Jesus is the Son of Man
Lost, Then Found Pt 1
(Note: It has come to my attention that my sermon posts from Nov ’21 through the begining of Feb ’22 have been lost. So i will be reposting them here, meaning they wont necessarily be in the order they were preached and recorded. THank you for your understanding)
All right, please turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 15. As I try to encourage you every week, if you do not have a Bible or you are in need of a Bible, please see me after the service and we will work on getting one into your hands.
So, we are continuing our series through the Gospel of Luke, starting on chapter 15. Now, as we have been going through the teachings of Jesus, if we are not looking at context, a number of the last few passages could seem heavy, burdensome, or overly confusing.
The message, one of the points that Jesus is making is that not all who think they are going to Heaven, will actually go to Heaven. This could be misunderstood as us not being able to be assured of our salvation, how can you really know?
Well, Jesus answers that question and one of the answers is through the fruit that is produced in discipleship. He tells those listening to him that there is a cost to discipleship. This can be misunderstood as legalism, that our works are at least a part of what makes us righteous, that we work to either earn or to keep our salvation, which is also called legalism.
Jesus is teaching against and fighting against the self-righteous and the religious establishment and their misunderstanding if the purpose and application of the law. This can lead to the misunderstanding the law and our lives don’t matter, that we can live however we want, and it doesn’t matter. This wrong thinking is called Antinomianism.
And so here, at the beginning of Luke chapter 15, Jesus is going to tell 1 parable, one point, one truth in three different ways, almost seeming that they are three different parables. WE are going to look at the first two this week, and the third next week.
So, let’s go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 15, verses 1-10. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version, though I encourage you to follow along in your preferred translation.
Luke, inspired by the Holy spirit, records the ministry and words of Jesus Christ. Luke 15:1-10:
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.
So, Jesus has been gathering crowds that have been flocking to him and following him, we saw that last week as well. Then, we looked at a few of the specific groups who were following him. This week, we specifically see that sinners and tax collectors are gathering and following him. People are drawn to him like a moth to a flame. Often, they don’t even know why. But there is something about Jesus. Those that need him, when they see him, when they encounter him, they go to him.
And yet, it is interesting, RC Sproul writes: Isn’t it interesting how Jesus drew sinners to himself? Yet sinners tend to flee from us. (Speaking of Christians and the church in general) He continues I wonder what they saw in him that they don’t see in us. Sometimes we think that God has appointed us not to be vessels of Grace but to be the Policemen of the world. But Jesus somehow was approachable by the sinner. They flocked to Him to Hear Him.
Now, that could be one of the reasons we see what happens here. Perhaps, or maybe more certainly than perhaps), the Pharisees saw themselves as God’s policemen of the world. There was no grace. And the people didn’t want to be around them. But Jesus they flocked to. Interestingly, what the Pharisees couldn’t see, is that Jesus was actually teaching and preaching a more demanding morality that they were, easiest seen in the Sermon on the Mount. But because of them flocking to Jesus and not the pharisees, they could have been hurt and perturbed and jealous of Jesus.
So, of course, we see them grumbling about the situation, asking Why is He spending time with them? To them, Him doing so was affirming their sinful lifestyle.
Now, there are some biblical principles at play here that have to be acknowledged and balanced. Namely I think of 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul says that Bad company corrupts good morals. We do have to be careful with who we let influence us and influence our beliefs, our values, our morals and our behavior. But we are not called to be locked away from the world, using our church as a bunker in the culture war around us.
This is another warning and example that shows that we can take a good, right, biblical principle and take it to an unloving, unmerciful, graceless, sinful extreme. The scribes and the Pharisees used this principal to dismiss the dignity and worth and the humanity of those summed up here as sinners and tax collectors.
Instead of compassion and Evangelism, they dismissed them. They ignored them. They condemned them. And not only them, but anyone who would speak with them. Anyone who would dine with them. Anyone who would “hang out” with them. Namely Jesus and (hopefully us today) the message is “Don’t spend time with that type of person,” as if their sin is contagious. And it does take wisdom and discernment to know when and how to spend time with certain people and when and how not to spend time with certain people.
And yes, they believed that God would welcome repentant sinners, but the person had to first repent, change their ways and then they might be worthy to seek and approach God. This is the mindset that Jesus would demolish here with these parables and the one we will look at next week. Jesus says, let me tell you something about those sinners…
We see today that he tells the story of the lost sheep and the story of the lost coin. Now, the cultural assumption is that the point of the story and the lesson of the story is that Jesus loves you. Jesus will leave everything for you. You, you, you…
You are not the point of these stories. Yes, Jesus does love you. Yes, he loved you enough to leave heaven and to give up his life for you. Those are correct sentences, IM not saying those are incorrect. But they are not the point of these parables this morning.
So, we look at who this story is being told to. IT is not being told to the lost sheep and the lost coin. Its being told to the others. Its being told to the scribes and pharisees. The point of these parables is two groups. The group hearing it, as we just identified. And the Shepard who went out and saved the one, the woman who searched for and found the coin. Its about Jesus.
Jesus is the savior. He is Our Savior. He is the savior of all whom the Father has given to him. He often wrongly describes Jesus as a Savior who wants to save but can’t or won’t. That he is dependent on us. That he is powerless unless we allow him to save us. But that is completely unbiblical. The fact of the matter is that if Jesus wants you saved, if he has determined you will be saved. You will in fact, be saved.
