1. THE LOST LAMB:

In these two parables, there was something lost that was found. In the first parable, a lamb is lost and the Shepherd leaves the others to go out and find the individual lamb. It’s obvious we are like the lost lamb and Jesus is the Shepherd. We are ones who are lost. That’s leads to these observations:

A. The saddest experience of life is to be lost.

In the parable, God is the Shepherd, and the lost lamb represents us.

In Isaiah 53:6, the Bible says, "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."

There are three words starting with "D" that describe sheep: They are dumb, defenseless, and directionless. You won’t see any trained sheep acts at the circus–they are too dumb. Almost all animals have either claws, sharp teeth, quills, a hard shell, or speed to escape predators–but not sheep–they have no defenses. Sheep get lost easily, too. There are homing pigeons, and cats and dogs who can often find their way back home, but sheep are clueless about how to find their own way back home. (Tessa once got away for a couple of hours)

In many respects, we are the same way in our ability to rescue ourselves from our lost condition. We are dumb, defenseless, and directionless. Like sheep, we all have a tendency to stray away from God. The hymn says, "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love."

It can be unnerving to be lost.

Years ago when I was a young boy my uncle used to take us up in the Catskill Mountains in New York State. One night they took all of the young boys out to go hunting for an animal that didn’t really exist (the snipe). They said you have to go in the dark and then shine a flashlight on them and make a lot of noise and the snipes will run right into sacks that we were holding. So we went deep in to the dark woods and when the word was given we started shouting and flashing our lights. These snipes never showed up and when the noise was over, we were left alone in the woods. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. We walked for what seemed like miles until we found the road and walked out of there and headed home.

How many of you have ever been in a strange building or city and gotten lost? It can be a distressing experience, but you were only lost temporarily, because you are here today! In this passage Jesus uses the word "lost" to speak of the spiritual condition of being eternally lost. The word L-O-S-T is one of the scariest four lettered words in the human language.

A lost soul is the most tragic condition in life.

I once knew a man in Florida who at one time was very wealthy, but because of some unwise investments, he lost it all. It’s terrible to lose a fortune, but that’s nothing compared to the tragedy of a lost soul.

One of my patient’s in Florida appeared to be a healthy retired man. He found out one day that he had a tickle in his throat. He went to the Doctor and found out that he had lung cancer and was dead less than six months later leaving his wife of fifty years alone. A few months earlier he had been strong and healthy, but he had become a shell of a man. It’s terrible when someone loses his health, but not nearly as terrible as a lost soul.

You can lose your mind, and it’s not as tragic as a lost soul. You can lose your character, and it’s not as bad as a losing your soul. Death will heal the loss of a fortune, or a loss of health or a loss of a mind–but a lost soul is for eternity. We are all like that lost lamb at one time in our lives.

Jesus can never find you until you admit you are a lost sinner. That’s the bad news, without Christ we are lost. But the good news is:

B. Jesus searches for us in order to save us.

The shepherd had 100 sheep. Just before he was ready to bed them down, he began to count them, "...95, 96, 97, 98, 99...Whoa, I’m missing one! Hey, where’s Snowflake? I haven’t seen her all afternoon." Then the Shepherd does something surprising, he leaves the other 99 sheep and sets off to find the single lost lamb. Remember, that’s what God is like. God is just as concerned with the individual as He is with the group. And that’s how God deals with people. God deals with us as individuals–not as groups.

He cannot save this crowd, but He will save every individual in this crowd who will accept His love and forgiveness. You don’t get saved by hanging around other saved people–it doesn’t work that way. You have to have a personal encounter with the Shepherd yourself.

I believe if the shepherd had 10,000 sheep and one was lost, I believe he would have left the 9,999 and gone after the one. Why? Because it is the character of our God to love the individual and to seek the lost. If you were the only person on earth who was lost and needed a Savior, I believe Jesus would have still come to earth and died on a cross for your sins.


In Luke 19:10 Jesus said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

It is the nature of God to seek the lost. In the other religions of the world, man is seeking and searching for God, but in the Christian faith it is the God of the Universe who comes seeking and searching for you!

Now, let’s look at the second parable:

2. THE LOST COIN:

In this second parable, it’s not a lamb that has wandered off on its own; it’s a coin that has been accidentally lost. The woman had ten coins and one of them was lost. The word Jesus used for a coin was of one that didn’t have much monetary value at the time. However, most scholars believe this coin was part of a headdress brides wore. Jewish brides often wore a headdress of ten coins strung across their foreheads. So the coin had great sentimental value because it was part of her wedding vows. That’s why she literally turned her house upside down to find it.

Have you ever lost something? (lately Margaret and I have been losing things all the time and it’s usually right under our noses)

In this parable, the woman is so intent on finding the lost coin she does two important things: First, she lights a lamp and second she sweeps up the dirt on her floor. In our lost condition, we are represented by the lost coin and Jesus is the one searching to find us. There is an important application we can make from these two details of light and sweeping.

A. Jesus lives to give you light

The first thing the woman did was light a lamp to help here see clearly.

Most of you have heard the old joke about the man looking for some lost money under the street light at night. A policeman started helping him look. After a few moments the policeman asked the man, "Exactly where did you lose the money?" The man replied, "Oh I lost it half way down the block." The policeman said, "Then why are you searching here?" The man said, "Because the light is so much better!"

It does help to have light when you are looking for something. Before Jesus finds us we are lost in the darkness of sin. Jesus came into this world to provide the light of truth.

