In Luke 15, Christ tells three ‘lost and found’ stories about three homes – the three great homes. The first parable (v4-7), about a lost sheep, records Jesus as the Great Shepherd of our souls, searching for the one, lonely, wandering sheep. The second parable (v8-10), about a lost coin, portrays the Holy Spirit as in woman in a home doing everything she can to re-complete her precious set of silver coins. The third parable (v11-24), about a lost son, portrays God as Himself, a patient father of a rebellious son who has run away from home to taste the world and waste away his blessings.
- A Great Church Home – When you read the story of the lost sheep, did you see how that the ninety-nine were just (justified) and that they stuck together. A great church home is place of unity of the flock. Sure, there was one who wandered away – there always is someone at the edge of the community of church who Christ is trying to bring back into the fold. Also, the Scriptures emphasize the ‘shouldering’ of the wandering sheep… picturing the church’s commitment to bear one another’s burdens and hurts.
- A Great Christian Home – The parable of the coin was set in a house – pointing our hearts to the thought of family. These were not random pieces of silver; this was a special set of silver coins. They were a unit – plural items (10), singular grouping (1) – incomplete without the other. Take special note of the necessary means used to make the home great: a diligent woman (Spirit-filled, compassionate wife / mother), a lighted candle (the Truth of God’s Word shining brightly), and a broom (sweeping out the filth, providing a spiritually nurturing environment).
- A Great Heavenly Home – Don’t make the mistake that this narrative is about a prodigal son as much as it is about a certain man who was a faithful father – even when his younger son rebelled, ran away, and returned home with nothing. In addition, the father had to deal with the elder son’s anger about the situation. Christ emphasizes the son’s choice to leave and his activities while out in the world – but He doesn’t gloss over the nasty consequences of those choices. Thankfully, the story continues, following the son back home to a warm reception and an expensive and extravagant celebration of life.
Although the stories have their different tones, they definitely told in harmony with one another. The song they sing together is one of redemption, restoration, and joy. This lost-and-found symphony has for itself one theme: The Gospel. The Good News! We go astray, we wonder away (Isa 53:6). Yet there is the Christ, the Son, running after us and carrying us back to safety. We’re good at finding ourselves stranded and alone; and it’s there we are found by the ever-searching Spirit of the Living God. We ruin relationships and waste the best of blessings. We find ourselves in wanton places, only to join ourselves with what we hate most, just so we can get by… even then is Father God looking anxiously for us from his porch, ready to run to us with tears, with hugs, with kisses, and with gifts.
The Gospel. It is what makes these stories great. It is the heartbeat of God. It is worth dying for. It is worth living for. It is the message we preach. It is the means of the power of God to salvation. It is the message of Christ – the living, dying, resurrected Christ. It is good news that sin has been forgiven through the blood of Jesus. It is the message of the Bible. It is the most important thing: it is The Gospel. And if there could only be one thing, it must be the gospel. In our churches, the gospel must have priority. In our homes, the gospel must have presidency. In our lives, the gospel must be preached. If not, then we’ve missed it – big time!
Romans 10:13-17 “Whosoever” can call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. But they will not call if they do not believe. They will not believe if they do not hear. They must hear the Word of God in order to have faith. They will not hear the Word unless there is a preacher: a person who tells, proclaims, publishes, spreads. We must tell, proclaim, publish, and spread the Gospel – so they will hear, believe, and call upon Him! People everyday are dying and going to hell – we have the answer in the gospel. We do not well to hold our peace and not tell of God’s grace (2 Kings 7:8-9).
Last year, the Lord showed me it was time for us to “Launch Out into the Deep” according to Luke 5:4. Last week, he added to the sentence… “Launch Out into the Deep and Let Down Your Nets.” It’s time we took the Gospel further than we ever have. If we are to be involved in God’s plan, you and I are either going or sending others. Will you launch out into world evangelism? Will you launch out into the gospel ministry?