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Kingdom Parables: The Lost Sheep

Kingdom Parables  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus is not prejudice. He is the friend of the down and out as we as the up and in.

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Text: "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them."
Text: "Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them."
Theme: Jesus is not prejudice. He is the friend of the down and out as we as the up and in.
Theme: Jesus is not prejudice. He is the friend of the down and out as we as the up and in.
Date: 04/08/2018 File name: KingdomParables07.wpd ID Number:
Date: 04/08/2018 File name: KingdomParables07.wpd ID Number:
The parables of Jesus can be divided into three categories. The first group teaches us about the characteristics of the Kingdom. The second group teaches us about the characteristics of the King. The third group teaches us about the characteristics of Kingdom citizens. We spent about six weeks looking at the Parables of the Kingdom—that first group. This evening, I want us to begin looking at the second group; Parables of the Kingdom’s King.
The parables of Jesus can be divided into three categories. The first group teaches us about the characteristics of the Kingdom. The second group teaches us about the characteristics of the King. The third group teaches us about the characteristics of Kingdom citizens. We spent about six weeks looking at the Parables of the Kingdom—that first group. This evening, I want us to begin looking at the second group; Parables of the Kingdom’s King.
In this chapter, Jesus tells three parables: The Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Lost Son. Each parable teaches us something about God and each teaches us something about the sinner.
The first two verses of the chapter set up the situation for us. Verses 1-2 remind us of the kind of people Jesus attracted. They were common people. They were people who had nothing to offer him, but to whom he had everything to offer. One day, as Jesus is teaching the crowds who have followed him, he overhears some Pharisees and scribes—the religious elite of their day—mumbling. They are questioning his fraternization with certain “questionable” individuals. In their self-righteous eyes, Jesus has committed the politically incorrect social blunder—He has befriended sinners!
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (, NIV)
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (, NIV)
These religious leaders were criticizing Jesus for keeping company with sinners. They complained that He was the “friend of sinners.” He’s become to “chummy” with sinners. Aren't ya glad he is? Bailey Smith, a Southern Baptist evangelist and a past president of our convention, once said that too many of our churches have become "sacred societies for snubbing sinners." I've been in some churches where that was true. It was certainly true in Jesus' time. The scribes and Pharisees were criticizing Jesus for keeping company with sinners. In answer to their criticism, our Lord tells a series of parables. They are parables that reveal just how great friend to sinners and outcasts Jesus is. It was John Newton who said, “Two things I know: I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Savior. Each of us needs a friend like Jesus because we are all ‘great sinners’.
These religious leaders were criticizing Jesus for keeping company with sinners. They complained that He was the “friend of sinners.” He’s become to “chummy” with sinners. Aren't ya glad he is?
Bailey Smith, a Southern Baptist evangelist and a past president of our convention, once said that too many of our churches have become "sacred societies for snubbing sinners." I've been in some churches where that was true. It was certainly true in Jesus' time. The scribes and Pharisees were criticizing Jesus for keeping company with sinners. In answer to their criticism, our Lord tells a series of parables. They are parables that reveal just how great friend to sinners and outcasts Jesus is. It was John Newton who said, “Two things I know: I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Savior. Each of us needs a friend like Jesus because we are all ‘great sinners’.
I. WE NEED A SAVIOR LIKE JESUS BECAUSE WE ARE ALL LIKE LOST SHEEP
1. the first story tells us that the sinner is weak and helpless like a sheep
“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? "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ "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." (,ESV)
2. Jesus says that you and I are just like sheep
ILLUS. When you and I hear that we’re sheep and Jesus is the shepherd, it makes us feel warm, and fuzzy. We think of fluffy little lambs and green pastures and still waters. But you need to know when the Bible calls him the Great Shepherd and us sheep, it is a very important and very well-meant spiritual insult.
a. we're weak and totally helpless and we’ve wandered away from the Great
Shepherd
3. Jesus reminds us that God is just like the shepherd
a. He actively pursues lost sheep!
