Summary: Psychologists refer to the trait of not wanting someone to be part of their "flock" the "Black Sheep Effect". Jesus could have told His parable using a black sheep (because the sinners He worked with were that), but He didn’t. Were there reasons why He di

OPEN: (This is a video of a 3 yr old girl “reading” the story of the lost sheep.

Begin at 31 sec mark. Quit at 3 minutes)

In keeping with this idea of children’s stories, I want to share with you a children’s song about sheep. Sing along is you know the song:

“Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?

Yes sir, yes sir, 3 bags full.

One for the master, one for the dame,

And one for the little boy who lives down the lane

Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?

Yes sir, yes sir, 3 bags full.”

ILLUS: Years ago black sheep were not the kind of sheep you wanted in your flock. Black wool was considered commercially worthless because it could not be dyed. Even today, black wool is so difficult to sell commercially, that many merchants require that there not even be a strand of black in their wool.

In the day of Jesus, a sheep that was black was a liability to the shepherd, and their owners would often remove them from the flock so that they wouldn’t taint the purity of the flock by interbreeding with the white sheep.

Black sheep were undesirables.

Because of that, people tend to use the term black sheep to describe someone who is “undesirable”. Someone they don’t want “in their flock.”

For example: You’ll hear the term “He was the black sheep of the family”

It means he was not a nice person.

Nobody wants him around.

No one even wants to have him in the family tree.

This tendency to ostracize people that are undesirable is so prevalent, psychologists even have a term for this behavior: it’s called “the black sheep effect”

APPLY: In our text today, we have Jesus dealing with “the black sheep effect”.

Luke 15 tells us:

“The Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.’"

They were upset because Jesus has been spending his time with the “black sheep” of society.

He’s been coddling the losers.

Eating with the sinners.

He welcomes them into His flock!

That’s just not right.

But that’s why Jesus came.

In Matthew 15:24 Jesus said He was sent “…to the lost sheep of Israel."

And in Luke 19:10 He said he’d “… come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus came for the lost sheep.

And so, to illustrate that truth, He told a parable about sheep.

But in His parable - Jesus didn’t use this term “Black Sheep”.

Why not? I mean, it’s perfectly descriptive of the kind of people He came to save, so why not use that term?

Well, a few of reasons come to mind

1st – Black sheep are born black sheep.

They have an excuse – that’s just the way they are.

And you’ll hear sinful people try to use that as an excuse for themselves.

For example:

An adulterer will say, “I feel bad about having slept with that woman… but I couldn’t help myself”

The child molester will say, “I know it was wrong to molest that child… but that’s just how I am”

Or the homosexual who will say, “You don’t understand – I was born this way.”

They were all saying the same thing:

I have an excuse.

I was born a black sheep.

I can’t help myself.

That’s just how I was born.

“Science” has even come to their defense.

ILLUS: Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, were the authors of “A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion” they argued that rape is rooted in biological impulses of all men to procreate.

Because all men could be potential rapists, they argue, women should consider dressing and acting more conservatively to reduce their risk of being raped. … Rape, the authors contend, should be viewed “as a natural biological phenomenon that is a product of the human evolutionary heritage.” (Michael Precker in The Dallas Morning News 2/13/00)

So these so-called scientists contend that sinners can’t help themselves.

They were born that way.

They were wired to do evil.

That’s just the way they are.

(PAUSE) No it’s not.

Neither the rapist, nor the adulterer, nor the child molester, nor the homosexual were BORN that way.

They didn’t do what they did because they “couldn’t help themselves”.

They did what they did because they were sinners.

They were black sheep by choice… not by birth.

Jesus didn’t tell a parable about a black sheep … because the sheep that got lost in Jesus’ parable, got lost because it made a choice.

It wandered off because it chose to wander off.

And that’s the 2nd reason Jesus didn’t use “black sheep” in His parable.

Black sheep are NOT rejected because they’ve made a choice.

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