“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7 NASB
I was recently asked a question while having dinner with another family from Central Christian…”When was the last time you were overwhelmed by God?”.
I realized that I am most overwhelmed by God when I see new life in Christ.
A few weeks ago one of our Junior High students gave her life to Jesus. As many of you know, we celebrate decisions for Christ with a white rose in services.
As we continue to reach our 8-15, the specific people God has placed in our lives, I realized there are going to be many more moments to celebrate new life in Christ.
This week as I was reading Luke 15, three points from the parables of The lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Prodigal Son jumped out at me.
First, in all three we see the diligent pursuit of the Father.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep records that the man who has one hundred sheep will leave the ninety-nine to look for the one sheep who is missing. The man does not search for a while and give up at sunset, but searches and pursues until he finds the one lost sheep.
In a very similar way we see in the Parable of the Lost Coin that the woman who loses one coin “seeks diligently” until it is found.
These first two parables seem to be building to the Prodigal Son, where the value goes up from sheep, to a coin, to an image bearer being pursued.
The Prodigal Son records that while the son was “a long way off”, it was the father who saw him, ran to where he was and brought him back.
That’s grace – it meets us where we are, sometimes a long way off, but it doesn’t leave us there.
Second, we see in each of these parables the importance of repentance. Jesus’ audience for these parables were the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus is clear that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
The Pharisees thought by following God’s law they were to be revered and celebrated.
The truth is, the law exposes our need for grace and a Savior.
Again it seems the first two are building to the parable of the Prodigal Son where we get a picture of the repentant sinner.
“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” Luke 15:21 NASB
Third, I want you to see that in each of these parables that when the lost is found, when the dead are made alive, there is reason to rejoice.
The lost sheep is rejoiced over when it is found, the coin is rejoiced over being found, how much more should we rejoice when an image bearer is found?
My question for all of you this week is, when you see that white rose on the stage, and new life in Christ, does it stop you where you are and cause you to rejoice?
There is so much to celebrate, the relentless pursuit of the Father, the turning away from sin, and the new life in Christ.