ILLUS. Back in the early 1970s W. Phillip Keller wrote a book entitled A Shepherd Looks
at the 23rd Psalm. In it he makes several observations: Sheep are dense, Sheep are dependent, and Sheep are defenseless.
A. SHEEP ARE WEAK AND HELPLESS BECAUSE THEY ARE DENSE
1. they're just not the smartest of animals
ILLUS. On the raising of sheep, one commentator simply stated: “Einsteins they are
not.”
2. when a sheep is lost, it can't find its way home
a. they nibble hear and nibble there and just keep following their teeth
b. dogs will come home; cats will come home; even Salmon return to the mountain
brook they were hatched in
c. but sheep just keep wandering
ILLUS. When sheep see grass, no matter where it is, no matter how steep or how
dangerous the spot, they go for the grass.
1) is it any wonder why the O.T. prophet Isaiah would write: "All we like sheep
have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." ()
3. you can have degrees as long as your arm, but if you don't know Jesus you are
stunningly ignorant
ILLUS. Many of you will recognize the name Carl Sagan. Carl Sagan was a very
intelligent man. He hosted the PBS series called Cosmos. In that show, he frequently implied that with the rise of modern science, we no longer need God because we no longer need a god to explain the universe. Scientists have done that for us. Shortly before his death in 1996 Sagan had a conversation with a rabbi friend. In that conversation Sagan asked his friend, “You’re a very intelligent person. Why do you insist on believing in God?” To which the rabbi responded to Sagan, “Carl, you’re a very intelligent person. Why do you not believe in God?”
Stephen Hawking, (who died just a few weeks ago) was the first scientist to articulate the theory of black holes. He was one of our world’s great intellectual powers. In an essay titled The Origin of the Universe he concluded the article with these words: “Although science may solve the problem of how the universe began, it cannot answer the question: Why does the universe bother to exist? I don’t know the answer to that.”
4. the Bible, however, does answer the “why” question
a. very simply it says this universe exists because God intended it to be so
b. a man may know how to judge the seasons, produce abundant crops or breed
prize-winning stock, but if that man doesn’t know Jesus, he’s wearing a spiritual dunce cap
c. a man may understand nuclear fission and how to split the atom, but if he doesn’t
know Jesus he’s unlearned and unschooled in that which really matters
5. sheep are weak and helpless because they are dense
a. the Bible says that lost sinner are like sheep—they’re spiritually dense
• "For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. "Claiming to be wise, they became fools, "and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things." (,ESV)
• "Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. "They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. "They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity." (,ESV)
b. these verses speak to the spiritual denseness of heart and mind of those outside
of Christ
6. because they’re spiritually dense and spiritually discerned, sinners have wandered
away from the shepherd
B. SHEEP ARE WEAK AND HELPLESS BECAUSE THEY ARE DEPENDENT
1. without a shepherd to lead them to water, they would die of thirst
2. without a shepherd to lead them to pasture, they would go hungry
3. without a shepherd, sheep will die
ILLUS. In his book, Philip Keller writes about what shepherds call a "cast sheep." One
of the most dangerous times in the life of sheep is just before they are sheered for their wool. They are so large and round that if they lie down and happen to roll into a small depression in the ground, they cannot right themselves. It is in a position which the shepherd calls "cast." The sheep may paw the air frantically and try to get back on its feet. It may bleat, but most of the time it will just lay there and suffer in silence. If the shepherd is not alert and finds such a sheep in a hurry, the heat from the sun or wild animals will eventually kill it.
3. like sheep, we are in need of a shepherd to pull us out of the depressions and pits we
have fallen into
"When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them,
because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things." (,ESV)
4. the most difficult pit for the lost sinner to right his or her self from is the pit of sin
a. sin is a burden that the lost person cannot escape from
b. sin is a condition that the lost person cannot fix
"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans
7:24,ESV)
c. the world, the flesh and the devil will do all that they can to make sure that you do
not escape this body of death
5. only Jesus has the power to make the dead live again
"even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by
grace you have been saved—" (,ESV)
a. in the KJV it reads: “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together
with Christ . . .”
b. that phrase hath quickened us means to make one alive
c. the word is a verb which is in the aorist, active, indicative mood—which I know you
all wanted to know
1) what it means is that God’s the one who made us alive in Christ, He’s done it
once for all and will never renege, it’s a done deal!
