One In A Hundred - Luke 15:1-7
Five different times times in Luke 15 Jesus talks about LOST.
“and go after the one that is lost...” v. 4.
“...having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin;” v. 8
“...For I have found the coin that I had lost.” v. 9
“... he was lost, and is found.” v. 24
“...he was lost, and is found.” v. 32
Who are the LOST?
Those who’ve lost _________ with God.
“And the man and his wife hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden.” Genesis 3:8b NCV
We’re told that before this Adam and Eve had an ongoing relationship with God. But after their sin, barriers went up. They hid from God. And that one act of sin breaks the relationship for everyone.
“Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” Romans 5:18 NLT
Sometimes we use the word, “justification” here - a legal term. But it is much more than just a legal maneuver. The NLT is quite correct with their use of the word “right relationship.” Jesus’ one act of righteousness brings a right relationship between us and God. That is why Jesus came.
Who are included in the LOST? ___________
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23 ESV
“We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”Isaiah 53:6 NIV
Right away someone may be tempted to say, “Some of us are now included in the “found.” So there’s the Lost and then there are the FOUND. This is a prevalent attitude in the church today. It was also true in Jesus’ day too, as we shall soon see. What’s important for you to know is that there are two categories: the LOST... and then the LOST and FOUND. Everyone is part of the LOST!
What is my attitude to the LOST?
But for the grace of God _____________
None of us can or should take any personal credit for our relationship with God. It’s all because of Jesus! “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends with God.” Romans 5:11 NLT
We may be tempted to say, “But I decided to love God. I chose to live for Him.” And while that may be true, we must never forget that even our choice to love God, even our very faith is only possible because of God!
“This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.” 1 John 4:9-10 MSG
This is the setting we find at the beginning of Luke 15. Sometimes we forget this. We think that these 3 parables are aimed at the LOST people. But check out the beginning of Luke 15.
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them.’”Luke 15:1-2 ESV
We have tax collectors. These people are despised. Traitors. Signed a contract with Roman government to collect taxes. It was a legal loophole to steal with the muscle of Rome standing behind. Today tax people are disliked. Then they were hated with a passion. But we find them drawing near to hear Jesus!
And we have sinners. These are people not keeping the Jewish law perfectly. They are clearly and obviously “sinners.” Worse than just not washing their hands before every meal. We know that there are prostitutes in the crowd. Adulterers. Insurrectionists. Thieves. People who have NOTHING to do with religion. They could care less about the Pharisees or the Sadducees. But we find them drawing near to Jesus.
The LOST were ___________ with Jesus than the religious leaders were!
The Pharisees and the scribes are grumbling. Who are the Pharisees? A religious party made up of people who are very serious about knowing God! Their intent was good. These are the people who sat around all day talking about how best to do what the Bible says to do! But they didn’t just talk about it... they lived it out! The core center of these people’s lives is Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
Here is a sad truth about religion. Still true today. Sometimes it seems like the best way to define who you are is by defining yourself by who you are not. The Pharisees and the scribes looked around at the sinners and the tax collectors and compared their own religiosity, their own keeping of the Torah, to those “sinners” around them.
“The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’” Luke 18:11-12
So you can imagine how these Pharisees, these religious leaders, felt about Jesus!
“This man (Jesus) RECEIVES sinners AND EVEN EATS with them!”
Like it’s one thing to go so far as to receive them, to be with them... but to eat with them implies relationship, acceptance, love!!! And from there it’s a short trip to false accusations:
“The Son of Man came, and he ate and drank, and you said, ‘Look at this man! He is a glutton and a drinker, a friend of tax collectors and other outcasts.’” Luke 7:34 GNT
These 3 parables are surely aimed at the LOST to let them know just how much God loves them and wants to be back in relationship with them. But they are also clearly aimed at those who are confident in their own righteousness and who do not have a broken heart for the LOST.
Jesus demonstrates his love for the LOST and what our love for the LOST should be - by demonstrating an elaborate number scheme. Numbers are important to God. There’s even a book of the Bible named “Numbers.” There are special numbers all through the Bible. 40 days in the flood. 12 tribes of Judah. 7th day of rest.
When it comes to the LOST, what’s the most important number to God? ______
“... does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one.”Luke 15:4 ESV
“... having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin....”Luke 15:8 ESV
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said...” Luke 15:11-12 NIV
When it comes to God and the LOST, it doesn’t matter what the odds against you seem to be. 100 sheep 1 LOST - where’s the focus? ONE. We could almost say that the longer the odds, the more God seems to look, seems to love, seems to search, seems to love
Basic Principle of Luke 15 and Core Value of Church Requel:
_____ people matter to God and therefore _____________!
Here is the last instruction Jesus gave before he ascended into Heaven:
“Go then to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 GNT
Often we translate the word “nations” and in doing so we forget that we are talking about people everywhere. EACH ONE! Everyone you meet!
“Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life.”Matthew 28:19 MSG
Conclusion - Who am I most like?… someone that sinners like to hang with.... or someone that makes the LOST not even wonder about where they are. Is my attitude that I’m also LOST, just FOUND too. Not because of me, because of Jesus? That for the grace of God, there go I?
Do you know how lucky we are at Church Requel? We GET TO FOCUS on being a church for the LOST! A church for the unchurched! This is why we do the things we do. You get to be a part of this. EVERY number matters... every ONE matters. Don’t keep Church Requel a secret. Don’t keep the LOST in the dark. Give out an INVITE card. Tell someone this is a place where the LOST are FOUND!