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Sermon Luke 15:1-10

St Cuthbert’s Evening Service


People thinking about summer holidays already.

Are you the sort of person who carefully saves up, plans where you’re going to go each day.

Or are you the sort of person who leaves all the packing to the last minute. Just as the taxi is pulling up- sunglasses, sun tan cream.

Airport. Passport. Suddenly your passport become the most important thing in the world.

! Intro to the parables

In these parables differentthings they lose got plenty of.

Shepherd owns 100 sheep (wealthy), loses just one of them, not particularly special – goes and seeks it out.

Woman who’s got 10 coins (not worth that much each), loses just one of them

When I first read these parables I found them a bit hard to swallow.

Part of me - say “I’ll stick with the sheep I’ve got”.

not because the 99 might get attacked.


Be honest.

! So why did the shepherd seek out the sheep?

  • it was his - important (v4)
  • he knew it wouldn’t come back on it’s own. Cliff/ Wolf. (v5 – “puts it on his shoulders”)

!! Same with God and us

  • we are his
  • we are only his because he’s rescued us himself.


Shepherd owns the sheep

Good shepherd – distinction between shepherd and hired hand.

Jn10.14 - “I know my sheep and they know me”

Hold onto that.

just sheep” – “just people who come to church, part of the crowd.”

Loves and cares for us individually v6-7 “rejoice with me… one sinner who repents”.

Ps 139v13, 16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

God knows us intimately


Yancey p69 “What would it mean, I ask myself, if I came to the place where I saw my primary identity in life as “the one Jesus loves”? How differently would I view myself at the end of a day?”

!!! “I am the one Jesus loves”


5th Century debate between 2 prominent figures in the church

Pelagius. Hard working, good natured, towed the party line.

Augustine squandered his youth, womaniser, made lots of enemies, 30 conversion experience- after that all his energy to serving God.

Theologically Pelagius got it wrong, but Augustine got it right.

Pelagius: get to heaven through our own human effort. What we do makes God accept us.

Augustine: Totally lost without God. Whatever we do, we can’t make God accept us. Like sheep in the story. God has to come and rescue us.

99 righteous persons who do not need to repent?” v7

Everyone is lost without God.

New to all this.

Being a Christian is more than being a good person.

Need to allow God to rescue you. Jesus.

talk to me afterwards.

I think… heard this many times, need to hear it again.

Yes, yes.

I want to feel closer to God, know his power more. So what do we do? Read lots of books, try praying harder… give up because it doesn’t work and we’re exhausted. J

All those things good. Problem is what we see them as.

Not ways of helping us to walk a bit closer towards God.

ways of open ourselves up…rescue. Bleat.

Richard Foster, p7. “The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that he can transform us.”

Stone cottage. Window, rather than a light bulb.


Why does the shepherd search for the sheep? Why does God seek us out?

God seeks us out because we are his.

What would it mean each day to say “I am the one Jesus loves”

And because we are truly lost

Stott. “We can cry ‘Hallelujah’ with authenticity only after we have first cried ‘Woe is me, for I am lost.’”.

Part II – Application

Context of parable

v1-2 “Now the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Malcolm, last week – are we guilty of ignoring the tax collectors and sinners. paedophiles, asylum seekers.

Love the way Jesus introduces the parables:

Suppose one of you…”

Which one of you…?”

Puts us in the story. Makes us think through our response.


Well would I? Well I should.

!!! What things might stop us?

Sheep not ours.

Worried about other sheep

Unwilling to entrust them to someone else

Can’t be bothered

Fear the worst.

!!! Would we celebrate when we got home?

Challenging thing about this parable is that the shepherd puts more energy into chasing after 1 than looking after 99.

Pharisees criticised for caring about the “religious” people but not the lost sheep. Is that a fair criticism of us too?

!!! As a church

Expenditure - Matt 6:21 “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”


how much is focussed on keeping us “safe” and how much is focussed on searching after the lost.

As individuals

Christian lives – prayers, what we hope to get out of church, spring harvest

how much is focussed on keeping us “safe” and how much is focussed on searching after the lost.

So often we find that God’s love is far greater than ours.

The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God.” – Henri NouwenHHe


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