unloved, who is truly the firstborn. 17. "But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

 

Deuteronomy 21:17 suggests that typically the eldest son received two shares and other sons one each. A father could, by virtue of a testament, designate a younger son as the “firstborn” and reassign the right to a double share to him. He could not do so, however, if he was married to multiple women and had previously chosen to “hate” (probably meaning “demote”) the mother of the biologically oldest son. In this case, the oldest retained the status of firstborn. Quite specific.

 

The first born is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

In other words with two sons, two thirds of the father’s property went to his firstborn son, and so the son who went away in the parable we’re going to read would only get one third of that inheritance.

 

  1. During Old Testament times a person didn’t have to wait until their father died to get their inheritance like they have to do today.   The father could them their share of his possessions while he was still alive.    In Luke 15:12 the younger son demanded his share of the inheritance from his father, he said, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.” He couldn’t wait.   He wanted his inheritance right there and then.

    1. The son in doing this was not being supportive of his father. In fact, in his request he was being callous and heartless.  What he’s saying to his father is, “Give me now the part of the estate that I’m going get when your dead anyway.”  That’s what he’s telling him.   He’s saying, “Give it to me now so that I can get out of here.”
    2. We know most children go through a rebellious stage at some point in their lives.  It’s usually when they are in their teens, and that’s possibly what’s happening here.  The younger son feels he’s been the baby of the family for long enough and now its time for him to strike out and go it alone.   As it is now, in those times this action carried some potential consequences.   Read verses 18-21 of Deuteronomy 21 if you are interested but we will not get into that in this lesson.
    3. Imagine this happened today, I’m sure most of us who have kids would certainly have a few things to say.  We wouldn’t let them go without at least a lecture on the world and morality, but I want you to notice how the father deals with the situation.  The text says at the end of verse 12 of Luke 15, “So he divided to them his livelihood.”
    4. He didn’t argue with his son, he didn’t try to persuade him otherwise, he simply let him go.  Why?  Why didn’t he give him a moral lecture as we might do?  We are not told, but as parents we might suspect the father let him go simply because he knew his son well enough to know that if his son was ever going to learn, he was going to have to learn the hard way. For some reason he gave in to his request, and some people are like that today. They will never learn unless they learn the hard way.
  2. The son gets his inheritance and in some way he has it in a portable form and he takes off.   Does he use it to obtain land and start his own farm?   No. Luke 15:13-15 – “13. "And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14. "But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15. "Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.”
    1. The young man squandered all his money. He was hungry and he was desperate. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. That’s what happened here.

      1. We might think, at least when times were hard for him, he got a job working with pigs.   To us that is ok, a way to survive.
      2. What we think of a pig is different to what the Jews thought of pigs.  In Leviticus 11:1-8 we find a list of animals that God has mentioned that the Israelites could not eat.   They are unclean animals.   In Leviticus 11:7-8 - God says; “7. `and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. 8. `Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you.”
      3. For us tending to a pig is no big deal but to a Jew, a pig was an unclean animal.   This was lower than low. To this young man this was the most degrading and humiliating task a Jew could ever do.
    2. Despite his job he’s still hungry and lonely and nobody would help.
      1. Its then that the text says in Luke 15:16 that “he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.”
      2. Did you ever run away from home? I sort of did.   I told mother I was running away, she packed a peanut butter and honey sandwich for me, told me to be careful on the barb wire and off I went.   Did I mention I was quite young?   Anyway, I went to the woods, we had nearly 190 acres with three stands of timber.   I got distracted at the first woods at a small pond. Spent time watching frogs, trying to catch tadpoles and then headed for the second woods.   I ate my sandwich there and explored some. By the time I got to the third woods my little legs were tired.   I was thirsty so I headed out of the woods to the blackberry patch in the open fields.   There were some ripe berries and I’m sure I made a mess, but I was still thirsty, so I ended up going home because I knew there would be water there. When I got home, mother gave me a glass of cold well water which I drank right down. The crazy thing was my parents never said a word about my saying I was running away.
      3. I turned around because of my need, I was thirsty.  In a very true sense that’s what happened to the younger son.  He knew he was better off at home because his father would take care of his needs.
      4. When things weren’t going according to plan, he ended up in a pigpen and then he realized what was happening.  Luke 15:17 – “But when he came to himself, he said, `How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!”
    3. I suspect that is a lesson for the church.   We know we can’t force people to stay faithful.   We can’t make Christians go to worship and attend all the services.   Guilt trips can only go so far with some people.
      1. Sometimes, we need to let people go and learn by their mistakes, so that they can come to their senses.
      2. They need to see what they lost when they were in fellowship with God and His people.   Let them see that they have made a mistake by leaving in the first place.
    4. The younger brother realized he was better off at home. He knew that there would be food at home.  He even knew that his father’s servants would have food left over and he worked out what he would say to his father when he got back home.
      1. Luke 15:18-19 – “18. `I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19. and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.''” That took courage. Yet to reach that point the young man had to be humbled. He had to learn true humility. This was true humility that the younger brother showed in verse 19 because he intended to ask his father to take him back as a hired servant, not as a son.
      2. We need to know that there is a difference between a hired servant and an ordinary servant.  The ordinary servant was in some sense like a member of the family, they had a place, but the hired servant could be dismissed at a days notice. He wasn’t part of the family because a hired servant only worked one day at a time.  He had no guarantee of employment, he lived day to day.
    5. Think about what he’s done and what he’s doing?  He left home as a son and he’s willing to return as lowly day laborer.  
      1. I suspect He didn’t just get a few things as an inheritance.   His father was likely quite successful. I base that on inference that he had full time servants and part time servants.   That was a sign of wealth back then.
      2. This was time for humility.   It’s time for submission.   It’s time for swallowing his pride.
  • Let’s take a closer look at what he did.  First of all, the text says in Luke 15:17 that, “He came to his senses.”

