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How Much You Matter to God

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One of the Characteristics of God is that He ALWAYS acts in Mercy

Every good thing you have in life is because of God’s Mercy. You would not even be alive if it weren’t for God’s Mercy.
talents / gifts / jobs / relationships / going to heave - all gifts of Mercy from God
Titus 3:5 NCV
he saved us because of his mercy. It was not because of good deeds we did to be right with him. He saved us through the washing that made us new people through the Holy Spirit.
God is so merciful that he left heaven and came in the form of a human to save us - that’s the ultimate mercy.
Luke 19:10 NLT
For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
This is the ultimate act of Mercy. Jesus said the WHOLE reason I came was to seek out and save those who are lost. Mercy takes the initiative and makes the first step. Jesus came ...
Circle SAVE & LOST. There are only 2 types of people… Saved and lost. No matter what color you are, what gender you are, what nationality your are - you are either SAVED or LOST. Nothing Else matters.
Being Lost is not a put down.

Lostness Implies Value

If you are spiritually lost, it doesn’t mean you are not valuable - you are. You are so valuable that Jesus left heaven and came to earth to find you.
Things that are not of great value are misplaced, only valuable things are lost. You don’t lose a toothpick / kleenex / etc , you misplace it.
Wedding Ring - If I lose it, it’s a big deal and I am going to search high and long to find it.
When My dad died, I didn’t misplace him, I lost him.
When we talk about you being spiritually lost or saved, both imply great value. If you are lost you are so valuable that Jesus (creator of the universe) came looking for you.
Three Questions We Will Answer
What do I lose When I am Spiritually Lost?
What Does God’s Mercy Do When I am Lost?
How Can I Experience God’s Mercy
All of these answers are in Luke 15. Jesus tells three stories… Lost Sheep … Lost Coin … Lost Son. In these stories the shepherd and the Father all represent God. the sheep, coin and son all represent you and I.

The Lost Sheep

Luke 15:1–7 NLT
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
He counted them because each one counted and when one was missing, he didn’t say, I have enough. He went looking for another one. As long as there are lost people around here, we will keep doing outreach.
He searches all night, finds the sheep and brings it back and throws a part to celebrate. They have a party in heaven when a lost person is found and brought back.

The Lost Coin

Luke 15:8–10 NLT
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”
When the lady notices she only has 9 coins, she doesn’t say, “Ive got 9 so its OK.” No, she looks for the lost coin until she finds it. When she finds it, she throws a party to celebrate.

The Lost Son

read and comment
Luke 15:11–31 NLT
To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” ’ “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’ “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.
Do you notice the common denominator? There was a party when the lost item was found. God wants to throw a party when you in his mercy.
Let’s look at Mercy and what it has to do with being lost or saved.

Lost - Disconnected from God

If I am not connected to God on a daily basis, I am lost.

WHAT DO I LOSE WHEN I’M SPIRITUALLY LOST?

1. I LOSE MY DIRECTION

We see this in the story of the lost sheep.
Sheep don’t intend to get lost, they just wander off. They see some grass over there and just go and soon they wander off and are lost.
We are just like sheep. If you have ever been lost, you did not intend to get lost, but you did.
Isaiah 53:6 NLT
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
If you are following your plan for your life right now instead of God’s You are LOST. And if you are following your plan, you will lose your direction. You will just drift along with no purpose to your life. It doesn’t mean you are moving slow, you can be living at a fast pace and not know where you are going - you are lost.

2. I LOSE GOD’S PROTECTION

We see this in the story of the sheep.
Sheep are vulnerable and defenseless. They don’t have teeth, claws or sharp teeth or fangs. They can’t fight and they can outrun anything. They are dependent on a Shepherd to protect them. The Sheep that wanders off is helpless and defenseless.
Zechariah 10:2 NLT
Household gods give worthless advice, fortune-tellers predict only lies, and interpreters of dreams pronounce falsehoods that give no comfort. So my people are wandering like lost sheep; they are attacked because they have no shepherd.
We wander around defenseless against the devil that wants to kill us. Psalm 23 says The Lord is my shepherd.... Jesus is called the good shepherd. We are sheep. If we are not following the shepherd, you are on your own and you are defenseless. You will get hurt.
You will lose your direction and you will lose your protection if you are not following the shepherd.
This is why so many of you are STRESSED. You are stressed out because you are trying to work this out on your own and you were never meant to have to do that. You know how vulnerable you are in this world. You know how close to not making it financially you are. You know how vulnerable you are with your health. You know one phone call can rip your world into pieces. You are vulnerable when you are NOT following the shepherd because you lose your direction and your protection. God is not protecting you because you are going your own way. He’s not going to protect you when you go your own way - you are own your own.
Romans 8:28 NLT
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
This verse doesn’t say everything that happens is good. It’s NOT. It’s not even a promise for everyone. Paul says that God is working for the good of those who LOVE GOD. When you are on your own, God is not working for your good… he’s working for you to come to him in repentance.
When you place yourself as a sheep under the leadership of the shepherd, then you get direction and protection so that even the bad stuff that happens, God uses for good.

