Read His Words Before Ours!
Imagine this: you are babysitting three children. While they all play contentedly, you go to the kitchen to prepare dinner. After you finish cooking, you set the food on the table, and call them to eat. As you round the corner into the living room, your stomach drops and panic ensues.
There are only two of the three children present.
The other is nowhere to be found.
You now begin frantically searching the house while your mind begins thinking of all possible worst case scenarios. Finally, you see a little pair of feet sticking out from under the bed. Phew!
Your heart is immediately filled with relief and joy knowing the child is safe and can now join the others who are happily eating.
A similar picture is painted in the parable of the lost sheep.
A shepherd has one hundred sheep and one is lost, which prompts the shepherd to leave the ninety-nine in search of the one.
On finding his lost sheep, he rejoices and calls his community to celebrate with him as he brings his lost one home.
As I read through this parable, Chris Tomlin’s beautiful song, Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone), comes to mind.
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
This song so perfectly shows our Lord’s heart for us.
Like a parent searching for their lost child, or a shepherd searching for a lost sheep,
He will not stop searching for us.
He will continuously pursue the soul separated from His grace
that He might rescue them from sin and death,
lavishing us with His celebratory love of redemption and welcome!
We, each one of us.
the girl across the street,
the man on the corner,
the pastor at church,
and the saintly ones we look up to…..
we are wretches before the Just and Righteous God.
We’ve each turned away from His grace, “become His enemies”, and “like sheep, have all gone astray.” (Romans 5:10, Isaiah 53:6)
What separates us?
Black, ugly, all-consuming.
Just one sin is enough to sentence us to an eternity separated from a God who is blameless, perfect, and flawlessly holy. If He were to abide with sin, He would no longer be the Holy and Righteous God.
But, oh sisters, you and I both know we have more than 1 solitary sin against us!
This is the sin that drives us away from the fold of sheep.
This is the sin that keeps us lost.
Shows His love for us in this.
While we were still sinners.
Christ died for us.
He died to bring us back.
To exchange our status from lost to found.
From shame and hiding to adored and celebrated!
He brings us back into the fold because He longs to give us hope and a future, found only in His righteousness, which He graciously gives as an exchange for our sin, made possible through the sacrificial blood offering of Jesus who took Death in our place. (Jeremiah 29:11-14, Romans 5:6-11, John 3:16-21)
Jesus left heaven, put on flesh, became one of us in order to win us back from the grip of Sin and Death.
The invitation is bold, freeing, and life-giving.
If you haven’t trusted Jesus, for your eternity, what’s holding you back?
What ties you to the identity of being lost rather than found? Is it worth it?
As believers, let this parable from the heart of God challenge us!
God has been showing me in my own life that if I am to be like Christ the Shepherd, then I must begin by throwing off all I claim as self-importance,
that Name of the Lord can reach one more person as I surrender to His ways.
We as believers get comfortable sometimes.
We build church buildings.
And stay inside.
We open the doors.
Expecting people to come in.
But are we going out?
Here in the Bahamas, we do baptisms differently. Instead of baptizing new believers in the church, we take baptisms to the beaches as we celebrate the sheep that is now found.
We take church outside of the walls in order to reach just one.
It is a beautiful thing.
We have been blessed with the opportunity to be open and bold about our faith unlike many of our brothers and sisters across the globe who suffer silently for their faith.
What are we doing with those freedoms?
Are we going out and getting the lost sheep?
Or are we just staying with the ninety- nine?
Staying with the ninety-nine is comfortable and easy.
Going to get the one is hard and painful.
Getting the “one” looks like fostering children from broken homes,
engaging in a ministry to regain territory from Satan,
evangelizing people that are hard to love,
baptizing on the beach,
or embracing people who are broken and hurting.
It looks like going beyond our borders.
All of these are hard to do.
They require sacrifice.
They require prayer.
They require being visible and possibly ridiculed.
They require being uncomfortable.
They require obedience to this glorious gospel by which Christ has set us free!
God’s mission is to go out and get the sheep, will you join Him?!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!