Bible Studies By James Thornton / last year Share Tweet Pin Share One Lost Sheep Introduction: Luke 15:1 “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.” This chapter (Luke 15) has been called God’s Lost and Found Department. In these 32 verses, Jesus uses no less that 4 illustrations dealing with the lost and with God’s desire to see them saved and restored to fellowship with Himself. Verses 3-7 record the Illustration of the Lost Sheep. Verses 8-10 record the Illustration of the Lost Silver. Verses 11-24 give us the Illustration of the Lost Son. And, Verses 25-32 relate the Illustration of the Lost Brother. The backdrop for these “heavenly stories with earthly meanings” is found in verses 1-2. In these verses, Jesus is seen reaching out to the lost and dying. We are told that “publicans and sinners” came to hear Him preach. Publicans were also known as “tax collectors.” These people worked for the Roman government and were despised by the Jews because they were friendly with the enemy and they placed on the people harsh and unfair tax burdens. Sinners, on the other hand, referred to the Jews who did not keep the Mosaic Law and were looked down on by the Pharisees and other religious peoples. It was these poor people who no one cared about that Jesus reached out to. In fact, He stated that as His very reason for coming into the world, Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Mark 2:17b “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Yet, when these people gathered themselves around Jesus, to hear Him teach, the religious establishment began to criticize Jesus for “receiving sinners.” The word “receiveth” means “to allow access to oneself.” The very people the religious world should have been reaching out to the very ones they shunned. Jesus, on the other hand, came to the world for lost, hurting, sinful people, and He reached out to them. Jesus, knowing the hard hearts of these religious people, told them the parables that make up the verses of this chapter. In these parables, Jesus uses four illustrations to teach them the value of every lost soul. He even uses these parables to teach them that they themselves might not be as secure as t hey thought they were. I would like to take a look at this chapter in detail. I want us to enter God’s Lost and Found Department together and learn the truth that every soul matters to God, even yours! God’s Lost And Found #1 THE LOST SHEEP: Luke 15:3. “And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4. What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses 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 neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoices 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.” One day a shepherd counts his sheep. He expects to find 100 in his flock but is dismayed to discover that one of the flock is missing. Motivated by the danger to the sheep and the loss to himself, the shepherd takes immediate action to restore this sheep to its proper place in the fold. In this vivid account of searching, saving and shouting, we can see a clear picture of the love, longing, and labor of the Lord Jesus for the lost. There is a picture of salvation in these verses that we do not want to miss today. If you are lost today, you are going to hear what Jesus has done for you and how you can be saved today. If you are saved, you will be reminded of His love and His grace and you will be given an opportunity to thank Him today. If you are saved but aren’t as close to the Shepherd as you need to be, you will be given an opportunity to set that right today as well. Let’s examine these verses together today as we think about The Lost Sheep. THE SHEPHERD’S COMPASSION: Compassion For A Lost Sheep: The word “lost” is the same word that is translated “perish” in John 3:16. It means “to be lost, ruined, or destroyed” it is used to refer to being sent away to Hell. In other words, this little sheep is in great danger. It is headed for ruin. It is headed for destruction. The shepherd knows this and is concerned about the condition of the sheep. He is moved to do something to save this lost sheep. By the way, this sheep is lost because it wandered away. It is lost by its own fault. God knows the lost condition of humanity, Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” 1 Peter 2:25 “For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” He knows the lost condition of your heart as well. He knows that you are lost because of the sin of Adam, but He also knows that you are a sinner because you choose to be one. He knows where you are living and where you are headed if you do not get saved. He knows that Hell is the end of the road for every soul that is not in a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Psalm 9:17 “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Not only does He know the condition of the lost, He is moved to do something about their lost condition. For A Loved Sheep: This sheep may have wandered away from the shepherd, but it was still precious to Him. There was value in that sheep and the shepherd wanted it returned to his flock. He cared about that one little-lost sheep. The Good Shepherd loves the lost sheep in this world also. If you are lost today, I want you to know that God loves you. How do I know? First, He said it, Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Second, He showed it, Rom. 5:6 “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” If you ever doubt the love of God for you, then look no farther than Calvary. For A Lone Sheep: Just one sheep was missing, yet the shepherd still went. Another shepherd might have counted the personal cost and decided to let that one sheep go and be lost forever. But, this shepherd saw the value in just one sheep and he went after it. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, came to this world to die for the lost sheep. Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” I am convinced that Jesus Christ came into this world to die because He deemed every lost soul precious – Ill. Luke 15:7; John 10:3; Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17. Friend, He died for you!) THE SHEPHERD’S COMMITMENT: It Was A Sacrificial Commitment: For the shepherd, the search was dangerous and death was a possibility. For the Lord Jesus, death was an absolute certainty. John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Remember the price Jesus paid extended far beyond Calvary. Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. It Was A Successful Commitment: The shepherd did not stop until his mission had been completed and the sheep had been found. Jesus did not stop on His quest until He was able to cry, “It is finished,” John 19:30. Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” His labor had not been wasted, but He returned to the fold with the very thing He went after. It may appear to us that God’s cause is failing in this world, but Jesus will not be disappointed by the harvest He reaps from this world. When we arrive home in glory, we will learn that the Good Shepherd perfectly fulfilled His mission, and all those He saved by His blood will be home in Heaven. John 17:24 “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day. 40. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Notice the usage of the words “all” and “everyone.” THE SHEPHERD SUCCEEDS: Luke 15:4b. “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.” “Until he finds it.” I Like That Phrase. It seems it was not easily found. The sheep was really lost in an almost un-accessible place. But the shepherd did not quit until he had located the lost sheep, and perhaps pulled it to safety by the crook of his staff. We were all lost in such a place and the ‘Good Shepherd’ found us and rescued us and brought us home safely in his arms. “Until He Finds It.” The sheep has been found and is rescued from the danger in which it had been. The word “saved” means “to rescue from all harm and danger.” That is what the Great Shepherd does for all His sheep. His delivers them from the danger and the damage of their sins. All of God’s sheep are delivered From The Penalty Of Sin, John 3:36; “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” From The Power Of Sin, Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Ultimately From The Very Presence Of Sins, Revelation 21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” The Shepherd Provides Rest: The sheep is not responsible for getting itself home. It may have wandered away, but the getting home is the responsibility of the shepherd! After it is saved, it finds itself resting upon the strong shoulders of the shepherd! Thank God, the Lord’s sheep are not responsible for getting themselves home either, but they are “kept by the power of God,” 1 Peter 1:5. and they rest upon His precious promises for their salvation, John 10:28; John 6:37-40; John 6:47; Hebrews 9:12. The shepherd was able to lift the sheep and bear it upon his shoulders all the way back to the fold. He had sufficient stamina to finish what he had started. The Lord did not start this mission to fail. He went after the sheep for the express purpose of bringing them home. Notice His confidence, Luke 19:10 “to seek and to save;” John 6:37 “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out;” Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee;” John 3:16; John 5:24; John 6:47; John 10:28. There Was Rejoicing: The shepherd was able to rejoice with his friends and neighbors because his lost sheep was found. He was overjoyed with the rescue of this one, lost sheep. Jesus makes it clear that Heaven gets excited about the salvation of just ONE lost soul. Why? Because fellowship has been restored, Ephesians 2:12 “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Job 9:33, Because usefulness has been restored. God can’t use a dirty vessel, but He can save a sinner by His grace and use them in amazing ways for His glory. Conclusion: Where are you in your relationship with the Shepherd? Are you lost out in the dark mountains of sin? Do you need to be rescued today? If so, then you can be saved if you will come to Jesus. Others are saved, but are you as close to Him as you need to be today? If there is a need in your walk with Jesus, come and talk to Him about it. Others are saved, sure, and secure on Shepherd’s shoulders today, why don’t you just come before Him to worship Him, thank Him and to pray for the lost in our midst today? Still, others know and are concerned about lost folks today. Notice that this shepherd left the 99 and went after the lost one. If there was ever a day when the church needed to get her eyes off the 99 and on the lost one it is now! If there is a need, then you come before the Lord and get the help you need right now.