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Luke 15:3-7 THE SHEPHERD SEEKING HIS SHEEP

Intro: Dozens of times in the Bible, the people of God are referred to as sheep. A few of the more notable passages that come to mind are the 23rd Psalm, Isa. 53:6 and John 10. There are a couple of good reasons why we are called sheep in the Bible and one of them is because of the nature of the sheep. By nature, sheep have 3 strikes against them.

1. Sheep are Dumb - In other words, they are not the smartest animals in the world. As a result, they are constantly getting into terrible situations. People are the same way! People who are away from the Lord live lives that are often just plain dumb, Jer. 5:4! Unfortunately, even after a person is saved, there is still a definite lack of understanding among most of the Lord's sheep.

2. Sheep are Directionless - If a sheep wanders off from the rest of the herd, it will have a hard, if not impossible time, finding its way back. They have no sense of direction. So it is with those outside the Lord, there is simply no sense of spiritual direction in their lives. They cannot find their way to the Lord by themselves.

3. Sheep are Defenseless - Lions have teeth and claws, bears have

the same. Snakes have fangs, even the fowls of the air have some type of defensive mechanism. Not so with sheep. They have absolutely no means of protecting themselves from danger. If they are attacked, they are simply helpless! Again, people are the same way. There is no way that anyone can protect himself/herself against the attacks of the evil one. We need someone else to protect us.

By their very nature, sheep need a shepherd and I suppose this is another reason why the figure of sheep is used to describe the people of God. Because in the person of the shepherd, we see many characteristics that speak of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, it becomes clear that this idea of the shepherd and his sheep is a good way to describe the relationship between the Lord and His people.

In this passage, we are given a picture of a shepherd who has lost a sheep. He does everything in his power to find it and when he does, he returns home with it rejoicing in that he has recovered that sheep that was missing. In these verses, there is a clear and wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus. I would like for us to see this picture as we think together about the thought of The Shepherd Seeking His Sheep.

I. THE SHEPHERD'S SORROW

A. A Personal Possession - This sheep belonged to the shepherd, he had paid a personal price to own it and wasn't going to stand idly by while it was lost. (Ill. The price Jesus paid for the sheep - Ill. Calvary - 1 Cor. 6:19-20)

B. A Prized Possession - This sheep may have been no different from any other ordinary sheep, but it was special to the shepherd. To him, it was a prized possession. (Ill. All are special to the Lord! He died for the individual! He died for you. Had you been the only one who would have responded in faith in Christ, Jesus would still have gone to Calvary just for you!)

C. A Precious Possession - To this shepherd, there were no big sheep and little sheep. Every sheep he had was precious in his eyes. So it is with the Lord. He loves all His sheep equally. All are precious in His sight. You and I can never begin to understand the value of the human soul. You and I are so precious to the Lord that He willingly gave up His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. We are precious in His sight.

I. The Shepherd's Sorrow

II. THE SHEPHERD'S SEARCH

A. His Motive - Not in anger to punish, but in love to rescue. The shepherd doesn't go after the sheep in an effort to punish it for going astray. His motive is to find the sheep and restore it to its proper place in the fold. So it is with the Lord. He doesn't go after the lost ones so that He can punish them for their sins. He pursues them in order that He might prove His love for them and that they might be restored to a right relationship with the Lord. His motive is to deliver them from punishment not inflict punishment upon them.

B. His Method

1. He Initiates The Search - The sheep is powerless to find its way back to the flock or to the shepherd. If the shepherd waited on the sheep to return of its own accord, then it would die in the wilderness. Instead of waiting, the shepherd goes after the sheep. He is the One who begins the process. (Ill. It is the same in salvation! The lost ones do not make the first moves toward God. They cannot, because they are dead, Eph. 2:1. It is the Good Shepherd who makes the first move toward the sinner, John 6:44. In fact, no one can ever be saved unless they are first approached by the Lord. He comes looking for us, it is never the other way around!) (Ill. He finds us, not we Him.)

2. He Intensifies The Search - This verse says that the shepherd searches until he finds the sheep. He doesn't give up after just a few minutes or hours of searching, but he stays on the job until the sheep has been recovered. So it is with the Lord. H never gives up on the lost sheep. He keeps calling and knocking and waiting, hoping that they will come to Him before it is too late. (Ill. I am thankful and grateful that the Lord didn't give up on me! I am glad that He kept knocking and kept calling until I answered - Rev. 3:20 I shouldn't be surprised though, after all, that is His business - Luke 19:10)

I. The Shepherd's Sorrow

II. The Shepherd's Search

III. THE SHEPHERD'S SUCCESS

A. He Locates The Sheep - He finds the sheep. (Ill God already knows where every lost sheep is. He doesn't have to seek, He knows where you are right now!)

