Last night in our Fall Soulwinning Kick-Off Service, I reminded our church about the importance of our responsibility to reach the lost with the power of the Gospel. I want to share a few principles that Jesus taught the murmuring Pharisees who turned their noses up at the publicans and sinners that drew near Jesus.
Luk 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
Luk 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
Luk 15:3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
Luk 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
Luk 15:5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
Luk 15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
Luk 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
- THE LOST SHEEP– Too often we view lost people like the Pharisees. We see certain segments of society and our culture, and we too turn up our noses at the offensiveness of their sin. Some of their behavior makes our skin crawl at the thought of their lifestyle. This was the perspective of the Pharisees, NOT JESUS! We must see sinners as LOST SHEEP. We must look beyond their lifestyle to see that they are hopelessly and helplessly lost in the wilderness of sin! The wilderness is a PLACE OF DANGER. If the lost sheep is not rescued it will perish. The wilderness is a PLACE OF DESPAIR. Regardless of the picture that Hollywood paints, worldliness is a wilderness. Behind the “glit and glam” are many desperate people who try to cope with the issues of life with alcohol, drugs, and immorality. The wilderness is a PLACE OF DEATH. Ultimately, a lost sheep will perish in the wilderness. By the way, we would feel much differently if that lost sheep was our son, daughter, mother, or father. Ouch!
- THE LOVED SHEEP– In this text assumes that there would be a great outreach effort on the part of the shepherd for that one lost sheep. Even if it meant leaving the other ninety and nine until the job was done. It’s unfortunate that a man could have more affection for an animal than the religious Pharisees had for sinners. There were no good Samaritans in that house for dinner! But, thanks be to God, the Chief Shepherd loved each of us, who were lost sheep, and came to this earth to bear my sins in His own body on the tree! You see, lest you have forgotten, you were once a lost sheep also, wandering lost in the wilderness.
- THE LABOR FOR THE SHEEP– Jesus said that the shepherd would “go out after that which was lost, until he find it”. It implies COMPASSION for the life of the lost sheep, knowing that it was only a matter of time before it perished in the wilderness. It also implies a COMMITMENT for the lost sheep. The shepherd would not come back UNTIL he found it. Once the lost sheep was found it brought CAUSE for great joy and rejoicing, because the sheep that was once lost, was finally found. The reality today is that all three of these elements are absent in many churches and Christians lives.
Recently, a young teenage boy was saved during our Fall Revival. The very next night, he brought his friend who was also saved that night. That event reminded me about the simplicity of our task as a church. We are simply to labor in the wilderness finding lost sheep and bringing them home. That’s it! But, that will only happen when we choose to see the sinner, not as a sinner, but as a lost sheep.