Summary: Let’s understand why we seek the lost. Secondly, let’s look at how we seek the lost. Thirdly, let’s see the reward of searching. (Powerpoints available - #131)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(The Powerpoints used with this sermon are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #131.)
A. During the next few weeks I want to speak on subjects that we, as a congregation, need to consider again, messages that deal with our purpose, why we are a church, & why God has called us to do the things that we are to do.
Now, I don’t want you to be confused & think that this is a "What we believe" series, because it is not that. Yes, it’s true that because of what we believe we do the things we do. But what have we really been called to do?
Jesus answered that by saying, "Go & make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit, & teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). That’s the great commission, our marching orders, if you please!
So the first part of our purpose as a church is to go, seek the lost, tell them about Jesus, & try to bring them to Him.
And I’m convinced that when we recognize that the reason we exist is to reach the lost with the message of Christ, then as a congregation we will grow.
B. Now in the 15th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, there are 3 parables that illustrate the importance of spreading the good news about Jesus. You know these parables, so I’m not going to read them to you this morning, but just remind you of them again & summarize some of the things these parables teach us.
But first, realize that Jesus told them in response to a criticism. The Jewish rulers were criticizing Him about the kind of friends He had. They said, "If you are who you claim to be then you wouldn’t be spending your time with these dregs of society. You would be spending your time with quality folks like us, instead."
1. In response to that, Jesus tells them 3 parables. He begins by saying, "If you were a shepherd & had a hundred sheep, but when you came home at night & counted them & discovered that you had only 99, what would you do?"
"If you were a good shepherd, let me tell you what you would do. You would go out & search for that lost sheep. You would search the rocks & ledges until you found it. And when you found it, you would put it on your shoulders & come home rejoicing."
2. Next He says, "Suppose you’re a woman who loses a valuable coin, what would you do? I’ll tell you what you’d do. You’d light a lamp & move the furniture. You’d go through every nook & cranny in the house until you found it. And when you found it there would be a celebration. You’d call your neighbors & say, ‘Rejoice with me. I have found that which was lost.’"
3. Then Jesus goes on, "Suppose you’re a father & you have a rebellious son who demands his inheritance. Reluctantly, you give it to him & he goes into the far country where he wastes it all.”
“Finally, he finds himself in a hog lot eating the slop that has been put out for the hogs. Then he comes to himself & says, ‘I would be better off as one of my father’s hired servants than to be here.’ And he goes back home again."
As I said, you’re familiar with the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, & the Prodigal Son. But I want you to realize that Jesus told those 3 stories to teach people that He had come for one primary purpose - to seek & to save those who are lost.
PROP. So let’s draw some lessons from them. First, let’s understand why we seek the lost. Secondly, let’s look at how we seek the lost. Thirdly, let’s see the reward of searching.
I. WHY DO WE SEEK THE LOST?
A. Why do we seek the lost? You see, it is possible for us to do the right things for the wrong reasons.
If our reason for wanting to reach out to the lost is simply to build a big church, or to stroke our ego, or so we can brag about what a great church we have, then that’s the wrong reason & we need to reexamine our motives.
B. Why do we seek the lost? Because they’re lost & still in their sins, just as we once were. So the love of Christ compels us to reach out & share with them the good news of God’s love, & of Christ’s offer to forgive them of their sins & make them a part of the family of God.