Luke 15 contains 3 parables:

1. The Parable of the Lost Sheep
2. The Parable of the Lost Coin
3. The Parable of the Lost Son (also called The Prodigal son)

In Luke 15, Jesus gives three parables that all teach the value of a Man's Soul and the Persistence of the soul Winner.

The back ground:

A number of times during Jesus' earthly ministry the Scribes & Pharisees expressed their extreme disapproval of Jesus' habit of spending time with the down and out people of Society, those that the Scribes and Pharisees would call sinners.

Jesus pursued the tax collectors, the drunkards, the prostitute and all those that self-righteous people would never think of spending time with. If that wasn't BAD Enough, Jesus Made it Clear, that these were just the type of People He looked for. He invited this type of person to spend time with Him.

Mark 2:17, When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

Let's begin to unfold these 3 parables in Luke 15:

v.1,"Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2, And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying..."

What's the First thing you notice about these two groups of People?

We'll call them the:

1. Self-Righteous (sinners) and

2. Sinners (those who saw their sinfulness before a Holy God)

Sinners Drew Near to Hear the Lord because they understood their NEED. Notice "drew near to HIM." They knew who could heal them spiritually.

Now notice how the Pharisees and the Scribes conducted themselves around Jesus. They complained! People that complain often don't complain about themselves, but about others. Others are not right, others are not doing good works, others are not as good as the self-righteous.

Let's look at the complaint of the Scribes and Pharisees:

Luke 15:4... "This Man receives sinners and eats with them."

Jesus involved Himself in a most intimate way with sinners, those that needed Him. He asked them to spend time with Him and He even had meals with them. The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus' day would never think of sitting down with or eating with the unrighteous. The problem was that the Scribes and the Pharisees had become their own standard for determining who was righteous. Jesus will teach these men in these parables that there are many spiritual truths that these religious leaders did not understand and were not practicing.

Question: Does the OT teach that men should keep from sinners? Yes!

Ps. 1:1, Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

Question: Doesn't the OT also teach that the Righteous "believers" should reach out to the lost sinners?

Ps. 51:12, Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. 14 , Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

Ps. 25:7, Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O LORD. 8, Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. 9, The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way.

The Scribes & Pharisees that boasted in their understanding of Scripture, failed to know and practice the truths of Ps. 25:7-9.

Back to Luke 15: v. 3

v. 3, "So He spoke this parable to them, saying." Here we begin the first of 3 parables. Now, I've never lost any sheep, but I have lost a couple of Goats in the past. *illustrate lost sheep, what they do, how they act...

v. 4, "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?"

The 99 sheep back in the wilderness are NOT lost, (so they think). They have NO need of someone to come looking for them... (so they think). They're not in danger (so they think). At the end of Luke 15, Jesus makes it clear that the Scribes and the Pharisees are always represented by the thing that is not lost.

One of the 99 sheep is lost! Why would the shepherd LEAVE the 99 to go and look for JUST one LOST (sheep)? What does this tell us about the ONE "Lost"? What does this tell us about the Shepherd? It's the Lost He's concerned about.

How difficult would it be to find a lone sheep in the wilderness of Palestine? There would be urgency on the part of the Shepherd, because of Wolves and Thieves that could harm or kill the sheep.

Next we see the Persistence on the part of the Shepherd.... v. 5, "And when he has found it" Implies the shepherd did not stop UNTIL He found the lost sheep. * Expand on the persistence of the Soul winner throughout these lessons.

Now we see the Rejoicing on the part of the Shepherd ...v. 5, "he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6, And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!"

Notice the Care and Tenderness of the Shepherd, He "lays the sheep on his shoulders." The Scribes and Pharisees lacked tenderness, but that's the way of the self-righteous, SELF is the consuming element in their lives. Many can be religious and yet not be godly, because to be godly, as Christ most certainly was, is to give of yourself to and for others.

Next the Shepherd "Call friends" Rejoicing because the sheep has been found. Notice "my sheep". In each parable in Luke 15, Jesus emphasizes the Seeker's ownership of that which was lost and then restored.

Now in v. 7, Jesus applies the Parable.

7, "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."

Looking to the end of v. 7, Jesus is not saying that the Scribes & Pharisees don't need to repent or that they are Truly "just." The Problem of the Self-righteous... they don't see there Lost condition. Therefore they don't seek to be found by the Shepherd, carried by the Shepherd or cared for by the Shepherd. The Scribes and Pharisees are spiritually independent and self-righteous. Therefore they remain lost even though they believe in their own hearts that they are their own guides and are in no danger before a Holy God.

Notice who does the restoring of the Lost, who does the pursuing of the lost, who does the most rejoicing. It's the Lord Jesus represented by the Shepherd.

This parable teaches us the following truths:

1. The value of a Lost Soul

2. The Persistence and Diligence of the Soul Winner

3. The Caring heart of the soul winner

seeking out the lost

carrying the lost

The greatest Moment in a Christians life after salvation is the time of rejoicing over the salvation of one you've led to the Chief Shepherd.

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