Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Was Lost But Now I’m Found

Pastor Weise's Sermon - A Good Neighbor

Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Was Lost But Now I’m Found

I Timothy 1.12-17/St. Luke 15.1-10

Trinity III/July 7, 2019

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN

Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain

LISTEN TO SERMON

PRAYER OF THE DAY

O God, the protector of all who trust in You, without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy, multiply Your mercy on us that, with You as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

EPISTLE READING                                                                                             I Timothy 1.12-17    

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

HOLY GOSPEL                                                                                                         St. Luke 15.1-10

1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

I          The scribes and the Pharisees complained about Jesus—

This man receives sinners and eats with them.                                           (St. Luke 15.3)

 

Well, thank God!

 

Because

if Jesus didn’t receive sinners—

if Jesus didn’t eat with sinners—

None of US would ever be saved from the eternal fires of hell.

 

We’d never get to sit in Jesus’ presence.

We’d never get to eat at Jesus’ table.

We’d never get to live with Jesus.

 

Not now

not EVER!—

if Jesus didn’t receive sinners and eat with them.

 

II         I can see their point, though.

 

For the scribes and the Pharisees—

to be holy

was to be good.

To be holy was

to be obedient to God’s law.

to do your best to keep every commandment down to the letter.

 

If you couldn’t do that—

then you couldn’t be holy.

 

And if you weren’t holy—

(in their eyes at least)

The Messiah was never going to

visit with you—

much less sit down and eat dinner with you.

 

III       That’s how it worked for them.

They thought of holiness—

purely from a human point of view.

You can never do this.

You can never be that.

You have to do this.

You must to be that.

And then—THEN!

you will be holy enough for God.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

IV        But here’s the deal.

 

Those scribes and Pharisees—

they weren’t nearly as holy as they thought they were.

 

Even as they tried their hardest to keep the law—

way too often they broke the two most important ones—

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind,

                                    and

Love your neighbor as yourself.      (St. Luke 10.27/Deuteronomy 6.5/Leviticus 19.18)

 

They honored God with their lips

but their hearts were far from him.                                        (St. Matthew 15.8/Isaiah 29.13)

 

Their idea of holiness—

was all about

with what THEY did!

________________________________________________________________

 

V         But God’s idea of holiness is different—

VERY different.

God’s idea of holiness

is all about what HE does!

 

Look at Jesus’ stories today.

 

The Shepherd goes out in search of the lost sheep.

Never mind

that the sheep did not do what it was supposed to do—

that the sheep did not stay where it was supposed to stay—

that the sheep did not act like a good sheep acts.

 

None of that matters!

When the sheep gets lost—

the Shepherd goes out looking for it.

 

And when he finds that sheep—

the Shepherd picks him up—

put him on his shoulders—

and brings him home with rejoicing in his heart.              (St. Luke 10.4-7)

 

The sheep’s holiness

is all about

the Shepherd—

not about himself.

 

 

Same way with the lost coin.

 

The coin wasn’t where it was supposed to be.

It didn’t follow the “law of how coins are supposed to exist.”

 

But the old woman

does everything she can

to find it.

 

She lights the lamp.

She sweeps the house.

She gets down on her hands and her knees

and looks everywhere for that one rogue coin.

 

And when she finds it—

she joins with her neighbors in rejoicing over the one coin she found.

(St. Luke 10.8-10)

 

That coin wasn’t special—

That coin wasn’t holy

because of anything it did or did not do—

That coin was holy

because the woman

cherished it

loved it

searched for it

found it

and

brought it home.

 

VI        That’s how holiness works with us and Christ.

 

Like lost sheep

we go off wandering on our own unholy way.

 

Like lost coins

we find ourselves in unholy places we ought not to be.

 

But Christ—

IN HIS HOLINESS—

comes looking for us.

 

He wants to receive us to himself.

He wants to eat with us.

He wants to spend eternity with us—

so he does what he must do

to FIND us when we get lost.

 

Jesus cherishes you.

Jesus loves you.

Jesus searches for you.

Jesus finds you

and

Jesus brings us home—

not because YOU are holy—

but because HE is!

