3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: Part of the series on the Parables of Jesus - Parable of the Lost Sheep

Parable of the Lost Sheep – Grace 9

Today we will be looking at the Parable of the Lost Sheep found in Matt 18:10-14

• By now we should understand that context is very important to a correct interpretation of scripture

• Earlier in this chapter we have the story of the apostles arguing amongst themselves about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

• Jesus responds by calling over a little child and telling the disciples that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven they have to humble themselves and become like little children

• Mark in his account in Mark 9 adds another important detail

Mark 9:33-37 (NRSV) 33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

• Remember when we started this series we talked about how differently Jesus views things than we do

• In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares we saw how the farmer told the servants to leave the weeds mixed in with the wheat

• Pretty lousy farming technique but fortunately for us Jesus is not in the farming business He is the Salvation business

• Now in this section of scripture we see another paradoxical yet important salvation principle outlined by Jesus

• And that is, “If you want to be in the Kingdom business “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all”

• Ever come last in a race? Ever been last in the class? How does it feel? Ever been picked last for a team?

• In our society, winning is everything. Even coming second is considered being a loser

• Larry Birds comment after losing the NBA championship game, “We’re just a bunch of losers”

• Yet Jesus is making the point and that in the salvation business it is not “winning” that counts, in fact “losing” is winning

Luke 17:33 (NKJV) 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

• In this section of scripture and the coming parable the following words come up

• The last, the least, the lost, the little and the dead

• Jesus himself would be considered the biggest outsider and loser of all, yet His greatest work would be achieved through His biggest failure, “a criminal’s death on a cross outside the city!”

It is with this background that we now pick up the Parable of the Lost Sheep

Matthew 18:10-14 (NKJV)10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these “little” ones,

• Yet what is it that our society does to the little ones and the less fortunate? We despise them, we don’t want them to upset our nice middle class existence

• And if you go back to verse 6 of this same chapter you will see the fate of those who do despise and prevent these little ones from coming to Jesus

• “it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

• If Jesus is talking about the “little ones” and the “lost” who can we assume He is addressing here? The “big ones and the winners”

• Even Christianity gets swept up in this “winning formula” of the world

• We like to peddle Christianity as a religion of winners. Just do what I do cry the TV evangelists and you will also be blessed with unbelievable wealth

• Go into any Christian bookstore and you will find the shelves covered with books on winning and success, health and wealth, spiritual and moral achievement

• You don’t find too many titles on losers, on being the least, of taking up one’s cross and following Jesus, of saving one’s life by losing it

• Totally misses the point that none of us is accepted on our own performance

• Fortunately, none of us rocks up to the pearly gates and are accepted or rejected on the basic of a good or bad report card

• We are accepted solely on the basis of the saving work of Jesus Christ

• 10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these “little” ones for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

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