    1. In other words, he was out of his mind when he left his father’s house.   It’s only now that he truly sees himself for the first time.
    2. Folks, it’s never easy taking a close look at yourself, is it?   It’s never easy and sometimes what you see are some very scary facts you would rather not see.
    3. When he comes to his senses, that’s the point in which he is starts his return journey back to his father.
  1. Second, he says in Luke 15:18 that, “I will arise and go”

    1. When he left home, he did not have the intention of coming back.   He was only looking forward to the pleasure and “freedom” he thought he saw and wanted for himself.   Now that he saw himself more clearly, he saw his father in a different light.
    2. That’s something else we need to remember. When you look at yourself clearly, your opinion of other people changes too, doesn’t it?
  2. Third it says in Luke 15:20 that, “he arose and came to his father”. When circumstances woke him up, he didn’t hesitate.   He just got up and went.
    1. There was no thinking time between the saying and doing.  His mind was made up and he did not waver or change his mind.
    2. When we think about it, there are many people in the world today who aren’t Christians who are caught between the saying and the doing.  They’re saying, but not doing. That is not where he is.
  3. Fourth, in Luke 15:21 he says, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
    1. This is his confession.   When he reached a decision to return to his father, he already had his confession prepared.    Notice his confession. There’s no messing around with words. There’s no excuse for what he had done.
    2. He speaks the truth, “'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.”
  4. In the parables of “The lost sheep, The lost coin and The lost son”, Jesus teaches us a great deal about mankind.   Jesus teaches us that men are lost.  It’s interesting that Jesus very seldom called men “sinners”, but rather He spoke of them as being lost.  
    1. When Jesus is sending out the twelve, He tells them not to go to the Gentiles or to any Samaritan towns, but He tells them in Matthew 10:6 “Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.”[para]
    2. When Jesus disciples were being harassed by a woman who had a demon possessed daughter, Jesus said in Matthew 15:24“I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”[NKJV]  
    3. Jesus isn’t saying that He counted them as moral wretches or outlaws in headstrong rebellion against God, but simply that people were misguided.
      1. They were people that were disillusioned and needed to get back on the right road.
      2. There are still people like that today, aren’t there?    They are lost like “The sheep” described in Luke 15:3-7.  They are not consciously revolting against God, not fighting against His church. They simply slip away from Him step by step.   They wander off in search of what they are attracted to, greener grass, something more attractive then what they have, something they think will satisfy.
      3. The son here was like that.   In his view of the world what was out there was calling to him, dragging his mind away from home and family.   We see this all the time in youth.
      4. Hebrews 2:1 – “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.”  Saying it a different way; “We must pay more attention to what we have been taught, so that we do not drift away.”   That’s what happens to many Christians in the world today.  Many people do drift away. They slip away with the ebb and flow of the world and become spiritually numb.
    4. People are also like “The coin” described in Luke 15:8-10.   Although there is a difference between coins and people, the coin was lost through no fault of its own, but with men there is always the responsibility of choice that governs their destiny.
      1. The coin was lost in a sense that a man could never be.   Yet it is true that many people’s lives are wrecked not always because of their own fault, but because of the faults of other people that they become lost.
      2. Finally, some people are like “The lost son,” which we are studying this evening.  We talked about pride and “Self” before.   We all know that “Self”, (pride), can lead to sin and it’s the downfall of many a soul.
      3. Many people deliberately, with their eyes wide open, forsake the Lord and go off on their own.
      4. Folks, this is the essence of sin—to desire to please “Self” despite of its consequences; to do what one wants to do regardless of the feelings of others.    That’s the core of sin. Instead of pursuing the will of God, they pursue the will of “Self” just like this young man did when he left his father.
    5. Let’s take another look at the younger son.   He was lost but he also lost some things.
      1. He lost the fellowship of his father and the comfort of his home.

        1. Think about it, he had lived in a home with family and servants to wait on him, hired hands to assist.
        2. He had the best father a son could have, but all these things meant nothing to him until he was left friendless in a strange land.
        3. Although he knew what his father was like, he still went off to a far-off country and ended up in a pigpen.
        4. He was out of the reach of his father. He lost the fellowship with his father.
      2. He lost something else too, he lost his self-esteem.  He left home full of self-esteem and confidence, head held high in self-worth and ended up working in a field with some pigs.
        1. He threw away his family because of his pride and ended up with pigs.
        2. Have you ever been in a strange country or place where you don’t know anyone?  What he felt was probably worse, unknown, unneeded, unwanted and unloved in a far-off country where nothing is familiar.
        3. He also lost everything he had.  Luke 15:14 tells us “He spent everything he had” [para].  It’s amazing how the inheritance that he received so easily, was so easily squandered.
        4. Easy come, easy go as some may say.   Folks, he lost it all.   He lost everything.    He had no real friends, no real pleasures, no real freedom, no real independence and no real pride, he lost everything.  Now he’s in a mess.
      3. I wonder how the congregation would deal with someone who went off and lived like this and then came to their senses and came back home?
        1. You see, the shepherd with the sheep, the woman with the coin, the father with the son, were filled with great joy when they gained again what had been lost.
        2. That’s because God is kind and He is more understanding than we will ever be.  He feels deep in His heart the joy of joys when one wanderer returns home.
        3. This is obvious in Luke 15:20-24 – “20…. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21. "And the son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22. "But the father said to his servants, `Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23. `And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24. `for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.” Folks, that’s the example the church must follow.  No moral lectures, no making them feel inferior when they return—just pure joy.
      4. Then we come to the part in the parable that I don’t like.  I wished I could just leave it there in verse 24 because that’s a happy ending, but sadly it doesn’t work that way.
        1. God has more for us. There are some serious lessons we can learn from this older brother’s reactions. The older son was saved but lost.

