Sermon preached at Poole Christian Fellowship on 30 June 2013
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Reference: Luke 15 v 1-2
The theme of the fifteenth chapter of Luke’s gospel is that of being lost. The chapter starts with Jesus being crowded by the lost of his generation, continues with the religious establishment complaining about His association with the ungodly, and then the bulk of the chapter is the three stories that Jesus takes to explain his ministry.
1. The Mission of the Messiah
When Jesus wanted to explain his mission he did it in the following way:
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19.v11)
That is why He left the glories of heaven and that is why He wants to spend time with those who don’t know Him and who are lost.
2. The Mistake of the Masses
We are at our most vulnerable when we are lost – but don’t know it. This is at its worst when we are religious. The religious leaders were dismissive of Jesus’ interest in the “sinners” because they were completely ignorant of their own need of salvation. That is one of the reason why gospel ministry can be so difficult. In a society where everyone’s needs are taken care of it is hard to persuade people that they are lost.
3. The Magnetism of the Master
What is it that drew people to Jesus. Was it that people sensed his concern, his love and his acceptance of them? It was true of Jesus, and it needs to be true of us, that the ordinary people will gladly listen to us. They may not like us, and they may not be happy about what we believe, but they will know that we have life in us if we are faithful to God.
4. The Message of Mercy
This is the heart of this message and the heart of the chapter. The religious leaders mutter under their breath something that they regard as being intolerable, but that for us is the best news in the world. It is that “this man welcomes sinners and eats with them”. What fantastic news! Jesus will welcome us, not because we are holy and godly, but because we respond to his efforts to find us.
A word of caution here: Jesus seeks and saves the lost and welcomes them in spite of their sin – but loves them too much to leave them in their sin. We are saved for justification and for sanctification.
5. The Mission of the Messiah’s people
…and the wonderful news is that, having been on the receiving end of the mercy of Jesus, we now are the purveyors of that mercy. We become a part of the mission of Jesus to seek and to save the lost. What indescribable mercy we have received and what an indescribable honour to pass it on.