Sermon Titled “The Greatest Of All Tragedies” (Luke 15:4-24) – by guest speaker Pastor Ron Beams – Sunday 26th April, 2015
As followers of Christ, we are called to live a life worthy of His name – a life of truth, love, and grace, that’s marked by our words and actions. Together, we are His church, and hopefully a light to the rest of the world.
This week’s post may seem a little grim at first, but if you’ll read all the way through you’ll see that even though there are some harsh realities concerning end-time revelations, it is not God’s desire to see any perish.
Based on Luke 15:4-24, last weekend’s sermon touched on the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. As you can see, the common theme among all three of these parables is that something or someone is lost, and it’s on that note that Pastor Beams delivered his sermon.
1. What does being “lost” mean to Christ?
First of all, the word “lost” typically equates to some sort of tragedy. When we hear news reports for example, of a missing plane, or child, or of hundreds of lost men, women and children, as in the aftermath of a natural disaster, our hearts immediately skip a beat as we fear for their safety. These types of situations elicit strong emotional feelings, especially in those who are directly affected, and yet none of these are as tragic as that of a lost soul.
The Bible tells us that there is great rejoicing in Heaven every time a sinner repents. In Mark 8:36, Christ was preaching to a large crowd, including His disciples, when He said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Christ wanted them, and us, to know that nothing in this world is worth pursuing if it does not include Him. Anything that causes us to live apart from Him will result in eternal separation, and that grieves Christ so much so that He rejoices over the salvation of every single repentant sinner.
2. Who, exactly, is “lost?”
The Bible says quite clearly that there is no condemnation for those who believe. It also says with equal clarity that anyone who does not believe, stands condemned (John 3:18). To think that we will all receive a free pass into Heaven, simply because God created us and we are therefore saved by default, is demonstrating a grave lack of biblical knowledge. It’s true that God created us, but the original sin in the Garden of Eden compromised our relationship with Him. There is only one possible way to be reconciled with God – that is, no longer lost – and that is through His son Jesus Christ (John 14:6
3. What does it mean to be “lost?”
There’s no point in trying to soften the blow here; Christ says in John 8:42-47 that unbelievers (those who are lost) belong to Satan, the devil. Paul preached that the lost are easily led astray, because without God’s Spirit to direct their thoughts and actions, Satan gains easy access and power to manipulate and deceive (Eph. 2:2). A day is coming however, when God’s righteousness will eventually be revealed, and on that day His wrath will be unleashed upon all those with unrepentant hearts (Romans 2:5).
4. How does God feel about the “lost?”
Some would say that God is a harsh and angry God. But I think it’s fair to also say that among those who think this way are many who have never read God’s Word or taken the time to really know Him. One just needs to look at Jesus (through the eyes of scriptural truths), to see the heart of God. And God’s heart, as you will see, is one full of compassion and mercy. God does not hate sinners, nor does He harbor anger towards them; on the contrary He hates sin, and His anger is towards Satan, because He knows that Satan’s sole purpose is to destroy lives.
5. How do people get “lost?”
The parables that Jesus told in Luke 15:4-24 help us to answer this question:
- First, there is the lost sheep – it’s not unusual for a sheep to get distracted and wander off from it’s flock; it doesn’t do it intentionally but the lure of something that captures it’s attention causes it to stray. People are also prone to getting unintentionally lost; the distractions of day-to-day life keep them from making a conscious decision to seek God.
- Second, there is the lost coin – in the parable of the lost coin, a woman owns a valuable collection of ten silver coins, one of which she loses. Maybe it slipped through her fingers without her realizing it, and before she knew it, it was missing. People can get lost in this way too; a child for example, might slip through the hands of her parents because family values were focused more on non-spiritual matters. Others might be lost because they slipped through the hands of a Christian friend or neighbor who didn’t have time for them. It’s up to those of us who are already saved, to be alert and not miss opportunities to share the gospel.
- Finally, there is the lost son – the lost son represents all those who are lost by choice. There are lost sons and daughters everywhere, men and women who are unwilling to follow Christ because they are resistant to authority and motivated by temporal rather than eternal rewards. Repentance is not an option for them, until they realize that where they are going fails to spiritually and emotionally sustain them.
6. After all this, is there any good news? How does a person get “un”lost?
Yes! The good news is that repentance and salvation is available for all. Note however that the lost cannot save themselves. The lost sheep for example, could only bleat and cry out to it’s shepherd, hopeful that the shepherd would hear him and rush to his rescue. That’s how it is for the lost too. Christ is out there, always searching, and always ready to rush to the cries of those calling out to Him. He will hear you when you call, and when He comes to you He will carry you to God the Father – if you will let Him.