Our God Rejoices When the Lost are Found
Pastor Ron Johnson
Did you know that just before Jesus told the famous parable of The Prodigal Son in Luke 15, He also told 2 others that share the same singular theme?
In short, the primary theme of all 3 parables is this: Our God Rejoic-es When the Lost Are Found.
Understanding each of the parables in Luke 15 correctly begins with identifying the _________ or ___________ that occurred as the chapter opens.
Luke 15:1-2 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all draw-ing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
So what prompted these 3 parables to be told? Jesus _____________ the very ___________ the religious leaders of the time ____________!
tax collectors— Israelites who had sold out to the Roman govern-ment and taxed their own people for profit sinners— people who did not no God and (not surprisingly) lived
Allowing sinners to draw near to him was no big deal for Jesus, be-cause our God, by very nature, is a _________! And because our God is ___________ in how He saves and not ___________ to save, He, along with the angels and saints in glory rejoice when the lost are found!
So Jesus responds to the crowd who was surely made up of some who knew and followed Him and others who did not and he told this parable… (vv 4-7)
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, say-ing 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.
So if you’re a Scribe or Pharisee hearing this parable, the alarming question left to ask yourself would be “How could God be so full of _____ when the lost are found and yet you ___________ the lost?
Jesus then proceeds to tell the Parable of the Lost Coin and said…
8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, 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.”
Sounds very similar doesn't it? That's because this is now the 2nd of 3 parables in Luke 15 that share the same theme: Our God Rejoices When the Lost are Found.
So we’ve now seen Our God Rejoices When the Lost Are Found not 1 time, but 2 times and Jesus is about to help us see the same major theme again for a 3rd time.
Remember: The perceived problem that set up the parables being told was that Jesus RECEIVED the very SINNERS the Scribes & Pharisees REJECTED. And the clear teaching so far has been that our God is a God who values and even seeks out the LOST because nothing brings him greater joy then when the Lost are Found.
And remember, by referring to those Jesus received as SIN-NERS the passage has in mind people who did not know God and lived like they did not know him because they had never _________ and I'd like to suggest that this is exactly how we should understand the spiritual condition of BOTH brothers.
They were both LOST, yet by the grace of God, one came to his senses (repented) and was FOUND and sadly the other re-mained LOST (just like the Scribes & Pharisees who didn’t think they needed to repent and be found). In the end, the 2nd son’s heart was far from his Father's heart and that's tragic. May this never be true of you and me! We want your heart Lord!
vv 11- 32 “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that coun-try, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His fa-ther came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to cele-brate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
Prompts for Personal Reflection / Application
Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Growth Group Discussion Questions
1) What do you appreciate most about any of the 3 parables in Luke 15?
2) Discuss what happened in vv 1-2. What was the perceived problem?
3) What do these parables tell us about the heart of our God? What do they tell us about the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees?
4) Do you find it can also be pretty easy for our hearts to get out of step with our Father’s when it comes to the joy He finds in seeing the lost found or actually being used of him to seek the lost?
5) Would anyone accuse you of receiving sinners? Do you intentionally spend time or have close relation-ships with people who don’t know Jesus? If so, who? If not, why?
6) Can you think of any specific ways God might be able to use you in helping them find Jesus? Pray for them with your group and ask God for the courage to help you take some of those steps.