Summary: The mission of God is to search for those who are spiritually lost or living under a false theology. God sought out Adam and Eve, invited the children of Israel to join him in his mission and so does Jesus. Jesus confronts the Pharisees with parables re
In Jesus Holy Name September 16, 2007
Text: Luke 15:1-6 Redeemer Lutheran
“The Heart of God Seeks the Lost”
Scores of tiny figures moving up and down the rubble, back and forth. It’s hard to see the ground beneath them. They came from all over America. Like an army of ants, they worked and worked and worked as if they could never stop. A slab here, a steel girder there, cranes moving mountains of concrete. All their labors with one purpose driving them, searching, searching, searching. They were searching for the lost.
On September 11th, the City of New York lost several high rise buildings, called the Twin Towers. They lost most of their first response fire and rescue vehicles, and an endless number of computers, cars, and business records. But those who labored at ground zero were not searching for computers. They were not digging for lost fire trucks. They were seeking, with all their strength, for lost comrades, for missing loved ones, for fellow human beings lost, whether dead or alive.
In today’s bible passage, we read about a God who is on a never-ending search for the lost and missing. God is like a shepherd looking for a lost sheep, a woman searching for a lost coin, God invites us to rejoice – “rejoice with me, for what was lost has been found”.
When Jesus visited the home of Zacchaeus in Jericho, Luke records Jesus. “For the Son of man came to seek and save the lost.” That was his mission. That was his purpose.
When Adam & Eve were lost, God came looking. God came searching. He found them hiding and afraid. In both the O.T. and N.T. we encounter a God who is on a mission to seek the lost and redeem His people. The central act of God in the O.T. is the Exodus, a divine intervention into human history to free His people from slavery. The decisive act of God in the N.T is the divine intervention of God into human history at Bethlehem to free us from slavery and sin.
Hebrews 2:14 He became one of us …”Since we have flesh and blood, he too shared in our humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
The Hebrew slaves were destined for the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Jesus promises his followers the abundant life. He invites us to “cast our burdens upon him.” He invites us to pray for his intervention into our personal history.
Jesus said “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name … Ask and you will receive so that your joy may be complete”. John 16:23-24
God was always at work to save his people. One time he sent a little shepherd boy with a few stones and a sling shot to whip a Philistine giant. After the resurrection of Jesus, God sent the Holy Spirit, the promised comforter, Counselor, to serve as the continuing presence of God in the lives of His people. “Much like the pillar of fire and cloud by day given to the ancient wilderness – wanderers in the Exodus to guide them, so the Spirit of God guides the people of God, the followers of Jesus as the move from Jerusalem, to Jude, Samaria, Fresno & Beyond.
God has a purpose for His people. When Moses encountered God in the burning bush, He soon found himself on the way to Egypt. When Moses and the children of Israel reached Mt. Sinai, God again invited Moses to come up onto the mountain. Listen to the words God spoke to Moses – revealing his heart for people.
Read: Exodus 19:3-6
God rescued his people so they could be his partners. They were chosen to be the “priest of God” representing him to the whole earth.
Yes, we live in the post modern world, a world filled with people who are insecure about their eternal destiny. We are surrounded by people who have been told “there are no absolutes.” They are lost. A few weeks ago I shared with you an experience that Chuck had with a gentleman who he had hired to clean their windows. The man said that he had grown up with parents who were atheist. He did not consider himself an atheist, but one who believed that there was a God. He noted that he was seeking spiritual truth but didn’t know where to go. He was looking some one to tell him more. The children of Israel were to tell the whole world about God and convince the world of his love for them. The disciples were sent out, empowered by the Spirit to proclaim God’s intervention at Bethlehem, His resurrection from the stone walls of death.