Summary: Though every situation is different, God wants the lost to be found; your burden is not yours alone. This message is to encourage those of us burdened for lost or straying family and dear friends.
1. C Ryle writes this:
We may use all means, by but we cannot command success. We may teach, but we cannot convert. We may show those around us the bread and water of life, but we cannot make them eat and drink it. We may point out the way to eternal life, but we cannot make others walk in it. ‘It is the Spirit that quickeneth.’ Life is that one thing which the cleverest man of science cannot create or impart. It comes ‘not of blood, nor of the will of man’ (John 1:13). To give life is the grand prerogative of God [source: erlc.com].
2. But we can pray. And we need to remember that we have to become “ripe” before God harvests us. Some of us become ripe early in the season, others in the fall.
3. Luke 18:1, Luke talks about why Jesus told the parable of the Unjust Judge: “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
Main Idea: Though every situation is different, God wants the lost to be found; your burden is not yours alone.
I. The Shepherd Searched for the Lost SHEEP (Luke 15: 1-7).
A. The SETTING for these parables
1. Jesus socialized with tax-collectors and sinners.
2. Jesus was criticized for socializing with tax-collectors and sinners.
3. Jesus defended His behavior and taught His strategy through parables.
4. The Pharisees were out of harmony with God, who rejoiced when the lost are found.
B. What these two (three) parables have in COMMON
In past special focus Sundays, we discussed the Prodigal Son,
One parable focuses upon a man, and the other upon a woman.
Both lost something valuable and found something valuable.
C. Lost sheep are OBVIOUSLY lost, and we are right to seek their restoration.
• The 99 represent those who profess to follow God & live decent lives, whether saved or not. The one lost sheep clearly is not following God, but is found and converted.
D. God does not receive the repentant with SCOLDING, but with joy!
II. The Housewife Searched for the Lost COIN (Luke 15: 8-10).
A. These coins represent her SECURITY.
Ann Punton writes, “Although everyone dressed more or less alike according to social standing, each village had some distinguishing feature. Bethlehem women wore a conical cap. When they married, their husband gave them a number of silver coins which they fixed to their hat. The coins were their security, only to be used in drastic circumstances or if the husband died.” The World Jesus Knew, p. 61.
B. She has several REASONS why she wants to find this lost coin.
4. SOCIAL (others might view her as careless)
C. She SEARCHES the house “with a fine-toothed comb.”
D. When she finds the coin, she is HAPPIER than she was before she lost it.
E. Our prayers today are that God would find that LOST sheep, that lost coin.
III. God is ABLE to Search for and Find the Lost (Psalm 139:7-12).
A. He USES our prayers, witness, efforts, and love in the process.
B. The Holy Spirit is PRESENT where we are not.
Psalm 139:7-12 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
C. We cannot control the will of others, but we can pray that God would GET THROUGH.
D. As long as there is life, there is HOPE.