Monday, March 31, 2014

The Parable of the Lost and Found

Luke 15:1-32 - note:  in this culture at this time, tax collectors and sinners were often lumped together

This passage = recurring charge against Jesus by the Pharisees.

The setting:  - Luke 15:1-2

The issue:  Jesus' association with "sinners" (see note above) - those outside the congregation of righteous

The Parables --- address God's view - Jesus' teaching was revelation from God, not just man's view.

Parable #1 - The Lost Sheep - Luke 15:3-7 - Point = Vs. 7
Parable #2 - The Lost Coin - Luke 15:8-10 - Point = Vs. 10
Parable #3 - another Parable about the same issue, however, adds 2 new elements - 
1) Father/Child relationship  and 2) a disgruntled brother
Luke 15:11-24 - Point = Vs. 24
Luke 15:25-32 - Point = Vs. 32

Common elements of all 3 parables?????
Something lost --> found/returned/restored --> rejoicing and celebration

Question:  Does this apply to a lost person coming to salvation?  Or, to a backslidden Christian returning to the faith?

Answer:  either.  Both seem to fit.
IE:  #1:  something OUT of proper placed = restored to proper place
Therefore,  #2.  there is rejoicing and celebration (in heaven)

3 Principal players in this drama.
1)  the seeker/receiver/restorer - GOD
2)  the lost/prodigal - the sinner
3) the brother = on who resents reception/restoration

So.... some truths from these parables (in conjunction with other scripture)

A) SEEKS sinners - doesn't just accept/receive them but seeks
He calls, woos, draws - Luke 19:10
B)  Welcomes sinners  (rejoices at their return).  This doesn't mean that your behavior (lifestyle, sin), doesn't matter
But means you needn't get straight BEFORE you come to Him.  example:  "Just As I Am"
C)  Restores sinners to a proper relationship with Himself - "reconciliation" - 2 Cor. 5:17-21
Example:  the Cross, the Good News calls sinners exclusively through Jesus Christ.

II.  The Sinner
Note:  God's love is unconditional.   Your Restoration is not!!!
Sinner must:
#1.  Recognize  his plight/situation - example:  Step #1 in AA - "I am an alcoholic".  Why?  Because you're not going fix it if you don't think it's broke!!!

#3.  Return (repent = turn and walk other way) - Because people are not sheep, coins - they must discern/decide

Should be in between #1 and #3 -
#2.  Regret - "contrition" = feeling regret/remorse over sin.  Psalm 51:16-17   Isa. 57:15 
Isa. 66:2

Contrast those scriptures with 21st. Century Post-Christian view = love trumps all!!!
Therefore, are no rules, judgments, wrath -- "LOVE NEVER SAYS NO" - (quote by lesbian pastor)
Scripture says:   IF  1 John 1:9

III.  The disgruntled brother
He Resents grace extended to his brother (because in his eyes, he's undeserving)
He Rejects the notion of grace to himself - (because he is  deserving!! He = Self Righteous!!)

This = dangerous place to be!!!

So...... Which player do you identify with???
#1.  GOD  (He's GOD & you're not!!!)

#2.  The prodigal/sinner who= all of us at various times in our life  (not where ought to be)

#3.  The older brother???  who rejects the need for grace and resents "underserving" grace

#1.)  Read/contemplate,consider these parables
#2)   Let the Holy Spirit probe your heart & mind and reveal your condition/need
#3)  Respond accordingly.    Luke 15:17, 20 - "when he came to his senses....he got up and went to his father"

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