B. He Lays Hands On The Sheep - The shepherd reaches out to the sheep in its need. He doesn't turn away from it and leave it to languish in it dangerous place. He loving lays his hands upon it bringing comfort and hope to the wayward sheep. (Ill. When the Lord comes to a lost sheep, He too lays His hands upon it. He reaches right into the midst of the mess we find ourselves in and by doing so shows us that there is hope and that there is a God in Heaven who loves us. Thank God that He doesn't condemn us when He comes alongside us. I am grateful that He comes to us in grace and mercy offering hope, forgiveness and a new beginning to everyone who will place their faith in the shed blood of Christ.

C. He Lifts The Sheep - This shepherd doesn't stop with a mere touch. He reaches down and lifts the sheep out of the place where he finds it. He removes it from the place of danger. (Ill. The Good Shepherd does the same for those He finds wandering the dark hills of sin. He comes alongside them, reaches out to them and when they respond to His touch, He lifts them out of their sin and removes them from the danger they were in. Thank God, when Jesus comes into a heart and life, He delivers us from all danger, Rom. 5:9.)

D. He Lugs The Sheep Home - the Bible says that this shepherd lifts the sheep and lays it upon his shoulders. I can picture him taking the front feet in one hand and the hind feet in another. This way, the sheep is draped around the neck of the shepherd and is absolutely safe and secure! Next, the Bible teaches us that the shepherd carries the sheep home. Notice that the sheep is not required to get there under its own power, but it goes there under the power of the shepherd. (Ill. This is a picture of our salvation. When Jesus comes to where we are and finds us in our sins, He places us securely in Himself and carries us home - Col. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5; John 10:28. None of us are going to Heaven in our own power, but if we go, we will go through Jesus and Him alone! (Ill. Salvation isn't like a bicycle!)

I. The Shepherd's Sorrow

II. The Shepherd's Search

III. The Shepherd's Success

IV. THE SHEPHERD'S SATISFACTION

A. There Is Rejoicing - When the shepherd returns home, he calls all the neighbors together and they all rejoice in the fact that the shepherd has had his sheep restored to the fold. (Again, this is a picture of what happens when a lost sheep comes into the fold of the Lord. According to verse 10 of this chapter, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels. Apparently, God the Father gets excited when a lost sheep is rescued. There is rejoicing in Heaven an there ought to be rejoicing in the earth. If there was ever anything to get excited over it is the redemption of souls - Luke 10:20.)

B. There Is A Reason - The Sheep has been saved from:

1. Disuse - As long as it was lost, it was of no benefit to the shepherd. (Ill. The Lord cannot use a wayward life. He demands holy vessels.)

2. Danger - Unless the shepherd had intervened this sheep would have remained in serious danger. It could never have defended itself or rescued itself. (Ill. As long as men are apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, they are in serious danger. Hell and judgment are out there in front of them and they need desperately to be delivered. Only the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ saved from the penalty of sin.)

3. Death - If the shepherd had not come looking for the sheep, it would have most certainly died out there in the wilderness. But now, it lives all because the shepherd came looking to save a wayward sheep. (Ill. The Bible tells us that "the wages of sin is death." Rom. 6:23. Without the intervention of the Good Shepherd the lost sinner has no hope and will eventually wind up in Hell. We need to understand very clearly that there is only one means of salvation for all men and that is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Any other religion, any other method, any other system of belief, no mater how good, is doomed to fail. Only Jesus saves the human soul - Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Acts 16:31; John 3:16.)

Conc: Where are you tonight? Are you in the fold, saved secure in the Lord Jesus? Or, are you wandering about in the wilderness of sin in danger of death and damnation and apart from the Lord? Where are you? If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior, then I would like to invite you to come to Him tonight. After all, He is seeking for you and He will save you if you will simply ask Him to. Salvation is so simple. Do not let the devil, or some religion take you to Hell because you refused to ask Jesus into you heart and life. If you need the Lord, now is the time to come to Him. Will you do what you need to do tonight?

Sermon By Alan Carr

 



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