The Shepherd and the Lost Sheep

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Bible Verses

Luke 15:4 Which man of you, who has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? (5) And when he finds it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. (6) And when he comes into his house, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. (7) I tell you that in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance.

Consider this:

The shepherd going into the wilderness to seek the lost sheep indicates that the Son has come to the world to be with men (John 1:14). Here we see the Savior's saving strength and His saving love.

What is the wilderness into which the Son as the Shepherd came seeking the lost sheep? The wilderness signifies the world. In the sight of God the world is a wilderness, a wild, desolate place where it is easy to get lost. The Son came in the wilderness to seek us, the lost sheep.

Now we need to ask in what way the Son as the Shepherd came to seek us. His way to seek us out is to die for us. In John 10:11 the Lord Jesus says that He is the good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep: "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." The work of the Shepherd is to die for us. If He did not die for us, He would not have a way to seek us out. His way of seeking us is to die for us.

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Rejoicing, Praying, and Giving Thanks

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Bible Verses

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Always rejoice, (17) Unceasingly pray, (18) In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; Let them shout for joy forever; And may You spread a cover over them; And those who love Your name will exult in You.

Consider this:

[1 Thessalonians]  verse 16 says, "Always rejoice." Rejoicing includes calling on the name of the Lord. We simply cannot rejoice in the Lord without uttering His name. Hence, the name of the Lord is implied in Paul's charge to always rejoice. When we rejoice, therefore, we rejoice with the Lord's name. In verse 17 Paul says, "Unceasingly pray." This is to have uninterrupted fellowship with God in our spirit. It requires perseverance with a strong spirit.

In verse 18 Paul continues, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." We should give thanks in everything because all things work together for our good that we may be transformed and conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:28-29). The clause "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" modifies all the three preceding items. God wants us to live a rejoicing, praying, and thanking life. Such a life is a glory to God and a shame to His enemy.

The sequence in verses 16 through 18 is according to Paul's experience. Paul knew that first we rejoice, then pray, and then give thanks. The will of God in Christ Jesus for us is that we rejoice, pray, and give thanks.

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Don't Reject God's Invitation

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Bible Verses

Luke 14:16 And He said to him, A certain man was making a great dinner and invited many; (17) And he sent his slave at the dinner hour to say to those who had been invited, Come, for all things are now ready. (18) And they all with one consent began to make excuses. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of land, and I need to go out and see it. I ask you, have me excused. (19) And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to prove them. I ask you, have me excused. (20) And another said, I have married a wife, and because of this I cannot come. (21) And the slave came up and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and told his slave, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame. (22) And the slave said, Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room. (23) And the master said to the slave, Go out into the roads and hedges and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. (24) For I tell you that none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.

Consider This

In 14:15-24 we have the Lord's teaching about the acceptance of God's invitation. This great dinner is for God's full salvation. God, as the certain man, has prepared His full salvation as a great dinner and sent the first apostles as His slaves to invite the Jews. But because they were occupied by their riches, such as land, cattle, or a wife, they refused His invitation. Then God sent the apostles to invite the street people--the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame. Because of their poverty and misery, they received God's invitation. Yet God's salvation still had room for more; so He sent His slaves to go out further to the Gentile world, as the roads and hedges, to compel the Gentiles to come in and fill up the room of His salvation (Acts 13:46-48; Rom. 11:25).

In this parable the Lord's intention was to let the Pharisees know that God had invited them to His great feast, but they had all asked to be excused. Each one of them denied God's invitation. That made it necessary for God to go to those of the lower class--to the poor, crippled, blind, and lame. After that, because there was still room in God's salvation, God sent His slaves into the Gentile world to gather more people into His feast. Therefore, eventually those who had first been invited by God--the Pharisees, the scribes, and the lawyers--will not be able to enter into the kingdom of God.

This parable is an excellent parable concerning salvation. In order to be saved it is not necessary for us to do anything. We simply need to answer God's invitation. To be saved all we need to do is come and receive what God has prepared for us. As long as we answer His invitation and accept what He has prepared for us, we shall be saved.

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