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Summary: Man tends to get lost from time to time. All along the way God wants us saved and continues to search for us.

GOD AND THE LOST

Luke 15:1-32

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-10

INTRODUCTION

1. Luke 15 is a beautiful chapter, sometimes called the gospel in the gospels.

2. It depicts man’s plight and God’s right in such vivid detail that no one can possibly misunderstand God’s longing for us.

3. The Pharisees and scribes accuse Jesus of what they considered a detestable act.

4. Verse 2 "This man receives sinners and eats with them."

a. How dare he call himself a Rabbi and eat with sinners.

b. If he were truly from God he would never eat with a sinner and a tax collector!

5. But that is exactly what Jesus does, and he makes no pretense of remorse or apology

6. In fact he teaches the Pharisees why he accepts sinners and tax collectors in three parables about lost things: The lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son

7. These parables open our eyes to the same truth we want to notice two areas for study:

a. The looker

b. The leaver

8. We hope to learn that no matter where we are God longs to carry us home.

TRANSITION: Let us look at the one who searches for us.

I. The Looker

A. What man will not look for a single sheep even if he has to leave the 99 in the field? What woman who loses a full day’s wage will not stay up all night until she finds it? What father among you will not stay up days on end searching out the road for the wandering child?

1. God desires for all men to come to salvation (II Peter 3:9)

2. His greatest desire is that lost men come to Him

3. This is evidenced by these three parables.

4. He leaves those who are safe in the pasture to retrieve one who has wandered

5. He searches day and night until that which is lost is recovered.

6. He looks far off to see us returning and throws his arms around us to welcome us back and great is the rejoicing when one sinner returns.

B. These parables show us God’s deep desire for our safe return in two ways:

1. The search.

a. There is a diligent, on going search underway for all who have wandered off from the flock of God.

b. Just like the woman who searches feverishly to find the coin she lost.

i. She lights a lamp and sweeps the house.

ii. She will not quit her search until her precious coin is found.

iii. Her rest will not come until she is secure in the knowledge that her valuable possession has been recovered.

c. See, we are like the lost coin and lost sheep to God our father.

i. We talk about how dumb sheep are and how they are completely defenseless (which is true) but we leave the impression that they are worthless.

ii. Sheep were the main source of living, and still are, in some parts of Palestine.

iii. They provided food, milk, wool, and certain sacrifices.

iv. They were of immense value to Palestinian lifestyle.

d. In being compared to them, we have that value placed on us.

2. The joy

a. The shepherd, the woman, and the father are all filled with overwhelming joy at the return of the lost items.

b. The Pharisees taught, "There is joy before God when those who provoke Him perish from the world."

c. In actuality, there is joy when a sinner repents of his sins and comes home to the Father.

d. God does not dismiss the tax-collector as worthless.

e. He does not simply condemn the sinner to hell.

f. He deeply yearns for their return and rejoices greatly when one returns.

C. God is the father who has everything but the one who refuses to repent.

1. He stands at the ready to accept those who will repent.

2. He longs for the day that his wayward child comes to himself and then comes home.

3. He will run out to greet him and like a shepherd who finds his sheep he will put the wanderer on his shoulder and carry him home rejoicing as they go.

TRANSITION: God seeks those things that are lost to him.

II. The Leaver

A. One thing that we must keep in mind is that God is seeking us when we are lost.

1. Just as the shepherd seeks the sheep that wanders off until he finds it

2. And the woman searches the house from one end to the other and back again until she finds her lost coin

3. And the father peers off into the distance looking beyond the horizon for the first sign of the return of his lost son

4. God searches for us longing for our safe return to him.

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