          1. Luke 15:25-28 – “25. "Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26. "So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27. "And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.' 28. "But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.”
          2. You see, the older brother was a self-righteous kind of man.   He could find nothing good in the life of his brother.   Everything his brother had done was bad, but as for him, he was proud of himself and proud of his life.
        2. He said to his father in Luke 15:29 and I paraphrase, “'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.”
          1. He was very proud, and he was very much like the Pharisees who started Jesus off on these parables by accusing Jesus of associating with and receiving sinners.
          2. The older brother was so jealous he wouldn’t even go inside and greet his brother.   He decided to stay outside the house and throw himself a pity party.
          3. He decided to sulk. He says to his father at the end of verse 29, “yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.” You can almost hear the self-righteousness in these words. He’s full of pride.
          4. Most of all, the older brother was just heartless.    He wasn’t happy at all that his brother had come home.   He would probably be happier if his brother had been beaten up and kicked out.
            1. It’s a bit like the woman who went to the police station with her next-door neighbor to report that her husband was missing.
            2. The police officer asked for a description.
  • She said, "He's thirty-five years old, six foot two, has dark eyes, dark wavy hair, an athletic build, weighs 180 pounds, is soft-spoken, and is good to the children."
  1. The next-door neighbor protested, "Wait a minute! Your husband is five foot four, chubby, bald, has a big mouth, and is mean to your children."
  2. The wife replied, "Sure, but who wants HIM back?"
  1. That was the attitude of the older brother—“Who wants him back!”
  1. Luke 15:30 says, “But as soon as this son of yours (notice he didn’t say my brother) came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.” He was jealous and heartless. All he cared about was about himself. He was also disrespectful to his father with these words.
  2. He was angry and jealous, self-righteous even when his father says to him in Luke 15:31 – “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”
    1. In other words, your brother has squandered all that was his, but you’ve still got your inheritance.
    2. In fact, it is likely twice as much as his brother had, but he still didn’t want to listen.   He was hurting himself without realizing it.
    3. An illustration. It’s a bit like little Johnny who went to the army surplus store one day and bought a grenade, not knowing it was a practice grenade.
    4. He strapped it to his waist. His friend asked why he did this. Johnny said, “There’s this guy who keeps picking on me and if he pushes me today, he’s going to blow off his hand.”  He’s not thinking straight. He needs to come to his senses.
    5. Even when his father tells him in Luke 15:32 “It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive, and was lost and is found”.  Even then, his anger took hold of him.
    6. He just couldn’t see that if his father had gained a son, he had gained a brother.
  3. His whole attitude shows us that his years of obedience to his father had been years of grim duty and not loving service.  There’s not a sympathetic bone in his body, and notice again that he refers to his brother, not as “My brother” but as “Your son.”

 

CONCLUSION:

The lesson from this parable is severe.  You don’t necessarily have to go on a long journey to leave God.  You can stay at home and not know your father and not know your father’s heart even though you’re still at home.  You can be lost at home just as you can anywhere else in the world.  God’s attitude is seen in the diligent search of the shepherd and woman in the other two parables I mentioned earlier.  Because it’s one thing to accept a sinner but it’s another thing to go out and look for them.

 

Once again Jesus is revealing an amazing truth here, and the truth is that it is easier to confess to God than it is to many a man.  The truth is that God is far more merciful in His judgments than we will ever be with our fellow man.  The truth is that the love of God is far broader than the love we have for each other.

 

When we’re faced with a love like that then we are lost in wonder, lost in love and praise.   The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law would have said, “Who cares its just one lost sheep.”   Jesus would say, “Rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep.”

 

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law would have said, “What’s a coin, it’s just a coin.” Jesus would say, “Rejoice with me I have found my lost coin.”

 

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law would have said, “Cancel the party and throw him out.”  Jesus would say and still says today, “We are to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'" That’s love, that’s forgiveness, that’s worth rejoicing.

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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins… If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

 

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

 

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Reference Sermon

Mike Glover

The Lost Coin

Posted by Chardon in Luke 15

The Lost Coin

Luke 15:8-10

 

INTRO:

Good evening.   We will continue our look at the parables and we are going to look at the parable of ‘The Lost Coin’ this evening which is found in Luke 15:8-10.

 

First though I must tell you this story I came across about little Johnny.   Little Johnny’s mother and father had just finished tucking the children into bed one evening when they heard sobbing coming from three-year-old Johnny’s room.

Rushing to his side, they found him crying hysterically.

He had accidentally swallowed a penny and was sure he was going to die.

No amount of talking could change his mind.

Desperate to calm him, his father palmed a penny that he happened to have in his pocket and pretended to pull it from Johnny’s ear.

Little Johnny was delighted. In a flash, he snatched it from his father’s hand, swallowed it and demanded cheerfully, "Do it again, daddy!"

 

Now usually when we have found something we lost, we are not anxious to lose it again, but some things do become lost again despite our care, including people.

 

The parable of “The lost coin” is closely related to “The parable of the lost sheep” which we looked at last week in Luke 15:3-7.  It’s also closely related to “The parable of the lost son” which is found in Luke 15:11-32.   We will look at that another time.

 

All three parables go together because they all come from the same source, they came from the same comment.   We read this comment in Luke 15:1-2 “Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

 

In other words, the parables are told to the Pharisees and the teachers of law who were condemning Jesus for associating with sinners.   What Jesus is doing in all three parables is explaining why He associates with these people.

