Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking to the 6th grade-12th grade students at Lakeview Christian School in chapel. The text was from Luke 15:1-10 and dealt with the meaning of two of the three parables in this chapter—the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin.
1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
The context of these parables is found in that tax collectors and sinners had been drawn near to hear Jesus. The Pharisees and scribes were murmuring because Jesus would receive them and eat with them. In response to their murmuring, Jesus tells these three parables.
The parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin magnify three truths about God.
1. The Defining of the Search
This is the mission of God. It is the mission of the Son, the Spirit, and the Father. Jesus is not acting independently of the Father but in cooperation with Him and the Spirit. Jesus came not to be a good teacher, a great example, a miracle worker, but to seek and to save the lost.
Clearly, this defines how God feels towards sinners. No doubt, it describes his love toward those whom he will save. This defines his work, because the sheep and the coin are not looking and searching for their owner but it is the owner who does the seeking. Paul reminds us in Romans that there are none that seek after God. Christianity is not about man seeking God, but God seeking after man.
It clearly shows us that God is interested in the salvation of his people, willing to leave the 99 to save the one. And is not satisfied with 9 until she finds the one. No matter which sheep or which coin, he searches for the one that is lost.
2. The Demands of the Search
For the one who really cares for the sheep and the coin, there is no time spared, no expense spared, no suffering avoided, no trouble avoided, no sacrifice is too great. He endures many hardships.
The women rearranges her priorities and her schedule to find this coin. She leaves no part of her house unturned in search for this coin. Everything stops to find the coin.
God holds nothing back in his searching and saving of lost souls. Of course, the Father spared not his Son. But freely gave him up for us. Jesus willingly came to suffer and to be shamed and to die in our place. The Sprit comes and convicts and convinces the sinner of his need to be saved. Nothing was spared to save your soul. Nothing! What ever the demands were, God did not shy away from them.
3. The Delight of the Search
Finding the sheep and the coin results in rejoicing. There is a reward for the search, the sheep is found and the coin is found and there is rejoicing over it. And others are called to rejoice with the one who finds it. The Bible says when someone gets saved there is rejoicing in the presence of angels. Not that angels are rejoicing but the triune Godhead is rejoicing in their miraculous work of salvation. He does not rejoice over me but over his patience and persistence in finding me.
There are some who claim to have found God. Something happens in their lives or He is presented in a way that it is easy to find him. So they have sorta found God. But there are others who have been found by God. They were not looking for him and were not at first interested in him but he has searched and found them and made them his. You have to decide whether you are a Pharisee who through your religion found God or you are a sinner who by the grace of God was found by Him. That makes all the difference in the world.