Summary: Message from Luke 15 on the parables of the lost sheep, coin and sons.
There is an entire television series simply called, “Lost.” Guys are notorious for refusing to admit when they are lost or to ask directions. Many today feel like they are making excellent headway in life but really have no idea where they are headed. Jesus told Zaccheus, a tax collector with a desire to see Jesus “…the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 (quickview)
Most today don’t even realize they are lost and refuse to ask or take directions. The reality is that until Jesus seeks and finds us, everyone is lost and will die lost. We will never feel at home. We will never know true meaning in life. The Bible clearly states man’s refusal to seek God; ask directions.
As it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for god; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of god before their eyes." Rom 3:10-18
God created all men with an internal sense of His existence. It is like a homing signal that points the way home.
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. Romans 1:18-19 (quickview)
At some point we either pursue that signal or suppress it. We will embrace Him or resist and ignore Him. How do we get so far off track? And how can we get back on track?
I. The situation
Jesus interacted with two groups of people. Jesus related these stories to emphasize how God really feels about lost people.
Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." Luke 15:1-2 (quickview)
A. Tax collectors and sinners
Tax collectors collected money for the Roman government. The money they collected was more like a customs or tariff on goods. They could be Romans but the office was also filled by native Jews. They were not always honest. They often collected more than what they were suppose to. They were considered collaborators, turncoats, extortionists, thieves
Matthew was a tax collector. Zaccheus was a chief tax collector. They were hated and ranked with harlots on the popularity scale. Sinners were anyone else not considered part of the spiritual elite. These were people to be avoided and rejected. They were certainly not worthy of inclusion in the community of God. These particular tax collectors and sinners however, seemed to have a heart to learn. They came to listen to what Jesus had to say.