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Luke 15:1-7


Intro: Over the past while, we have looked at two portions of the parable that is Luke 15. The setting for this parable is found in verses 1-2. In these verses, Jesus is reaching out to the lost and dying. We are told here that “publicans and sinners” came to hear Him preach.


•  “Publicans” were also known as “tax collectors”. These people were despised by the Jews because they worked for the Roman government. Thus, they were friendly with the enemy and burdened the people with harsh and unfair taxes.

•  “Sinners” were the Jews who did not keep the Mosaic Law. They were rank sinners, living life as they pleased with no religious restraints. They were looked down on by the Pharisees and other religious peoples.


Jesus reached out to the people no one else cared for! He said that was why He came into the world, Luke 19:10; Mark 2:17. Sinners and outcasts were drawn to Jesus, and He gladly received them. The word “receiveth” means “to allow access to oneself”. He shared meals with them. Jesus spent much of His life around lost sinners.


What an example! If we do not spend time with the lost, how can we expect to reach them with the Gospel? Who are the lost sinners that you are spending time with? With whom are you sharing the Gospel?


When they saw Jesus fellowshipping with sinners, the religious establishment went crazy and criticized Him for receiving sinners. The very ones this religious crowd should have been reached out to, were the very ones they shunned. Jesus came to this world because He loved lost, hurting, sinful people, and in His love He reached out to them.


Jesus knew the hard hearts of the religious Jews. He knew that they were just as lost as the “publicans and sinners” they despised. In an effort to open their eyes to their condition, He shared the parable found here.


In this extended parable, Jesus uses four illustrations to teach the Jews the value of every lost soul. He also uses this parable to reveal the condition of their own hearts.


Today, we will look at the first of these illustrations. This illustration concerns A Shepherd And His Sheep. One day a shepherd counts his sheep. He expects to find 100 in his flock, but is dismayed to discover that one of the flock is missing. Motivated by the danger to the sheep and the loss to himself, the shepherd takes immediate action to restore this sheep to its proper place in the fold.


In this vivid account of The Shepherd And His Sheep, we can see a clear picture of the love the Lord Jesus Christ has for the lost. There is a picture of salvation in here that we do not want to miss it.

•  If you are here lost, you are going to hear how what Jesus has done for you and how you can come to know Him.

•  If you are saved, you will be reminded of His love and His grace, and you will be given many reasons to thank Him.


Notice the blessings here that teach us about The Shepherd And His Sheep.



The sheep in this passage is said to be “lost”. The sheep was lost because it is in a sheep’s nature to wander.  If a sheep sees a hole in a hedge, it will stick its head through and keep going. If the other sheep see the one going away, the rest will follow the leader, and soon, all will be lost.


Sheep are not strong animals. They are not smart. They are not swift. They need a shepherd, and if they become separated from the flock, they are unable to find their way back to the shepherd. He must go after the sheep, or they will be lost forever. If He doesn’t go after them, they will die.


The word “lost” is the same word that is translated “perish” in John 3:16. It means “to be lost, ruined, or destroyed”. It is used to refer to being sent away into Hell! In other words, this little sheep is in great danger!


It cannot defend itself. It cannot find its own food and water. It cannot outrun any enemies that would attack it. There is the possibility it will be devoured by wolves. There is the danger that it will fall into a crevasse, or off a cliff, and die. There is the very real possibility that it will wander in the wilderness until it starves to death. This sheep will perish, unless the shepherd finds it.


This sheep is headed for ruin. This sheep is headed for destruction. The shepherd knows this. He understands the dangers, and He is concerned about the welfare of the sheep! He is moved to do something. He is moved to do everything in His power to save this lost sheep.


When the shepherd in this story realizes that one sheep is missing, he goes after it. He secures the other sheep in the “wilderness.” This word means refers to “their usual grazing place.” He is wiling to risk everything to retrieve the lost one. He secures the other sheep, and he goes after the lost sheep.


Nothing is more helpless than a lost sheep, except for a lost sinner.


God knows the lost condition of humanity, Rom. 3:23. (Ill. Eph. 2:1; Rom. 3:10-12)

•  He knows the lost condition of your heart as well, Rom. 5:12.

•  He knows that you are lost because of the sin of Adam, but He also knows that you are a sinner because you choose to be one, Isa. 53:6! You went away because it is your nature to do so.

•  He knows your life and He knows where you are headed. He knows that Hell is the end of the road for every soul that is not in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, Psa. 9:17; 2 Thes. 1:8-9; Rom. 6:23a.

•  He also knows that if He doesn’t go after the lost sinner, they will never be saved!


This sheep may have wandered away from the shepherd, but it was still precious to Him. It was precious because it was His. He cared about that one little lost sheep.


The Good Shepherd loves the lost sheep in Adam’s family! If you are lost today, God loves you! How do I know?

•  He said so, Jer. 31:3; John 3:16.

•  He proved it, Rom. 5:6-8! If you ever doubt the love of God for you, then look no farther than Calvary!


  I.  The Shepherd Leaving



Just one sheep was missing, yet the shepherd still went. For the shepherd, the search was dangerous and death was a possibility. Another shepherd might have counted the personal cost and decided to let that one sheep go. But, this shepherd was not about to lose even one sheep, so he went after it. The shepherd did not stop until his mission had been completed and the sheep had been found! He went after the sheep until he located it.


