Nov 22, 2009                               "Finding the Lost Passion for Lost People!"  To listen to this Great Message Click "Here"

Sun Am Worship                                 

Text: Luke 15:1 - 32 (King James Version) THEME: Fireproof your Future -!

Subject:  Equipping the Church for the Harvest"

"Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."


Luke 15:1   Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

Luke 15:2   And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

Luke 15:3   And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

Luke 15:4   What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

Luke 15:5   And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

Luke 15:6   And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

Luke 15:7   I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 15:8   Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

Luke 15:9   And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

Luke 15:10   Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Luke 15:11   And he said, A certain man had two sons:

Luke 15:12   And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.

Luke 15:13   And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

Luke 15:14   And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.

Luke 15:15   And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

Luke 15:16   And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

Luke 15:17   And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

Luke 15:18   I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

Luke 15:19   And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Luke 15:20   And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

Luke 15:21   And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

Luke 15:22   But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

Luke 15:23   And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24   For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Luke 15:25   Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.

Luke 15:26   And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

Luke 15:27   And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

Luke 15:28   And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him.

Luke 15:29   And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

Luke 15:30   But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

Luke 15:31   And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

Luke 15:32   It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

 God is in the relentless pursuit of finding lost people.

INTRODUCTION

It was Dec 7 1988. Armenia. They called it the earthquake of 1989

This quake was off the rector scales. Altogether 30,000 people died in 4 minutes. Established businesses lay demolished, Dream homes into splinters of wood. Green parks blanketed in white rubble.

The father of a 10 year old little boy named Armond could not drive to his son's school. All the Streets were closed.

Armand's father finally gets to the school, breaks through the crowd. Climbs upon a rock pile of rubble---


THIS IS A SEGMENTED ILLUSTRATION DESIGNED TO KEEP AUDIENCE IN SUSPENSE.. IT WAS SUPPOSE TO BE ABRUPTLY STOPPED. IT KEEPS THEM HANGING TELL YOU TELL THME MORE LATER)

Have you ever felt like you have blown an opportunity for God? Have you ever felt like God was using you to find someone who was lost? Lost in the rumble of dead-end dreams and bags of failure?

I can imagine sometimes God looking down from heaven and saying, "Hey Son, go get  (GABRIEL) , (Michael) and all the rejoicing Angels of Heaven and have them take a look at this.

Ive got Darrell or whoever down there on this airplane right next to this guy who says I don't exist. I have been preparing him  and this sinner for this moment for a long time.

He's going to score one for the Kingdom of Heaven… We are about to have another Name written in the Lambs book of Life.. We are about to pull another Sinner out of the Mire and on to the Rock. We are about to have a new creature in My Son.

 Luke 15:7   I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

 

And With all of heaven watching,

Hebrews 12:1   Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

 

I drop the ball, Miss this God Prepared, God Ordained Opportunity and say nothing about one who found me. How about you? Have you ever missed the opportunity to Score for the Kingdom of God?

These Opportunities may never be reclaimed. This man may have gone off and committed suicide or have been killed in a car crash or Died an untimely death and the results are We missed a God Given opportunity to make a difference.

 

 Daniel 12:2   And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Daniel 12:3   And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

 

What are some opportunities
Well -When you are on a long flight and the person next to you starts to talk about our world's problems?
-When a friend asks you what you are doing Saturday night?
-When a co-worker shares a crisis in there life?
-When a family member talks about how you have changed since you started getting all Churchy or religious?

Do you ever miss an opportunity for God?

The religious leaders of Jesus' time did. They had people gathering all around, hungry for the heart of God and all they could see were worthless, lost, outcasts.
Beginning in Luke 15:1 the Bible says…

15:1 Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."
3 Then Jesus told them this parable…

There were people who were ripping off there own people, adulterers, drunkards, maybe even homosexuals and the people were supposed to represent God were disgusted by them.

But Jesus was different. Jesus wanted to communicate that God was in a relentless pursuit of lost people, so He began to tell three consecutive stories about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son.
They are stories that carry hidden truths to expose the heart of God, but also to model for us the way we should live.

The first one picks up in vs. 4 and says…
Read or Retell: Luke 15:1-7

4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

-sheep are not very bright and totally defenseless. They live to fill there stomachs and have to be moved from pasture to pasture to keep from eating the roots system and killing their food supply.

They will wander aimlessly…even into danger. But a good shepherd loves his sheep and will do anything to keep them together and to keep them safe.

What drove Armand's father? Same thing that drives the shepherd to look for his lost sheep

- The 99 are safe in the folds, but the shepherd journeys for the one that is lost…until he finds it.

God loves the lost and …He Seeks with Passion

Can I say rith here that Sharing your faith is not a gift: when people talk about sharing their faith, they use the excuse that it is not my spiritual gift…talking about your relationship with Christ has never been a spiritual gift

-It is a command: "go into all the world and make…" "preach the word, in season and out!"
-It is a blessing: "blessed are the feet of those who bring good news"

If you really want to be passionate about the lost, then…
a) You may have to follow them into some rugged terrain.


- Berry MCMurtie from a church of over 5,000 in California Followed some sheep in some rough terrain. A Porno convention was in town. You could go there and get an autograph from your favorite porno star. Barry the Senior Pastor set up a booth there and called it the XXX church. They handed out material for those who have been broken by pornography. The Man that wrote this article spoke to barry last week and he told him he has had over 1 million hits on the site desgned for that convention out reach.
Wow! over 1 million lost sheep finding a way home off the rugged terrain of sexual sins only to find the good shephard waiting for them on the other end of a click of a mouse.

b) We Must Meet them at their level of spiritual interest.

