Summary: How God seeks out the lost, through the only mediator - Jesus Christ.

Luke 15:1-10

1 Timothy 1:12-17

Exodus 32:7-14

There’s a story told about the boss of a big company who needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of the main computers. He dialled the employee's home phone number and was greeted with a child's whispered, "Hello?" Feeling put out at the inconvenience of having to talk to a youngster, the boss asked, "Is your Daddy home?"

"Yes", whispered the small voice.

"May I talk with him?" the man asked.

To the surprise of the boss, the small voice whispered, "No."

Wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, "Is your Mummy there?"

"Yes," came the answer.

"May I talk with her?"

Again the small voice whispered, "No."

Knowing that it was not likely that a young child would be left home alone, the boss decided he would just leave a message with the person who should be there babysitting.

"Is there any one there besides you?" the boss asked the child.

"Yes" whispered the child, "a policeman."

Wondering what a policeman would be doing at his employee's home, the boss asked, "May I speak with the policeman?"

"No, he's busy," whispered the child.

"Busy doing what?" asked the boss.

"Talking to Daddy and Mummy and the Fireman", came the whispered answer.

Growing concerned and even worried as he heard what sounded like a helicopter through the ear piece on the phone the boss asked, "What is that noise?"

"A hello-copper" answered the whispering voice.

"What’s going on there?" asked the boss, now alarmed.

In an awed whispering voice the child answered, "The search team just landed the hello-copper."

Alarmed, concerned, and more than just a little frustrated, the boss asked, "What are they searching for?"

Still whispering, the young voice replied along with a muffled giggle, "Me".

So, as we think again that those well known gospel stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin, small stories with big points, and we remember that just as we are lost from God, be that deliberately or otherwise, God will always seek us out, however long and difficult a task that might be.

Luke tells us that it was a woman searching for her coin. I suppose if it had been a man he’d have just shouted to his wife, “have you seen my coin anywhere?” and the story would have fallen rather flat.

I once talked to a couple about transferring their membership to a church. I didn’t know the husband very well, and I asked what church he was transferring from. After a short hesitation, he replied, "I’m transferring from the Golf Club."

It’s easy enough to keep saying that however lost we be, whether through or our own choice or not, wherever we have lost ourselves, God will come looking for us, whatever the cost.

The story is told of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. As an ordained priest in the Church of England, he had gone to Georgia, then one of the American colonies, to preach the Gospel. This was 1734-35, before dramatic events changed the course of his life and ministry. After a year of hard work, he had failed to make any progress at all, and he boarded a ship back to England, but a heavy storm ensued and the ship nearly capsized. In his deathly fright, he realized that, though he had been preaching the Gospel of faith in Christ, he didn’t really believe his own message and feared death in the tumultuous sea. Then his eye fell on a group of Moravians, then a small German sect, who were quietly gathered in prayer, calm amidst the tempest, and unwavering in their trust in Christ. "I wanted this kind of faith," he later wrote in his journal, "and I knew that I did not trust Christ with my whole life." Three years later, on May 24 1738, John Wesley attended a little Moravian church on Aldersgate Street in London, and during the reading of Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans he felt his "heart strangely warmed" and he came to know what it meant to have been lost and then be found by the shepherd Christ.

It’s easy to keep saying that God rescues when we are lost, but we know that God is so awesome, so vast, so much beyond our understanding, how we can be reconciled to God?

I want to answer that question from another angle. Bear with me, and we’ll get to the answer. This week, the pope comes to visit Great Britain. He’s a unique individual - in more ways than one - as both head of the Roman Catholic Church and a head of state, the sate being the Vatican, which, legally, is it’s own very small county. Why don’t we all just join the Roman Catholic Church? Why does the United Reformed Church exist? Or to make it slightly easier, why do we bother with all the trouble and expense of running our own church, when we could so easily merge the whole of the United Reformed Church into the Church of England? Why does our own chapel keep going? Why don’t we just close up and all join St. James?

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