Summary: An inductive use of questions and stories to lead my hearers to the point Jesus made about seeking and finding the lost.

Text: Luke 15

Title: Lost & Found

Series: Lent 2001

Topic: Salvation/Evangelism

Theme: Seeking the Lost

Purpose: to be the Holy Spirit’s second witness calling God’s people in my care to celebrate being found while joining in the search for other lost persons.

Response: Individuals will receive Jesus as Lord and Savior and others will commit themselves to searching for the lost.

Pattern: An inductive use of questions and stories to lead my hearers to the point Jesus made about seeking and finding the lost.

Visual Aid: A five-dollar bill hidden in the worship center for someone to find.

What would you do if you lost a prize possession?

Following an exhilarating performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall, celebrated classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma went home, slept, and awoke the next day exhausted and rushed. He called for a cab to take him to a hotel on the other side of Manhattan and placed his cello—hand-crafted in Vienna in 1733 and valued at $2.5 million—in the trunk of the taxi. When he reached his destination, he paid the driver, but forgot to take his cello.

After the cab had disappeared, Ma realized what he had done. He began a desperate search for the missing instrument. Fortunately he had the receipt with the cabby’s ID number. Before the day ended the taxi was located in a garage in Queens with the priceless cello still in the trunk. Ma’s smile could not be contained as he spoke to reporters, and his performance in Brooklyn went on as planned later that evening.

Citation: Greg Asimakoupoulos, writer and speaker, based on story in Chicago Tribune (10-17-99) © 2001 / Christianity Today, International

What would you do if you lost one of your children or grandchildren?

Do you remember the little girl from Canada that slipped into the backyard alone wearing only a diaper a couple of weeks ago?

It was –20 C. She ended up collapsing on the snow-covered lawn before being found by distraught family and friends.

The mother, who had been sleeping with the girl and a two-year-old sister in a bed at a friend’s house, woke up and noticed the youngest child missing. It took a frantic 45-minute search by friends and family to find the toddler’s body.

She was clinically dead, with no pulse and her toes frozen together. Her internal body temperature was less than half of the body’s normal level.

Allan DeCaen of Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital said, "I think to be fair I’m using the miracle word now. Whether you talk about it as a greater being, or whatever your personal beliefs are clearly something or someone was on this little girl’s side." Although doctors say it will be a few weeks before they can fully assess the damage to her fingers and toes caused by frostbite, they say she is responding normally.

Citation: (Feb 26 14:03:33 2001 and

Feb 27 07:30:58 2001)

Jesus told three stories about lost items that were found.

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

"When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father.

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