by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Luke 15:1-10
I. Luke 15:10 - When someone responds to God’s message, there is excitement that reaches all the way to heaven!
A. Each and every person, no matter how high or low stationed in life is important to God.
B. Ezekiel 33:11 - God doesn’t look forward to punishing the wicked. He will do so, but he would rather that each person turn to him, but he leaving the choice to the individual.
C. II Peter 3:9 - God would like everyone to turn to him
II. Rescuing the lost takes more effort and brings more excitement than keeping the save.
A. Matthew 18:11-14 - God doesn’t want anyone to perish, so a rescue is a cause for celebration.
B. But to some, it seems to be unfair. You spend your whole life dedicated to God, but a newcomer gets all the hoopla.
C. Mark 2:16-17 - Aid needs to be given to those who need it the most.
D. The Jews had this problem - Luke 15:1-2, which Jesus answers with three parables to explain why this is true
1. Luke 15:4-7 - The lost sheep
a. How much effort is one willing to give to bring just one animal back?
b. Jesus left his throne of glory to seek and save the lost - Luke 19:10
2. Luke 15:8-10 - The lost coin
a. This parable emphasis the effort a person is willing to give to find something lost.
b. How many of you have torn up your whole house just to find an item that could have been replace in less time than it took you to tear up the house?
3. Luke 15:11-32 - The lost son
a. Here the emphasis switches from the seeker to the lost.
b. We learn that the lost are in that state by their own choice. They return also by their own choice.
c. The joy of return remains the same, but notice the reaction of the elder brother who did not stray.
III. It is so easy to become self-righteous
A. We stay on the straight and narrow. We know that what we do is pleasing to God.
B. When we see how the lost are ruining themselves, it is easy to fall in the snare of pride.
1. Our focus becomes what I want, what I need, instead of looking out for the needs of others - Philippians 2:3-4
C. The disciples fell into this trap - Luke 9:51-56
D. This is the trap Jonah fell in
1. Jonah did not want to teach in Nineveh - Jonah 1:1-3
a. Nineveh was the enemy of Israel.
b. Jonah was not interested in their salvation, he wanted to see them destroyed.
2. When Jonah was forced to go, he taught that they only had 40 days - Jonah 3:1-4
a. I’m sure Jonah did not mind that those who heard his message would soon be dead.
b. I’m sure the reaction was not what Jonah was expecting.
c. The people from the lowest to the greatest, turned! - Jonah 3:5-9
3. So God changed his mind - Jonah 3:10
4. Jonah was furious!
a. God would not have mercy on him! He made Jonah go and preach to his enemies - Jonah 4:1-3
(1) How soon he forgot his rescue from the whale! Was that not mercy?
(2) See how he applies mercy to himself, but not to his enemies?
5. God teaches Jonah a lesson - Jonah 4:4-11
a. Jonah cared more for the plant than a city full of people!
b. Jonah had done nothing for the plant, but he did teach a whole city.
c. 120,000 people turned because of one man’s teaching! Should God not have pity on such people?
IV. We need to keep our focus.
A. There are precious souls to snatch away from the true enemy. Each one is a tremendous victory for our Savior.
B. II Timothy 2:24-26 - See how the emphasis is on the lost, and not the saved.