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Faithlife

The God of the Missing Sheep

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Good morning, this morning I wanna focus your attention on . Luke chapter 15, now as we have been moving through the book of Exodus we have been learning about the heart God has for redeeming and saving men and women. We have seen that god’s desire is to take these normal everyday people and carry them to a land filled with blessing, and abundance.
God desired to take Israel from slavery into what we know as the promised land. So God has heart for rescuing His people.
This morning were going to take a short hiadus and speak some more about the heart of the great God we serve. This morning I wanna talk with you about “the God of the missing sheep.”
Let’s take a look at , please stand with me this morning in honor of the reading of God’s word.
Luke 15:1–7 NKJV
Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “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? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.
Let’s pray:
Heavenly Father this is Your day, these are Your people. You desire good things for those who seek to hear Your voice. Lord of Heaven we wanna hear your voice this morning. Tune our hearts to sing your grace, help us feel Your mighty presence this morning. CHANGE US OH GOD in Jesus MATCHLESS NAME I PRAY AMEN.
The God of the missing sheep.
Phil Yancey writes about a friend, a social worker who worked with the down and out in chicago. The friend relayed to him a disturbing story of meeting with a young woman, who prostituted herself to serve her drug addiction.
Worse she also sold out her little daughter in prostitution to men interested in sick sadistic relationships. When confronted about this horrific decision she exlaimed:
“I have to do it, so that I can buy more drugs.” The counselor was disturbed naturally about what he heard. First of all he knew he had an obligation and legal responsibility to report to the authorities the story he had just heard...
But in the moments that he had with this young lady he wanted to say something to be of help to her. He said the only thing that came to his mind, “have you ever considered going to a church for help?”
He said he would never forget, the naive look of pure shock on this young womans face as she replied:
“Church? why in the world would I ever go there?”
“I was already feeling bad about myself, those people would have only made me feel worse...
Unfortunately the young lady was probably right about how she would have been treated if she had gone to the average church for help. Worse, is the fact that when you read the pages of the New Testament you will discover that people much like this young lady were drawn TO Jesus not scared away FROM JEsus.
This is the occasion of
Luke 15:1 ESV
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
The tax collector was as low as you could go in ancient Palestine, and this was not merely general dislike for IRS agents. These men were hated because they were governement authorities working for the wrong government. They joined themselves with the occupying forces of the Roman empire to take taxes from teir fellow JEws and they used whatever means neccesarry to extort more money from them men they did.
By extortion and intimidation they stole from poor families and lined their owned pockets. The tax collectors were the ancient forerunner of organized crime.
They were Israel’s “mafia” and rightly hated by them people.But here they are standing before Jesus and not only these tax collectors but also the text says there are sinners there.
This is a broad term isn’t it? I mean isn’t everyone a sinner?
Then why does the text distinguish between the tax collector and sinner? The term sinner refers to anyone who misses the mark of God’s righteous standard but over time it had developed a broader definition. It referred not just to the one who disobeyed God but it was also being used to refer to those who did not submit to the traditions of the religious leaders.
One translation puts “sinners” in quotation marks indicating that these more than like were not wicked people they were “irreligious people”
The text says they were “drawing near” to Jesus. Note verse 1 says emphatically that it was ALL of them drawing near to Jesus.
They were gathering around Jesus not just as religious groupies following around the newest preacher in town, they were gathering because they wanted to hear Jesus preach and teach.
There was something different about the sermon when Jesus preached even His enemies were amazed by His teachings stating:
Matthew 7:29 NKJV
for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Matthew 7
In the last verse of chapter 14 notice what Jesus says:
Luke 14:35 NKJV
It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
14:35
Only those with spiritual ears can hear and understand what the Lord is saying. but in our passage Jesus has a captive audience.
Now the first verse of chapter 15 tells us that there were social outcasts and rebels who took Jesus up on His chllenge and they drew near they were drawing near to hear the gospel message of the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed.
They were not the only ones in the crowd verse 2 tells us that the Pharisees and the scribes were there..
Suffice it to say that if the tax collectors and sinners were as low as you could go in Israel the scribes and Pharisees were as “high” as you could go.
If the tax collectors and sinners were the ultimate outsiders the scribes and the Pharisees were the ultimate insiders. The down and out, and the “up and in” both gathered around Jesus. When these religious leaders see these misfits, these sinners in the presence of Jesus they murmered and comaplined against Him.
Luke 15:3 ESV
So he told them this parable:
Luke 15:2 NKJV
And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.”
L
Luke 15:
“this man” notice they dont even call Jesus by His name. This man recieves sinners and eats with them”
Their underlying concern is legitimate. The Bible warns in both the Old and New Testaments that Godly people must be careful with who they associate themselves with.
Psalm 1:1 NKJV
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
the idea is, its gonna be impossible for you to follow the way of God if you handcuff your life to people who are going in the opposite direction. So the Godly person MUST be careful about his or her association with ungodly people, but the religious people in the text here took that to the extreme.
They claim that godly people were supposed to have NO ASSOCIATION with ANYONE who was branded a sinner. So they see the people surrounding Jesus and believe that they have now a legitimate criticism against the ministry of Jesus to undermine His credibility...
THIS ONE RECEIVES SINNERS rather than rejecting them, HE RECEIVES THEM, and not only does He receive them HE EATS WITH THEM TOO!!
This is more than about sharing a meal. In this culture when you shared a meal with someone, it was not about food it was about fellowship, for you to share a meal with another person was an act of friendship.
So they questioned the ministry of Jesus. Jesus to them could not be a man of God much less the Son of God, hanging out with scrubs like that.
God would never break bread with people this messed up...
The remaining verses record Jesus’ response to the words of the religious leaders.
Verse 3 says he responded by telling them a parable.
Actually verses 4-32 record 3 parables verses 4-7 is the parable of the missing sheep. Verses 8-10 is the parable of the lost coin, verses 11-32 is the parable of the prodigal son.
These 3 parables are considered 1 because they all make the same point. It is the point of the chapter, it is the heart of Luke’s gospel, it is the mission of Jesus I can state it in 5 words:
LOST PEOPLE MATTER TO GOD
This is how Jesus responds to the grumbling religious people.
They are murmuring to one another, “if Jesus really knows God why is He partying with those sinful people?”
By telling these stories Jesus is saying: “If you really know God then WHY HAVEN’T YOU JOINED THE PARTY?”
These 3 stories are told directly to the religious leaders for the spiritual benefit of the sinners and tax collectors, but the stories told are about THE LIVING GOD.
Here Jesus is teaching us God’s heart towards lost people. He first does so in our text 1-7, by describing what a shepherd does when He has lost one of His sheep.
3 lessons are found here