This is the doctrine that is sometimes called Irresistible Grace. Got Questions.org defines it this way:
Simply put, the doctrine of irresistible grace refers to the biblical truth that whatever God decrees to happen will inevitably come to pass, even in the salvation of individuals. The Holy Spirit will work in the lives of the elect so that they inevitably will come to faith in Christ. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit never fails to bring to salvation those sinners whom He personally calls to Christ (John 6:37-40).
We know that we are saved by faith. Among other places, we see this in Ephesians chapter 2. But, as is human nature, our tendency is to say that we are responsible for our faith. We boast in our faith. We take credit for our salvation by taking credit for our faith. And so, Ephesians also tells us that the very faith that saves us is itself a gift of God.
The fact is that Jesus will not give up until the job is done. He says later on in Luke’s Gospel that He came to seek and save those who are lost. He is actively seeking those who are lost. Those he came to save. An analogy he uses elsewhere, he comes after those who are sick, not chasing after those who are well.
Romans tells us that no one in and of themselves seeks after God. Instead, we actively suppress the truth. And so, we can’t come to Christ without him going out and bringing us to himself. The Shepard lays the lost sheep on his shoulders and brings him back into the fold.
The sheep here was unable to return on his own or by his own power. Ands so the Shepard carries him where and when he is unable to go himself. Isaiah 53:6, God says:
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
In the hymn, Come Thou Fount, we see in one verse, the hymn writer writes:
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed his precious blood
And then in the very next verse:
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
We are sheep and we wonder all places except into the loving arms of Jesus, our Good Shepard. We read this morning in Ezekiel 34, verses 11-16. I want to read it again, after what we have already looked at.
“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.[a] I will feed them in justice.
Look at that, listen to that. Who is the one taking care of the sheep, not themselves? Who is the one protecting them when they are in danger, feeding them when they are Hungry, who will gather them and make them lie down in green pastures? God says, I…I…I…I…I… 15 times right there, God says, I.
He loves us and is willing to do this for us. Not because we are lovable. Not because we are worthy of it. Not because we could ever repay him. But because of Himself. His goodness. His Love. His Glory.
We see at the end of both of these parables, Jesus rejoices in finding us. He rejoices in our salvation. He is our righteousness. He is our justification. He is the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the World.
Romans 5 tells us exactly who Jesus is and who we are in comparison. Romans 5:6-11:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
And so, when I say this story, this passage is not about you, that is not to take anything away from Gods love for us, his willingness to do what it took to save us. Indeed, its to magnify it. Because it is God, through the Son Jesus Christ, for Gods Glory, through Gods perfect love came down and fulfilled the law, fulfilled the Old Covenant and then paid our penalty for the breaking of that covenant. He died the death that we were justly supposed to die He rose from the dead, so that we too could be resurrected and one day, ascend into heaven to receive our glorified bodies and spend eternity with Him, rejoicing and worshipping in Him and through and at him.
God rejoices in our salvation and our repentance. He rejoices over Jesus seeking and saving us, even when we don’t want to be found, or think we already were found. There is more joy in heaven over one who was lost and is now saved, who have believed the Gospel and repented of their sins, than for 99 who think they are righteous and have no need to repent.
Jesus continues and tells the story of the lost coin. Same purpose, same point, same Hero, and same rejoicing. The coin that is lost cannot will itself to be found. It cannot seek or search for the woman looking for it. Instead, the woman actively and diligently seeks this coin. And there is great rejoicing and partying when a coin that was lost is now found.
Again, we can not repent in and of ourselves. WE can be sorry. We can feel guilty. We can be remorseful. But we cannot repent, not without the Holy Spirit’s work inside of us, in our heart and in our spirit.
God seeks us, not the other way around. God loves us and he does so perfectly, with his perfect love. But even his loving us and saving us is ultimately and primarily done to bring glory to himself. Soli Deo Gloria, To the Glory of God Alone. One of the Five Solas of the Reformation.
I am reminded, I know, I’m reminded of it often, but in this passage, and this message, I am reminded of the Jonathon Edwards quote: The Only thing we contribute to our salvation is the sin that makes it necessary.
The scribes and the Pharisees in this passage, it can be hard to see, but they are us BEFORE God intervenes. And this should remind us again, about how we should treat others. That just as you and I are valuable in Gods eyes, so are all sheep and coins (and people if that wasn’t clear) valuable in Gods eyes.
And just as they can’t, nor could we go back and look for the Shepard. Instead, the Shepard seeks us out, he picks us up and carries us to eternal safety. Just as they can’t, and we couldn’t look for the woman who lost us. It is the woman (Not that Jesus is a woman) that lights up the room and diligently seeks after us.
And when we are found, through no work of our own, through nothing to boast in other than the work, and life and cross of Christ, there is much rejoicing in Heaven as a soul is adopted into the Kingdom.
We are going to end in a moment with Amazing Grace and I just encourage you, even if it means not singing, see the words that were written. Hear the words that are being sung. Feel the truth that Gods grace is amazing to save us wretches, Once lost, now found, once blind, now seeing, all through, because of and for the Glory of God. Amen