Summary: Message for Christians that are in sin

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Series: Creating Contagious Compassion

When We Wander Too Far?

( evanglelism, salvation)

Luke 15:3-7

Survivor Eva Hart remembers the night, April 15, 1912, on which the Titanic plunged 12,000 feet to the Atlantic floor, some two hours and forty minutes after an iceberg tore a 300-foot gash in the starboard side: "I saw all the horror of its sinking, and I heard, even more dreadful, the cries of drowning people."

Although twenty life-boats and rafts were launched-too few and only partly filled-most of the passengers ended up struggling in the icy seas while those in the boats waited a safe distance away.

Lifeboat No. 14 did row back to the scene after the unsinkable ship slipped from sight at 2:20 A.M. Alone, it chased cries in the darkness, seeking and saving a precious few.

Incredibly, no other boat joined it.

Some were already overloaded, but in virtually every other boat, those already saved rowed their half-filled boats aimlessly in the night, listening to the cries of the lost. Each feared a crush of unknown. Swimmers would cling to their craft, eventually swamping it.

"I came to seek and to save the lost," our Savior said. And he commissioned us to do the same. But we face a large obstacle: fear. While people drown in the treacherous waters around us, we are tempted to stay dry and make certain no one rocks the boat.

I would assume that all of us identify with that famous picture of the Good Shepherd Jesus with that precious lamb wrapped around his neck safely on his broad shoulders?

Why do you identify with that lamb?

Most of us have wandered off too far. Maybe you feel like you have to be carried back to safety. You have tried to find your way back.. but you end up on dead –end roads?

Maybe the comfort of resting on God’s shoulders brings hope to days of despair?

For one reason or another most of us identify with the sheep in this story.

Some of us have felt like the black sheep in our families.. we have a lot of those in our family.. all on Tina’s side of course.

Shepherds walked in pairs, but this parable does not say this shepherd had a partner. So, in fact, he leaves the 99 in the open and dangerous country... vulnerable to the enemy of thieves and wild dogs.

So, in this parable, Jesus is teaching us how to capture the heart of God.. that God is passionate about lost sheep. That God seeks us out when we wander too far

The OT talks about God carrying His sheep, Ps. 28:9 says, "Be their shepherd and carry them forever".

In 40:11, it says, "He tends His flock like a Shepard, he gathers his lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart. He gently leads those who have young."

What a joy to be found being carried close to the heart of God almighty?

Once again, in this parable, two people are depicted in this parable.

There are those safely in the fold of the 99, that have not wandered too far, yet they allowed and watched this one wander off too far… I also assume that every sheep in that 99 wandered sometime in their life.

In fact, God says in Romans 3:23, "All have turned away, all fall short of the glory of God."

Peter says, in chapter 2 of His book, "For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd, an overseer of your souls.".

There is also another person represented here, and that is the lamb that wandered too far, another good shepherd is seeking them out.

Last week we learned that to win sheep you may have to follow them into some rough terrain.

In my experience, you may find some lost sheep in your own church. Often, I have found them actually just to be wolves in sheep’s clothing…

But most of the time, I see God’s wandering sheep, in bars, drunk in ditches - so dirty that you could not recognize their wool.

Jesus is preaching to the religious leaders and he is trying to teach them, as well as us, that God does not wait for the sheep to find their way back.. but he seeks them out. He has passion for Lost sheep.

When Christians abide in the sight of the great Shepherd, Jesus Christ, they are held in the security of the flock, but sometimes they become distracted from the flock.

Jesus presents us with the picture of a shepherd whose sheep has gone astray.

In Israel, shepherding was a major livelihood. Sheep provided people with "meat, milk, fat, wool, skins, and horns," many of the necessities of living.

"The economic value of sheep stood in direct proportion to the amount of supervision these beasts required."

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