Lesson #1

The Shepherd purposefully neglects the 99 to find the lost 1.

Luke 15:4 NKJV
“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?
Luke
Here Jesus tells a parable about a shepherd and His sheep. It was a common trade of the day, and so people would have understood and related well to it.
This was a story to stick it to the religious leaders who despised shepherds and their work as demeaning activity that was beneath them. The truth is in the OT the leader would be called the shepherd of his people.
This metaphor was also used for God’s relationship with Israel. Jesus speaks about a shepherd who has about 100 sheep. which was an average sized flock.
While he is leading them out to pasture one day He counts how many sheep he has knowing he has 100, he gets nervous when on his count he only has 99.
Jesus turns to the crowd and says: what would you do if you were that shepherd?
Jesus says if the shepherd who has 100 sheep will lose 1 of them he will LEAVE THE 99, and go looking for the 1 who is lost. He has 99 sheep and He notices one is missing and its like He forgets all about the 99 that He still has.
He becomes so consumed that He leaves the 99, He neglects the 99, He forsakes the 99 and goes looking for the 1.
He leaves the 99 says verse 4 in the open country in the ESV but thats not the best translation there.
I like the NKJV better
Luke 15:4 NKJV
“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?
Wilderness needs alot of explaining. It’s not that they are left in an open country so you know He can keep His eyes on them while He looks for the lost 1… no He leaves them in a desolate place, isolated, lonely place, in the wilderness, in the woods, in the desert...
when you think about this as Jesus literally tells the story it is the picture of the shepherd coming over the hillside joyfully with the lost lamb on His shoulder only to find that 37 more are now missing while He was looking for the 1.
I mean I am not a rocket scientist but this doesn’t seem to be the best way to run a sheep herding business. Because the only real thing you can gain from leaving 99 sheep in the wilderness to go find one lost one.
Is 99 more lost sheep. But that’s what Jesus says he does. When he finds out that one of His sheep is missing, He becomes anxious, he becomes nervous, he becomes consumed, he becomes temporarily insane, and forgets the 99 that he has to go find just the 1 that was lost.
I think Jesus presents this scenario for us to ask, WHY WOULD A SHEPHERD DO THAT?
In answering that question, Jesus wants you to feel THE PULSE OF GOD....
Here is the message of the parable: GOD IS NOT SATISFIED WITH ANY OF HIS FLOCK BEING LOST...
This is a remarkable picture first consider the number of the sheep.
There are 3 characters within the parables who each lose something. The role of the lost thing is different in each story. In the prodigal son there is a relationship the Father has with the son, he wants his son back because of relationship, the woman in verses 8-10 wants her coin back because of value, this coin was valuable . The losing of one of these dowry coins was the equivalent of a woman losing her wedding ring.
But what made the Shepherd so concerned about getting the sheep back?
It’s not relationship, its not its value, its just the sympathy of the shepherd, the shepherd with a shepherds heart cares about the 1 that was lost.
Now lets think about the numbers:
The Prodigal is 1/2sons
The coin is 1/10 dowry coins
but the sheep is 1/100???
I mean you wouldnt blame the shepherd if he said:
“You know I got 99 left, and forsake the 1 that is lost.”
But thats not a shepherds heart, the shepherd while his friends might be saying: “man dont go look for that lost 1 you still got 99 left care for them!
The shepherd says pointing to the 99, thats not my flock! My flock is not 99 its 100!
my flock cant be my flock until I find the 1 that is lost.
This is the heart of God toward lost people.