6. sheep are weak and helpless because they are dependent
a. the lost sinner is dependant upon God for eternal life
C. SHEEP ARE WEAK AND HELPLESS BECAUSE THEY ARE DEFENSELESS
1. sheep have no claws, no fangs and are not very fast compared to those animals
which prey upon them
a. they are totally defenseless without the protection of a shepherd
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh
about, seeking whom he may devour" (,KJV)
2. God has a plan for your life, but so does the devil
a. that plan is to destroy your life
3. why is Jesus a friend of sinners and outcasts?
a. because we so desperately need him!
4. we need Jesus because we are weak without him
II. WE NEED A SAVIOR LIKE JESUS WHO DILIGENTLY SEARCHES FOR LOST SHEEP
A. HE URGENTLY SEARCHES
““Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep ... ?” (, NIV84)
ILLUS. Phillip Keller writes: “A sheep is a stupid animal. It loses its direction continually in a way a cat or a dog never does. Even when you find a lost sheep, the lost sheep rushes to and fro and will not follow you home. So when you find it, you must seize it, throw it to the ground, tie its fore legs and hind legs together, put it over your shoulders, and carry it home. That’s the only way to save a lost sheep.”
B. HE LONGINGLY SEARCHES
““Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” (, NIV84)
C. HE JOYFULLY CELEBRATES WHEN THE SEARCH HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL
“And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’” (, NIV84)
III. APPLICATION
1. 1st, this teaches us that like sheep, we need to be rescued—we constantly need to be
rescued
a. like sheep we constantly look for good stuff to feed on
1) your soul is feeding on something
2) that means you have taken the deepest hopes of your heart for happiness and
security, and you’ve rested those hopes in something
a) it might be image or status, it might be wealth, it might be family
b. whatever it is, if you are feeding your soul on anything but Jesus you’re like a sheep
on the ledge
c. the Bible says we’re all doing that— “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have
all turned to our own way.”
1) therefore, all sheep need to be rescued
2. 2nd, this teaches us that Jesus is the Great Shepherd who rescues the sheep
a. a sheep can contribute nothing to its rescue
b. the shepherd, to rescue the sheep, unlike rescuing a dog or a cat, basically has to
subdue it, and then walk it all the way home
1) the shepherd has to do everything for the sheep
c. in traditional language, this is saying we human beings are utterly lost in sin and can
do nothing to contribute to our salvation and have to be saved sheerly by grace
ILLUS. For 200 years in Western culture the elites, the educated people, the
intellectuals have all said the Christian doctrine of original sin that we are hopeless, we are born sinful, we cannot save ourselves in any way, that it is a repugnant doctrine. For 200 years, since the enlightenment. Enlightenment thinkers taught that children were born innocent and we mess people up with education and the culture messes people up. We’re essentially innocent and the idea of original sin is repugnant.
d. but the parable of the sheep teaches us that we are sinners—we’re not
innocent—we’re rebellious creatures who are lost, and we’re lost by choice, and we have to be rescued and saved by sheer grace
Dietrich Bonheoffer “The grace of the gospel confronts us with the truth and says, ‘You are a sinner, you are a great desperate sinner. Now come, as the sinner you are, to God, who loves you. He doesn’t want anything from you. He doesn’t want a sacrifice, a work; he wants you alone. This message is liberation through truth. The mask you have to wear before everyone else will do you no good before him or before your brothers and sisters. Confess your sins to one another. Get the freedom of being sinners before one another. Confess your sins ... and be healed.’ ”
Jesus Is Your Friend Because He Is the Great Shepherd Who Seeks Lost Sheep
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