 

  1. Turn with me to Luke 15:8-10 – “8. "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she finds it? 9. "And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!' 10. "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.''” Nina and I grew up on farms and hard money was not easy to get.   I recall riding my bicycle down Chillicothe and Cedar roads looking for bottles that people had tossed.   I would wash them under the cistern pump and turn them in at the general store for some change.   Nina recalls finding coins when walking and picking them up.   The other kids said if the found coin was tails up you would have bad luck, but she did not care, it was spendable, found tails up or heads up.  

    1. The coin in question here was likely a silver drachma, which by our standards is worth very little, but during Jesus’ time, this was worth a lot. It was equivalent to just over a day’s wage.  We can understand why this woman was so desperate to find the lost coin.   It meant the difference between eating and being hungry.  In those days, like some people in the world today, many people lived on the edge of things.

      1. In Matthew 20:1-16 Jesus told “The parable of the vineyard workers”.  And in that parable some of the men stood at the market place all day long, waiting for the opportunity to work.
      2. The opportunity to work stood between them eating and going hungry.   The coin was of importance and Jesus says at the end of Luke 15:8 that the woman, “swept the house and searched carefully until she found it.”
      3. In other words, she turned the house upside down looking for this coin because that coin was important to her.
      4. Remember that Jesus is talking about His relationship with sinners and tax collectors.
    2. Let’s look at this parable and see what we can find out.
  2. I’m going to start with something I rarely do and that is discussing a point that we are not told about.   People often do this with the Bible and in general I’m not a fan of it since it can lead to unprofitable speculation.   Nevertheless I’m going to ask us to consider; how was the coin lost?
    1. I strongly suspect that the woman herself lost the coin.  Maybe it was through stupidity, through carelessness or even neglect.  In any case the woman was likely responsible.

      1. It was her fault that the coin was lost so we can’t blame the coin, because the coin was lost through no direct fault of its own.
      2. Unlike the sheep which we looked at last week, which strayed and became lost through its own stupidity, the coin is completely passive.
      3. In other words the coin being lost was someone responsibility and not the fault of the coin.
    2. Have you ever been trying to watch a TV program but there’s a distraction in the house?  I recall one evening when I was trying to watch something and on the window was a fly, a big blue bottle fly, just buzzing around and around (preacher makes buzzing noise).  It was distracting me.
      1. The poor thing was trying to get out, but it couldn’t because it was powerless to do anything for itself.   It couldn’t open the window and fly to freedom. It couldn’t save itself.
      2. I had to open the window and let it go free.  I bet you thought I was going to say that I grabbed the flyswatter, weren’t you?   Chasing a fly around with the swatter was not in my plans, so I let it out, I had to help it because it couldn’t save itself.
      3. The point of the story is that the coin couldn’t save itself.   It could do nothing to save itself. Again, unlike the sheep, the coin couldn’t wander back.  It couldn’t shout out to the woman “Here, I am over here”.
      4. It’s a coin and couldn’t do that.   When you think about it, a coin wouldn’t even realize it was lost. The point I’m trying to make is that all the searching had to be done by someone else.
    3. Jesus says in Luke 19:10 – “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, God in the human form of Jesus Christ came on a search and rescue mission.  That’s what He did. He came to search for those that were lost and bring them to salvation.
      1. Folks, that includes us, that includes every single human being on this planet that is willing to let Him save them.
      2. Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”
  • In these parables so far, we have seen a sheep that gets itself lost and a coin that is lost due to some action or inaction of its owner.   That brings me to my next point. I want to ask you, how are people lost?

    1. It would be very easy to go off the mark with this parable and make every little detail mean something but we know every person faces judgment on their own deeds and every person who is lost is lost because of their own sin.   Remember that the coin is passive, people are not.  

      1. No person is lost just because of the sin of someone else.
      2. God put an end to that idea in Ezekiel 18:1-4 when He said, “1. The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 2. "What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: `The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'?”
      3. What is he saying there?   He is saying the proverb states that the children are being punished for what the fathers did.
      4. He goes on to say: “3. "As I live,'' says the Lord God, "you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. 4. "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.”
      5. In other words, you’re responsible for your own sins; you can’t go blaming others for your sin.   You can’t blame your father or your uncle.   You must take responsibility for your own sins.  
    2. You’ve probably heard of John Wesley, a very famous preacher in the UK many, many years ago. He worked among the coal miners in Cornwall.
      1. The story goes that during the days of John Wesley and concerning his work among the coal miners, whole villages were transformed from people that were gambling, swearing, and skipping assembly on the Lord’s Day, to men and women of sobriety and godliness.
      2. In many homes in Wales there was a picture of John Wesley, the man they all knew and loved.  The story goes that one day a stranger visited one of these humble homes and saw the picture hanging on the wall.  The visitor asked the man, “Whose picture is that?”  The old miner reverently lifted his hat and said, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”
      3. If you read the scriptures, you know what that means.
      4. John Wesley was a powerful influence in his time with the people he met.
      5. How powerful?   Well, many took up the work do to this man and the story is told of one who became a village minister in the south of Wales.   When this village minister passed on, a well-known Welsh preacher went to deliver the address at the funeral. Hundreds of miners assembled in silence around the grave, and these were the first words that fell upon their ears: "My brethren, the greatest obstacle on your road to hell has been removed."
    3. I wonder what sort of influence we have on others.   You see the influence we have on other people can determine where they spend eternity.  
      1. Yes a person’s sin is their own responsibility but I hope and pray that we realize the power we have to influence people.
      2. Titus tells us how we can influence other saints in the church, and that we can oppose those who oppose our teachings.  Titus 2:7-8 – “7. in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8. sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”
      3. Paul reminds us that it is the church that is to do the influencing not the world.  Ephesians 4:17-19 – “17. This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18. having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; 19. who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
    4. As Christians our lifestyles, teachings and beliefs should be the very things that influence the people around us, but we must be careful not to let it happen the other way around.
      1. What did Jesus say about you and salt?  Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth.” You’re not the salt in the worship place.   You’re not the salt of your house.
      2. Jesus says you’re not the salt sitting in a dish in this building; you’re the salt of the earth.   You need to go out and season and influence the people in your world with that salt.  Mix with the ungodly, influence them; season them until they become godly.
    5. Jesus also warned His disciples in Matthew 16:6 – “Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.''”.
      1. The word “leaven” is usually used in the Bible in terms of evil influence.
      2. That’s what Jesus meant in Matthew 23:15 when He tells them, “"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” The point is that people can influence people.   I believe we all know that.
    6. That’s what we do.   As Christians we should influence people for the good, but we need to be on our guard against the world influencing us with evil.
      1. Evil can come at us in many different forms.   It can come in the form of false teaching.  It can come in the form of lack of church attendance, from not taking time to be with fellow Christians and be encouraged.
      2. It can come in the form of lack of zeal in our study of God’s word. It can come in the form of a lax attitude towards sin.  Oh, God will forgive me—that sort of mentality.
      3. What happens if your influence helps someone to decide to become a Christian?   They are going to follow your example aren’t they?   What if you then become influenced by evil?
        1. The person following your example won’t think that the Bible is important, if you don’t think it’s important.
        2. They won’t think it is important to come to worship, to meet with other Christians, if you don’t think it’s important.
  • They won’t think it’s all that important to give up some sin in their lives, if you don’t think it’s important to give up the sin which is in your life.
  1. When we let the world influence our religion, our religion becomes worthless.  Just like the coin in the parable.   When a coin is lost, it becomes worthless.

