Matthew 18; The Lost Sheep
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. 11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
Luke 15:4 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Luke 19 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
1. Jesus goes to Seek
2. Jesus rejoices if he finds one.
3. Jesus keeps those he saved.
One Hundred Sheep. One is lost. Still have 99. If I am out fishing and I catch 100 fish and as I am bringing in the net, if one jumps out, I would be glad that I brought in 99 and not worry about the one that got away. Oh, we may like to talk about the one that got away, how it was bigger, brighter, stronger or of a rarer species, but while we may moan about its lose, the reality is that we do not make more than a token effort to see if we can get it back.
This is not the way that the Lord works. I am glad that He is not just satisfied with the 99 but that The Bible says that He doesn’t desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Not only that but it is the Lord Himself who goes out of His way to find us.
God is in the seeking business. Talk about a wilderness, look at what we have done to the Earth. It was a paradise and now the curse of our sin has damaged it. God who lives in heaven, left heaven to come to earth to seek and save you. We may talk about going a bit out of our way to hand out a track, or even to go to a foreign country, but Jesus took the ultimate Mission’s Trip when he left the heavenly glories, where for all of eternity, they were signing ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’. He suffered the humiliation of the incarnation to seek and save that which was lost.
This afternoon’s message is entitled “The Lost Sheep”.
In Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
In Jeremiah 50:6 God tells us one of the reason that we are lost; My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.
In the Gospel according to Luke, we see this is called a parable. A story laid alongside a truth, to help us to understand the truth. So let’s look that the truth.
There are a lot of sheep. Here we see that the sheep are people. The wilderness is the present world system that cares nothing for them. The shepherd is Jesus. The rejoicing is really rejoicing.
First: Jesus goes Seeking.
He goes out of His way. Notice the language here, the sheep is lost in the mountains, it is lost in the wilderness. This poor soul is in a place by himself. Jesus Himself went apart to a lonely place, because He wanted to be alone.
Maybe this lost soul wanted to be alone from God, not knowing the goodness of God that leadeth to repentance. There are over 7 Billion people in this world. Most of whom have never one time heard a clear presentation of the Gospel in their own language. Romans chapter 1 is still true that they have a knowledge of God because He has put it into their hearts. However, they don’t know Who He is. They do not know of His love towards them in that while we were yet sinner Christ died for us.
Maybe this lost soul was led astray by the religious leaders of his day. This is what we read in Jeremiah 50. Last week I gave you the statistic of how large a percentage of the world’s population claim to be Catholic. There are 2.8 Billion people (nearly a third) who claim some sort of Christianity as their faith.
According to ThoughtCo.com In the unevangelized world, there are 20,500 full-time Christian workers and 10,200 foreign missionaries.
In the evangelized non-Christian world, there are 1.31 million full-time Christian workers.
In the Christian world, there are 306,000 foreign missionaries to other Christian lands. Also, 4.19 million full-time Christian workers (95%) work within the Christian world.
I do know that there are, according to Matthew 7, wolves in sheep’s clothing who are not leading people to the right Person (Jesus). You see, a wolf and a Border Collie, look similar, after all they are both dogs) but one wants to keep you safe, one wants your destruction.
I am not here to speak evil about any one particular religion or teacher, but I will let Matthew chapter 7 speak for me. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Maybe this lost soul is not even seeking after God.
Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
I have met a lot of people who have no desire to hear from God, let alone hear about God. I meet people who will even be polite and let you tell them what the Bible says about salvation, about heaven about hell, and then have no desire to repent. It breaks my heart to see Christ rejected. It hurts when I see His precious Name maligned. It angers me when others try to force their hated and hardness of heart by manmade laws so that it makes it a crime to seek after God. So many times, in so many places and in so many different ways, Satan is trying to blind the world. But we are not ignorant of his devices. He is a liar and a murdered from the beginning.
If there is none that seeks God then God Himself will seek them. What a great God that we have. If we are not allowed to pass out fliers on base, then God will bring them in. Do we go out weeping, praying that we can bring in sheaves for His glory?
Maybe this lost soul is looking but has no way of finding God if He didn’t find us.
Earlier I shared the stats about the amount of Missionaries out there spending their lives to tell others about Jesus. But notice the number again. 10,200 foreign Missionaries to 5.32 billion that are not Christian (of any denomination). That is one foreign Missionary to every 521,658 persons. God uses people who have heard the Gospel to tell other who have not heard the Gospel. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
I know that there is an un-Biblical school of thought called ‘universalism’. This is the belief that because God is Good (and He is) that He will not allow anyone go to hell. That all will gets saved regardless of faith. While that might sound good to our human hearts, it is not true. What is true is that God does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. What is true is that commands all men everywhere to repent. What is true is that the wages of sin is death, and the soul that sinneth, it shall surely die. What is true is that the soul that is not born of water and the Spirit, who has never been born again, has never been converted, regenerated, saved or whatever other Bible word you want to use; the soul that has not called upon the name of the Lord is not saved from their sins.
We are called to be like Christ. And while I can’t seek and save that which is lost, I can seek that which is lost. We need Jesus to go seeking. Because only He can seek and save.
Second: I see that not everyone sought after will be found.