3. I LOSE MY POTENTIAL

You lose your potential to be the person God wants you to be and to do great things that he wants you to do. Your future is limited when you are disconnected from God.
Dollar Bill - It’s valuable because it can purchase things. Gather enough of these and you can purchase expensive things… houses, cars, boats… You could leave a legacy to your children and grandchildren. There are a lot of good things you can do with money.
But you can’t do anything with this if you lose it. It has lost it’s potential.
God made you to do great things… far greater than you can imagine. If God showed you what you could do if you were 100% it would blow your mind.
But because you have listened to so many negative tapes that tell you stuff like:
You will never amount to anything...
You can do that, you should just do...
Who do you think you are, you can’t do that?
Everything in society tells you to limit your dreams… your vision… your expectations. You have no idea what God could do through your life if it were completely placed in His hands.
Only god knows what you are capable of… you don’t even know because you have blind spots in your life.
1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
He is not just talking about heaven, he is talking about here and now. You can’t imagine what God can do with your life if you will just give it totally to him.
You lose your direction, protection and potential…

4. I LOSE MY HAPPINESS

WE FIND THIS IN THE LOST SON
When the younger son chooses to rebel against his father – I’m leaving home, I’m striking out on my own, I want half of my family inheritance now. The Bible says he went out and he wasted it and then he lost all that God wanted to do in his life and he lost his happiness.
Luke 15:14 NCV
After he had spent everything, a time came when there was no food anywhere in the country, and the son was poor and hungry.
Can you say miserable? He had lost everything: money, food, place to stay, friends...
Conflict in relationships destroys happiness like nothing else and this boy had conflict with his dad. So many people today are in conflict with each other and it’s because they don’t have a living relationship with Jesus.
When you are out of fellowship with God, you are out of Fellowship with people.
You cannot be in harmony with people without being harmony with God. You were not created to live in Conflict with God. When He created you he designed you to be at peace with him… to have a friendship with him.
So when I thumb my nose at God and tell him I’m going to live my way, just like the son did in this story, I will lose my happiness.
If you don’t FEEL close to God, he didn’t move - you did. You can choose to move close today.

5. I LOSE MY HOME IN HEAVEN

When I am spiritually lost, I have lost my home in heaven.
Luke 9:25 NLT
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?
God allows people to disobey him here in this life. He allows people free choice here on earth. You get to choose. He doesn’t want robots. You were created to live in harmony with Him but he gives you free choice. That’s a blessing and a curse because we too often make the wrong choices. We chose to do our thing and not God’s.
But one day you will die and you will stand before God. If you have not followed him in this life… done it your way, he will say, Have it Your way. You did not want me in your life on earth so why would you want me in this life? So you can live seperated from me for eternity in Hell.
It makes NO SENSE to reject God’s LOVE, GUIDANCE, MERCY, PROTECTION, BLESSINGS AND PRESENCE in this life and then want to go live with him in heaven.
God allows us to rebel just like the son rebelled against the father, but there is NO rebellion in heaven. So if you are living in rebellion to God, you lose your home in heaven.
These three stories that I just shared with you that Jesus taught actually tell us the reasons or the ways people get spiritually lost.

Our Wandering Nature Separates us from God

For instance, like sheep we can be lost by nature. It just comes naturally. You don’t have to do anything. If you’re a human being, it’s natural; we naturally go our own way. So we wander and we drift and we lose our direction. So like sheep we can be lost by nature.

Our Circumstances can Separate us from God

Coins can be lost by circumstances too. Maybe the coin gets knocked off the table or fall from your pocket. Circumstances can knock you off the table too.
Has an Unfortunate circumstance separated you from God?
When disaster hits, some people turn to the Lord while others turn away from God. I don’t know why but it just happens. Some people turn to God and find comfort. Some people turn away from God. Why they turn away from God I don’t know because he’s the only one who can give them comfort. But the point here is that coins can be knocked off and lost by circumstance.

