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THE LOST SHEEP
|When tax collectors as well as many other
sinners, gathered to hear Jesus, the Pharisees and Teachers of The Law
(Scribes) muttered how He welcomed sinners and ate with them. They were
ashamed to be associated with sinners, but Christ was not. Jesus associated
with sinners because His purpose was and is to save the lost. The sinners
who Jesus was with acknowledged He was their Lord and Saviour, unlike the
Pharisees and Scribes.
Wherever Jesus went He found people willing to acknowledge their sin. In contrast to the attitude of the Pharisees and Scribes, who thought they themselves of no ill-repute, therefore they, having no need for repentance. It was taken for granted that the pious Pharisees would not speak or eat with sinners, implying presumptiously, themselves as righteous. However, there is not one person who does not need to repent. They were as lost as the sinners Jesus was with but refused to admit it. Christ rebuked the murmurings of the men and told the Leaders parables to demonstrate God's concern and joy at the repentance of a sinner, one of which was The Lost Sheep.
This parable shows how great is the love of God.
"If a man has a hundred sheep and one wanders away and is lost, what will He do? Won't He leave the ninety-nine others and go out into the hills to search for the lost one? And if he finds it, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine others, safe at home? In the same way there is joy in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner repents". Luke 15:1-7
Although all men belong to God, His chief interest is in the individual person. The lost sheep likened to the sinner. The emphasis is on the joy rather than on the sinner's repentance. Sheep have a habit of getting lost. Sheep stray because of curiosity, which represents the unthinking wanderer from God, it is the backslider, pertaining to being lost from the Kingdom of Heaven, and is also a representative of mankind gone astray.
The lost sheep has departed from God, and is exposed to certain ruin if not brought back to Him. The sheep that was lost, knew it was lost, yet not desirous to return. The ninety-nine sheep represent those safe in The Kingdom who have been justified.
Because of limited faculties the lost sheep cannot find his way back to the rest of the flock. If no one finds the sheep it will stay where it is or wander farther away and starve in the wilderness.
The shepherd is responsible for every sheep, he was obligated that none were lost, or injured. The Good Shepherd, Christ sought His lost sheep as if it had been the only one He possessed. Divine Grace is given to the lost and their repentance, recovery and restoration is the desire of The Godhead. Christ, as The Good Shepherd, a title He claimed for Himself, is earnest in bringing sinners home. God's love is so great for each individual that He seeks each one. He came to seek that which was lost. Jesus takes the initiative in seeking out lost people.
The pleasure is not only the return of the sheep, but also in the rejoicing of its rescue. Jesus seeking the lost sinners pleased God, those who are alienated from God, He died for His lost sheep, for this was the very purpose Jesus came into the world.
The Good Shepherd gave his life for the ungodly, to save those who were lost. The Holy Spirit's work naturally follows the Work of The Good Shepherd, showing Divine Love to seek and save the lost. The Shepherd seeks until he finds the lost who have strayed.
The parable of the lost sheep is very applicable to the great work of man's redemption. Christ left behind the angelic host who had kept their first estate and ceaselessly serve God before His Throne and came to the lost of the world, to shed His blood for them, all in need of repentance, ruined because of doubt and unbelief of God, which happened at the fall of human race.
Christ died under God's judgement against the sin of mankind, so that He could rescue them from sin, to make for Himself a people with cleansed hearts and enthusiasm for doing good to others. He never had to shed His blood for the angels in Heaven, they, having never sinned, had no need of sacrificial work of Christ on the cross. God. now does not condemn nor does He abandon His people, because of The Work of Christ. (SEE TEXT) Nothing can keep God's love from those in His Kingdom.
The repentant sinner is the reward of the seeking shepherd. God rejoices, all the angelic hosts rejoice at the bringing home of lost souls to their Saviour. The Teachers of The Law had failed to have a shepherd's heart for the people. All through the ministry of Jesus on earth to the lost sheep, they criticised Him instead of rejoicing over repentant sinners that were coming into The Kingdom of God. They were justly condemned by Jesus for hypocrisy.
All ministries and beleivers who are saved should have a heart for the
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