Seeking the Lost

Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas

INTRODUCTION

Have you ever thought about the people who are perishing everyday without Jesus? Does your heart miss a beat for the ones without peace and living in sin? They are sure for eternal condemnation but God has given you and me the privilege to go to them and speak the good news of Jesus Christ.

Today, I am starting a new series which constitutes of 3 messages. During this series I want to share with you about our purpose as a church. We will see why God has brought us together in this place at City Harvest.

Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. This is our great commission. This is the purpose of our church – Make disciples of all nations – To seek the lost. That is why we have 8 services on a Sunday morning. That is why our worship team takes time to practice and lead us in worship. That is why I preach service after service so that we can reach out to more and more people with the good news of Jesus Christ.

This morning we are going to see why we are to bring others to God, secondly we are going to see how to identify people to share the good news, and thirdly we are going to see the reward of bringing others to Christ.

In Luke Chapter 15 Jesus was criticized by the Jewish rulers. They criticized Jesus for the kind of friends he had, tax collectors and sinners. They said if Jesus was claming to be God he would not spend time with sinners but with them. Jesus in response to this criticism illustrates 3 parables.

  1. If you were a shepherd who had 100 sheep. One day you come home in the evening and discovered that you only had 99, what would you do? You would definitely go out and search the lost sheep leaving the 99 behind. Finally after finding the lost sheep, you would put it on your shoulders and come home rejoicing. Then you would call your neighbours and friends and say, “Come rejoice with me I have found my lost sheep.”
  2. Suppose you are a woman who has 10 silver coins and loses one what would you do? You will switch on the light, sweep the house, and search carefully until you find it. And when you find it you will call your neighbours and friends and say, “Come rejoice with me I have found my lost coin.”
  3. Suppose you are a father and you have a rebellious son who demands his share. Reluctantly, you give it to him. He goes into a far country where he wastes all your money. Without money he goes a person who employs him to feed his pigs. He was very hungry and did not get even the pigs feed to fill his stomach. Then the son comes to his senses and says, “I would be better off as one of my father’s servants than to be here.” And he goes back to his home. The father welcomes the lost son, puts a robe on him, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then the father holds a great feast to celebrate the return of his lost son.

These are the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the Prodigal son. Jesus told these 3 parables to the Pharisees to tell them that Jesus came into this world to seek and save those who are lost.

WHY DO WE SEEK THE LOST?

We bring people to Christ because they are lost in their sins just as we once were. Therefore the love of Christ compels us to reach out and share with them the good news of God’s love. We must understand they are lost and God can find them only through you and me. You and I are the hands and mouth of God. So we have a responsibility to bring them to Christ.

Now, we do not get people to make our church big or make claims about boasting on our church numbers. We get people because that is the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus – To seek and save the lost.

Have you lost something valuable and searched hard for it, for instance your mobile phone?

Illustration: Sam and Grace are small and both of their nature is quite different. Sam is usually quiet and he will be doing his own work in the house. But Grace is very vocal and loud in whatever she does. She is just about anywhere and everywhere in the house making a lot of noise either laughing or crying. So you always know where Grace is.

Well one day the house got strangely quiet, and we know whenever the house is quiet Grace is into something mischievous. Sam had gone to my father’s house just on top of our house. Initially, we thought she had gone with her brother over to my dad’s house. After about 5 minutes I felt like checking for Grace and found that she is not up there. So I started looking for Grace. At first I wasn’t too concerned and walked through the house saying, “Grace, where are you?” But there wasn’t a sound. Glory started the search and soon my parents joined the search. We went to the road and nearby houses and started searching for Grace. No sign of Grace. Suddenly, all kinds of horrible thoughts began going through my mind. We searched for Grace all around the house but no sign of her. Finally, we came in the house and I started looking for Grace. Then I got on to Grace’s level and looked behind the doors, under the table, in the kitchen, behind the furniture constantly calling her name.

Finally, I went to the computer table and looked down and discovered Grace under the table in the little leg space putting body cream all over her body and face. I looked at her with a deep breath of relief mixed with anger, and she gave me a vague grin. Finally we cleaned her up and strictly warned her not to this to us again.

Application: Later when I reflected on that incident I thought, “When was the last time I searched diligently for someone who is lost from God?

