Lost coin

Get (the) Lost! 14 April 2019

Get (the) Lost!
Series—The Quest of the Good Shepherd
Luke 15:1-32

Series Big Idea:
Love is one of the most misunderstood words in our culture, yet it is at the heart of the two greatest biblical commandments: love God, love neighbor.

Big Idea:
We are to love everyone and perhaps the greatest way we can love someone is to introduce them to Jesus.

This morning we’re continuing our look at the gospel or good news of Luke in our series “The Quest of the Good Shepherd.” Today we’re in Luke chapter 15 where Jesus tells three stories of something lost and found. I’ve entitled my message, “Get (the) Lost!” God’s heart is truly for the lost. If we are to love God—and love our neighbor—we are to pursue the lost and guide them toward the Good Shepherd so that they may be found and experience the amazing love of our Creator God.

One of the Alliance core values states,

Lost people matter to God. He wants them found.

Do you believe that? Does your life reflect that value?

I believe every soul needs Jesus. It is not merely an obligation but actually a privilege to introduce people to the source and definition of love, Almighty God.

Last week we were reminded of the Great Commandments: love God and love your neighbor. One of the ways in which we love God is by loving our neighbor, even when that neighbor is an enemy.

If we truly love God, what matters to God must matter to us.

Every person you encounter this week is masterpiece created in the image of God with dignity, value and worth.

This Friday we will gather at 7 PM to remember God’s unbelievable love in action through the death of Jesus on the cross, an act so outrageous it is literally the definition of the word “passion.” Is it any wonder that after such a sacrifice, the LORD is

…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9b)

Last Sunday we said love is not just a feeling, but a rugged commitment to another person which requires action. Love is a verb.

Lost Things

Have you ever lost something of value?

I pride myself in keeping track of my stuff, ensuring that I don’t misplace or drop my keys or other such objects. So imagine my surprise when I was at a Detroit Tigers game last year and couldn’t find my phone. It’s a very old phone, but its contents are very valuable to me, especially my photos. One moment I was using my phone and seemingly moments later it was lost. I was so surprised. I had a moment of panic. My pride was squashed (not a bad thing!). What to do?

After some discussion with people nearby, I learned it had fallen on the ground, someone took it to the lost and found, and I was able to retrieve it, safe and sound!

I could’ve sat in my seat the entire game, waiting for my lost phone to fall out of the sky onto my lap, but that’s not how we usually find lost things! We need to take action, to search, and even pray!

If a piece of gum fell out of my pocket or a tissue, I never would’ve gone to the trouble of finding it, but when it was something of value, it was worth the pursuit. Let me say again,

Lost people matter to God. He wants them found.

Our text for today actually includes three stories of lost things. The first is the lost sheep.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1-2)

Then Jesus told them this parable:

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ (Luke 15:3-6)

Sheep and shepherds are not popular in our culture, but the Bible is filled with them. Psalm 23 tells us the LORD is our shepherd. Jesus is described as the Good Shepherd in John chapter 10.

The celebration is not merely for the sheep, but also for the shepherd who found the lost animal. He doesn’t simply say, “The sheep has been found,” but “I have found my lost sheep.” Sheep are not the brightest creatures on earth, and when they’re lost, there’s not much they can do to be found.

Why would the shepherd risk the safety and well-being of ninety-nine good, healthy, “obedient” sheep to find one stray? Jesus continues,

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:7)

Does this mean Christians don’t matter to God? Hardly, but our Heavenly Father will not be satisfied until all of His children are adopted, reconciled to Him, found. To further make his point, Jesus talks about a lost coin.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:8-10)

Married Jewish girls often wore a headband of ten silver coins, similar to how women in our day wear wedding rings. Losing one of the coins necessitated a search. Again, it’s not just that the coin has been found, but rejoice that “I have found,” she says.

Are you getting the point? Angels rejoice over lost person who is found. I’m not sure how angels rejoice, but I bet they know how to throw a party! Imagine how they must’ve partied when you repented and began to follow Jesus…if you have done so.

If the messages of the lost sheep and lost coin were unclear, the lost son—also known as the prodigal son—surely conveys God’s love for the lost.

