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God’s Lost And Found
Series Introduction: Luke 15 has been called God’s Lost and Found Department. In these 32 verses, Jesus uses no less that 4 illustrations dealing with the lost and with God’s desire to see them saved and restored to fellowship with Himself. Verses 3-7 record the Illustration of the Lost Sheep. Verses 8-10 record the Illustration of the Lost Silver. Verses 11-24 give us the Illustration of the Lost Son. And, Verses 25-32 relate the Illustration of the Lost Sibling.
The backdrop for these “heavenly stories with earthly meanings” is found in verses 1-2. In these verses, Jesus is seen reaching out to the lost and dying. We are told that “publicans and sinners” came to hear Him preach. Publicans were also known as “tax collectors”. These people worked for the Roman government and were despised by the Jews because they were friendly with the enemy and they placed on the people harsh and unfair tax burdens. Sinners, on the other hand, referred to the Jews who did not keep the Mosaic Law, and were looked down on by the Pharisees and other religious peoples.
It was these poor people who no one cared about that Jesus reached out to! In fact, He stated that as His very reason for coming into the world, Luke 19:10; Mark 2:17. Yet, when these people gathered themselves around Jesus, to hear Him teach, the religious establishment went crazy and began to criticize Jesus for “receiving” sinners. The word “receiveth” means “to allow access to oneself”. The very people the religious world should have been reaching out to, were the very ones they shunned. Jesus, on the other hand, came to the world for lost, hurting, sinful people, and He reached out the them.
Jesus, knowing the hard hearts of these religious people, told them the parable that makes up the verses of this chapter. In this parable, Jesus uses four illustrations to teach them the value of every lost soul. He even uses this parable to teach them that they themselves might not be as secure as t hey thought they were.
I would like to take the next few Sunday mornings and look into this chapter in detail. I want us to enter God’s Lost and Found Department together and learn the truth that every soul matters to God, even yours!
God’s Lost And Found #1
THE LOST SHEEP
Intro: 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 searching, saving and shouting, we can see a clear picture of the love, longing and labor of the Lord Jesus for the lost. There is a picture of salvation in these verses that we do not want to miss today. If you are here lost today, you are going to hear how what Jesus has done for you and how you can be saved today. If you are saved, you will be reminded of His love and His grace and you will be given an opportunity to thank Him today. If you are saved, but aren’t as close to the Shepherd as you need to be, you will be given an opportunity to set that right today as well. Let’s examine these verses together today as we think about The Lost Sheep.
I. V.4 THE SHEPHERD’S COMPASSION
A. For A Lost Sheep - 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 is headed for ruin. It is headed for destruction. The shepherd knows this and is concerned about the condition of the sheep! He is moved to do something to save this lost sheep. By the way, this sheep is lost because it wandered away! It is lost by its own fault! (Note: Friend, God knows the lost condition of humanity, Isa. 53:6, 1 Pet. 2:25, John 3:18, 36. He knows the lost condition of your heart as well. 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! He knows where you are living and where you are headed if you do not get saved. He knows that Hell is the end of the road for every soul that is not in a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ, Psa. 9:17; 2 Thes. 1:8-9; Rom. 6:23a. Not only does He know the condition of the lost, He is moved to do something about their lost condition!)
B. For A Loved Sheep - This sheep may have wandered away from the shepherd, but it was still precious to Him. There was value in that sheep and the shepherd wanted it returned to his flock. He cared about that one little lost sheep. (Note: The Good Shepherd loves the lost sheep in this world also! Friend, if you are lost today, I want you to know that God loves you! How do I know? First, He said it, Jer. 31:3; John 3:16. Second, He showed it, Rom. 5:6-8! If you ever doubt the love of God for you, then look no farther than Calvary!)
C. For A Lone Sheep - Just one sheep was missing, yet the shepherd still went. Another shepherd might have counted the personal cost and decided to let that one sheep go and be lost forever. But, this shepherd saw the value in just one sheep and he went after it. (Note: Jesus, the Good Shepherd, came to this world to die for the lost sheep - Luke 19:10. I am convinced that Jesus Christ came into this world to die because He deemed every lost soul precious - Ill. Luke 15:7; John 10:3; Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17. Friend, He died for you!)
II. V. 5 THE SHEPHERD’S COMMITMENT
A. It Was A Sacrificial Commitment - For the shepherd, the search was dangerous and death was a possibility. (Note: For the Lord Jesus, death was an absolute certainty - John 10:11; John 15:13; Rev. 13:8; 1 Pet. 1:18-20; John 18:37. Remember the price Jesus paid extended far beyond Calvary - Phil. 2:5-8.)
B. It Was A Successful Commitment - The shepherd did not stop until his mission had been completed and the sheep had been found! Jesus did not stop on His quest until He was able to cry, “It is finished”, John 19:30! (Ill. Isa. 50:7) (Ill. Mark 10:45) His labor had not been wasted, but He returned to the fold with the very thing He went after! (Ill. It may appear to us that God’s cause is failing in this world, but Jesus 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 all those He saved by His blood will be home in Heaven! - John 17:24; John 6:37-40 - Notice the usage of the words “all” and “every one”.)
III. V. 6-7 THE SHEPHERD’S CONQUEST
A. It Involves Rescue - The sheep has been found and is rescued from the danger in which it had been! (Ill. The word “saved” means “to rescue from all harm and danger”. That is what the Great Shepherd does for all His sheep! His delivers them from the danger and the damage of their sins! All of God’s sheep are delivered from the Penalty, John 3:18, 36; the Power, Rom. 6:11-14 and ultimately from the very the Presence of their sins, Rev. 21:27.)
B. It Involves Rest - The sheep is not responsible for getting itself home. It may have wandered away, but the getting home is the responsibility of the shepherd! After it is saved, it finds itself resting upon the strong shoulders of the shepherd! (Ill. Thank 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, and they rest upon His precious promises for their salvation, John 10:28; John 6:37-40; John 6:47; Heb. 9:12. The Lord’s sheep are saved by grace and it is grace that sees them home, Eph. 2:8-9, Rom. 11:6. None of the Lord’s sheep need ever fear being left behind!)
The shepherd was able to lift the sheep and bear it upon his shoulders all the way back to the fold. He had sufficient stamina to finish what he had started. (Ill. The Lord did not start this 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. Don’t worry about ever being lost again, just be sure you get in! Our strength will wain along the way and we will fail many times, but His strength never wavers! Our arrival in Heaven has never and will never depend upon you and me, but upon Him!)
C. It Involves Rejoicing - This shepherd was able to rejoice with his friends and neighbors because his lost sheep was found. He was overjoyed with the rescue of this one, lost sheep. (Note: Jesus makes it clear that Heaven gets excited about the salvation of just ONE lost soul! Why? Because fellowship has been restored, Eph. 2:12-17; Job 9:33. Because usefulness has been restored. God can’t use a dirty vessel, but He can save a sinner by His grace and use them in amazing ways for His glory!
Conc: Friend, where are you in your relationship to the Shepherd? 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! Others are saved, but are you as close to Him as you need to be today? If there is a need in your walk with Jesus, you come and talk to Him about it. Others are saved, sure, and secure on the Shepherd’s shoulders today, why don’t you just come before Him to worship Him, thank Him and to pray for the lost in our midst today? Still other know and are concerned over lost folks today. Notice that this shepherd left the 99 and went after the lost one. If there was ever a day when the church needed to get her eyes off the 99 and on the lost one it is now! If there is a need, then you come before the Lord and get the help you need right now.