Summary: Am I really lost? How valuable am I to God? What is true repentence?
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Luke 15:1 Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him.
Interesting how people loved to be with Jesus, even if they weren't a bit like him... I want to be one of that kind.
2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
The good people matter to God. The bad people don't. The good people should stay away from the bad people.
That's the perspective of the Pharisees. Thank God we're not like those people -- we're good.
Then Jesus tells 3 stories that give us HIS perspective.
The lost sheep, the lost coin, the Lost son.
I'm going to read you the first 2 stories, then work my way through the 3rd story.
3 Then Jesus told them this parable:
4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders
6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'
7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
8 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?
9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.'
10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons.
12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'
20 So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.