Summary: All of our lives matter to God! -- And we know because: 1. Jesus came for us (vs. 1-4). 2. Jesus carries us (vs. 5). 3. Jesus celebrates over us (vs. 5-7). 4. Jesus calls us to help search (vs. 7).
Your Life Matters to God!
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Feb. 26, 2017
*In 1905, a box was shipped from South Africa to England. There was nothing special looking about this box. It was just an ordinary shipping box. And inside the box was a rock, but it was no ordinary rock. The rock was a diamond, "The Cullinan Diamond," the world's largest diamond, weighing 3,106 carats! It was a present for King Edward VII on his 66th birthday. (1)
*Well, we may look ordinary on the outside, and you may feel very ordinary today. But your life is incredibly valuable to the King of Kings! Your life is more valuable to God than a diamond as big as the sun! And in today's Scripture, Jesus reminds us that all of our lives matter to God.
1. We know this first of all, because Jesus came for us.
*Jesus Christ came to seek and to save all of us. He came "to seek and to save that which was lost.'' That's what the Lord said in Luke 19:10 on the day Zacchaeus got saved. And that's what the Lord illustrated in today's Scripture
*Little Zacchaeus was a hated, and corrupt tax collector. He seemed to be a hopeless case. Everybody who knew him would have said so. But Zacchaeus got saved when he met Jesus Christ!
*He seemed like a hopeless case, but the Lord didn't give up on Zacchaeus. And Christians: The Lord didn't give up on us! Jesus cared enough to seek for us when we were lost, and He didn't give up! He kept seeking for us until He found us. This is the message of hope and joy we hear in the parable of the lost sheep.
*In vs. 1-4, God's Word says:
1. Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.
2. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them.''
3. So He spoke this parable to them, saying:
4. "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?"
*That one lost sheep in vs. 4 represents every person who has ever lived, except Jesus Christ. That lost sheep represents us, for Isaiah 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way . . ."
*By our sinful ways, we wandered away from God. We were cut-off from God's flock. And we were in the greatest danger. But Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who came looking for us. He made a passionate, sacrificial search for you!
*Jesus was absolutely determined to find us. He cared so much that He went the distance for you. How far was Jesus willing to go? How far did He go? -- Even into this world, and that's a long way down from Heaven! Jesus went the distance, even to the suffering of the cross, and even into death for us.
*Anthony Fortosis described Jesus' all-out effort with these words:
-"Jesus is the King of kings,
-Lord of the infinite universe,
-Omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent,
-Dwelling in light, unapproachable, changeless.
-And yet He condescended to become enclosed in lowly human flesh,
-To be born a despised Jew in a filthy stable, without fanfare or pomp.
-The richest became the poorest that the poor might become rich.
-He starved for 40 days in the wilderness that we might feast on the Bread of Life.
-He emptied Himself that we might be filled.
-His heart was broken that He might bind up the broken-hearted.
-His body was crushed that we might be made whole.
-He was rejected that we might be accepted.
-He was condemned that we might be justified.
-He was judged that we would not be judged.
-He was deserted for a time by the Father that we might find access to the Father.
-He died as the innocent One that the guilty might be declared innocent." (2)
*That's the determination of the Good Shepherd who went the distance for you! Charles Lowery told the story of a young boy from south Florida. His house was on a lake. One day after school, he hit the water and began to swim.
*When the boy was about halfway out into the lake, he looked up and realized that he was almost nose to nose with an alligator! The boy made a U-turn and swam as hard and fast as he could, yelling the whole time. His mom saw him, and dove into the lake.
*The alligator and his mom got to the boy about the same time. And there was a tug-of-war, but Mom won. When the boy got out of the hospital, the reporters were there, and they asked to see the scars from the alligator. So he showed them the alligator scars. Then the boy told them he wanted them to see his other scars. He pulled up his sleeve, and there on his arm were the scars where his mother would not let him go. (3)