    1. You know when a coin goes out of circulation it still has its basic worth.  In other words, a nickel lost is still worth 5 cents when found.   A dime lost is still worth 10 cents.   But any coin that is out of circulation, lost, is unusable.   It still has value but is unusable.  When a coin is lost, it becomes unusable.   Money is only good when it is usable, when it can be circulated.   When a person is lost their influence for good is lost.
    2. What Jesus is teaching us is that people could wear the name God, but were lost to God.    Their soul is still worth more than the whole world, but if their souls are not given to God, they’re lost.
  2. I’m going to read from Romans 1:18-21 – “18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19. because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21. because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
    1. What is Paul saying in these verses?   He is saying there are people who are lost, and they’re not even bothered about it.
    2. Why aren’t they bothered?   Because they don’t even recognize they are lost.  A woman looses one coin, so what, it’s a coin.
    3. The Scribes and Pharisees thought that way about sinners.  Why be bothered with the lowly, the outcast and the poor?  That was their attitude.
    4. You see, a coin may be just a coin and some people may not care if it is lost, but coins can have more than their monetary value.   Such was this coin to its owner.   So she got a lamp and lit it and searched the whole house to find that which was lost. The value was not in the coin itself but it what it could do for her and her family.  
  3. Let’s look at this another way.   How keen are we at searching for the lost?  Most of us are quite willing to search in the worship place.
    1. In other words we’re quite happy to sit here until some lost soul comes to us here in the building on a Sunday morning.  But what about outside? Remember we are His hands on earth.   What about the other 6 days of the week?
    2. A person doesn’t have to come to the building to find out about God, this is the place where we gather every week to worship our God.  
    3. I’m sure most of us have got friends who aren’t Christians.  Are we going to share the Gospel with people the other 6 days a week, or are we going to have the attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees?
    4. Are we going to say, “Why bother, they won’t listen anyway.”  You don’t know that, unless you’ve tried.
  4. I read of a survey conducted by Christians.  It was all about church growth and was given to over 10,000 Christians.   One question was, "What was responsible for your coming to Christ and His church?"  Here’s what they replied;
    1. 5 % said I attended a Gospel meeting.
    2. 1 % said I visited there.
    3. 2 % said I had a special need.
    4. 3 % said I just walked in.
    5. 3 % said I liked the program.
    6. 6 % said I like the minister.
    7. 5 % said I like the Bible classes.
    8. Take a guess about how 79 % of people came to Christ and became a Christian?   79% of people said they came to Christ and His church because a friend or relative invited them.
    9. With all the talks, discussions, sermons and studies on how to reach the lost, the most effective way is simply this, you talk to people and invite them.   In my own case, yes, I was looking, but I could not find.   If I had not been encouraged to come and taste by Nina, I might have gone on the rest of my life without finding. I class myself in that 79%.   Those who were fortunate enough to have parents or grandparents that brought them are in that 79% too.
  5. Jesus didn’t say, the preacher is the light of the world.   He said in Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.”  We all are.   We don’t need to share the Gospel with the world in one go.  Some people are frightened by that.  
    1. We don’t need to wait until there are 3 or 4 or 100 people around us to share the gospel with them.  We need to share the Gospel with people one at a time.
    2. 1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.”[para]  There is no set procedure for talking to people, no “formula”.   There are all sorts of ways to go about it.
    3. Some people are confrontational, up front, other people are nice and gentle.   It doesn’t matter as long as we’re using what God has given us.  

 

CONCLUSION:

I like this story a man who was walking along a beach, and he saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.    As he got closer, he saw thousands of starfish the tide had thrown onto the beach, unable to return to the ocean during low tide, the starfish were dying.  He observed a young man picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the water.  After watching this seemingly futile effort, the man said, "There must be thousands of starfish on this beach.  It would be impossible for you to get all of them.  There are simply too many.  You can't possibly save enough to make a difference."  The young man smiled picked up another starfish and tossed it back into the ocean and said, "It made a difference to that one."   Finding one lost sheep and returning it to the fold may not seem like much—unless you are that lost sheep.

