Introduction: The most terrifying word in the English language consists of only four letters. Every person in this building over 4 or 5 years old is capable of understanding this word. The word is spelled L-O-S-T. Who doesn’t shudder to think of a lost child? This word conjures up many terrifying thoughts and imaginations. The Bible speaks of the lost, but uses the term in its most frightening sense — Eternal Separation from God.
This lesson will consider three parables spoken by our Lord describing those who are lost. We will notice especially how these are lost.
I. The Lost Sheep (vv. 4-7)
A. Sheep are not intelligent animals.
1. They are followers, and must be led.
2. They are dependent upon the shepherd for pasture, for water, for protection (Psalm 23).
3. When they wander away from the group and the shepherd, they are nearly helpless.
B. Men are described as sheep.
1. John 10: - Jesus, the shepherd of his sheep.
2. Isaiah 53:6 - “All we like sheep have gone astray.”
3. Matthew 10:6 - “Lost sheep of house of Israel.”
4. We must stay close to the shepherd for our own good.
C. The lost sheep was lost through ignorance.
1. In the same way many men will be lost because of ignorance.
2. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9: Those who never knew God; outside!
3. Hosea 4:6 - “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
4. Rejoicing in heaven when men come or come back.
II. The Lost Coin (vv. 8-10)
A. A profound illustration.
1. This has probably happened to most of us. (Whether a coin or something else of importance.)
2. No better feeling than finding something just at the point when you are about to give up.
B. The coin was lost through negligence. (Being a ‘thing” the coin was not lost by its own doing. The woman lost the coin.)
C. Many people today are lost through negligence.
1. Neighbors are lost because of the negligence of the Christians in the community.
2. Young people are lost because of negligence of the parents.
3. Countless others are lost because of their own negligence. (The one who has had opportunity after opportunity to obey, and keeps “putting it off.” – Cf. Hebrews 2:3.)
III. The Lost Son (vv. 11-32)
A. One of the best known and best loved of all the parables.
1. Often called the “prodigal son.” (“Prodigal” means wasteful.)
2. Interesting that Jesus spoke this parable in the context of lost things (Cf. vv. 24, 32)
B. The son was lost because of willfulness!
1. The son, unlike the sheep or the coin, chose his direction.
2. He rebelled against his father, and deliberately did those things that pained his father.
3. Many are just like this boy. You know what God expects of you, you know what you must do, but you willfully rebel against the Heavenly Father! You do it by choices
C. But, the son did not remain lost!
1. The shepherd went searching and found the sheep.
2. The woman searched and found the coin.
3. But, the father waited for the son to make his own decision. The same will that led the son to the far country eventually led him back to His loving Father!
Conclusion: If you are lost, why don’t you submit your will to God’s, and become simply and only a Christian.