While there was a possibility that the shepherd in the parable could be injured, for the Lord Jesus Christ, death was an absolute certainty, Rev. 13:8; 1 Pet. 1:18-20; John 18:37.


Jesus, the Good Shepherd, came to this world to die for lost sheep, John 10:11; Luke 19:10; John 15:13.


Jesus Christ came into this world to die because He deemed your soul precious, Ill. Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17. He died for you!


Jesus did not stop until He was able to declare, “It is finished” from the cross, John 19:30! Ill. Isa. 50:7.


The shepherd’s labor was not in vain. He went after the lost sheep and he looked until he found it. His labor was not wasted. He returned to the fold with the very thing He went after!


The same is true for the Lord Jesus Christ! It may appear to us that God’s cause is failing in this world. It may appear that the enemy is winning. Jesus Christ will not be disappointed by the harvest He reaps from this world! When we arrive home in glory, we will learn that the Good Shepherd perfectly fulfilled His mission, and every single individual He saved by His blood will be home in Heaven!


•  “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world,” John 17:24.

•  Ill. John 6:37-40 - Notice the usage of the words “all” and “every one” in this passage.


•  Why did the shepherd in this parable do what he did for his sheep? He did it because he loved the sheep and cared what happened to it.

•  Why did Jesus do what He did to save His sheep? Because He loves His sheep, and is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” 2 Pet. 3:9!


  I.  The Shepherd Leaving

 II.  The Shepherd Looking



•  The shepherd has located his sheep. There it lays, cold, wet, and terrified. The shepherd in love and compassion reaches out and touches the sheep. He saves it and rescues it from danger, disuse and death! The shepherd lifts the wayward sheep, places it on his shoulders and heads back to his flock.


This is what the Great Shepherd does for His sheep! His delivers them from the danger and the damage of their sins! We talk about being “saved” all the time around the church. The word “saved” means “to rescue from all harm and danger”. All of God’s sheep are delivered from sin and all that goes with it.


Hallelujah, I remember the day the Shepherd came to where I was. I was lost. I was scared. I was defeated. I was doom. But, in live for my soul, He stooped down to me. He delivered me, and rescued me from my sins. He forgave all my sin, and forever turned away the wrath of God from my life!


•  Once the sheep has been rescued, it is not responsible for getting itself home. It may have wandered away, but its welfare is the responsibility of the shepherd! After the sheep is saved, it finds itself resting upon the strong shoulders of the shepherd!


Ill. Praise God, the Lord’s sheep are not responsible for getting themselves home either, but they are “kept by the power of God”, 1 Pet. 1:5. They rest upon His precious promises for their salvation, John 10:28; John 6:37-40; John 6:47.


The Lord’s sheep are saved by His grace, Eph. 2:8-8. It is His grace that sees us home. None of the Lord’s sheep need ever fear being left behind!


•  The shepherd in the story was able to lift the little sheep and bear it upon his shoulders all the way back to the fold. He had sufficient stamina to finish what he had started.


The Lord Jesus did not start His mission to fail. He went after the sheep for the express purpose of bringing them home!


Notice His confidence:

•  Luke 19:10, “to seek and to save”

•  John 6:37, “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”

•  Heb. 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”

•  John 3:16; John 5:24; John 6:47; John 10:28.


If the Good Shepherd has you, you don’t worry about ever being lost again!


Our strength will falter and fail many times along the way and we will fail many times, but His strength will never waver nor fail! Our arrival in Heaven has never, and will never depend upon us, it has always rested in Him and in His power!


  I.  The Shepherd Leaving

 II.  The Shepherd Looking

III.  The Shepherd Lifting



The shepherd takes the sheep back to the fold. Once it is safe, he wants everyone to know about what has happened. He calls his friends together, and tells them his story of victory.


This shepherd was able to rejoice with his friends and neighbors because his lost sheep was found. He was overjoyed about the rescue of this one, lost sheep.


Jesus makes it clear that Heaven gets excited about the salvation of just ONE lost soul! Why?

•  Heaven is excited because fellowship has been restored, Eph. 2:12-17.

•  Heaven is excited because a sinner who was dead in trespasses and sins, has been restored to life, Eph. 2:1-4!

•  Heaven is excited because one who’s life was wasted by sin is restored to usefulness, Eph. 2:10.

•  Heaven is excited because a sinner who was separated from God by sin, has been brought near by the grace of God, Eph. 2:13.


The Lord Jesus will have the last laugh. He will rescue His people and take them all home to be with Him in Heaven.


Conc: I praise the Lord that He came looking for me one day. I bless His name that He found me, lifted me, and is taking me home. I am glad to be saved! Hallelujah!


Where are you today?

•  Are you lost out on the dark mountains of sin? Do you need to be rescued today? If so, then you can be saved if you will come to Jesus!

•  Are you saved, but not as close to Him as you need to be? If there is a need in your walk with Jesus, you come and talk to Him about it.

•  Are you saved, sure, and secure on the Shepherd’s shoulders today? You need to come before God to worship, thank Him.

•   Are you saved, but know about others who are lost? Bring them to Him today and look to Him to save them. We need to get our eyes off the 99 and turn them toward the lost!

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