Do you know Jesus when he looked at the crowd he had compassion on them because they were lost. That is why He came into this world as a shepherd to look for the lost and that is what we are commissioned to do – Bring the lost to the house of God.

HOW DO WE SEEK THE LOST?

Now I would like you to look at the 3 parables Jesus said. There was a lost sheep, lost coin, and a lost son. Let us see how they found what was lost.

First there is searching

When the shepherd lost the sheep he went searching for it. He went out and looked until he found it. When the woman realized that she had lost her silver coin she went looking for the coin in her house until she found it. Therefore searching is the very first method. We need to search for the lost.

However the searching is different in both the parables. In the first parable the sheep was lost out there but in the second parable the coin was lost in here – in the house.

There are people outside whom we need to be searching for because they are lost. They can be our neighbors, friends, relatives, colleagues etc. We need to find them and bring them in the house of God.

Example: That is why Jesus took time to speak to the Samaritan woman at the well. That is why Jesus stopped by Zacchaeus and went to his house. That is why Jesus spoke at length to Niccodemus. That is why Jesus as he was hanging on the cross spoke to the thief beside him and said “Today you shall be with me in paradise.”

Illustration: My father was working in Trivandrum in 1980 pretty caught up with the worldly lifestyle. One day he was invited to a spiritual meeting by his friend. There he and my mother accepted Jesus as their Savior. Thirty years later now my father is a pastor and I too am a pastor impacting lives for the glory of God. Our children are growing up in godly ways to impact the coming generation. Little did the man who invited my father know the impact he made by calling him for that one meeting. When you search and invite a person to church, it can have a great impact for the Kingdom of God.

Now, the woman searched for the silver coin in the house. There are many who are lost in the house. There are many who come to church as a mere ritual, without knowing the real Christ. We need to search in the house for such people.

Illustration: We have Br. Saurav & Sarju who came to the church for 5 years just to listen to music and have friends. I would say they were lost in the house of God without knowing God. But I thank God because after coming to church for 5 years both of them finally accepted Christ and took water baptism. Now they are in the core leadership of City Harvest AG Church. I thank God for the people who searched for these souls lost in the house.

We need to be constantly searching for souls both outside and inside the church.

Now listen, the shepherd went outside to search for the lost sheep, the woman searched inside the house for the lost coin, but the father of the prodigal son, whose son went far away stayed back at home. What did the father do? The father made home so appealing and warm that the son wanted to come back.

We need to make our church pleasant and welcoming for people to come in. We all need to make the church warm and attractive along with the grace of God for people to feel at home. The people outside should know that our church is a place of love and acceptance, where they can belong to, where there are people who will understand them, reach out to them, and minister to them.

THE REWARD OF SEEKING THE LOST

The reward of a soul winner is a crown

The Bible says God rewards everyone who brings others to Christ with a soul winner’s crown, ie crown of rejoicing. 1 Thessalonians 2:19 19For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Paul is telling about the souls at the Thessalonian church. He is telling they are his hope, joy, crown, and reward. When you get a person to Christ you are rewarded with a crown in eternity.

The reward of a soul winner is rejoicing

When the prodigal son came back home the father said: Luke 15:22-24 22″ ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

When the shepherd found his lost sheep he told his friends and neighbours: Luke 15:7 “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” 7I 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.

When the woman found her coin she called her friends and neighbours and said: Luke 15:10 “’Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

When the lost is found there is joy, celebrations, & rejoicing in the house. When a sinner repents the angels rejoice in the presence of God. There is rejoicing and celebrations in heavens too. When you and I invite someone to church there is rejoicing in heaven. The angels will sing, “Br. _____, Sis, _____ brought a new soul and we are so happy. Let us rejoice. Hosanna in the highest.”

When we get new comers to church the heavens rejoice, the angels rejoice, the church rejoices. There is rejoicing everywhere but only you can make that happen.

Coming back to the parable: The shepherd had a pen where he could bring the lost sheep, the woman had a house where she could rejoice after getting the lost coin, the father had a good house to rejoice when the prodigal son returned home. Likewise you belong to this house of God. This is your family, we are one in Christ. Therefore let us bring souls Sunday after Sunday and rejoice in the presence of God in the house of God.

Amen & God Bless City Harvest to seek the lost!