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Parables: God’s Lost and Found
The boss of a big company needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of the main computers. He dialed the employee’s home telephone number and was greeted with a child’s voice, "Hello?" It was a quiet little voice.
Feeling put out at the inconvenience of having to talk to a youngster, the boss asked, "Is your Daddy home?" "Yes," said the small voice.
"May I talk with him?" the man asked. To the surprise of the boss, he replied, "No."
Wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, "Is your Mommy there?"
"Yes," came the answer. "May I talk with her?" Again, the little voice said, "No."
Knowing that it was not likely that a young child would be left home alone, the boss decided he would just leave a message with the person who should be there watching over the child. "Is there anyone there besides you?" the boss asked the child. "Yes," said the child, "a policeman." Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee’s home, the boss asked, "May I speak with the policeman?"
"No, he is busy," said the child. "Busy doing what?" asked the boss.
"Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman," came the answer.
Growing concerned and even worried as he heard what sounded like a helicopter through the ear piece on the phone, the boss asked, "What is that noise?" "A hello-copper," answered the tiny voice.
"What is going on there?" asked the boss, now alarmed. In an awed voice, the child answered, "They just landed the hello-copper!"
Alarmed, concerned and more than just a little frustrated, the boss asked, "Why are they there?" Still whispering, the young voice replied (along with a muffled giggle), "They are looking for me!"
We have 3 stories told, but they make up just one parable. [v. 3]
The Lost Sheep represents those who are out in the world, and not saved. They are not part of the ‘count.’ They are in danger, exposed, and helpless. But Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost! And He isn’t just about those that are in the house, but about finding others and bringing them into the fold.
The Lost Silver was not lost out in the elements, but lost in the house. This could represent a saved soul but a lost life. It is good for nothing, and unfit to be used. To be out of the hand of the One to Whom we belong is to be useless. When a piece of money is misplaced it is not only the actual piece of metal that is lost, but all the good that money might do is lost as well. This person may come to church, but they are almost invisible because they don’t do anything. They need to realize we are not saved to sit and soak, but to serve and be useful. Or, this could represent the lost church member, who has “profession without possession” of salvation. This one is lost, though in the house. Remember, going to church doesn’t make you saved anymore than going to Von Maur makes you rich!
The Lost Son represents the backslider. They are saved, but have gotten away from God. They haven’t lost their relationship w/ the Father, but they certainly aren’t in fellowship w/ Him.
3 Stories—and they look at 3 ways we can be lost. And guess what? We can see all 3 Persons of the Trinity in this parable:
The shepherd seeks the Lost Sheep to save it. Jesus, the Son of God is the Shepherd leaves all behind to go after the lost, and at great personal sacrifice He seeks to save that one.
The woman seeks the Lost Silver to Use it. The Holy Spirit of God is pictured here. Why are we sometimes lost to service? 2 reasons: Dust and Darkness…and so just as the woman lights a candle and uses her broom, so the Spirit of God shines the light of truth from without, and the dust of inward corruption is stirred up within, so the lost can be found!
The unsaved is lost because he is outside the fold. But a Christian can be outside of the control and touch of the Spirit and be lost in his own way as well. He is in God’s hand for salvation, but seems to be just out of reach for God to use him. And so he is lost when it comes to service, and opportunities. Lost ministry. Lost blessings. Lost tithes. Lost witnessing. Truly, a lost cause until he gets in touch with the true Spirit of God, and becomes the tool in the hand of the Master that he is intended to be. This is when the lost becomes found.
The father of the prodigal seeks the Lost Son to restore fellowship with him. He doesn’t go forth to seek; He waits and longs for the son to come back to him, to come back home. This is God the Father, and He calls on backsliders to return to Him. He promises healing and restoration to them. All they must do is 1. Come to themselves and 2. Come back!
The Father thought it.
The Son brought it.
The Holy Spirit wrought it.
Glory to God I’ve got it!
And there’s rejoicing in all 3 stories when the lost is found. Poem:
When the Model T first hit the street,
It didn’t bring all heaven to its feet.
And when the first computer was born,
They didn’t blow Old Gabriel’s horn.
There’s only one thing that we’re sure about
That can make those angels jump and shout:
It’s when a sinner makes the Lord his choice;
That’s when the angels rejoice.
Now heaven doesn’t strike up a band
For any old occasion at hand;
It’s got to be a special thing,
to make those angels smile and sing.
Now when the United States became a nation,
There was no angelic celebration.
But when one lost sinner comes back home,
They jump for joy around the throne! Larry Bryant
The lost sheep is a lost soul…but the lost can be found!
The lost silver is a lost servant…but the lost can be found!
The lost son has lost all his senses, but can come to himself, and come back…and the lost can be found!
The Lost Sheep
The first story proves that God’s love is a seeking love.
Isaiah 53:6—All we like sheep have gone astray.
God died for the ‘all’ in that verse [for God so loved the world] but He goes after the one. Every individual is precious in His sight, and v. 4 ends w/ the wonderful words ‘until He find it.’
