Summary: God has initiated the salvation of man. Like a shepherd searching for his lost sheep, so God has sought us in the form of the Good Shepherd, Jesus.
1. Survivor Eva Hart remembers the night, April 15, 1912, on which the Titanic plunged 12,000 feet to the Atlantic floor, some two hours and forty minutes after an iceberg tore a 300-foot gash in the starboard side: "I saw all the horror of its sinking, and I heard, even more dreadful, the cries of drowning people."
Although twenty life-boats and rafts were launched-too few and only partly filled-most of the passengers ended up struggling in the icy seas while those in the boats waited a safe distance away.
Lifeboat No. 14 did row back to the scene after the unsinkable ship slipped from sight at 2:20 A.M. Alone, it chased cries in the darkness, seeking and saving a precious few.
Incredibly, no other boat joined it. Some were already overloaded, but in virtually every other boat, those already saved rowed their half-filled boats aimlessly in the night, listening to the cries of the lost. Each feared a crush of unknown. Swimmers would cling to their craft, eventually swamping it.
2. One of the Impressive things about our God is how much he cares about us. HE initiates our relationship with him
a. Adam – “Where are you?”
3. Luke 15.1-7
I. The Defiant Disapproval
A. Scribes and Pharisees
1. Knew the Torah (specially trained scribes copied; Pharisees studied it and oral law)
2. 5 Bad Pharisees and 2 Good; Yeshua (Jesus) close to Pharisees in Theology
3. Zealots were a branch of the Pharisees – impatient with God – “DIY”
4. “Separated Ones”
a. Separate from Sadducees/Priest – sold out to Rome/Hellenism (no EL)
b. Separate from sin and sinful people – holiness issues/uncleanness
B. Misunderstanding God
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, "Here am I, here am I,"
to a nation that was not called by my name. Isaiah 65.1
Samuel Colgate, the founder of the Colgate business empire, was a devout Christian. During an evangelistic service that he’d attended, an invitation was given at the close of the sermon for all those who wished to turn their lives over to Christ and be forgiven.
One of the first persons to walk down the aisle was a well-known prostitute. She wept openly as she expressed her desire to become a Christian and to become a member of this church. For a few moments, the silence was deafening. This was in the days when some churches “voted” on whether a person would be accepted into their congregation, and it became apparent that these people weren’t sure they wanted her in their church.
Apparently Samuel Colgate understood this. Maybe he was even thinking of these parables (in Luke) when arose and said, "I guess we blundered when we prayed that the Lord would save sinners. We forgot to specify what kind of sinners.
We’d better ask him to forgive us for this oversight. The Holy Spirit has touched this woman and made her truly repentant, but the Lord apparently doesn’t understand that she’s not the type we want him to rescue. We’d better spell out for him just which sinners we had in mind."
Almost immediately, a motion was made and unanimously approved that the woman be accepted into membership in the congregation.
Paul wrote in I Corinthians 6:9-11
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
(“And we don’t want those kind of people in our church….” No that wasn’t what he said. Instead he said:)
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God
In other words these were those who were lost. The adulterers, prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers and so on. These were the ones that God looked for.
1. By misunderstanding the nature of God, they misunderstood the mission of the Messiah (Luke 19.10)
2. By misunderstanding the nature of God, they misunderstood their mission – instead of seeking lost sinners they kept to themselves in their religious club
II. The Searching Shepherd (A Picture of Messiah/God)
The boss of a big company needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of the main computers. He dialed the employees home telephone number and was greeted with a child’s whispered, "Hello?"
The boss asked, "Is your Daddy home?"
"Yes," whispered the small voice.
"May I talk with him?" the man asked.