This is very sad. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, but not everyone wants to be saved. Not everyone will be saved. Not everyone is willing to repent, to give up what they love about the world and come to Jesus as He is calling them. Not everyone responds to the urging of the Holy Spirit. Not everyone’s heart is tender, their hearts fallow to receive the word of Life. The Bible says in Matt 18: 13 ‘if ... he find it’.
Matthew 7:13 13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Again we have the same warning about false religious teachers that will lead the sheep/people astray.
We also see the sad truth that there are a lot of people who will be taking the wrong path.
Illustration: My Uncle Bill lives on top of a mountain in VA. He has 100 acres of woods. My family and I were visiting him and wanted to go hiking. Now at this point I was a grown man, I had already retired from the Army as a US Army Cav Scout and knew how to navigate on land, through mountains and woods. He said the woods are confusing and the mountain has paths that go nowhere. He said I’ll let you go out only if you take my two Australian Border Collies. Now, I love dogs. My favorite thing to do when I was Brett’s age was to take my dog, my brother, and my best friend and spend hours in the woods on the mountain in PA. So I readily agreed to his terms. Here is what I discovered; if you got off of the path, either to the right hand side or to the left those dogs herded you back on to the straight and narrow way. It didn’t matter if you tried to get lost, they would not let you. They kept us together and kept us on the right path.
Christian, I want to encourage you today to be like the Border Collie, to first of all to know the right path, but then to have the courage to seek those who are going off of the path and to bring them back into the fold. I do not know if I would have been lost out there, after all 100 acres is big. But I never had to worry, I had the right help. The Shepherd (in this case, my Uncle Bill) sent his under-shepherd (the dogs) to watch over us. If you know ‘The Way’ then I want to be with you through life’s journey in case I start to stray, you can lovingly guide me back. Never once did the dogs have to bite me, maybe a bark of warning, maybe a nudge. You do not have to be mean spirited if you see a brother or sister stumble, just warn them and lead them back to Jesus.
Some will be found. Praise God’s Holy Name that some will be found. I praise God that I was found. And Jesus Rejoices when one is found.
The Bible says that he rejoices more for the one that was found than for the 99 who in Luke 15: 7 we read ‘which need no repentance’. Christ is always on the lookout for someone to save. Oh, He keeps that who He has saved, we will get to that in a moment, but He is always excited when one does repent. There is rejoicing in heaven. Think about that for a moment the angels are shouting, the redeemed in heaven are shouting, like the song says, its shouting time in heaven, a sinner once lost was found and the angels are rejoicing.
The Word of God says that we are to rejoice with Him. How many people get excited when someone gets saved? I love to hear reports of someone getting saved. I love to hear your testimony how you came to a saving knowledge of Christ. If you have not shared your testimony with us, please do so, we want to rejoice with you. If you are not excited to hear of someone getting saved, then I want to encourage you to re-read Luke 15 and see these words again, ‘Rejoice with me’. I think this looks like a party. Maybe we should have a party every time someone gets saved. Make a really big deal about it. Baptism then a party. We could be like Jesus, someone gets saved, and then we call our friends and neighbors and throw a party. Schedule their baptism, after all it is a public proclamation of faith, and have a party. I just want to be like Jesus. Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
Third: I see Jesus Keeps those who He saved.
Look with me again at Luke 15:5. ‘He layeth in on His shoulders, rejoicing.’ He picks you up, carries you and keeps you safe.
John 10 22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. 24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
John 6 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. Verse 44 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
He says in Hebrews 15:5 that “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
For sake of time let me summarize. (I know, you say, really twelve pages into your message you want to summarize? Yes)
God the Father made a covenant with God the Son that goes like this; I’ll send them to you (Jesus). Jesus you save them, keep them and bring them back to Me. You are not to lose any. You are not to cast any out, You are to raise them up.
You see Church, we are all keepers.
Illustration: I am not a fisherman. I get way too bored if I am not catching fish (souls are different, that never gets boring even if none are biting). But with fish, if they are not biting, I might as well be reading a book. I think I got that from my mom, that’s what she would do, sit and read a book. I do not care if it is a big fish, I’d rather catch 10 little bluegills than one bass. I throw them all back. I never get ‘keepers’. I do not even know what bait to use. Honestly, I do not even know how to tie a proper hook on to my line.
Did you know that you are all ‘keepers’? Jesus never throws any back. Big or small, pretty, or looking like me, He keeps us all. If you are His, then He is in you.
You may ask, what if I sin? Do I lose my salvation? Praise God, no. 1 John 1: 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Again we have John 3 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The Bible says that we are in Christ’s hands, and that He will not let go. If I trip, stumble or fall, I cannot go all the way down, because Jesus has a hold of me; and according to Romans 8, I am ‘in Christ’ and again same chapter that nothing can separate me from His love.
I am in His hand. The Bible says the Holy Spirit of God lives in me. The Word of God says that I am in Christ. The image that we have here in Luke 15 is that he is carrying me on His shoulder.
Remember when mom carried you? She loved you enough to carry you to full term. She loved you enough to provide for your every need. She loved you enough to carry you everywhere before you could walk. She loved you enough to hold your hand and not let go when you tried to run into danger. Our Father is pictured in Scripture as the perfect Father. If your earthly mother with whom you had a physical birth loves you enough to do that, how much more your heavenly Father from whom you had a spiritual birth? Let us rejoice in the goodness of God.