 

We all want the church to grow.   For that to happen we need to plant the seed, one at a time, in the hearts of people outside.  As God gives us opportunity, we will water that seed, then God will cause the seed to grow and then He will add to our number.

When God does add to our number, it’s a time to rejoice.

 

A preacher in the UK related this story; “I remember when I lived in Scotland, I lost my wallet and so I cancelled all the credit cards and reported it to the police.

A few weeks later our daughter Roxanne was playing with her toys.   She was playing shops.

She had a little till and a little cupboard with all sorts of things in it.   And out from behind the till, Roxanne brings out my wallet. Roxanne had it all the time.

There was rejoicing in our house that night, and as I had £20:00 in that wallet that meant we could buy Chinese takeout.  We had the Chinese and celebrated.

Although we rejoiced, we didn’t go out in the street and rejoice with our neighbors, but the woman in the parable did.”

 

Luke 15:9 “And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.'” [para]

She was overwhelmed with joy, finding that lost coin was more important to her than the other 9 coins she didn’t lose.  Why? Because the other nine were already safe, she knew exactly where they were. They were in her possession.

Jesus goes on to say in Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."   God loves us and cares for us and gives us grace and peace and eternal life.  Nothing makes Him and the heavenly hosts happier than when someone who turns their back on their sinful lifestyle and turns toward God.

 

Hebrews 12:22 says, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly.” [para]

That’s what happens when a person decides to follow Jesus, thousands upon thousands of angels gather in joyful assembly.  Why, because when sinners repent and follow God’s ways, that’s worth celebrating.

 

When sinners say, ‘not my will be done, but His will be done’, that’s worth celebrating.

Let me encourage you this evening if you’re not a Christian, to talk to someone today about what it means to be a Christian.

Let me encourage you today to seriously think about becoming a follower of Christ.

Your decision to follow the Christ can give the saints, not just here, but all over the world and the angles in heaven a reason to rejoice with you.

Heaven will have a party because of your decision to follow Jesus.

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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins… If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

 

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

 

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Reference Sermon

Mike Glover

The Lost Sheep

Posted by Chardon in Luke 15

The Lost Sheep

Luke 15:3-7

 

INTRO:

Good evening.  This evening we will continue looking at the parables Jesus gave, and we will be in the 15th chapter of Luke.   It is probably one of the best-loved chapters in the Bible. Some people describe it as ‘The Gospel within the Gospel.’ Certainly, in many ways we have the Gospel in miniature in Luke 15.  As someone once said, ‘It contains the very distilled essence of the good news which Jesus had come to tell.’ In Luke 15 we find three parables of Jesus.

 

Before we get started, let me share with you a story I heard about a couple who just been married. They were on their honeymoon, the husband took his new wife by the hand and said, "Now that we're married, dear, I hope you won't mind if I mention a few little defects that I've noticed about you." To which his wife sweetly replied, "Not at all, it was those little defects that kept me from getting a better husband."

 

I suppose one might make the point that we can all see defects in other people at times, but we should never let those defects stop us from approaching them with the Gospel of Christ. In Luke 15, we find Jesus sharing His truths with our friends, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

 

Luke 15:1-2 - “Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them.''” This attitude is key to all of chapter 15 in the book of Luke.   All three parables come back to this attitude, this spirit. Have we ever had people doing that with us?

 

  1. Maybe we are talking with someone who is known as a drunkard and other people take note of it.  Maybe we are seen talking with an undesirable on the street and the people around take notice of you both. If we were to look over at them, we might see them whispering things about us because of the person we are speaking with. They might be saying things like, “If he only knew who he was talking to, if he only knew what kind of person that is.”  When we as Christians talk to anyone who doesn’t fit in with societies idea of acceptable, society takes it as an offence.