God loves everyone of us as if there was only 1 of us to love.

That’s so different than the world we live in. We live in a world that is so impersonal. In fact the technological age we live in is designing life to be automated so you dont have to deal with other people.
The Bible says a good name is better than great wealth, but interestingly enough we live in a world today where a persons name don’t mean anything, names don’t matter now, what matters now is number.
In our world today you are just a number, address number, phone number, area code, zip code, ID number, social security number, bank account number, credit card number, pin number...
BUT THANKS BE TO GOD THAT YOU ARE NOT JUST ANOTHER NUMBER TO HIM!!!
You are wondrously marvelously made, God made you, God knows you, and god cares for YOU!!!
Is that good news to anybody this morning?
Someone needs to hear this this morning, You been trying your whole life to be noticed, you been trying your whole life to feel loved, you have tried being a good son/daughter but your parents hurt you, you tried being a good lover but your significant other walked out on you, you tried to be a good worker but you never get recognized for your efforts,
You feel insignificant and you wonder would anyone notice me if I just walked away from all this.....
CAN I TELL YOU THIS MORNING THERE IS A GOOD SHEPHERD!!! HE DON’T CARE HOW YOU ACT< WHERE YOU BEEN OR WHAT YOUR DOING RIGHT NOW HE NOTICES WHEN YOUR HERE AND WHEN YOU AINT, AND HE BEEN LOOKING FOR YOU!!
Listen to me
NOTHING WILL SATISFY YOU LIKE COMING TO THE SHEPHERD AND NOTHING WILL SATISFY THE SHEPHERD UNTIL HE HAS YOU SAFE WITHIN HIS FLOCK!
I’m telling you the Sovereign Lord of Heaven cares for you today! that help anybody? YOURE NOT ALONE!!!
You don’t have to perform for anybody!!
(break the legs)
You don’t have to be better than anybody else, you don’t have to stronger than anybody else, because GOD DON’T CONFUSE YOU WITH ANYBODY ELSE, HE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE!!!
HE KNOWS YOUR STORY, YOUR BACK ROUND, YOUR NEED, YOUR MISTAKES, YOUR FUTURE, YOUR DESTINY, AND YOU MATTER SO MUCH TO GOD THAT HE WOULD HAVE STILL SENT JESUS TO DIE FOR YOUR SINS EVEN IF YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE WHO SINNED!!!!
IF THAT DON’T MAKE YOU LOVE JESUS THEN JUST GO HOME
Consider the # of the sheep but also consider the