Our Choices Separate us From God

Like the son, we can choose to leave turn our backs on our loving father. This young kid thought, I think I know more than my dad does. A lot of people think I think I know more than God does. So I’m just going to do what I want to do. I know what will make me happy more than God does so I’m going to do what I say to do rather than what God says to do. And we make choices.
So I can lose all of these things, but the one thing all three stories point out is this. Write this down: I don’t lose my value!
Your value is great even when you are lost because Jesus sends us to find you...

HOW DOES GOD’S MERCY SAVE ME?

What is Salvation?
There are many, many, many other words in the Bible to describe salvation besides the word salvation. The Bible uses words like forgiveness. The Bible uses words like freedom. The Bible uses words like fulfillment, pardon, peace, power, redemption. In these three stories we find three additional words. And they are the word rescue, recover, and reconnect. And each of these stories shows us an aspect of salvation.
So why don’t you write these down?

1. SALVATION RESCUES ME FROM MYSELF

We all need rescued from ourselves. We are our biggest problem.
Guy in his 6th marriage. Asked, what’s the matter? I just don’t know the common denominator… He is the common …
We will always be our biggest problem. Your own fears, your own anxieties, your own misconceptions, the stuff you believe about God, about you, about life, about others. You are your own biggest problem. And lot of times we need a Savior to save us from ourselves.
1 Timothy 2:5 CEV
There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us.
Circle rescue. Yiou may be here thinking. I don’t need rescuing from anything, You have no fears… no sorrows… guilt… no anxiety… no regret… no resentment. You still need to be rescued from your self because you are out of touch with reality.
We all have problems we can’t solve. You would if you could but you can’t. Jesus came to rescue all of us.
You may have tried and tried, but you don’t need to try, you need to TRUST. Trust in Jesus to solve your problems.
Psalm 50:15 NLT
Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”
When we trust him and call on him, he will set us free.

2. SALVATION RECOVERS MY POTENTIAL

When you are saved, you move from death to life… from lost potential to restored potential.
Matthew 11:28 TEV
“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.
What have you been carrying that you need to give to Jesus? What have you lost that you would like to recover?
Maybe you had a dream… strength… joy… hope...
Jesus came not only to rescue us from ourselves but to recover what we’ve lost. And what is that? We’ve lost our potential. The potential that we have when we’re connected to God.
Look at a coin.
If it gets lost it doesn’t know it’s lost. Just like a coin doesn’t know it’s lost, we all know people who are lost. We are surrounded by people who are lost and whom we can show the way to Jesus.
A coin is also helpless to do anything about being lost. It can’t jump back onto a table etc. It will lie on the floor and get kicked under something… Someone has to pick it off the floor and put it back.
Those are true of Humans as well. We can’t save ourselves and half the time we don’t even know we need to be saved. we don’t even know we need recovery.
Everyone needs recovery. Everybody needs rescuing. Everyone needs salvation. I can’t save myself, but God can… he can do anything. That’s when John Newton wrote “I once was lost but now am found. Was blind but now I see. Amazing Grace.”
Amazing Grace - it’s the mercy of God.
Joel 2:25 TEV
I will give you back what you lost in the years when swarms of locusts ate your crops. It was I who sent this army against you.
Whats eating away at your life today? confidence? relationships?
You may think it’s too late. If you are breathing, it’s not too late.

3. SALVATION RE-CONNECTS ME TO GOD

The loving father is a representative of your Heavenly Father. Salvation reconnects me to God - IT’S reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:17–18 CEV
Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.
Jesus made peace between you and God. He reconciled us to God. If you feel like your prayers are bouncing back, you need to get reconnected to the Lord.

HOW DO I CONNECT WITH GOD’S MERCY?

You do the same three things that the young son does in the last story. This young rebel who blew half the family inheritance and then comes home with his tail between his legs and goes, “Dad, just make me a servant.” You do the same three things that this guy did. And the Bible tells us in this story in Luke 15
You want to be saved. Here are 3 things you can do to be saved.

