Monday, September 30, 2013

Sermon Sept. 14-15, 2013

Title: Jesus came for sinners and He has found you!
Text Luke 15:1-10

5 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

When the Squalus crew realized they had taken their last dive and that they were lying helpless at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean 240 feet below the surface, they sent up smoke flares and a buoy. Would one of the sister ships find them, and if so could they be rescued? Their help must come from above, and in agonizing silence they waited.

Within an hour after that fatal dive the submarine Sculpin set out in search. In a few hours the red smudge was found, then the buoy. But 24 hours passed before actual rescue work could be started. A giant 10-ton diving bell dipped and rose again and again, each time taking several men alive from those awful depths, until all 33 men who were alive in the submarine had been rescued.

When that huge diving bell came for the Squalus crew not one sailor refused to be rescued, but all gladly accepted the way to safety. Will you not today accept God's way of salvation for you?

—Good News Tract.

Jesus came for sinners and joy in the good news that He has found you!

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
The charge against Jesus has always been harsh. “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” How might that reflect on you and me and those with whom we associate? Are you accused of being like those with whom you associate?

Interesting, is it not? Jesus came for sinners and that very fact has the Pharisees and scribes grumbling.

Years ago in the distant eons of the 1970s I was playing at a club and a young Priest came with a friend of mine to hear us play. As we talked during a break he remarked, “I wonder what my parish would think of me hanging out in a bar and listening to a rock band.” And then he said, “It is probably the place I should be and the place I could do the most good.”

When you think about it … where did Jesus spend most of his time? And who did he spend that time with? For sure He was among the people, but here and in many other places in scripture He was with the Pharisees, rulers, scribes and the Jewish leaders teaching … and rebuking … and calling.

What does that say about sinners? They’re everywhere; in the church and out of the church. Those who are piously leading religious lives … or so the impression seems and those who are far away from God … at a bar … hanging out … or so the impression seems.

For Jesus and in His day the perceptions were the same. Some who seemed religious were not and those who were seen as sinners, as in the stories of tax collectors and adulterers, were those God called to faith and used as witnesses to the working of God, through the word, in their lives by His Spirit.

The joy is that there was a purpose for Christ’s coming and that is that:
Jesus came for sinners and He has found you!

3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?

She was a young woman. She loved her husband. He died. She was lonely and distraught. She hired an airplane and placed in the fuel tank enough gasoline to take her far into the air and to sea. When the gas was consumed she would plunge into the sea and that would end her sad and lonely life. No one could trace her or find her. This must not be called suicide—this she insisted. It was just her way out; it was her exit. The newspapers and columnists com-mented on this tragic flight into what they called the "unknown." But there is no "unknown" to God, to whom all things are known (Psa. 139:7-12) Her body is in the sea, but this does not mean extinction, for the sea will give up its dead (Rev. 20:13). This woman who flew to the sea by way of the air did not find her husband.

—The Wonderful Word.

On the other hand, Jesus came for you, the one lost sheep just as each one of us are lost at birth. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those that were lost.” (Luke 19:10) What the sinners need is Jesus Christ and His Word and Spirit in their lives; all else is hopeless.

Jesus came for sinners and He has found you!

5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

The place of strength … the high Priest’s shoulders is where the sheep is carried. In the Old Testament there is example of the making of the Ephod, which was an article of clothing worn by the High Priest of Israel:

6 “And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and of fine twined linen, skillfully worked. 7 It shall have two shoulder pieces attached to its two edges, so that it may be joined together …

 9 You shall take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, 10 six of their names on the one stone, and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth …

12 And you shall set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, as stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel. And Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders for remembrance.  (Ex. 28:6-7, 9-10,12)

Jesus carries the lost sheep that have been found upon his shoulders we find as the parable continues.

6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The joy of the Good Shepherd is you!

Jesus came for sinners and He came for you!

The joy for sinners is that you are not so lost that Jesus can’t find you. As He says in the parable of the lost coin:

8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, Greek - ten drachmas; a drachma was a Greek coin approximately equal in value to a Roman denarius, worth about a day's wage for a laborer if she loses one coin, the lost sheep or you does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? Jesus Christ by the working of His Holt Spirit will continue to seek you. 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’

It is a joy to find what was important that was lost because as has been said:

Objects are lost because people look where they are not instead of where they are.  Or, as might be said:
People are lost because we preach the gospel where they are not instead of where they are. 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Jesus rejoices over sinners and He rejoices over you!

So just as our lesson began today:

5 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Joy in the good news that Jesus is willing and able to meet sinners – you and me - where we are. He comes to you through the word preached and through the sacraments rightly administered and that is exceedingly good and blessed news. But He also is with you when the gospel of promise is used by you to reach those friends or strangers as a comforting balm for the hurting and sinfulness of this life … that breaks us and others … saying that the only way out is death and despair. The comfort of the gospel is there too because Jesus is the Gospel. He is the Good News. He is the comfort, and He is the Peace.

He will find the lost because He will never stop seeking you and those who need to hear this blessed joy that:
 Christ came for sinners, and you dear friends … are found!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


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