The Nature of the sheep

Sheep are weak, defenseless, and.... their stupid.
Tried to find a better word for it, but uh sheep are just stupid.
Whenever scripture calls us a lamb or a sheep that’s not a compliment. Sheep are dumb animals that get lost easily. It’s different than losing a coin, the coin is gonna make different point in verses 8-10 because it is an inanimate object. It cant lose itself, it can only be lost by the negligence of somebody else. But the sheep loses itself, by its own stupidity, the sheep is just preoccupied with nibbling grass, and hes nibbling grass, nibbling grass, and nibbling grass until he looks up and he has nibbled himself away from the shepherd and the flock
Its a reminder IT’S SO EASY TO GET LOST
Thats when you see someone get lost in a habit, and lost in sin and lost in habitual behavior, you shouldnt look down and cirticize and judge its EEEEEASY for any of us to get lost.
you know where you are today but you dont know what the future holds! The only reason you still here is the keeping power of God has kept you in spite of you ITS EASY TO GET LOST!
You cant get lost nibbling after bad stuff, drugs and alcahol and illicit sex, but dont judge cause you can get lost nibbling after good stuff too! STATUS, SUCCESS, POWER, ACCOMPLISHMENT, MONEY, and you end up being rich only to discover that the poorest man in the world is a rich man that aint got God!
Mark 8:36 NKJV
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
Mark 8:37 NKJV
Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Its Easy to get lost
The dangerous thing about sin, is its easy to like it…
SIN WILL TAKE YOU FURTHER THAN YOU WANTED TO GO, COST YOU MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO PAY, AND WILL KEEP YOU LONGER THAN YOU WANNA STAY.
I’m telling you its easy to get lost
Not only is it easy to get lost but it is hard to find your way back once you get lost..
That’s why i dont like missing church, cause once you miss one its easier to miss another one. Its easy to get lost, but its hard to find your way back home.
Isaiah 53:6 NKJV
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah
ALL OF US ARE LIKE SHEEP WHO HAVE GONE ASTRAY, I HAVENT DONE WHAT YOU DID AND YOU HAVENT DONE WHAT I DID BUT ALL WE LIKE SHEEP HAVE GONE ASTRAY.
SOMETIMES WE DIDNT EVEN GO ASTRAY BUT WE TURNED AWAY ON PURPOSE, WE REBELLED AGAINST THE VERY ONE TRYING TO PROTECT US TRYING TO CARE FOR US AND WE WENT OUR OWN WAY...
SOME OF YALL ARE THERE RIGHT NOW
BUT AINT YOU GLAD THAT GOD DONT SIT AROUND PETTING THE ONES WHO ARE DOING RIGHT? THE GOOD SHEPHERD IS OUT LOOKING FOR YOU!!
HE HAS NOT TURNED HIS BACK ON YOU!
THE SHEPHERD PURPOSEFULLY NEGLECTS THE 99 IN ORDER TO FIND THE 1

The Shepherd Relentlessly Pursues the Lost 1 until He finds it.

Luke 15:4 NKJV
“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?
Luke 15:
Jesus says God is not sitting waiting on you to come back He is a seeking Shepherd who goes looking for the 1 who is Lost.
This isn’t a nonchalant look, He searches until He finds you!
It dont matter how long it takes HE FINDS THAT LOST SHEEP, IT DONT MATTER HOW FAR HE HAS TO GO HE SEEKS UNTIL HE FINDS IT, IT DONT MATTER HOW MUCH IT COSTS… UNTIL HE FINDS IT!
*** THE LORD WILL NOT GIVE UP ON YOU***
He keeps searching until He finds you!
Have you lied?
He still loves you
Have you cheated He still loves you
Have you gone astray?
He still loves you
(some of you if your friends walked into church and saw you in here they would say how on Earth did you get here?
The answer is simple the Lord kept searching for me until He found me!
Im gonna drop some news on you, thats gonna shock some of you. Because some of you don’t know how you got to church this morning!!!
You are here and you don’t even really know why your here, or how you got ere, or why you accepted that friends invitation to come, you thought you just came to church because the friend offered to take you to lunch afterward…can I tell you something? Your presence here is not by accident YOUARE HERE BECAUSE GOD IS LOOKING FOR YOU AND WONT GIVE UP UNTIL HE FINDS YOU!
Theres some of you in church who vowed never to come back to church.. but here you are in church after saying you’d never go back to church CAUSE GOD WONT GIVE UP UNTIL HE FINDS YOU!
He’s still looking for you...
How do you know He hasn’t given up on me Bro. Kyle?
Cause you still here.... if God was through with you He would have checked you outta here
(12:29)
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