March 28, 2022

NO quit

NO quit

The Pharisees and scribes complain about the type of people who are drawn and welcomed by Jesus. Jesus responds by sharing three parables. #lost #found #gburgnaz #nazarene #lent #lent2022 #theNOshow #sermon #greensburgky

Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
31 Bluebird Lane, Greensburg, KY 42743


**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**




Four weeks into Lent, reflecting on the life of Jesus on our way to the Cross and the Resurrection. Those who fast during this time are not doing it to put in a show, but to give up something that costs them. They do this remembering what salvation cost Jesus.


This week we are looking at a lengthy passage, one that contains a very famous parable. However, it is the last parable in a trilogy. These stories are told by Jesus in response to a portion of his audience.


READING THE TEXT: Luke 15:1-32


1 All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man among you, who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, 6 and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ 7 I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance. 8 Or what woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost!’ 10 I tell you, in the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.” 11 He also said: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets to them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. 14 After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. 15 Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers. 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate. 25 Now his older son was in the field; as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he summoned one of the servants, questioning what these things meant. 27 ‘Your brother is here,’ he told him, ‘and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 Then he became angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 But he replied to his father, ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a goat so that I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ 31 ‘Son,’ he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (CSB)


This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.




*** Key verse ***


After reading the whole passage, it is important to note that all three parables Jesus shared are in response to the interaction recorded in verses 1 and 2. While all three parables share a common theme, they do contain different elements that are Jesus’s response to the Pharisees and scribes. Normally, I would want to take our time through each, however, I do not want you to become the lost audience in our efforts to understand the parables of lost things. So I will quickly sum up these parables.


** Lost sheep ***


Verses 3 through 7 contain a parable about a shepherd who has a hundred sheep. One gets lost and the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to find the one. The sheep represents a sinner, someone who is so lost that they do not even realize they are supposed to be found. They are tired, alone, hungry, maybe injured, and struggling to survive not realizing there is a better way.


Searching for this sinner is the shepherd who is God. Jesus reveals God’s heart in this parable. God is the One seeking the sinner, which is a good thing because the sinner does not even know he is lost. He does not quit searching until the sinner is found. When God finds this sinner, He joyfully brings them into His family. This is an event celebrated not only by God, but all of heaven.


*** Lost coin ***


Verses 8 through 10 is a much shorter parable. Rather than a shepherd who is looking for a lost sheep, a woman has lost one of her ten coins. She still has nine coins, but the one missing coin adds value to the collection.


The coin represents a sinner, a person who is valuable. This woman works hard to find the coin, and when she does it is a moment to celebrate. She calls over her friends to celebrate the occasion. Again, this is an event not only celebrated by God, but all of heaven. The theme is obvious, God does not quit searching for sinners and a sinner recovered is an event worthy of celebration.


*** Lost son ***


Verses 11 through 24 shares a story about a son who decides he is done with dad’s house and dad’s rules. He asks for his inheritance, runs off to distant city and lives a party lifestyle. His money runs out and his friends run off. This son takes a job taking care of pigs (a degrading job for a Jew), not even making enough to survive.


It is clear the son represents a sinner. This son was not lost, he had lost his sense of truth in his pursuit of self-indulgence. Alone and starving, he remembered his father. The same one who loved him enough to give him what he wanted, and decided to return home. When a sinner makes this decision, we call it repentance, a change of mind and a change of direction.


The son works out his speech, but when the father sees him he runs out to meet the son. He had already forgiven the son and restores him as his son. God offers forgiveness to sinners and is eager for them to return to Him. That is God’s heart and why He does not quit on people.



*** What do the key verses say to us? ***


These three parables, with this theme revealing God’s heart, were because of the interaction Jesus had with Pharisees and scribes in verses 1 and 2. There was something about Jesus that made the outcasts comfortable with approaching Him. Verse 2 says, “This man welcomes sinners.” Jesus wanted these outcasts in His presence, which is why they were drawn to Him.


And this was the dilemma for the Pharisees and scribes. These outcasts were people they looked down on. Tax collectors betrayed their own people and worked for Rome. Sinners were those who ignored Moses and all the religious rituals. They believed that Jesus keeping company with these folks meant He accepted their lifestyle and was one of them.


This attitude is what Jesus was addressing in all three parables. The lost sheep and coin show us God’s heart and the importance of rejoicing over the lost being found. However, the lost son parable ends with Jesus calling out the Pharisees and scribes.


Verses 25 through 32 shares about an older brother who received his inheritance too. Only the older brother stays home and serves the father. When the younger brother returns, the older brother gets angry about how the father reacts. He is so angry that he refuses to call the him brother. The older brother could not see that the father loving and celebrating the return of his lost son did not diminish the love the father had for him.


*** How does this apply to my life? ***


There are two takeaways from this passage. First, Jesus wants us in His presence. No matter what we have done or how many chances we have had before, Jesus wants us sinners in His presence. It does not matter what His followers say, Jesus looks at us and says, “come to me.” Like the younger son, repentance is us deciding to confess our sinfulness and turn toward Him. And all it takes is one step, God is eager to do the rest.


Second, Jesus wants us to celebrate brothers and sisters coming home. The Pharisees and scribes were too small minded to consider the outcasts as part of God’s family with them. They had done all the right things, believed they deserved God’s attention and blessing. However, the sinners were beneath them and by their own behavior deserved no place at the table with them. But, “one cannot be a son without also being brother.” (R. Alan Culpepper) Meaning, to say someone else cannot receive God’s mercy is to disqualify ourselves. To quit on someone else is never something God would do, we should not either. Our hearts should long for the celebration when they return home.




God has not and will not quit on you. We cannot quit on anyone.