Summary: When one person comes to faith in Jesus there is rejoicing in heaven. Who are sinners and who are the righteous are described in this message.
“The Joy of Finding What Was Lost”
The primary thrust of Jesus’ mission on earth was finding lost people. Jesus said: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10) Jesus was not talking about finding people who were lost as they were traveling from one city to another. Jesus was talking about people who were spiritually lost – spiritually dead in trespasses and sin.
You could walk up to a person on the street and ask: “Are you lost?” They would respond. “No, I know exactly where I am going.”
In the Gospel of Luke chapter 15 Jesus tells three parables that describe the “Joy of Finding What Was Lost.”
15:1, “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear him.”
There was something about Jesus that drew “tax collectors and sinners” to Jesus. “Tax Collectors” were in the eyes of most the scum of the earth. No upright citizen would associate with tax collectors and sinners.
What qualities did Jesus possess that drew sinners to Jesus? The compassion and love of Jesus had a drawing power to hurting and needy people. Don’t you enjoy being around people that are positive, honest and non judgmental? Genuine love is alike a magnet to people searching for meaning to life.
If you were a well know religious leaders and wanted to get air time on the local Jerusalem network you would stay away from tax collectors and sinners. Jesus was not like the majority of religious leaders of his day. Jesus welcomed tax collectors and sinners. Like 19 Jesus invited himself to the home of Zacchaeus a chief tax collector and Director of the IRS of Judea. Jesus didn’t care what others thought about the people he chose to associate with. Jesus focused on the hearts of people. Jesus said he came not to be ministered unto but to minister and help all people.
Luke 15:2 “But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered (growled), “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” To the Pharisees Jesus was a religious fanatic and fundamentalist. Jesus was not true to serving as a Rabbi and teacher of the law. Jesus was unclean because he hob-knobbed with sinners.
In response to the religious leaders, the Pharisees and teachers of the law, Jesus told 3 parables – Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, and Lost Son.
Lost Sheep. Jesus addressed the religious leaders and said: If you have 100 sheep and one is lost would you not leave the 99 and go out into the open country and search until you find it. When you find it you would put it on your shoulders and carry it home. You would call your friends and neighbors and say, “Rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep.”
Then Jesus gave the punch line of the story: “I tell you there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 religious persons who do not need to repent.”
There is great joy over finding a lost sheep but there is even greater joy when one sinner repents and receives Jesus as Savior. Every time a person repents there is a celebration party in heaven.
#Three years ago Carollyn and I went skiing at Copper Mountain in Colorado. We stayed in a five bedroom condo with our Son Wendel and his family. We were getting dressed in our snow pants and thermo jackets, gloves and boots. Wendel’s youngest daughter somehow slipped outside and when we went out she was nowhere in sight. I jumped in the car and started driving around looking for here in the freezing weather. We spread out over the area looking of little Annie Wen Ellis. After what seemed like hours and was actually only about ten minutes we found her waiting outside the door with an adult. She had gone up to a door and knocked and told the people that she was lost. They took her in and kept watch for searching people.
We all were overjoyed to find her and thankful she was safe. With all the joy we felt there is even more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents.
Lost Coin. Jesus told another parable: “Suppose a woman had 10 coins and lost 1. She will turn the house upside down, sweeping every corner until she finds it. When she finds it she calls her friends and neighbors ands sys: “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.” Again Jesus adds the punch line: “I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
One of our pre-school teachers misplaced her keys to her car and house. She nearly got sick over her loss. We searched high and low around the church and grounds. No keys could be found. Finally the lost keys were found at the back of her school mailbox. We had had a time of rejoicing with her.