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January 17, 2016

"CHRIST AFTER THE LOST SHEEP"

TEXT: Luke 15: 1-7
READING:
 Hebrews 13: 10-25

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SUBJ: The preciousness of one of our Lord’s sheep to Him and the measures to which He will go and has gone to deliver one safely home.

AIM: That we might be reminded of the absolute concern and the effectual and redeeming love of Christ Jesus our Lord.

INTR: We address a text today that is the subject of songs and poems and strikes a responsive chord in the hearts of all who have known the tender deliverance and care of our faithful Shepherd.
1. The account of the lost sheep is actually one aspect of a parable that includes three parts: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son.
2. It is perhaps well expressed by David Brown in seeing the lost soul in his stupidity, as completely unconscious of his lost condition and a knowingly and willfully estranged from God.
3. Like other narratives recently addressed, this one is subject to neglect through familiarity.

THESIS: Our Lord would show to the self-sufficient and self-righteous that there is no hope for them if He does not intervene to deliver. He is thus and encouragement to the one who is to be truly found of Him and He puts to silence the claims of any other.

I. The condition addressed (vv. 1-2)
1. The contrast in the minds of the Pharisees and the contrast in the mind of Christ
1) They saw themselves as secure and above not only sinners but above Christ Himself.
2) The distinction He makes is only understood by those being so distinguished.
2. While it would seem that they came to hear Him, it was not for salvation but because of the threat He posed to their self- righteousness and legalism as they saw the “sinners” come to Him.
3. Another case of truth in the mouth of His detractors
1) The charge was, of course, true and we are reminded of Matthew, Zacchaeus and others.
2) Such were some things said of Him at the cross.
4. While Jesus did not condone the sins of those He received it was obvious that there was an easy access granted to all who would come to Him.
1) And so, we understand that His receiving sinners is still occurring for which I am grateful!!
2) The key to understanding this is the distinction to which they are awakened.
5. While we declare the sovereignty of God in salvation and all things, none should ever be discouraged from coming to Him seeking mercy and grace!

II. A successful quest (vv. 3-6)
1. Christ said elsewhere, For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10, as He was about the work of calling Zacchaeus.
2. As is often the case with a parable He addresses a familiar scenario both biblically and culturally.
3. In approaching this and all parables we would be careful not to complicate what is to be understood as a simple message – this was the immediate cause of pharisaical blindness!
4. The success of the quest requires that He find that lost sheep and that He personally bring it home; the indication of full success is that He rejoices over it; else death is certain!
1) It is fully of Him to make the search and come to where the sheep is and we are then pointed to the incarnation, the sinless life against all temptation and trial and ultimately to cross the great gulf we know as the cross.
i. There is no mention of possible failure –until He find it
ii. After all it is His.
2) He does not, on discovering the lost sheep present it with options as to a return such as making a decision or telling him the way home in the hopes that he will choose rightly.
i. It is rather that we find one having been led to the realization of a lost and impossible situation whose situation is of impending death.
ii. While the quickening work of the Spirit is not mentioned it is certainly implied.
3) The intended picture here incorporates the sovereign action of salvation and the conscious experience of one being brought to Christ. (We must be careful that we do not minimize the fact that each of us have been so delivered).
5. He lays it on His shoulder, the rejoicing begins and He carries it all the way home. (…underneath are the everlasting arms… Deut. 33:7)
6. The rejoicing of all who have an interest in the salvation of others is:
1) With Christ and the joy set before Him…
2) It is He that has found – not “He got saved…” with the implication of commonplace or human endeavor.
3) It is His sheep that was lost – “I once was lost, but now I’m found…” and I am His!!!

III. A joyous explanation (v. 7)
1. What a precious revelation – The repentance and subsequent conversion and faith of one sinner is a cause for jubilation in Heaven – Angels and all concerned and certainly all those who even now are made to sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus our Lord!!
2. It is to be remembered here that a comparison is being made to the self-righteous perception of safety by the Pharisees.
1) Pharisee-ism is the religion of the lost who sense no need of a savior
2) No amount of human generated righteousness can ever avail to bring any joy in Heaven
3) Sadly, there are many who, like the Pharisees have no need of repentance and
4) We have the assurance that all who see themselves as truly lost will be found!