Summary: Do we rejoice with God and the angels of heaven every time another sinner repents? In Luke 15 , Jesus tells three parables and all three parables end with a celebration. But, not everyone comes to the celebration.
Luke 15:1-10 GNB One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus, (2) the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, "This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!" (3) So Jesus told them this parable: (4) "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them---what do you do? You leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it. (5) When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders (6) and carry it back home. Then you call your friends and neighbors together and say to them, 'I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!' (7) In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent. (8) "Or suppose a woman who has ten silver coins loses one of them---what does she do? She lights a lamp, sweeps her house, and looks carefully everywhere until she finds it. (9) When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, and says to them, 'I am so happy I found the coin I lost. Let us celebrate!' (10) In the same way, I tell you, the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents."
WELCOMING THE REPENTANT SINNERS
Text: Luke 15:1 – 10
I once read a story about a mother whose love went the distance for her child. The mother in this story went to help out during harvest time. She took her child with her. She was following the custom of harvest time in Scotland, where the women would help. She placed her child in reach. But, as everyone got busy, an eagle came by and snatched the baby in order to make that baby a meal for her eaglets. The eagle took the baby all the way back to its nest. Many of the men made a valiant effort to climb the vertical wall of rock. There was a sailor who then succeeded to ascend to the top of the cliff but to no avail. Finally, the mother Hannah Lamond, herself began that same endeavor against impossible odds. But, she succeeded in getting to the top of that cliff. She got her child while the eagle was trying to beat Hannah back. But, the eagle's efforts were not as strong as the mother's desire. When everything else failed, it was her love that found a way to rescue her child. The crowd stared in awe as she came back down almost as easily as she went up. And they began to cheer and to rejoice with her. (A. Naismith, 1200 Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes. Great Britain: Pickering Paperbacks, 1988, pp. 124 - 125). That is how God’s love is with us.
Do we rejoice with God and the angels of heaven every time another sinner repents? In Luke 15 , Jesus tells three parables and all three parables end with a celebration. But, not everyone comes to the celebration.
As the scribes and Pharisees were grumbling about how Jesus welcomed sinners and even ate with them, Jesus began to tell these parables (Luke 15:2). Is it odd that the unrepentant are complaining about those who repent? When it comes to the lost, these two stories talk about recovery and rejoicing.
Did you ever get lost as a child?
1) Frightening Separation: Just recently, our youth group went to a water park in Charleston. While we were there, I noticed that there were employees who were looking for the parents of a child who got lost? They had their radios and were talking back and forth. Apparently, the mystery must have gotten solved. I did not see the celebration, as I was with my own group in a crowded place, but you can bet that there was one.
2) Lost and Found: As a child, my mother once dreamed about me getting lost close to a time in the near future when I did get lost. When I was rejoined with my parents, there was a celebration.
3) Our Stories: All of us probably have a story about getting lost.
It is possible to be lost and not even know it?
1) Ignorance: That seems to be one of the things that this parable points out. Did the sheep know it was lost?
2) Like sheep: Isaiah 53:6 Reminds us that , “All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the LORD gave him the punishment we deserved” (CEV).
3) Naive: A pastor named Gary Downing recalled an experience from his younger days when he worked with the county for Youth Corrections. A) They had taken some junior highs on a trip on a pontoon boat down the Mississippi to St. Louis. B) They reached a point where they got stuck on a sand bar. C) Gary went looking for one of the youth who took off. In looking for Lonnie, the young person who had wandered off, he managed to get lost himself. D) He started thinking about having to spend the night in unfamiliar territory with reptiles, animals of prey and insects. E) The other adult leader began to blow the horn on the boat to help Gary find his way back. F) In the meantime, the kid who ran off came back because it was too scary for him. G) Gary mentioned that He used the sound of that horn to navigate back to the boat. (Gary W. Klingsporn. ed. The Library Of Distinctive Sermons. Volume 1. Rev. Dr. Gary W. Downing. “Who Gives A Rip?” Sisters: Questar Publishers, 1996, pp. 191 -192). How often do we help the lost find their way back?