Summary: Know the heart of God for the lost. Looking at the life of Jesus, we come to understand what is needed to reach the lost - compassion.
Sometime in July, we were looking at this passage during our prayer meeting:
• Somehow I was drawn to one particular word, in verse 7.
• Jesus says, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be MORE rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (15:7)
• I know this passage very well, but somehow that night, the word MORE just stands out… and I can’t keep it to myself, I shared it with Michael, who was sitting beside me.
This word is significant.
• The Lord says, it’s good to have 99 faithful Christians in the fold… coming to church every Sunday. I’m happy.
• It is good to have you guys, coming regularly & serving at English Service, Youth Fellowships, etc. I’m happy.
• It’s really nice to see a group that is obedient and stay within the fold.
BUT I would be HAPPIER to see something else.
• There will be MORE rejoicing if something else happens.
• I’m happy with you guys here, but “there will be MORE REJOICING in heaven over one returning sheep, than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
• 15:10 “…there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over” - WHAT?
• “…over one sinner who repents.”
The angels will be REJOICING… there will be MORE rejoice, if the lost one is saved!
• In the story of the prodigal son, the party is thrown SPECIALLY for the one who repents and return. Not for the one who stays in the house.
And the Lord tells me, “I will be happier, when I see one lost sheep repents and steps back into the fold.”
This emphasis was necessary. Jesus wants us to capture the heart of God here.
• 15:2 tells us there were this group of Pharisees & the teachers of the law who have lost it.
• They’ve gotten so “religious” that they’ve forgotten the whole purpose of being “religious”.
• They were not happy to see Jesus mixing with the sinners.
We would have lost it too, today if we fail to find any joy or purpose in making connection with our friends who are lost.
• We need to re-look at our relationship with these friends.
Jesus tells 3 parables in a row – the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son.
• They are central to the stories, because they are the focus of God’s heart.
• In all three, something of value is lost. Nobody, including the religious leaders who valued material things, would ignore such a loss.
• They too would make every effort into finding it and would rejoice when they did.
The lost matters so much to God that when one is found, all heaven rejoices & throws a party!
• There is more joy over one sinner coming to Jesus that over 99 people who stays in the fold.
• You are not the FOCUS of all of God’s attention! The older son in the parable of the prodigal son wants that ATTENTION.
• “But you don’t need that attention.” Who needs the attention? “this son of mine was dead… he was lost…” (15:24)
• The dead out there NEEDS our attention!
If a lost sheep, and a lost coin, causes us to search frantically, shouldn’t we respond to a lost soul in the same way or even a greater way than we would to lost things?
• Shouldn’t we show the same efforts and perseverance in searching for them?
• Shouldn’t we be filled with joy at there being found?
The point is clear. Jesus wants us to think about the way we are responding to the lost.
• Learning from Jesus, I like to highlight 2 things that we need in order for us to reach lost.
• What is needed to reach the lost – I’ll talk about the first point today and the second point next week.
Read Luke 15:1-2. Look at the setting.
Jesus had the “tax collectors and sinners” gathering around him.
• They were not running from Jesus but rather running to Him.
• They were not avoiding him, ignoring him, or even hostile towards him, like many of the religious leaders.
Verse 1 says that they were “gathering around to hear him.”
• This is amazing – Jesus is a righteous and a holy person and we expect the religious, the good people, the ones who go to church, to be attracted to Him.
• Yet the Gospels tell us just the opposite - Jesus spent most of His time with the unrighteous, the unholy ones.
• The tax-collectors and the sinners were ones attracted to Him, not the religious.
Why were sinners so willing and even eager to come to Jesus, when they were so ‘dirty’ and He so holy?