Jesus continued:
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. (Luke 15:11-12)

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. (Luke 15:13)

Far or distant country didn’t just mean a place a long ways away, but Gentiles—a different worldview, a different culture.

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. (Luke 15:14-16)

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ (Luke 15:17-19)

So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

It would've been unusual for the father to run. The wayward boy brought disgrace to his family and could've been stoned to death in the culture. The father running possibly kept the neighbors from stoning the boy. What a picture of Jesus on the cross!

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ (Luke 15:21)

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:22-24)

The lost son has returned home and there is a celebration. I know of several prodigals in our church family, men and women who have walked away from the faith and/or their family. The pain is heartbreaking while the prayers seem unending. I have first-hand experience with this and beg God to bring reconciliation to my family. I have the fattened calf ready to go!

I wish the story ended here. I really do. Lost and found. Lost and found. Lost and found. But there’s more to the story of the prodigal son. It involves the ninety-nine sheep. It’s about the nine silver coins which were not lost. It’s about the older son. We might call him the good Christian boy who went to church every Sunday, never said cuss words, and got straight A’s on his homework while his brother partied until he was broke and hungry.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ (Luke 15:25-27)

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ (Luke 15:28-30)

“ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ” (Luke 15:31-32)

So What?

Family, I love you. I truly love you, and I know God loves you, too. He loves each and every one of you. He loves our brothers and sisters at Westgate Chapel, the Vineyard, the Tabernacle, Bedford Alliance, That Neighborhood Church, and Cedar Creek.

But God also loves the lost. Jesus died for the unchurched. He sacrificed his life for atheists. His blood was shed for Muslims. His body was broken for Buddhists.

Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Do you? Do we?

Perhaps there was a day when we would ring the bell and everyone would rush into our church building, but that’s clearly not the case today. Our competition is not Harvest Lane Alliance Church or Calvary Church. Our competition is the television, the golf course, the Internet, and the pillow.

Our city is packed with people searching for hope and meaning. Some are so depressed and discouraged that they’re taking their own lives…or those of others. Countless men, women, boys, and girls feel unloved, rejected, and worthless. They are lost.

Sure, I would love for God to appear to them in a dream and reveal His love for them—and that is happening, especially among Muslims—but more often than not God uses people like you and me to go and make disciples, to search for the lost, to introduce people to Jesus. Yes, God can use billboards and radio programs and television shows, but most people are following Jesus because a friend or family member shared their story and God’s story.

Perhaps the greatest way we can love someone is to introduce them to Jesus.

John Wesley said, "The church has nothing to do but to save souls. Therefore, spend and be spent in this work."

This is so important, family, not to get more people to attend First Alliance Church, but rather to get more people into the Kingdom of God! Jesus gave us three examples of lost and found to show us his heart and our mission…our commission.

I realize it can be difficult to just walk up to a stranger and say, “Hi! Are you lost?” I want to offer some simple, tangible next steps you can take in the next few weeks to get (the) lost!

1. Breakthrough movie. Opens Wednesday.
2. Easter. Next Sunday. 9:00 and 10:30 AM
3. Dinner Church. Preview on May 5, 5-7 PM.
4. Celebrate Recovery. Relaunches on May 8

Before you make invitations, please do one important thing: pray. Pray about who to invite. Pray for the person to accept the invitation. Pray for the Holy Spirit to open their eyes to the truth and their heart to Jesus.

Lets’ get (the) lost!

You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.

Lost and Found, 6 March 2011

Big Idea

In Luke 15, Jesus tells three stores: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. God rejoices when one lost child is found, and we are privileged to be able to be a part of His search and rescue mission.


God lost something…and He wants it back.

God uses people to reach people.

Jesus was a trouble-maker. The religious leaders were offended that He cared for the lost and even partied with them. He said,

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
- Matthew 9:12-13

Jesus’ entire ministry can be summed up in Luke 19:10

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

When we don’t understand God’s heart for people, our ‘religion’ can get pretty messed up.

The Pharisees grumbled over the very thing that heaven celebrates—the lost being found.

In the story of the lost son, the older brother didn’t have the heart of the father for the lost brother.

Those who think that they are close to God can, in fact, be as far from God as the irreligious, just in a different way.


You can listen to the podcast here.

For Further Study

The Prodigal God by Tim Keller