Summary: Conviction, Sin, Guilt, Judgment
HOLY ISN’T HIS FIRST NAME – The Spirit of Conviction
John 16:5-16 (p. 753) April 12, 2015
I have a feature of my smart phone that immediately alerts me if there is a missing child in the area. It’s called an Amber Alert...It shows up on my screen with a name, sometimes a description of the abductor and a license number and vehicle description. Where did the Amber Alert originate?
In January 1996, nine year old Amber Hagerman was riding her bicycle when a neighbor heard the girl scream. The neighbor saw a man pull Amber off her bike, throw her into the front seat of his pickup truck, and drive away at a high speed.
The neighbor called police and provided a description of the suspect and his vehicle, but couldn't recall much else. Arlington, TX police and the FBI interviewed other neighbors and searched for the suspect and vehicle. Local radio and TV stations covered the story in their regular newscasts. Four days later, Amber's body was found in a drainage ditch four miles away. Her throat has been cut. Her kidnapping and murder remain unsolved.
A concerned citizen contacted a Dallas, TX radio station suggesting the idea that Dallas radio stations should repeat news bulletins about abducted children just like they do severe weather warnings. The idea was presented to the general managers of the radio stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They agreed that such a program would provide an important public service and might help save the life of a child.
The Dallas Amber Plan was started in July 1997 to help safely recover missing children that police believe have been abducted. Since then, the program has successfully recovered eight children and expanded to other cities and states nationwide.
Although the Amber Plan is named after Amber Hagerman, this national program is dedicated to all children nationwide who've been abducted. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, up to 4600 children are abducted by strangers every year (about 12 children nationwide every day).
Every law enforcement official will tell you the most essential ingredient in recovering a lost child is time
I’m not sure what I would do if I’d lost a child or grandchild. It’s hard to even imagine the inner turmoil, fear and dread that would fill my heart.
I guess I’d ask...what would you do to find that child? What resources would you spend? How focused would you be?
In the gospel of Luke, in chapter 15, Jesus tells three stories of people who have lost important things.
The first, a shepherd who’s lost one of his sheep because it wandered off.
The 2nd, a woman who’s lost a part of her inheritance, a coin of great value.
The 3rd, a father who’s lost his youngest son, because of sin and rebellion.
Each of these stories lets us see the anguish of people who’ve lost something important and valuable...and when the lost article or person is found, each story ends with a particular phrase:
The shepherd says, “Rejoice with me I have found my lost sheep.” The woman says, “Rejoice with me I have found my lost coin,” and the Father says, “We had to celebrate...He was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.”
There are lots of similarities in these 3 stories, but there is a glaring difference. In the first story the shepherd leaves the 99 and searches relentlessly for his lost sheep. In story number 2 the woman sweeps the whole house searching for her coin. In story 3 a father loses his youngest son and waits for His return.
In 2 stories God is shown as searching for that which is lost, but in the 3rd story God, the Father is shown...waiting. God is actively involved in seeking us...searching for us for salvation...but God will not force us to come home to Him. We have to come to our senses and make that choice. We are not sheep. We are not coins. We are sons and daughters...created in the image of our Father, but each of us has rejected our Father’s care and each of us have become prodigals because of sin and selfishness.
So this morning we look at the God who seeks and searches for His lost children, the God who so loved us He gave His only Son as our sacrifice.
Let’s start with our need to “come to our senses” as the lost son did in the pig sty in Luke 15. You know the story...He received his inheritance, (amazing the father would give it to him.) And this boy takes off for a far country...spends the money on “riotous living” according to his brother. And when it’s all gone, so are his so called friends...and then...things get worse...listen: