Updated: Jan 3
We’ve talked a lot about seeds recently! It’s a recurring theme in many of the Parables of Jesus. We’ve established that the Word of God is like a seed that has to get planted in good ground. That ground is our hearts and we need to prepare it and care for it so the seed can grow and bear fruit.
Did you know Jesus is also like a seed. Jesus died , was buried in the ground but then sprung up into new life and continually bears great fruit.
And did you know, you are also a seed? When we lay our lives down and ‘die’ to self, rising up to live for Christ, we will also bear much fruit. Then as you share your faith with others more seeds go out and others get born again and start to bear fruit and on and on it goes. What a glorious process! I bet you all have testimonies of witnessing to someone and seeing their lives transformed to a degree, if not completely! It’s a miraculous thing.
Now, we come to the second major theme in the Kingdom of God. You remember we said there are 3 themes:
The Word of the King
The Heart of the King
The Heart of the King’s loyal subjects
Let’s talk about number 2; the Heart of the King.
Mark 10:42 - But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. Right here, Jesus gives us a powerful clue about the king’s heart. He’s not like the king’s of this world. He doesn't 'lord it over' his people. He doesn't rule with an iron fist or tyranny, like so many kings of this world have.
Today, we want to talk to you about 3 parables; the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. These stories reveal 5 truths to us;
The King treasures us.
The King pursues us.
The King rejoices over us.
The King has restored us.
The King is not angry.
The first parable is about a lost sheep. Luke 15:1-7; Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners, and eats with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
The ‘sinners’ of the day are drawn to Jesus. Remember the tax collectors of Jesus’ day were absolutely hated. The religious leaders ‘murmured’ and Jesus talks directly to them about this with this parable of the Lost Sheep.
Jesus is correcting the religious leaders attitude toward sinners. Religion says ‘if you stray from God, you’re on your own’. God is holy. He doesn’t sin. But He loves sinners and wants to be close to them, drawing them to Himself. Jesus said that God is willing to leave the 99 other sheep and search until he finds the one lost sheep.
We need to put ourselves in the position of the lost sheep here. The shepherd is coming after you! Why would he do that? He treasures you. John 10:14-15 tells us that the good shepherd loves us all. But each individual as well. It’s not about the crowd, it’s about each and every single sheep.
We see God pursuing his lost sheep. Jesus says the shepherd seeks the lost lamb until he finds it. Until he finds it! God never gives up on us. If you feel like you’ve screwed up one too many times, you need to hear this. God never quits pursuing us.
We need to pursue God, absolutely. But the only reason you want to is because the Holy Spirit is drawing you to Him. If we struggling to find God, it’s not because He’s hiding from us! But the problem is, we spend too much time focused on this natural world and not on the things of God. But the more we focus on Him, His love for us and His kingdom, the more sensitive our spiritual senses will be and the closer God will seem. But He never went away!
The shepherd is seeking us. Even if you’re born again, God is still seeking you because there’s more to be done in your life and God has more, always!
God rejoices over us. The parable shows us the shepherd picking up the sheep and laying it on his shoulders. Why? Because it’s been lost. It’s tired and the last thing it needs is a long walk home. And, he throws a party to celebrate finding his lost sheep and bringing it back into the fold.
Zeph. 3:17 - The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. God is excited about you! Can you imagine God dancing and singing? It’s true! Isaiah 62:5 - For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
We need to get rid of this religious thinking that God is angry with us. He is not angry. The sheep didn’t have to beg and plead for the shepherd to take him home. And, the shepherd didn’t rebuke the sheep! He didn’t lecture him and say, ‘you sorry thing, why I oughta…’. No, the image is of tenderness, compassion, love and kindness, support and a warm welcome. Wow! That’s a different kind of picture to the one so many of us have heard from religion isn’t it.
Remember that today church and be blessed. After Christmas, we will look at the Parable of the Two Brothers (aka The Prodigal Son). It’s going to be a blessing so don’t forget to check your inbox! If you haven’t subscribed to our mailing list and you’re reading this on our website, do subscribe so we can send you just the one email per week with a link, a taster of the blog and a 1-minute video to go with it of Pastor Richard’s teaching for that week.
We hope this has been a blessing. See you next week!