If we could get ninety nine out of one hundred today we would be satisfied. If we lived in a town with 100 people and we got 99 of them saved, every preacher in America would be calling us and asking, “How did you do it?” But the Good Shepherd was not satisfied until He found that one that was missing.
Matt. 9:36—But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
All other religions have man seeking God, but Jesus makes it clear: sheep are stupid, and cannot find their way. Jesus is the good shepherd who finds us. Other religions are all about man trying to get to God, but Jesus came to us. Other religions are like the tower of Babel…man trying to get a boost from beneath…but Jesus teaches us that we need that birth from above! Verse 5 shows we make it into God’s fold on HIS shoulders, not on our own goodness.
And in v. 5 we see Jesus rejoicing, and in v. 6 all the other sheep in the fold, and in v. 7 all of heaven, the angels included, are rejoicing!
The Lost Silver
Have you ever lost something important? Your keys perhaps? Ever sought for your glasses? What a hardship since you need them to see and look for them! Ever spent about 10 minutes and then found them on top of your head?!
Ill.--A dear lady had a husband who was an airline pilot, and he often had difficulty locating items around the house. One day he asked his wife where the salt was. Annoyed, she responded, "How on earth can you find Detroit at night in a blizzard, but you can’t find the salt in your own kitchen?" "Well, darling," he replied, "they don’t move Detroit!"
Ill.--My dad once lost a $100 bill to the trash. He tore the dump apart half a day, using hundreds of dollars worth of his time and resources looking for it!
There is great grief in looking for something you have lost. As for this coin, this poor woman needed it. The fall of the coin was quick, but the grief that ensued went on and on until she found it.
Eph. 4:30—Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God…
Ill.--This week as you know, I was in the ER trying to get attention. When I was released I went home to relax, but we couldn’t find the remote. We searched and tore the place apart for a long time. The room was upside down in shambles. I said, honey, I’ve just gone from one emergency situation to another! Then she found it sitting right on a table in that very room. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!
This woman and her friends rejoiced together when the lost was found.
The Lost Son
Sin will take you farther than you intend to go; it will keep you longer than you expect to stay, and it will cost you more than you want to pay.
v. 13 ends showing us how bad living is such a waste of life. And “willful waste brings woeful want.”
He realized that the best the world had to offer wasn’t as good as the worst of his father’s house.
Is there a backslider here today that needs to come back to the Lord? Don’t wait until tomorrow. Don’t wait until there is a better time. Come back today.
Prov 13:15—Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
The Father Met Him On The Road Home. Luke 15:20
1. He forgave him of all. The Heavenly Father will forgive you of all sin.
2. He put a robe on him. The robe covered all. The blood of Christ will cleanse you of all sin. 1 John 1:7, “...and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
3. He put a ring on his finger. That reconfirms sonship.
4. The father put shoes on his feet. Those blistered, bleeding feet that had walked in the ways of the transgressor would now stand in the halls of his father’s home.
5. The fatted calf. Not swine. How long does it take to fatten a calf. It can’t be done overnight, thus, the father was expecting the son home. He was waiting.
The son’s hunger is now quenched.
His want is satisfied.
He is at the father’s house.
What a difference is made when a backslider comes back home!
v. 12 He was bad.
v. 13 He was mad.
v. 16 He was sad.
v. 24 He was glad.
Ill.--Robert Bruce was king of Scotland during the 12th and 13th Century. He had been at war with the King of England. The King of England sent an army to Robert Bruce’s palace to kill him. Robert Bruce, having suspected what might happen, left his home and fled into the forest. When the army came to the palace and found that their enemy was not there, they got Robert Bruce’s own dogs and set them on his trail. Robert Bruce could hear the barking dogs and realized they were his own hounds. He ran and ran. As he did he grew weaker and weaker. The dogs were getting closer. Finally, he came to a crystal clear river in the middle of the forest. He got into the brook and waded down stream for about two miles. After which he climbed out on the bank of the river and sat under a clump of trees. He could hear the dogs barking up stream in confusion, and Robert Bruce realized he had escaped.
The application is this: If the hounds of your past are on your trail, if the old dogs of sin are gaining on you, and you don’t know what to do, let me tell you about a river. A crystal clear river filled with the blood of the crucified One. “And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stain.”
The Lost Sibling
Let’s not forget the prodigal’s big brother…
v. 28 This son is lost, too. How so? Well, his little brother may have been lost in the pigsty, but he himself was lost in his pew. He was a carnal, self righteous soul who lost all sympathy for his brother, for his father, and forgot what a great occasion this truly was!
Who was the first to point out the prodigal’s sin? Not the father, but the son. It’s always a fellow Christian who starts gossip about a backslidden Christian. This elder brother is a picture of a carnal church member.
The lost can be found! If you need to be saved, let the Good Shepherd find you today and bring you into the fold. If you are in the house today, that doesn’t mean you are in His hand…make the most of your life for Him, let the Spirit find you and use you. If you’ve backslidden and gotten away from God, come to your senses and come home, and let’s all receive w/ a great attitude all the lost who are found today and forevermore, just as we were received ourselves!
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