Summary: A narrative sermon calling on Christians to join the search for the lost.

Title: More Like Jesus... In His Mission

D.T.: There is not greater reward in life than to be a part of seeing someone come to Christ.

Text: Luke 15:4-32

Move #1: Introduction

- How many of you have watched the game show with Donnie Osmand, "The Pyramid Game." One person lists out a bunch of things, and the other person has to guess what all those words have in common. So we’re gonna play real quick, I’ll list a bunch of items, and you guess what they all in common....

- My mind, my sense of direction, my wallet, my car keys, the remote control... right... things I am always losing. And it seems as if I am always losing something. Just recently I lost a sermon tape that I had borrowed from the library at Lincoln. It would have cost me $10 to replace. For a week I looked for that thing. Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere, to get out the door, you’re running behind, you go to grab the keys but you can’t find them. You look all over, you search hi and low, growing more and more frustrated. Only to discover you left them in the ignition the car. My mom would get so mad when she couldn’t find her glasses, and they were on her head the whole time.

- Nobody likes losing things. Well, God understands that? He knows exactly what it’s like to lose something. He knows what it’s like to go on a search for that which is lost. He know what its like to celebrate when that which is lost is found. The reason I know this, is because of what I read in Luke 15.

Move #2: The Lost Sheep: Emphasis, the Lost

- There once was a shepherd who owned a hundred sheep. Now, I’m no expert, but I do know that sheep are not the brightest of animals. They need a lot guidance and direction. And it’s interesting that the one animal mentioned the most in Scripture is a sheep. An animal that lives in flocks, in community with other sheep. An animal that follows a leader, usually an older male sheep. An animal that depends on humans for protection. An animal that is easily frightened, a strong wind, a thunderstorm may throw them into a panic. Sheep are vulnerable and dependant animals.

- When I realize all of this I’m not too surprised that often, we are referred as sheep and God is our shepherd. There once was a shepherd who owned a 100 sheep. It was nightime, time to rest. The shepherds looked forward to closing the pen, and reclining by the campfire. Hot dogs and marshmallows ready to be roasted. A few campfire stories to be shared. Ready for a good night’s sleep. But before they can recline they need to count. They need to make sure all the sheep are accounted for.

- My daughter has a wonderful children’s book, The Lost Lamb, that is based on this story that Jesus tells. I’d like to ready to you a couple of pages in the middle of the story...

- The shepherd could not and would not rest as long as that one sheep was lost. And we say, but you have 99 others. Are you really going to miss, just one. Don’t worry about it. Go to sleep, I’m sure he’ll turn up tomorrow some time. But the good shepherd was not thinking about the 99 who were safe, he was consumed with the one who was lost, who was in danger, who was frightened, alone. And as long as that one was lost, there was something missing.

- That good shepherd is God. As long as there is one lost, one missing, one who is alone, frightened, in danger, GOd will not rest. He will not recline, he will not sleep. Something of great and immeasurable value is lost. People you know, I know, people we love, friends, family, coworkers, neighbors are lost. Maybe its you, maybe there is something missing in your life. Maybe you are lost. Searching for direction, for hope.

- And as long as their are lost people in our world, there is always something missing. And we should not, we must not rest until all are found. And the reason we should not rest, the reason we should not be comfortable or content, is because something of great value is missing

- God understands what it’s like to lose something of value, he also understands what it’s like to go on a search for that which is missing. I know this because of what I read in Luke 15.

Move #3: The Lost Coin (Wedding Ring): Emphasis, the Search

- There once was newlwed couple, they had just moved into their new house and they were so happy. So filled with joy. One day, the husband went off to work, and the wife stayed home to do some cleaning. They left each other with a kiss. And as he drove off, she just smiled. She thought, he’s just so perfect. I couldn’t be more grateful, more blessed. And as she thought this, she looked at her wedding ring. She remembered the day that he got down on one knee, he line of sweat on his check. She could tell he was nervous. He studdered a little bit, but he was able to get out the words. "Will you marry me?" And he slipped the beatiful diamond ring on her finger, and she said hugged his neck, and with tears, she said, "Of course, I will."

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