 

VII      The scribes and Pharisees complaint about Jesus—

This man receives sinners and eats with them—                                        (St. Luke 15.2)

                                    is in truth

not a bad thing about Jesus.

 

In fact—

it’s not a bad thing at all—

that one truth

is the very heart of the gospel of God.

 

Jesus

receives us sinners.

eats with us sinners

goes out searching for us sinners when we lose our way.

grabs us up out of all our sinful situations—

and brings us home into the house of the Lord.

 

That’s what true holiness looks like—

like God doing everything he can

to save us

from all the unholy trouble we get ourselves into

when we sin—

and

to find us when we are lost.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

VIII    Some of YOU are lost right now.

 

I know—

you’re in church—

But some of you are still lost.

 

There are situations you’ve got yourself into

and you don’t think there’s any way out.

 

There are things you’ve done

that can’t be undone

and you don’t think anyone can ever make it right.

There are thoughts running through your mind

that would horrify and scandalize the rest of us sitting here in this room.

 

You have

regret over your past

anger over your preset

and

almost unquenchable anxiety over your future.

 

And to top it all off—

you KNOW—

you just know down deep in your soul—

that there is no way

in heaven or on earth

that YOU could ever be HOLY.

Not before the Lord our God.

________________________________________________________________

 

IX       Well guess what?

If that’s what you think about yourself—

You’re right!

 

But before you get upset with me for saying that—

I want you to do something.

 

I want you to look around this chapel.

 

Take a good hard look at every person you see—

because what’s true of YOU and your unholy state—

is just as true of the rest of us here today.

 

We’re ALL

unholy.

ungodly.

 

We’re all

filthy.

dreadful

sinful

monsters.

WE ARE ALL LOST!

________________________________________________________________

 

X         But someone is looking for us!

Someone is looking for YOU!

His name is Jesus.

And he won’t stop looking for you

until he finds you and brings you home.

So tell Jesus you WANT to be found.

Confess your sins.

Set your heart to do them no more.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you

out of all your unholiness

and

into the holy ways of God.

 

Admit to Christ that you are lost—

because

there is joy in heaven in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.                                                                   (St. Luke 15.10)

 

Tell Jesus you need to be found—

Because He is looking for you.

 

XI       It’s what he’s always done.

 

Jesus was looking for you

when he

came down from heaven and

and took on flesh from the Blessed Virgin—

He was looking for YOU—

so he could rescue you from the sinfulness of your flesh.

(St. Luke 1.26-38)

 

Jesus was looking for YOU

when he was baptized in the River Jordan—

so he could take all your sins out of your baptismal water

and make them his very own.                                                             (St. Luke 3.21-22)

 

Jesus was looking for YOU

when he did battle with the devil and his temptations in the desert—

so he could defeat the temptations

that so often get the better of you.                                         (St. Luke 4.1-13)

 

Jesus was looking for YOU

when he went all the way to the cross—

so he could die there in your place—

and by becoming lost himself

FIND YOU—

and rescue you from

eternal death

and

endless separation from God.               (St. Luke 22-23)

 

 

 

XII      That sheep in Jesus’ story?

that’s YOU!

And that Shepherd is Jesus—

looking for YOU—and finding YOU.

 

That lost coin?

that’s YOU!

And that old woman is Jesus—

doing everything he can to find YOU.

 

Jesus—

the very Son of God

looks for you

finds you

receives you

and

eats with you—

here and now by his grace and the power of his Word—

that he may  receive you and eat with you

face to face forever in the kingdom of heaven.

 

XIII    So give thanks that Jesus receives sinners and eats with them.

 

It’s how he rescues you from a life of

sinfulness

and

unholiness.

 

It’s how he saves you

from sin/death/the devil/and hell.

 

It’s how he has saved

You

Me

and

all the saints

who will live with him forever in the house of the Lord.

 

And now, by his good grace

and his divine holiness—

you can say with all your heart—

I WAS LOST, BUT NOW I’M FOUND.

 

Praise God.

Amen.

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Hymn of Response:  Create in Me.

Leave a Reply