“Lost and found”
September 11th 2016
Introduction: Thom Shuman, “Lost and?”
“At the bus stop in front of the church, sits an old man waiting for his ride down to the library where he will spend yet another day searching for a friend in the loneliness;
in a corner of the coffee shop, the single mother stretches her non-fat mocha grande latte till closing time, glancing up every time the door opens, to see if hope has walked in and spotted her;
hidden in a knot of friends wandering the mall, the teenager longs for his parents to call, simply to know they care.
Now, which of you, having a hundred places to be and million things to do, would leave them to go after these?”
On and on our list could go of the down and out, the forgotten and alone, the people that society doesn’t see. A million empty places and faces and the Church, the one part of our society that should care….doesn’t. Yes, this is an indictment of the Church of Jesus Christ that is called and commissioned to care for the least and lost and yet doesn’t seem to have the strength or the will to fulfill it’s calling. There are to be sure those groups within the church that are trying and even succeeding but by and large the rest of us just want to come to church for an hour or two each week and not be bothered with anything else as far the church is concerned. We will give our money and in effect say, “let someone else do it, please.”
The three parables that Jesus teaches here build upon each other. The message is clear. There are those that society says are “in” and there are those that society declares to be “out.” In God’s eyes however, all are equally precious! There is a lot of meat, so to speak, for us to chew on in this passage. Just who are “sinners” anyway? Who were they in Jesus’ day and who are they in our day? Who are the “righteous ones” and how do people get to be “un-righteous”? Lost and found!
A.) People of the street, the outcasts.
1. Some things never change.
2. The conditions were that these people didn’t know and observe the Law of Moses and the traditions of the Jewish elders.
3. Who are these people in our world of this day?
4. Can we see their faces?
5. Can we name them perhaps?
B.) People of different cultures, beliefs, lifestyles.
1.) By the standards we live by, are these people sinners in our eyes?
2.) By what standard do we just people who are different than us?
3.) Last I checked, the Bible said that, “God was the only righteous judge before whom all shall stand and give an account.”
4.) There are those that we are so quick to label and judge as sinners.
Ill. Today is the 15th anniversary of the tragic events of 9-11-2001. Those of us who were alive on that day remember well where we were when we heard the news of the attacks on our country. The events of that day 15 years ago continue to shape the events in our world today. We were quick to label all of those of the Muslim faith as our enemies and to judge them as sinners. If we listen to current candidates for president we will still hear comments that were shaped by those events on 9-11.
5.) What other events can we think of that we are so quick to label others of God’s children as sinners?
6.) Just who is “in” and who is “out”?
II.) Righteous vs. Un-righteous
A.) The Bible has a great deal to say about both.
1. Righteous, God fearing, servants of God understand that they truly are not perfect and will make allowances for the sins of others.
2. Un-righteous, outcasts, looked down upon by society, know who they are and want to change but lack the strength and courage to make the effort.
3. Lost and found, two keys to understanding these three important stories of our Lord.
4. The message that I take from these stories is very simple in my opinion, all creatures truly are precious in God’s sight!
5. I have believed since I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and my Savior that God truly does love everyone just the same as he loves me.
6. Because of this belief it has been my burning desire to tell others about the love, joy, hope, and peace that I have found for my life and that it can be theirs too!
III.) Shepherd and sheep
A.) We can learn a lot from this image of the shepherd.
1. Shepherds were willing to lay down their lives for the sheep.
2. At night they would construct a coral for the sheep to spend the night in.
3. It would have an opening on one side where the shepherd would sleep to protect the sheep from intruders that would seek to steel and kill the sheep.
4. Another thing that I find very interesting in light of whose in and whose out, shepherds were consider to be out for sure, the lowest of the low socially speaking.
B.) We can also learn a lot for the image of the sheep.
1. Sheep provide food and clothing for the shepherd and the community.
2. Sheep are directionally challenged, by this I mean that a lost sheep cannot find it’s way back to the fold by it’s self.
3. Sheep are always in need of fresh pasture and clean water, constant care and attention.
Conclusion to message: Jesus is our shepherd and we are his sheep. We are constantly struggling with getting lost and having our needs met. We know that Jesus is the source of every good and perfect gift that we need and yet we so easily wander away. Yes, we are indeed lost and found!