Summary: Tell Me the Story of Jesus: The Message
Tell Me the Story: The Message Luke 15:1-32
This is the fourth message in the series we have entitled, Tell Me the Story. So far we have looked at Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Man and Jesus and His Ministry. Today we try to discover the heart of the message. What is the greatest message when it comes to talking about Jesus Christ?
I think to find this message we have to look at a series of stories Jesus told and they are found in Luke 15.
How many of you chronically lose or misplace things? You never notice something is lost until you need it and it’s always in the last place you look.
Like many of you today, God has suffered a loss. Some of you have lost friends. Some of you have lost siblings. Some of you have lost parents. Some of you have lost a spouse. And God knows how that feels for you. Way back in the beginning, he created people to enjoy the best of everything environmentally, socially, relationally, economically, and spiritually, but when God’s word was challenged, when his authority was questioned, and when his love and care was disbelieved, the relationship he enjoyed with his creation was fractured, resulting in their being separated from him. While God readily forgave them, he also didn’t shield them from the consequences of their choices. Everyone suffered, including God.
I believe that every person has a need for God, so early on in life people begin searching for things to fill this God-shaped void in their life. At the same time God is searching for people who will let him fill that void. So, while we are searching for things to fill our God-shaped void, God is searching for the opportunity to show us how well he fits into that void. This morning, some of you are well aware that you are searching and that God is searching for you, it’s hard to believe and trust that this void in your life—of which you are well aware—can only be filled by the one who created you.
Some of you are searching for something, but you don’t know what it is you’re looking for. You know how you’d like it to make you feel, but you don’t quite know what you’re looking for or where to find it. Some try fill the void through money and things you can buy, and really just end up spending money they really don’t have on things they really don’t need or even want, in order to attract and impress people they really don’t even like.
Some attempt to fill the void with unhealthy, co-dependant, and ultimately destructive relationships. But you know it’s not working because you’re still not finding that peace or security you can only get from God. Some try to fill the void with positions of power, authority and influence over people, thinking that controlling people is what we’re looking for. Or maybe its drugs or alcohol. You’re not an addict, but you’re convinced that you just need it to get through the day. And “a little more” and “just this once” and “just one more time” have all added up, and that which you claimed you could control now controls you—and maybe you really are addicted.
Or maybe you’ve just given up on life and have resolved yourself to live a life of withdrawal and isolation. You’re just biding your time floating in an ocean of loneliness, wondering if someone will ever throw you a life-line.
When God took on the form of a man in Jesus Christ—that’s the Christmas story—and then died on the cross and rose from the dead for our sin, both mine and yours—that’s the Easter story—that lifeline was thrown and now the opportunity take hold and allow him to pull us toward him is completely available.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus told stories or parables, but he always told stories to make a vital, eternal point. The three stories we’re going to look at this morning have two things in common:
A. The character that represents God the Father is actively pursuing something that represents you and me.
B. The things being searched for have incredible value to the one doing the searching.
“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! So Jesus told them this story:” Luke 15:1-3a
What you first see here is that Jesus accepted people and met them where they were. He didn’t pre-qualify anyone before he would speak with them. It’s the same attitude we hope to project here in our church. So here is Jesus with tax gatherers and sinners. People hated tax-gatherers. They collected the taxes and their compensation was any amount of money they could extort from innocent people in the process. They had betrayed their Jewish heritage and exchanged it for the protection, and endorsement of the Roman Empire. The rest of the crowd are simply called “sinners.”