Summary: REACHING THE LOST IS GOD’S PLAN!
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
LUKE 15: 1-10
AUGUST 4, 2002
INTRODUCTION: At times we probably feel it would be so much easier if we could be like Lucy in the old Peanuts cartoon: Lucy says to Charlie Brown, "I would have made a great evangelist." Charlie Brown answers, "Is that so?" She says, "Yes, I convinced that boy in front of me in school that my religion is better than his religion." Charlie Brown asked, "Well, how did you do that?" And Lucy answers, "I hit him over the head with my lunch box."
Bruce Wilkinson has written an excellent little book called The Prayer of Jabez. In the book, Wilkinson explains the reluctance believers have toward having a greater influence for Christ in their world.
He explains this reluctance by using two mathematic equations. The first equation describes the reluctant believer. It looks like this.
“My abilities + experience + training +my personality and appearance + my past + the expectations of others = my assigned territory” (Wilkinson, p. 40).
The prayer would sound something like this. “Lord, please use my abilities, such as they are. Give me the experience and training I need. Make me a better person and don’t let anyone find out what I’m really like. Help me to be what everyone expects me to be so I can have more influence.”
Wilkinson writes, “Our God specializes in working through normal people who believe in a supernormal God who will do His work through them . . . That means God’s math would look more like this: My willingness and weakness + God’s will and supernatural power = my expanded territory” (Wilkinson, p. 41).
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for today speaks of Jesus as the one who welcomes sinners and tax collectors and is ridiculed by Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. I don’t know exactly were we fit into the text, but I have a good idea. We have bought into two models concerning reaching out. The first is the model Lucy uses, brute force. Not to demean Islam or Muslims, but they say, “If you can’t win them by the Koran, win them by the sword.” I often wish that swords or small firearms were taught by Seminary Professors as means of “Sharing one’s faith.” The second model was the equation Wilkinson shared first: “My abilities + experience + training +my personality and appearance + my past + the expectations of others = my assigned territory” (Wilkinson, p. 40). Both of these models don’t work and so most of us don’t become working models!! The reality of it all is that this is God’s business and we have started acting as if it is our business. Our text teaches us the reality of our God and of His desire to see all come to know Him.
THESIS SENTENCE: REACHING THE LOST IS GOD’S PLAN!
SO WHAT DOES REACHING THE LOST LOOK LIKE SINCE IT IS GOD’S PLAN?
I. A SEEKING SAVIOR SHOWS THE WAY
A. A seeking Savior sets the example
1. Where did it all begin, according to our text?
2. Jesus is hanging with the “OUT” crowd.
3. According to the Religious folks of the day, Jesus “WELCOMED” these sinners and even dared to eat with them!!
4. What kind of “Holy Man” is this?
B. A seeking Savior tells the story
1. Again, just like last week, Jesus breaks down the truth until even we can get it, or does He?
2. The lost sheep and the lost coin share one motif, something is lost and there is a need to find it.
3. In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus makes a statement that may not be accurate. He states, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”
4. Is this what a good shepherd would do? Maybe not! Jesus is making a point! Would you really leave 99 sheep in the open country with no shepherd to protect them from wolves and from straying? Probably not! Jesus is still making a point! 5. In the parable of the lost coin, the amount, ten silver coins is the equivalent of about ten days worth of wages. Scholars note that it would take about three months to save this amount. AND BY ALL MEANS, IF YOU LOST A DAYS WAGES, YOU WOULD LOOK HIGH AND LOW UNTIL YOU FOUND IT!
6. Still, Jesus is making a point!! Do you get it??
AN ASIDE: DID YOU NOTICE THE EFFORT TAKEN TO FIND WHAT WAS LOST? I MENTIONED THE LEAVING OF THE 99, BUT WHAT OF SWEEPING THE HOUSE? This is all about an all out concerted effort!!