Summary: Heaven rejoices when lost sheep return to the flock

Making Heaven Rejoice

Luke 15:1-7

July 28, 2002


A story of being lost

The concept of being lost

One of the worst things that a person can be is lost. When you are lost there are a number of feelings that you can experience. There is fear because you don’t know where you are. There is frustration because you can not find your way. There is fatigue because all of the wandering has taken a toll. There is failure because you could not find your way. All of these feelings also can describe our spiritual walk with Christ. There are times when even those who have been Christians for a long time feel like they are spiritually drifting or spiritually wandering. Jesus gave us some specific teaching on this matter but it comes from an unlikely source. Open your Bibles to Luke chapter 15 and we’ll begin with verse one.


I. The Reason of the Shepherd

A. There was a great spiritual hunger

1. Spiritual hunger was stirred

a.) These people came with no hidden motives

b.) These people came because they were moved within their spirits

2. Spiritual hunger was satisfied

a.) Jesus has the solution for hungry souls. He is the Bread of life and the only one who satisfies the longing of the soul

b.) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied

B. There was a great spiritual need

1. The acknowledgment of “sinners”

a.) This group of “sinners” and tax collectors saw that they were in deep spiritual need. They saw their need and acted on it

b.) Before a need can be met it must first be seen and understood

2. The attitude of the “spiritual”

a.) These Pharisees and teachers have an attitude that is both spiritually sick and spiritually sickening. They viewed the “sinners’ as beneath them or without value

b.) The Pharisees placed a low spiritual value on these people but Jesus made them a high priority. Jesus sees the value in every person

II. The Rescue of the Sheep

A. The sheep was lost

1. The symbolism of sheep

a.) The sheep is used throughout scripture to represent humanity. The majority of the time sheep represent believers

b.) The term lost almost always refers to a person who has never come to faith. A person who does not yet believe in Christ.

c.) So what is a lost sheep? The case is clear that this situation represents a believer who has wandered away from the fellowship of God.

2. The situation of the sheep

a.) The sheep was drawn away

b.) The sheep was simply wandering

c.) The sheep ignored the direction of the shepherd or other sheep

d.) The sheep was not attached to the flock

e.) The sheep would not trust the shepherd

B. The sheep was sought

1. The shepherd seeks

a.) The shepherd left the 99

The majority of the sheep were safe and they were where they needed to be. All except one.

b.) The purpose of the shepherd

The shepherd put all of his energy, effort and time into finding this one lost sheep

2. The search was urgent

a.) The need was immediate

The shepherd goes after the lost sheep. There is a deep concern for the needs of this one sheep

b.) The dedication was clear

The shepherd went after the lost sheep as if it were the only one

III. The Result of the Search

A. The sheep was found

1. The shepherd would not stop

a.) The desire of the shepherd

The only purpose the shepherd had at this time was to find the lost sheep. It was the one true desire of the shepherd

b.) The determination of the shepherd

The shepherd searched for the sheep with a non stop effort and a don’t quit attitude

2. The shepherd was supportive

a.) The shepherd’s strength

The shepherd rescues the sheep with great happiness and uses his strength to carry the sheep

b.) The shepherd’s support

The sheep is obviously weak and frightened. So the shepherd lifts the sheep onto his shoulders to provide the needed support

B. The sheep was returned home

1. The shepherd returns the lost sheep to it’s rightful place

a.) The shepherd takes the sheep back home. He takes it to the place that it belongs

b.) The shepherd places the sheep back into the flock

2. The shepherd returns the lost sheep to it’s rightful peace

a.) The shepherd gives the sheep a place of safety and security. Both things that the sheep had lost before it was found

b.) The shepherd offers the sheep peace for living

IV. The Rejoicing of the Savior

A. The reason for rejoicing

1. The sheep was home

2. The shepherd was happy

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