Friday, July 22, 2011

We Need to Be Found (2 of 2)

First, you must read part 1...this is the second part of two posts. (Click here)

Picking up where we left off, there at least 2 other points I want to make from these parables.

2) We need the shepherd, and we need the flock.

When we wander off, we are lost to ourselves, lost to the flock, and lost to God. The shepherd can leave the 99 by themselves because they have safety in numbers; and yet the 1 who has wandered off is in grave danger. Isolation is never good. I believe it's one of Satan's tricks. I worry about some of my fellow believers who, disillusioned by something in the local church have wandered off to do their own thing. They may not know it, but they are in danger...they've been isolated from the flock. No, the local church is not perfect, (far from it...I mean, we are all sheep), but it's the way God set it up. In the flock we learn to love each other through our imperfections. This was God's plan from the beginning...to live in community with each other and to build His church.

3) There is a party when we are found. 

Check this out...it's amazing! The partying is being done by the shepherd/woman in the parables. They're the ones who found the sheep/coin, they're the ones who can't contain their joy, they're the ones who invite their neighbors and friends to join them, and they're the ones rejoicing. Look at verse 10 again; who's doing the celebrating? The angels are present, but it's almost like they're watching the party. It's God, Jesus, who is celebrating in the presence of the angels. Don't miss this - the essence of this passage is that the shepherd's joy is so great, he cannot celebrate alone, but must gather with his friends.

Second, the party is triggered by repentance. We commonly assume this means repentance unto salvation, but again, that's not what the text says. Whenever anyone repents; that means you and I, Christian, there is joy in the Father's heart. Want to start a party in heaven? Confess your sin to God and repent of it, and you will trigger a party. The word repent has an "ongoing" essence to it. Repentance is not something you do once...it's something we do constantly. It's both a change of mind, and change of action. The bottom line is that God is over-joyed when we repent. One commentator put it this way; "there is nothing here of a reluctant shepherd scolding the sheep..." - only joy. Pure joy.

These parables show us the amazing heart and compassion of our Father. His love is vast and He will stop at nothing to find one of His lost sheep. Have you been found? Are you wandering off?

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