In John 8:12 Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

In the Bible there is a connection between light and truth. God gives every person a measure of light, or truth about Himself–even if they don’t have a Bible. It’s not enough light to save a person but enough light to cause them to seek more light. They are given the light of creation and the light of conscience. They can look at creation and understand someone superior and intelligent designed it all. They can look within and understand that every person is born with a sense of right and wrong–and understand there must be a moral absolute in the Universe. Everybody has some light. If you walk toward the light, God gives you more light. If you walk away from the light, the Bible says in Romans 1 that your understanding becomes darkened.

In addition to being light,

B. Jesus died to sweep out your dirt.

The lost coin was somewhere on the floor, and the best way to find it was to take a broom and sweep up all the dirt. In the process of cleaning every square inch of the floor, the woman found the coin. There’s a great lesson here as well. In addition to giving you light, Jesus desires to cleanse your life of all the dirt and filth accumulated there. He died on the cross so your sins could be forgiven. We read in I John 1:7,

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

The old hymn says, "There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains."

Before you can be found, you need the light of the Lord and the cleansing power of the Lord.

In both of these parables, the single theme that emerges is this:

3. THERE IS JOY IN HEAVEN:

The jubilant shepherds called his friends and they rejoiced over the one lamb that was lost and is now found. The woman was overjoyed when she recovered her lost coin and she plans a party to celebrate it. Even so, Jesus said there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.

In his book, "Just Like Jesus", Max Lucado wrote: "Let one child consent to be dressed in righteousness and begin the journey home and heaven pours the punch, strings the streamers, and throws the confetti...when a soul is saved, the heart of Jesus becomes the night sky on the Fourth of July, radiant with explosions of cheer." (Just Like Jesus, by Max Lucado, p. 143)
Personal stories: Some of the happiest and most joyous moments of my life that I can remember is:

-The day of my marriage.

-The birth of my two children.

-The day of my salvation.

Before I get too spiritual,

-The day the Giants won the Super Bowl in 1986 against the Denver Broncos.

-The day our Pop Warner Football team won a championship game.

-The day we found out Margaret didn’t need surgery.

-The day that I found out I didn’t have cancer.

These were all great moments in my life, but they are nothing compared to what happens in heaven when a lost sinner repents!!

Let’s look at several reasons why we should rejoice:

1. The happiest experience of life is to be rescued by God

Remember, the saddest experience of life is to be spiritually lost–but to be found and rescued by God is the most joyous experience. I believe we should be more excited about our own salvation. You cannot lose your salvation, but sadly, many people have lost the joy of their salvation.

We read in I Peter 1:8-9, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."

Do you have a sense of this inexpressible and glorious joy? When Jesus is in your heart, there will be this sense of joy.

Illustrate: In London, you can always tell if the Queen is in residence at Buckingham Palace because a certain flag flies over the palace whenever she is there. Even so, joy is the flag flying over the castle of our hearts announcing that the King is in residence there today.

In John 15:11 Jesus said, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." It’s more than just a Vacation Bible School song, but if you have Jesus in your heart then you should be able to sing, "I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!"

2. We should celebrate what heaven celebrates!

What is it in life that really gets you excited? What would give you the greatest joy that you could imagine? What would it take for you to grin and jump around and dance a jig and shout, "Yee hah!?" (finding out that I didn’t have cancer)

I wonder if anything could move some of you to that kind of joy. Some of you are so straight-laced, a stick of dynamite couldn’t move you! But what would it take to really get your fired up? For some it would be winning the lottery, or getting a hole-in-one, or hearing the doctor say the words, "cancer free." It might be different for different people. But for those of us who claim to love Jesus, I submit to you we should celebrate what heaven celebrates. Because there is joy in the presence of angels when one sinner repents, there should be joy among believers when a person repents.

We get so excited about other things in life–a win for our team, a promotion at work, graduation from school–I think our greatest celebration should be reserved for the time when someone comes into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus is teaching us that God is like a shepherd who goes searching for one little lost lamb, and when He finds him, God celebrates! God is like the woman who turns her house upside down to find the one lost coin–and when God finds that lost person, there is a party.
Our God is personally interested in every lost lamb, and every lost coin. He is interested in the secretary in your office, the student in the classroom, the executive in the boardroom, and the drunkard on the street. He wants every lost person to be found!

CONCLUSION
You will never fully celebrate your salvation or the salvation of anyone else until you understand how wretched and miserable it is be totally lost without Christ.

Story:

Years ago there was an Englishman named John who was a slave trader. He owned and operated a ship that sailed to Africa to collect a human cargo of African people to be bought and sold as slaves back in England. He was a wicked man with a cruel, evil personality. It was said that he could curse for almost two hours without saying the same curse twice. He oversaw the death of many slaves with never a second thought–those who knew him considered him to be beyond hope of redemption. Someone gave him a book entitled The Imitation of Christ, but he refused to read it. Not long afterwards, he was caught in a terrible storm at sea and his ship was sinking. Desperate for deliverance, He cried out to God. He said, "God have mercy on us!" The ship and crew survived the storm–and John was a changed man. He started reading The Imitation of Christ and the Bible. God had been searching for the wicked slave trader and on March 10, 1748 God found him and rescued him from a life of sin. He sold his ship and gave up the slave trade. He became involved in the anti-slavery movement in England and in year of his death, 1807, the English Parliament abolished slavery in the British Empire. Here was a wicked, depraved slave trader who was radically changed by Jesus Christ. What did John have to say about his salvation? Everyone in this room has read his words many times. His name was John Newton and he wrote these words: "Amazing grace how sweet the sound; that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost; but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see!"