God Cares About the Lost

Here are the sermon notes from 6/2/13.

A number of years ago, we had a speaker here at the church who preached a message with the phrase “God has an agenda, and you’re not it!”  It was meant to emphasize that, although God does, of course, care about His people, that His first priority, is calling the lost to repentance.

I.  The Lost Sheep:  Luke 15:1-7

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.

God cares about the lost, and so should we.  The angels rejoice when a sinner is saved.  Christians need to reach out to the lost.  We should not be so wrapped up in our own problems.  We should have a compassion for the lost.

II.  The Coin:  Luke 15:8-10

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins,  if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

If we lose our keys, as many of us do, we will search high and low until we find them.  Even more frightening, if we have lost our wallets, with our cards, our cash, our license, etc.  We will frantically search, calling for all in the house to help as we see for the lost because it is important to us.

Lost people are important to God and should be important to us.  How much effort do we put into evangelism?  How earnestly do we pray for their salvation?  God cares about the lost, and so should we.

III.  The Prodigal Son:  Luke 15:11-32

Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine 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 bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

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 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

God cares about the lost and is waiting anxiously for them to return.  Do we care about the lost?  Or are we more like the brother who resents the attention that they receive when they return?  Do we resent that they are so quickly forgiven for the sins of their past?

God cares about the lost, and so should we.

IV.  The Narrow Way:  Luke 13:22-27

And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’

The vast majority of people in this world believe in some form of God.  We are not saved by having a faith in a generic God.  We must place our faith in Jesus, the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again from the dead.

Many people think that they are good people, and that surely a loving God will let them into heaven.  God does indeed love the world, and sent His Son to die for us, so that we might have forgiveness through Him.  If we are trusting in our own goodness, we are lost.  We must put our faith, and trust, in the One who died for us.  We must trust in Jesus, the Christ.

Some people think that it doesn’t matter how they live.  They think that a belief in Jesus is sufficient.  We are indeed saved by our faith in Jesus, but our faith in Jesus, if it is genuine, will be a transforming faith.   We will “cease to do evil, and learn to do good.”

When we are thinking about the lost, it is not enough to bring them to a generic faith in God,  it is certainly not enough to let them think that they are good enough on their own, and we also should not remain in our sin so that grace may abound.  We seek to lead people to a living faith in Jesus that transforms their lives.

God cares about the lost, and so should we.

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