-but I don't like getting out of my comfort zone…maybe this Jesus thing is bigger than we anticipated It really does not matter what we like of don't like. Maybe God wants us to step outside of ourselves and our comfort zones and reach out to these people on their level.. Sometime this may require ourselves to become vulnerable.

Paul Said

1 Corinthians 9:22   To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.                                1 Corinthians 9:23   And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

 

A Man by the Name of Karl is a youth pastor in St.Louis, Mo told about a place called Mississippi Nights. Downtown St. Lois . that specializes in  anti-god bands.
A Youth group went to this sin-infested place pulled up in a pick-up. Dropped the tailgates and heated up some burritos to pass out to the young kids leaving the crowded concert


. Why? Because they love Jesus. The had a passion for lost sheep


Warmed up Burritos.. whoever would of thought they were God's tool of finding lost people.


Romans 1:16   For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.


(PICK-UP ON SEGMENTED ILLUSTRATION)
Armand of Armenia illustration #2

Armand's Father look s diligently for Armond,  he climbs a tree he scans the skyline. He studies the layout of the rubble of a once thriving school. He tries to locate where his son's class would be.
He stands on the stones of the once classroom He begins to pull rock after rock, desk after desk, looking for his lost son…

(Read or Retell: Luke 15:8-10 Look at verse 8
Back to Luke 15
8 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Dowry: The coin to this poor woman was probably her whole life savings…the point: it wasn't worth much, It does not appear to be that valuable, The world classifies them as Garbage or outcast society… But to the person whos looking. it means the whole world.

What does the old woman and Armand's father and God have in common

 Real Persistence

-It takes resources: what investment are you prepared to make?... -It takes time: what sacrifice are you prepared to make?

Our church decided to give and suport our missionary, Brother Issaac in Kenya Africa, becuase you have all learnd the passion of God for lost people.

-It takes wisdom: what are you willing to say?

a) You may have to open your mouth and give a reason for the hope that you have within you.
b) You may have to do some spadework to uncover interest.

-what is going on in their lives…

Chinese word for danger is made of two characters that represent two other words…danger & opportunity.

-most of us are a lot more willing to listen and learn when our answers are failing us.

Build a relationship with them by modeling authentic faith. They can see right through a Shallow Christian.. Make no Mistake here.


-Mike Breaux senior pastor of Southland Christian Church in Lexington ,KY… Mike ate at a local sport's bar. He became a regular face.
People recognized him from the broadcasting of his 8,200 member church. He began to hear that the bar-tender and every one he ate with watched his sermons.

One guy yelled as Mike was leaving the bar, "Hey Mike! thanks for eating with sinners like us."
To which Mike replied,
"shoot I am the worst"

See Mike met them where they were, willing to sacrifice his reputation to find lost sheep in a bar.

Armand of Armenia illustration #3 Back to Amarnds Father
(10 hours has now passed, but he continued to dig when others told him to give up.. ) 24 hours finally passed and Armand's relentless father will not give up.. would you? Hands cracked, knuckles bleeding… heart racing…

We stop because we do not have much patience with people

Read or Retell: Luke 15:11-32

11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.


13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 "When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20 So he got up and went to his father.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 "The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
22 "But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,' he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
28 "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
31 "‘My son,' the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"

Rebellious son. Angry brother. Forgiving father
One willing to be a slave…the other always feeling like one!

What does Armand's father rend God have in Common?

The Search with Patience
A guy's car was stalled at a green-light. Cars behind him would honk and honk. Out of frustration, the guy walked out of his car, tapped on the window of the person behind him and said," Say, My car will not start, if you would not mind trying to start my car, I will sit back here and honk your horn for you)"

( this gets a good laugh)

See we are not patient with people are we? But God is.

He will not lay on his horn, picket your house or send you forwarded e-mails, but he will let us experience consequence of our own wanderings. And he will let us fall flat on our face until we understand our total dependence on him…watching someone go through this…

-It may hurt you deeply
-It may last longer than you had hoped
-It may have to get worse, before it gets better

a) You may even have to watch them hit rock bottom before they look up
Before you shove your finger in the face of God and accuse him of not caring…take a look at the cross and remind yourself that he has more interest in finding lost people than we do.

b) Trust God and do not doubt His desire to see them saved.
-He sees so much more that we see. And He is not willing that any should perish

Time is very close Church

God will patiently wait.. he will wait for your familiar figure to walk back from the dusty of road of despair and rebellion.


CONCLUSION

Two Messages here that God would have us to see:

Those that are found…Don't ever give up! Be passionate, persistent and patient! The danger of being found is that we might turn into the older brother…be careful!
and

Those that are lost…He'll never give up! He is still looking. Don't give up hope.

Armand of Armenia illustration #4 Armands Father  Now after 38 hours he pulled a rock back and heard his son's voice) They were faint cries of papa , papa, papa ,


His passion for what was lost finally paid…. Papa you found me, you found me!"…
I kwne you would! I knew you would never give up!


He found me.... I was not looking for him He found me! aren't you glad he found you? .. or what about you would you like to be found today?