God’s Love for the Lost
Luke 15:1-10 – March 6, 2022
BACKGROUND: The setting is found in chapter 14:25-27 – large crowds were all around Jesus even as He spoke of the price of following Him. Then in verses 34-35 – Jesus spoke of salt and once it loses its saltiness it is only fit to be thrown out in the dung heap. This was Jesus waring about those who would start and then cease to follow Him. After hearing this, what happens to all those gathered around Jesus? The next verse tells us!
Luke 15:1. What happened? In spite of Jesus’ strong words in chapter 14 or because of them people wanted to hear what He had to say. They were attracted to the truth of His words. This is not unlike what we see in so many churches today. Those not teaching the Word of God have declining numbers while those that hold to God’s Word, they maintain and grow.
Now we know how the tax collectors and sinners responded, how about the Pharisees and the teachers of the law?
Luke 15:2. They were not happy at all. Why not? Pharisees and those of their ilk did their best not be around anyone they considered to be a sinner and certainly not around the tax collectors who collected taxes for the hated Romans.
Luke 15:3-4. This is a picture of God’s pursuit of a sinner or sinners, unlike the Pharisees. Also, we begin to see the image of Jesus as the Good shepherd, He will search for the lost sheep until He finds it.
Luke 15:5-6. The shepherd puts the lost sheep on His own shoulders. And any anger at the folly of the wanderer who got lost is swallowed up in love and joy at its recovery.
Who were the friends of the shepherd? Fellow shepherds and friends and family of shepherds. All people of the land who were looked down upon by the Pharisees. We are all people of the land in the eyes of the self-righteous.
Luke 15:7. This would not have been well received by the Pharisees as they and religious people of their time had their own sayings and beliefs, and they were nothing like this.
First they had this saying, “There will be joy in heaven when one sinner is obliterated.”
Next, There was a belief among the Jews that God had “not approved repentance to the just” and to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob “which have not sinned against thee.” Prayer of Manassas in the Apocrypha.
Who are the 99 who do not need to repent? They do not exist, but the Pharisees would believe they were the 99.
But wait a minute, there is rejoicing in heaven just as we will find in verse 10 (skip there for a moment). This rejoicing excludes the Pharisees. Jesus may as well have been saying, Woe to the Pharisees who believe they need not repent.
Then, without missing a beat Jesus continued
Luke 15:8. We can all relate to our resemblance to a wandering lost sheep, but how do we relate to a coin? A coin carries an image, usually of the king or ruler and we carry an image as well as we are made in the image of God.
Where did the coin fall or end up? Most likely on the floor in the house, the dirtiest place in the house.
Even dirty and filthy the coin has value. We, no matter how dirty or filthy we are, we have much more value to God than a coin as we bear His image. The woman represents the church or what the church should be. The lamp represents the Word and Spirit of God and eventually Jesus Himself as the light. Psalm 119:105.
Luke 15:9. It is believed that there was often a string of coins worn about the head as an ornament by married women. She is overjoyed. How do we feel when someone we have been praying for or inviting to church ends ups accepting Christ? We rejoice, we are overjoyed!
Luke 15:10. This is a rebuke to the Pharisees once again who so severely look down upon sinners and here is God and His angels rejoicing over the sinner repenting. Go back to verse 7 and we can see verse 10 is the same only amplified and makes His point even stronger. All the sinners around Him have real value to God as any time one of them repents and gets saved there is incredible wonderful rejoicing in Heaven … for them!
What does America need today? A revival and repentance.