    1. Remember in Luke 7 when Jesus was invited into a Pharisees house, a woman comes in from the street and it’s clear that she is not welcome.  Jesus says to Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7:33, “Simon, do you see this woman?” That seems a strange question, how could he not see the woman? She’s right there in front of him. The problem was what Simon saw was a tramp, Simon saw a sinner, an unclean woman. Someone who wasn’t good enough by his perceived standards.
    2. Just like Simon many people in the world are offended when we say that the Gospel is for everyone, all kinds of people. That’s the sort of thing that’s going on here in Luke 15. It was an offence to the Jewish leaders that Jesus should be seen in association with the tax collectors and sinners.  
    3. By their own regulations, a Pharisee was forbidden to be the guest of any person they considered unclean. They were also forbidden to have these people as their guests. They weren’t allowed to have any dealings with tax collectors and sinners as far as it was possible. They couldn’t buy things from them or sell things to them. They were to try and avoid any contact with them whatsoever.
    4. By understanding the Pharisees’ thinking, we will see why they were shocked by Jesus’ actions. And they were not just shocked; they were shocked to the core because Jesus, who was teaching in their midst, wanted to spend time in the company of those outsiders.
    5. In their minds if you had anything to do to with those people you were guaranteed to be corrupted.  
    6. Their attitude wasn’t, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents,” but rather it was more on the order of; “There is joy in heaven when one sinner is obliterated by God.” They looked not to the saving of the sinner, but to the destruction of that sinner’s soul. It’s because these religious leaders considered themselves already in the fold which Jesus is about to mention. They should have been glad He was seeking those who were outside the fold.
    7. Let us look on at Luke 15:3-6 - “So He spoke this parable to them, saying:   "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.   "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'”
    8. This seems to me certainly one of the simplest of parables that Jesus ever taught.  In Judea at this time it was very easy for a sheep to go astray. The pastureland was in the hill country, which ran like a backbone down the middle of the land. This ridge-like plateau was very narrow, it was only a few miles across and at its best this pastureland was sparse, so the sheep were liable to wander.
    9. In their search for more grass they would wander off into little gullies and ravines and very often they could end up on some ledge where they couldn’t get up or down. All too often they would just stay there until they died.
    10. Here in this parable we have one of Jesus’ favorite depictions, the picture of a loving, caring shepherd who brought home the wanderer.  What I want to do today is share with you 5 small points from this parable about the love of God.  
  2. First, the love of God is an individual love.  What I mean by this is what Jesus says in Luke 15:4 - “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”  The 99 sheep were not enough for Jesus, His desire was to have all of them safe in the flock.  When one went wandering, He wasn’t going to rest until He brought it back home again.
    1. Jesus is telling us that He has a love to offer that’s not just for everyone, but a love especially for us. The Palestine shepherds, you see, were experts at tracking down their sheep and they could follow the tracks of their sheep for miles. They would go to any lengths to bring that sheep back.
    2. Jesus says the same thing in Matthew 18:12 - “"What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?” Think of it this way, we would do the same with our family members, wouldn’t we?
    3. No matter how big our family is, if one of them goes astray, we would all go to great lengths to find them and bring them back to safety. When we listen to the news on TV about someone who has a missing family member, they send out pleas for help to find them, some even offer a reward to anyone who can help find the missing one.
    4. My point is like this, even if someone has 10 children, if one goes missing, that’s one that they cannot do without.  That’s because there is not one - who doesn’t matter.
    5. Our God is like that, He’s not happy until the last one is gathered in. Remember what Paul says in; 1 Timothy 1:15 - “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Paul is saying when he recognized that he was a sinner; he also understood that God’s love was an individual love. If you’re not a Christian, then God wants to offer that same individual love to you today.
  • Point 2. The love of God is a patient love. We all know how stupid sheep are, they are such foolish creatures. If you don’t know, I certainly will confirm it as we raised many on our farm. To a degree a sheep has no one but itself to blame for the dangers it gets into.  You need to be patient with sheep, and we have to be patient with people, especially with those who are sometimes foolish.

    1. What do we say when people get into trouble?...  I’ll tell you what we often say, “Well, it’s their own fault, they brought it on themselves”. We might even say, “Don’t waste any sympathy on them.”  Folks, I am so very glad that our God isn’t like that. A “sheep” might be foolish but thank God the Good Shepherd would still risk His life to save it.
    2. I’ve told this one before… A family went to church one day to celebrate what they call Palm Sunday. Because of a sore throat, five-year-old Johnny stayed home from church with a baby sitter. When the family returned home, they were carrying several palm branches. Little Johnny asked, “What are those for?” His older brother explained to him that "People held them over Jesus' head, as he walked by.” Little Johnny became upset and said, "Wouldn't you know it, the one Sunday I didn’t go, He shows up!"
    3. We should thank God He did show up.  He came to rescue us from sin, from our foolishness. In John 10:11 Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” [para] Thank God for 2 Peter 3:9 where Peter says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” [para] Thank God that even though mankind can be foolish, God in His love, loves even the foolish person who has no one to blame for their sin and their sorrow but themselves. Thank God that He is a loving, patient God.
  1. Third, the love of God is a seeking love. The flocks of sheep in Palestine were very often communal flocks. In other words, they didn’t belong to an individual; they usually belonged to the whole village. Because of that there were usually two or three shepherds with them.   That’s one of the reasons the shepherd could leave the other 99. Because if he couldn’t leave the sheep with another shepherd, when he returned, he would find that other sheep would have gone astray.

