A Heart for the Hopeless – there is no hope without Jesus
February 23, 2014
- A sheep wandered away from the flock
- It had no concept of the danger it was in.
- It meandered down the narrow, almost invisible path that sheep make as they find their way across the field, down to the river
- It was quiet here, there was shade from the sun, there was water and green grass
- It lay down in the grass, slowly chewing its cud. Then its tormentor arrived
- A fly kept buzzing around. The sheep shook its head, time and again, till the fly settled on its ear
- The sheep could not scratch its ear, so it rolled on its side, trying to get rid of the pesky parasite
- It its attempts to get rid of the fly, the sheep rolled over, onto its back
- Horror of horrors!
- Suddenly the sheep could not right itself
- Sheep have a broad, flat back, and they are unable to rescue themselves from this position
- The sheep started bleating for help
- But it had wandered away from the flock and its shepherd
- They couldn't hear the sheep!
- As the sheep struggled, it grew gradually weaker and weaker
- Its situation was hopeless. Death was only a matter of time.
- Today we are going to talk about the rescue of this lost sheep
- Luke 15:4-7
What is a lost sheep?
- This sheep was lost, not in the sense that it did not know where it was, but in the sense that its situation was hopeless
- This sheep had a place where it belonged
- It had a flock to which it was attached, it had a shepherd who took care of it
- It had food and shelter, everything that it needed
- When it left its home and wandered away from the shepherd, suddenly it discovered life could be dangerous, when it was on its own
- A sheep could die out there!
- People are a lot like sheep
- People start off all innocent and childlike
- Just like Adam and Eve
- God created them, gave them a protected environment
- He took care of them and they had all that they could want
- But then they wandered away from God
- They went ahead and did their own thing
- They discovered that the forbidden fruit looked good, tasted great, and it was totally desireable
- Having wandered away from God, though, they were now fair game for the enemy
- The enemy tricked them, and they rebelled against God
- When they rebelled against God, they lost his protection and provision.
- It was at this moment, that life became hopeless
- There was no hope.
- All they could now look forward to, was death
- Just like our sheep.
What does that death look like?
- This morning I was asking God about the sermon.
- About the lost sheep
- Here is what I wrote in my journal:
- “My thoughts are not your thoughts. I look at things differently than you (Isa 55:8).
- “In my presence there is fullness of joy evermore (Psa 16:1).
- But for the lost there is only darkness and torment (Jude 1:13, Matt 8:12, 22:13), because they do not want me in their lives (John 3:19), they do not want to walk with me
- “Many have said Yes, Yes, but do not do the things that I say (Matt 7:21-23, Luke 6:46-49)
- “Their place will be outside the Kingdom, in darkness and pain
- “But for those who do choose to walk with me, who have my heart and think like me, there will be joy and fulfillment for ever more.”
- Time and time again in the Old Testament, God calls to his people, come back to me, why would you suffer, why don't you change your ways and repent
- Jer 35:15
- This is God's heart
- God is seeking the lost sheep
- God's heart is totally motivated by love, he IS love (1 John 4:16)
- He has no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked (Ezek 33:11)
- He has sent us into the harvest as his workers
- Our task is to bring in those who have been sold for destruction, and offer them life instead
- We are God's instruments in reaching our world
- The mission field starts right outside our front door
- 2 Cor 5:17-20
- God has called us to be his agents in rescuing the lost sheep and bringing them home
- In the coming weeks we will be exploring and getting fired up for the task God has called us to
- We have been called to reach our friends, family and neighbors with the good news that life is not without hope, that no matter where we have been, or what we have done, God has not given up on us
- He has called us to bring the lost sheep of Susanville, into the fold, into a saving relationship with Jesus
- Let's have God's heart for those without hope