1. GET FED UP WITH MY LIFE

The boy came to the end of his rope. he knew he had messed up. At some point in your life, you have to decide that you are not going to put up with what you are going through any more…
When this happens, you are ready to be saved… to be set free…
Luke 15:13–17 NLT
“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!
Wasted it all… No more money… then he came to his senses.
This is where transformation begins.
Jeremiah 29:13 The Message
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else,
When we get serious about finding the Lord…You want HIM more than anything else.
The reason so many never get connected to God… they think it’s ok… it’s not that bad. It’s like you have asthma and get winded going up steps. Brandi with Asthma - won races after we got her treatment.
Getting saved is like getting oxygen or asthma treatment. It turns the oxygen on full throttle. Jesus said that he came to give life at it’s fullest.
Here is another metaphor. It’s like Satan is holding your head under water and you can’t breath. You fight and struggle until you think… I have to breathe and with every ounce of strength, you say, Satan, you are not holding me down any longer and you raise your head up. I am going to live the life God wants me to live.
After you get Fed up, you

2. OWN UP TO MY OWN SIN

Just admit it… you have messed up your life. Take ownership of your sin… of your mess. Have the courage to face the truth about yourself. It’s scary and will make you feel bad for a little bit but it will set you free. So admit your sin and freedom comes out of that.
Luke 15:17–18 NLT
“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,
He came to his senses and confessed his sin. You may think that the way you have been living doesn’t make sense… it’s irrational. You are living disconnected from the God who loves you. That’s crazy. You are living like you know more than God. That’s crazy and now you are coming to your senses… you are having a moment of clarity.
You will never be saved until you have a moment of clarity where you get fed up with life as you know it, and then own it. You came to your senses.

3. OFFER UP MYSELF

I offer myself to God.
Notice the change in the young man’s attitude from when he left his father and then when he came back to his father.
Luke 15:12 NLT
The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
Luke 15:19 NLT
and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.” ’
Just a little different...
That’s SALVATION. It’s turning from self centeredness to God centeredness. It’s saying God make me into whatever you want me to be. You have to move from Give me what I want to God make me into what you want.
Notice the Father’s response...
Luke 15:20–24 NLT
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
That’s Mercy...
Did you know that they have a party in heaven every time someone is saved?
Romans 5:2 The Message
And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
God already made the first move. He died for you. He paid the price for your sin. He came to rescue you.
Some of you may remember when a little baby, Jessica McClure fell into the hole. Can you imagine if the rescuers got there and she said, Hey Im down here but it’s ok...
How many people do you know who are lost that are saying, it’s ok? None. If God has a better life for you while you are in the world, why would you stay stuck in the rut?
2 Corinthians 6:2 The Living Bible
For God says, “Your cry came to me at a favorable time, when the doors of welcome were wide open. I helped you on a day when salvation was being offered.” Right now God is ready to welcome you. Today he is ready to save you.
I’ve told you three stories about how much you matter to God. How do you determine the value of something? By how much someone is willing to pay for it. Jesus paid for you with His Life.
John 3:16 NLT
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Today is Your Day. Bow Heads.
You may have gone to church all your life or this may be the first time you’ve been in a service. You may be religious or you may say I have no religion. It doesn’t really matter who you are or what you’ve done or what your background is. You matter to God.
And God says there are only two kinds of people in life. Those who have been saved by his mercy and those who have not yet been saved by his mercy who are still lost. And like the lost sheep and coin and son, we lose our direction, we lose our protection, we lose our potential, we lose our happiness and we lose our home in Heaven. But we do not lose our value. Because of that Jesus Christ came to earth for you. Today I invite you to accept the mercy of God.
Dear God, I accept your mercy today. I need you to rescue me from myself. There are things in my life that I don’t like and I can’t change them. I need you to recover my potential. You’ve promised to give back what I’ve lost in the years that the locusts ate. Lord, I need you to recover the things that I’ve lost. And Jesus Christ, I need you to reconnect me to God. I don’t want to be at war with God. I don’t want to be in conflict with God. I want to be at peace with God. So today I’m saying I’m fed up with my life. You’ve said that when I get serious about finding you I will find you. I want it more than anything else. I want this more than anything else. I want to be right with you God. I’m fed up with my life and I want to own up to my sin. I’ve more often gone my way than your way. I’ve pretended that I was God and done things that violated my conscience, much less your laws. Today I offer up myself. I want to switch from saying give me, give me, give me, to make me. Make me a servant. I want to be what you want me to be. Thank you that like that heavenly Father you’re filled with compassion and you run out and you throw your arms around me and you love me. I humbly ask you to accept me into your family. In your name, I pray. Amen
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