- Sermon Notes
To Seek and to Save
Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem and great crowds are gathering to hear Him speak with authority and to see the power of God as He casts out demons and healed the sick.
As we begin chapter 15, Luke tells us that there were a lot of sinners that were coming near to listen to Him. But the Jewish leaders, the Pharisees and the scribes, began to grumble about this, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
What Luke is pointing out to us is that Jesus ate with sinners that were well known for their sin. They didn’t even pretend to be righteous like the Pharisees were doing, they were just straight up sinners and Jesus would even eat with them.
Now that last accusation is important for us to understand. For the Hebrews, eating together was of great significance. It was a picture of commonality, or communion, or oneness of relationship.
Illus - We had an opportunity to be with an African family and watch their traditions of eating a meal. There is great significance in how people eat together.
The Hebrews also ate without forks in those days. They would tear off a piece of bread, take a piece of meat with it, and dip it into a common bowl of sauce. The same loaf that would feed one would feed another; it pictured their communion or oneness of relationship.
So why would Jesus eat with sinners? This is such an important point that Jesus gives three parables one after the other to give an answer. It has everything to do with God’s heart toward sinners. So what is God’s heart toward sinners? Many people are convinced that God is angry with them and stands with a lightning bolt in His fist ready to strike with His anger and might.
But these three parables tell a different story. Here, we understand the depths of His love toward us when we understand that He came to seek and to save that which was lost.
I. God Pursues You with His Love
- Jesus gives parables they could relate to. The first one is about a shepherd who has 100 sheep and one of them is lost. “Does he not leave the 99 and go after the one which is lost?” Jesus asked.
- The second parable is about a woman who has 10 silver coins and one is lost. “Does she not search carefully until she finds it?”
- There are two parts to these parables and both of them reveal God’s heart. The first part is the seeking; the second part is the finding.
A. God is the one seeking after you
- These parables are so helpful because many people misunderstand how to find God.
- There’s an old saying that many people like to believe, “All roads lead to God.” I suggest that all those roads are dead ends because any road that begins here on this earth has no way of finding its way to heaven.
- The road that leads to God is the road that came from God and His name is Jesus Christ.
John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
Romans 10:6-8 The Word is near you…
Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
- God knows where you are, so how does He seek? Could it be similar to when God searched for Adam in the Garden of Eden?
- He is the “Hound of Heaven,” He knocks on the door of your heart. And by the Holy Spirit’s conviction in our lives, drawing us back to Him.
B. God rejoices when one sinner repents
- The second part of these parables that we have to see how God responds when that lost sheep or that lost coin or that lost son is found.
- In the first parable, when the shepherd finds the lost sheep, he calls his friends and neighbors.
- Jesus then said in verse seven, and you have to love this, “I tell you, there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents…”
- We absolutely must see God’s heart for us. It’s amazing to think about God rejoicing over us sinners, in fact, the scripture says He even shouts for joy.
Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
- I love the part of that verse that talks about God rejoicing with shouts of joy, but since we’re here at this verse let’s not miss where it says also that He will be quiet in His love.
- There is an aspect of love that says, “I love you so much I won’t keep bringing up your past.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-5, Love is patient, love is kind… it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs.
Proverbs 25:2, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter…”
- In contrast, the devil is called “the accuser of the brethren.” On this point, God would surely ask us to be more like Jesus than to be like the devil.
- In the parable of the lost coin, Jesus even tells us that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
II. Prodigal Sons must come Home
- Jesus here gives one of the most famous parables of all; the parable of a prodigal son.
- This is one of the most important parables for us to understand because it’s all about the Father’s heart.
- Yes, it’s about a sinner, but the glory of the parable is all about the Father. Oh if we could only be convinced of our Father’s heart for us.
A. He came to his senses
- The prodigal son came to his senses when he finally came to the end of himself.
- He had squandered everything and then a severe famine hit the land and he began to be in need.
- God allows difficulties in our lives so that we will come to our senses. That’s the point where we wake up and realize what we had been blind to.
Proverbs 13:15, 20-21, Good understanding produces favor, but the way of the treacherous is hard… He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Adversity pursues sinners.
- He comes to his senses when he sees something he didn’t see before; even the servants in his father’s house are blessed.
B. He was empty and hungry
- The prodigal son is a powerful picture of the condition of every soul that is lost; they are empty and hungry.
- When the prodigal son came to the end of himself even the pigs food looks appealing to him. It’s emptiness and loneliness that causes people to look to the world.
Illus - To quote from that famous American philosopher, Waylon Jennings, they are “Looking for love in all the wrong places.”
- The problem is that the things the world offers makes the soul sick. The problem is that when you’re hungry even things that are bad for you look good.
Illus - if you’re really hungry, even a greasy hot dog with a side of french fries smothered with cheese sauce looks good, especially when you soothe your conscious with a diet Pepsi.
- The answer is to leave the world behind and go to our father and have a soul that is satisfied in His presence.
- The prodigal son longed for the food the pigs were eating, but when he returned to his father’s house, they put on a great feast; they killed the fattened calf, and celebrated in great joy.
- Look at the contrast of what he had been eating to the feast he is now enjoying in the presence of his father.
Psalm 63:3-5, Your loving kindness is better than life… so I will bless You as long as I live… My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
C. He did something about it
- When the prodigal son finally came to his senses and realized that even the servants in his father’s house were blessed, he did something about it; he got up and headed for home.
- His words were ready; he did not feel worthy to be called a son anymore, all he wanted was a job.
- Oh how people can relate to this. Many people do not feel worthy of being loved and can’t comprehend the possibility that God would want them as a son or daughter.
- But here’s where the story turns towards the father and this is where we also must understand our Father’s heart toward us.
- And then when we see how great God’s love is, it should cause us also to respond to Him with shouts of joy; He has taken away our shame.
- He has covered our shame with a robe of righteousness and celebrated over us, should we not also celebrate in return?
Psalm 25:1-3, To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame… No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame…
Luke 15:1-32 NASB
25 "Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.' 28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, 'Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.' 31 And he said to him, 'Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.'"