Summary: A message about how God seeks and saves the lost.

Ollie Ollie Oxen Free

Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." Then Jesus told them this parable: "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. - Luke 15:1-7

Luke chapter 15 is an incredible chapter NOW – most of us have heard the stories in this chapter many times before… I MEAN - the parables of the: lost sheep, lost coin & lost son are not new to us… BUT – as CS Lewis once said; “we don’t need new truths as much as we need to be reminded of old ones…” AND – that is what I want to do this morning March 18 2007, remind you of some old but incredible truths.


OKAY – raise your hand if you have ever played the game hide & seek… NOW – hide and seek is a very simple game. One person seeks and everybody else runs off and hides. And, if you are playing hide and seek, the fun part is to be one of the hiders. BECAUSE - If you are one of the hiders… YOU GET - to be in control. YOU GET - to decide where you are going to go. YOU GET - to keep your eyes open. YOU GET - to call the shots.

The hard job in hide and seek is to be the one who has to seek. I MEAN - after you get this job you have to let everyone run away from you. AND then, you have to keep looking for people who are trying to evade you, people who are laughing at your inability to find them (which usually makes them easier to find them). That’s why nobody wants that job, because if you take it, everybody is going to run from you and you’ll be on your own.

AND – have you noticed that in the game of hide and seek, that the one who gets stuck with the job of seeking doesn’t even get much of a title. I MEAN - in other games you at least get an exalted job description. TAKE – basketball for instance, you have a CENTER and he is the one around whom the action flows. Then there is a FORWARD - and at least that has a progressive kind of sound to it. The GUARD is somebody who is protecting something that matters. But in hide and seek, it is not that way.

QUESTION – what do you call the one who seeks in hide and seek? Anybody know? "It,” they’re called “it.." Not "Commander It, “President It” “Prime Minister It” not "C.E.I. - Chief Executive It," “Senior It’ not “Mr. it” not even "Cousin It" (for those old Adams Family fans), just plain old "It." And nobody wants to be "It." IN FACT -at the start of the game, what does everybody say? "Not ’It.’

ALRIGHT – another question. WHAT - happens at the end of the game, if people have hidden themselves too well. WHAT - happens if everyone has successfully eluded "It" through the entire game? (or if it gets called home for dinner?). "IT" - cups its hands and opens its mouth and shouts as loud as it can 4 words that penetrate the entire neighborhood. "It" ends the game by saying, "Ollie, Ollie, Oxen free."

QUESTION – have did you ever wondered where that phrase comes from? WELL - it is a Latin phrase that means, "Liberate the oxen." No, I’m just kidding – I really don’t have any idea what it means or where it came from.

BUT – whatever ‘ollie ollie oxen free’ means – in hide & seek, it means that it is now safe to come home. No one will chase you. No one will tag you. You won’t have to suffer any penalties… AND – you won’t have to be “it.” YOU SEE - ollie ollie oxen free, is the cry of grace to people who are hiding, that it is now safe and it is now time, to come home.

WELL – in Luke 15 Jesus is telling a kind of hide & seek story. ACTUALLY 3 stories where there is someone who is seeking and someone or something is lost or hiding. AND – do you know what the really Amazing thing is, that in this all important game of hide and seek, God has taken the job that no one wants… GOD – has taken the job of being ‘it.’ AND – He has taken that job forever!

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