Summary: The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
July 14, 2001
“Lost but Found”
We will also be looking at the 3 parables in Luke chapter 15.
Over the past several years I have had the opportunity to serve on the foreign mission field. On one of my trips to Russia, July of 1998, I was invited along with the team I was with to a missionary’s home for some food and fellowship. These missionaries had 2 children, a boy who was 9 and a girl that was 6. We were sitting around having a time of fellowship when Josh, the nine year old son, wanted to join in. He wanted to tell us of an experience that he had while living in Moscow. He went on to tell us of what had turned into a nightmare. Josh and his dad were going into the center of the city of Moscow to do some shopping. They were travelling by public bus. The routine was that you count the number of stops that the bus makes and you know where to get off. Now, you have to realize something about Moscow, there are 10 million people that live in the city limits of Moscow and another 10 million that live in the outskirts. There are an estimated 10 million people that use the public transportation everyday. Well, it just so happened that Josh’s dad had changed the plans for where they were going to get off, but he had failed to tell Josh. The bus was getting crowded and Josh and his dad were separated on the bus, because everyone stands on the bus. Josh counted the number of stops for were they were going to get off and got off, thinking his dad was right behind him. Well, needless to say, his dad did not get off and did not realize that Josh had gotten off until several more stops down the road. Now, Josh is lost in a city of 20 million people, 9 years old and speaks very little Russian. Josh’s dad started calling all the missionaries in Moscow and asked them to start praying for Josh and for God to bring him home safely. Well, a little old lady saw Josh by himself and took him to the US Embassy where they were able to trace down his parents. Josh was lost for 4 hours. Can you imagine? Well, is that not how we are if we have not accepted Jesus Christ as our savior? Helpless, things look hopeless. Just as we built up a concern, feelings and emotions for this little boy as I told you the story, should we not have even a deeper concern for the ones that are lost from God?
We are going to look at 3 parables found in Luke chapter 15 to see just how God can seek and save that which is lost. It is significant here that we look at all 3 to get the full meaning as to why the parables were written and placed together. You see, there are 3 words that summarize the message of this chapter: lost, found and rejoice. Jesus wrote these parables to answer the accusations of the Pharisees and the scribes who were scandalized at His behavior. It was bad enough, they thought, that Jesus welcomes outcasts and taught them, but he even went so far as to eat with them. See, the Jewish religious leaders did not yet understand that the Son of Man had “come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Even more, they were still blind to the fact that they themselves were among the lost. This chapter makes it clear that there is one message of salvation. God welcomes and forgives repentant sinners. But these parables also reveal that there are two aspects to salvation. There is Gods part: the shepherd and the lost sheep; woman searches for the lost coin. But there is also mans part in salvation, for the wayward son willingly repented and returned home. To emphasize but one aspect is to give a false view of salvation, for both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man must both be considered. For the mans part look at the promise we have in Matthew 7:7-8 when Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
First we find the parable of the “Lost Sheep”
The sheep was lost out of foolishness. Sheep have a tendency to go astray and that is why we need a shepherd. Look at Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him iniquity of us all.” The scribes and Pharisees had no problem seeing the publicans as sinners, as “lost sheep.” But they would not apply this image to themselves. Doesn’t that sound familiar? We see Christians pointing fingers at Christians. We are pointing fingers at the government and people in the public eye and calling them sinners. But, the bible clearly says in Romans 3:23 “for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And that means religious people, also. We are still sinners, we that are Christians are just sinners saved by grace. By the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep he was not saying that they were unimportant. They were safe, they were already taken care of, but the lost sheep was in danger. The lost sheep was in danger of being lost – forever. The shepherd could have been satisfied with the 99%, but the truth of the matter is, He isn’t, He longs for 100%. The fact that the shepherd would go after the one sheep is proof that each one was dear to him. All I can say is praise God he is going after all the lost. Because if He wasn’t concerned for all, we, you, I could have been that one that He said, oh well I have 99. Christ died for me. He died for each individual in this room. That is what makes it a personal relationship. Also, notice the emphasis on rejoicing when the lost one was found. The shepherd rejoiced, the neighbors rejoiced and the heavens rejoiced.