Valuable in Christ’s Eyes1
I had the privilege last week of leading our Wednesday night discussion of Brian Sorgenfrei’s sermon Investigating Jesus’ Pursuit (Jesus’ attitude towards the lost). The sermon was based on the three parables found in Luke 15. For lack of space I will not print the chapter but I encourage you to prayerfully read it.
The three parables actually go together as they are presented to the same audience and emphasize the same thing. The emphasis is on how Christ views the lost and how He reacts to them. As we study the parables, we need to keep three questions in mind: Who are we? Who is God?, and What’s Our Response?
Who Are We? – Jesus uses three very different comparisons to illustrate the lostness of humanity. The first comparison is to a sheep. “A sheep is a stupid animal which loses direction continuously.” We, like sheep, continually lose our direction. In fact, mankind comes into this world, not warm and fuzzy toward God, not neutral towards God, but actually is bent on wandering away from God and don’t want to be found (Isaiah 53:6). The second comparison of man’s lostness is to that of a lost coin (an inanimate object). Just as the coin is incapable of doing anything, so is man incapable of doing anything as it relates to his salvation. Man is helpless to rescue himself…his being found is not a cooperative event with God but is all God’s grace. The third comparison is to two lost sons. We typically think of this parable as relating to just the wayward son but in fact both sons are lost. The younger brother is an example of the heart of sin which is “running away from God”. The older brother is an example of man thinking he can be good enough (moral conformity) to be accepted by God. The sum of these comparisons is this: Mankind by nature turns away from God and is dead and helpless to anything good (Romans 3:10-11).
Who is God? – In all three parables, there are two similarities to the person who has lost something. First of all, none of them, neither the shepherd, the woman, nor the Father are passive. Instead, they search and look for what is lost. C.S. Lewis found beauty in the fact that the reason he was a believer, the reason he was a Christian was not because of this good senses, his searching out of God, but because God searched and found him. It is to be noted that the parables not only show a pursuing God, but a God who finds something extremely valuable. Do not miss what these parables are telling us. Though we are a lot worse, though we are a lot more sinful and rebellious and unlovable than we know…we are also more valuable than we think. These parables are saying YOU are the treasure of God. Our value comes not from what we have done but from WHOSE we are. God seeks and saves that which He finds valuable, that which He delights in.
What’s our Response? – JOY. That which makes the heavens ring out in joy (is not that you finally got your life together, that you finally prayed a prayer, you finally had the perfect week), what brings joy before the angels of God is when a sinner (a lost person) repents and is rescued or a Christian repents again and again. Our response to these parables needs to be an overwhelming evidence of joy in our lives because we are saved by God’s grace and not of our own doing.
I have tried to give you a flavor of Brian’s sermon but there is so much more to it. I encourage you to click here to listen to it in its entirety.
Serving you in Christ,