Lead Me Back - 09/15/2013

Sermon Text:  Luke 15:1–10 & Jeremiah 4:11–12, 22–28

   I don’t know about you, but I am very confused after reading those two passages from the Bible. Would the real God please stand up? It is a good question, especially after hearing these completely conflicting portraits of our God. Don’t you agree?
    In Luke, Jesus is accused by the Pharisees and Scribes of welcoming sinners and eating with them … guilty as charged! He tells them that God is like a SHEPHERD who tends a flock of a hundred sheep. One is lost. Leaving the other ninety-nine (in the wilderness, no less), the shepherd goes off after the one. When he finds it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. He returns home, calls in all his friends and neighbors, and has a party. “Rejoice with me,” he says, “for I have found my sheep that was lost.”
    And then Jesus tells them that God is like a WOMAN who has ten silver coins. When she loses one of them, she works herself into a tizzy trying to locate it. (Alright … this is a little sexist, I agree. But it was written a long time ago.) Well, the woman turns on all the lights, sweeps the entire house … looking high and low. And when she finds it, she reacts just like the shepherd. She calls in the neighbors and has a party.
    A sheep and a coin … how about a person? We didn’t read the entire account, but our choir sang about this most famous of Jesus’ parables … the Parable of the Prodigal Son that follows.
    A sheep, a coin, a person: ALL LOST … then FOUND.
    Parties and rejoicing take place because the kingdom of heaven is deliriously joyful when a sinner comes to repentance. What a wonderful place it must be. What a wonderful picture this is of God indeed … a loving God who welcomes his children back into the heavenly fold … a God who does not hold the sins of his human creation against them.
Read full sermon here (PDF)