    1. When Jesus came to earth; He came on a “search and rescue” mission, He came to search for the lost and rescue them from their sins.  He came for us. The shepherd wasn’t willing to wait to see if the sheep would come back; He went out to search for it.  Folks, that’s what the Jews, even today, cannot grasp about the Christian understanding of God.
    2. A Jew of that time would gladly agree with us, if we said that - if the sinner comes crawling wretchedly home to God, then God would forgive them.  But we know God is far more wonderful than that. For in Christ Jesus, God came to seek and to search for those who wander. He’s not content to wait until men come home, Oh, no! He goes and searches for them, no matter what it costs. The shepherds of Palestine would always make the most strenuous and the most sacrificial efforts to find a lost sheep.
    3. 1 John 4:9-10 - “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
    4. Jesus came to find us long before we thought about finding Him.   He came to find us. Luke 19:10 - “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
    5. John 10:7-10 - “Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. "All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.   "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.   "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
    6. On board many military ships nowadays they have sophisticated missiles.  Even though they are hundreds of miles away from their targets, they can program the missile to within a few feet of that target.  When the missile reaches their intended target, they completely destroy everything at the target. Jesus says He didn’t come to seek and destroy, He came to seek and to give life, not just life -- but life to the full. The love of God is a seeking love. It seeks the best for us.
  2. That brings me to my next point. 4. The love of God is a rejoicing love. These parables in Luke 15 are all about joy.
    1. We can imagine how the other shepherds would return with their flocks to the village at evening time and how they would tell how one shepherd was still out on the mountains seeking the wanderer. Imagine the eyes of those villagers, watching over the mountains waiting and looking for the shepherd who hadn’t come home yet.  Then off in the distance, they would see a figure of someone getting closer to the village.
    2. As that figure gets closer, they see that this is the shepherd and the joy in their faces would be great to see. As he gets closer, they see he’s carrying this wanderer of a sheep across his shoulders and it’s still alive. The whole village would come out and joyfully surround him and welcome him home.
    3. Nice scene isn’t it? Now, if that were the church, I wonder how we would react. I wonder if we would say things with words OR actions to the wanderer like, “Where have you been for the past few months?” No love in the tone. “What have you been up to?”  “Do you need to confess anything before the whole church today?”
    4. I’m reminded of Galatians 6:1 - “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness…”
    5. With Jesus there are no accusations, there is no receiving back with grudges, there’s no superior contempt.   It’s all about joy.  Instead of accepting back a person who is repentant with a moral lecture and maybe making it clear that they must see themselves as a disgraceful person. Instead of making it clear that we are going to have trouble trusting them again, maybe we can be like God, who forgets our past sins and doesn’t hold our sins against us.
    6. Micah 7:19 - “You will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”[para] When we have God’s forgiveness, God has thrown our sins into the depths of the sea. And folks there are warning signs all around the shore. Do you know what those signs say? -- “No fishing”. -- We should never be in the business of dragging up the past sins in our own lives, never mind the sins of other people’s lives if God has thrown them away.
    7. Psalm 103:8-12 - “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”[ESV]
    8. When one of the flock goes astray and returns home, instead of reminding them of their sin, we need to put their sin behind our back like God does with ours when we get lost and come back to Him.  We all sin; we all have our moments when we go astray. When we put those sins behind, then we too can be happy like Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:13-14 - “And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.   "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”
    9. Do we realize that the returning sinner can give heaven an excuse to celebrate? I know that many convicts after they have been released from prison get together with their families to celebrate their newfound freedom. Let me tell you that, that’s nothing, like the celebration that breaks out in heaven when someone returns to God after having gone back to the world.
    10. Jesus tells us in Luke 15:7 - “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
    11. What we are saying is if you’re involved in a sin, which is dragging you away from God, then you can be sure that if you repent and turn back to God there will be rejoicing in heaven. There was rejoicing the day you became a Christian and if you’re not a Christian, on the day you decide to become a faithful follower of the Lord then heaven will rejoice with you. The love of God is a rejoicing love.
  3. Point number 5. The love of God is a protecting love.
    1. An old story was told about a sergeant in the army fighting in a war in some far- off land. He and his platoon were called off for a special mission, but the enemy found them, the sergeant faced them head on. He said to himself, “Lord, it’s your responsibility now.” As he raised his gun, a shot from one of his enemies struck him in the chest and knocked him down to the ground. Thinking that he was dead, another soldier grabbed his gun and started to fire away at the enemy. He received three wounds but when he had finished, all the enemies were dead.
    2. The sergeant wrote a letter to his sister and it said this, “I was amazed when I rolled over and tried to get up. The force of that bullet only stunned me. I couldn’t understand why, so I pulled out my Bible from my pocket and in utter quietness looked at the ugly hole in the cover.” “It had ripped through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. Where do you think it stopped?” In the middle of Psalm 91, he pointed his finger at verse 7, which says, “A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.” He went on to say that he didn’t know such a verse existed in the Bible and in utter humility said, “Thank you, precious Lord.”
    3. It’s not just a love that seeks; it’s also a love that saves. Now there can be a love which ruins, there can be a love that softens, but the love of God is the protecting love which saves a person for the service of their fellow men.
    4. Psalm 34:18-20 - “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.   Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.   He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken.”
    5. Psalm 55:16-17 - “As for me, I will call upon God, And the Lord shall save me.   Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.”
    6. That’s why Paul could say in 2 Corinthians 12:10 - “…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
    7. In other words, it is God’s protecting love that makes the wanderer wise. Its God’s protecting love that makes the weak strong. Its God’s protecting love that makes the sinner pure. Its God’s protecting love that makes the captive of sin a freeman of holiness. Its God’s protecting love that makes those overpowered by temptation… the conquerors of sin. God’s love is a protecting love and God’s love will not only protect us in this life but also in the life to come. As along as we are faithful to Him, then we can be sure that nothing can separate us from His love.
    8. Romans 8:34-39 – and I paraphrase; “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul says there is nothing in heaven or in hell or on this earth that can stop God from loving us.

 

CONCLUSION:  

 

Many years ago, I used to love watching David Carradine in the TV series Kung Fu.  Blind master Po would teach him something new every week, but also every week, David had to try and snatch a pebble from his Master’s hand but he never could because His Master’s hands were just too quick.   Our God is like that; His hands are just too quick, too big, too powerful for anything to snatch us away from Him. Jesus says in John 10:27-30 - “"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.   "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. "I and My Father are one.''”

Jesus says, no-one will snatch us from God’s mighty hands because He’s a protecting God.  Folks, that’s the Gospel, that’s the Gospel according to Christ. If you want to share the good news with anyone who’s interested in God, then take them to Luke 15.

 

Share with them the Gospel within the Gospel and let them know that Jesus’ Gospel is a Gospel of love. Who knows, instead of people thinking that Christianity is all about the things they have to give up to receive God’s love, maybe then they will begin to think about the love that they are going to receive from God, which will help them give up the things they need to give up. The gospel, in a word—is love.

 

If you’re subject to the invitation, if you’re not a Christian and you want the Lord to add you to His church, you know the way. If you’re a Christian and have been out of fellowship for whatever reason and you recognize that your place is back in fellowship with the Lord’s people, you know the way. We’re going to sing the song of invitation now. If you have a need, please come forward in response to this invitation—God’s invitation—while we sing.

 

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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins… If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

 

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

 

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This is a continuation on the subject of Love. Previous sermon was “Rainbows” from song 265.

Reference Sermon by: Mike Glover

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