Summary: A sermon for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 19 The lost sheep and lost coin
16th Sunday after Pentecost
"Found and Forgiven"
"Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." So he told them this parable: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ’Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ’Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."" Luke 15:1-10, RSV.
"I thank him who has given me strength for this, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful by appointing me to his service, though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted him; but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Timothy 1:12-17, RSV.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
I would like to share with you this morning a modern day parable. Listen:
"A minister, touring in West Germany was invited to spend the night with one of the families of the host congregation. The family consisted of the father. the mother, and a twelve-year-old boy. The father began to tell the minister something about the family, and especially about the circumstances surrounding the adoption of this youngster whom they had rescued during the war years.
The father said: "The boy was just a poor orphan when we first saw him. He was in rags and very dirty, but his shoes were the worst of all. The upper parts were in tatters and the soles had huge holes in them. When we took him in, we gave him new clothes and threw his old ones away.
"We decided, however, to keep those battered shoes as a reminder of how badly off he had been when he first came here. I keep them on a shelf, and when the boy complains or becomes unruly, I merely walk slowly to the shelf, haul the shoes down, and remind him of how much we have done for him."
The boy looked hurt, ashamed, and even a bit unwanted. The guest, afraid to say anything, lest he should offend his host, thought to himself: what a blessing it is that God doesn’t continually drag out our old shoes."
When God’s forgives, He also forgets.
God has the magnificent quality about him that he can forgive the past, and accept a person as he or she is in the present. God is so filled with love, that He doesn’t need to remind us of our old sins, to keep us as his children. It is the power of His love that brings us into his arms. It is the power of his love for us that leads us to eternal salvation. God does not need threats to win us over to his side. It is the power of his love as shown through the death and resurrection of Jesus that changes our lives from ones that are filled with worn out, holey clothes, and shoes which are filled with holes because of sin, to lives that are new, refreshed washed clean because of the power of God and his love.
After God has changed us, he doesn’t constantly remind us how we were, he doesn’t point back to the rags of sin we used to wear. He doesn’t point back to the shoes of self pride, we used to wea. No we live with his love guiding us, caring for us, comforting us, upholding us and trusting us as his children.