Summary: Lost people matter to God - and they should matter to us as well. 1. Something valuable is missing. 2. God performs an all-out search for lost people. 3. When lost people are found its time to party!

This sermon is an adaptation of Bill Hybels’ introduction to the video curriculum “Becoming a Contagious Christian”.


Lost people matter to God - and they should matter to us as well.

1. Something valuable is missing.

2. God performs an all-out search for lost people.

3. When lost people are found its time to party!


1. The listener will be encouraged at how valuable they are to God.

2. The listener will be motivated to follow God’s lead in reaching out to lost people.


Have you ever lost something really important?

I’ll never forget the time I lost the keys to the church van and couldn’t get home from a week at High School camp. A VERY nice lady bailed me out by driving 3 hours to bring me a spare! I had those keys in my hand 1 hour before we were supposed to leave, but somehow in the midst of cleaning up our cabin, the keys must have been put in the trash. We looked and looked but just couldn’t find them!

We all know the pain of losing something that matters to us – whether it is a person, or an object, or even just computer work that is lost when a computer crashes. Our stomach gets this sinking feeling, and we begin to feel a bit panicky as the realization sets in that we’ve really LOST something!

In our study of Jesus’ parables I’m going to do just two more messages – today and next week. Today we’ll take a look at one place in scripture where Jesus told 3 parables back to back to back about just what I’ve been talking about – losing things!

As we take a look at these 3 stories, what we’re going to notice is Jesus driving home a very important point about how God feels about people just like us. As I read through these verses now, be looking for the common elements that come through.

Luke 15:1-24 (NIV)

1Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

3Then Jesus told them this parable:

So - can you picture the scene? Jesus is surrounded by a large group of irreligious people. They don’t look or act like people that the “religious” people of the day hung around. In fact, these religious people were off to the side shaking their heads at Jesus’ behavior. Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking, and he launches into not 1, not 2, but 3 straight parables directed right at them. First...


Think about it. If one of you owned 100 sheep and you realized one was lost, what would you do? You’d leave those 99 in the open country and go searching for the lost one until you found it! Then when you find it – you’d put it up on your shoulders and bring it back to the fold. When you did, you’d gather all your friends and say “Let’s have a party – I’ve found my lost sheep!”

I tell you that just like this, there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 people righteous people already saved.

I imagine Jesus paused for a moment - looked them in the eyes, and continued...

Or how about this one? Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. What would she do? Even if it was dark, she’d get up, light a lamp, sweep the entire house and search for it until she found it! Then when she finds it she calls all her friends and neighbors and says, “Let’s have a party! I found my lost coin!”

In the same way, I tell you, the angels in heaven rejoice when one sinner repents of his sins.

Another pause. Perhaps Jesus wondered if they were still with him - and he launches into the most fantastic story yet...

There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his Dad: “Please give me my half of the estate now so I can start enjoying it!” So the father did just that, dividing his property among his two sons.

Not long after that, the younger son took off for a distant place, where he squandered his inheritance on wild living. After he’d spent everything, a famine hit the country and he found himself in a desperate situation: penniless, hungry, and alone.

He managed to find work tending to a herd of pigs, and he was so hungry he longed to eat some of the food he was giving to them! About this time he remembered how well his father’s servants lived back home. “Whoa – if I lived there again I’d be doing better than I am now. Why don’t I just go home and beg for him to take me in as one of his servants?” So he got up and made the journey home again.

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