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2006.06.03

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Luke 15:1-10


It can be stated that a life of human being can be assessed by its quality  “how he lives.”  Living a life that is valuable and worthwhile is much more essential than the matter of “how long he lives.” What kind of attitude, then, should we have in encountering people and things? With what kind of attitude should we fulfill our tasks?  Let us think about the correct attitude of life according to the Bible.

1. Importance of correct view of life


Where do men come from and where do they go? Where can they find life's worth and happiness? How should they live their lives and how should they end their lives? A firm belief regarding these questions of life is called ‘view of life’ or one's ‘values.’ Basic attitude and belief system about all issues of life makes up the core of one's view of life and values. ‘View’ means to see. Seeing widely is called ‘wide-view’ and seeing things all together is called ‘general view.’ Our view of things needs to be accurate, deep, and wide.

We think according what we see and further, act accordingly. View of life is not simply a matter of 'how one sees' life it forms principles of our action and judgment. One's attitude and goal of life depend on his view of life. There is probably nothing that is as important to mankind as forming an upright view of life and values. History teaches us that one cannot manage to be the master of his life without having clear answers to the fundamental questions about his current standing position, his life's goal, life's true worth and condition of happiness. 


2. True view of life discovered in the Bible


The Bible defines mankind in one word  'sinner.'  The fact that people are beings who cannot become God's children because of their sins and trespasses is the reality of the mankind who are outside Christ(Eph. 2:1-4). Nevertheless, the Bible guarantees new life to us, who also face that same reality. We are beings who have received the life of grace from our God the Father. Our lives are special gift of love that Father God has given to us. There is nothing more precious than a life of mankind! We only have one life and there is no more in heaven or earth. 

Jesus came to the earth to teach us of this value. It is because what is lost must be found. Today's passage clarifies the belonging of the one lost sheep Christ's own sheep(Luke 15:6). When we clearly understand the significance of this, we can realize our position as God's children and be able to live uprightly according to the true purpose as people who have been sent to this earth.

We have to have the right view of faith and look upon Jesus through faith. Also, we have to be able to look at ourselves honestly through the Bible. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature(2Cor. 5:17). The Bible also says that there is a time when He will make all things new(Rev. 21:5). I believe that we, who are worshiping God at church, before the living God, have to become people who work toward a new life with new mind set and create a new history.


3. Parable of the true shepherd and the lost sheep


There are several reasons why the Lord calls us "lost sheep".

 

1) It is because our places and positions are changed

Lives in sin are like the lost sheep. (Isa. 53:6; Jer. 50:6, 17; 1Pet. 2:25). "Lost" means that place and position is changed. When our places should be in green pastures and large fold, they have changed to wilderness and filed. Now, if that's not being lost, what is it? Because they have fallen into a state where they broken off from their shepherd and jumbled up in chaos, He cannot but go out to find them.

In the Bible, Jesus went to places full of problems. In the temple, in fields, and by the seashore, He met with the sick, the poor, the hungry, and the multitudes(Luke 14:25). In today's passage, Luke 15, the Lord was with the scribes and Pharisees. There, Jesus argued that He must receive sinners and eat with them. Then, He claimed that He is the true shepherd, who goes after the lost sheep. This is speaking of the clear truth that the purpose of Jesus' coming to this world is to "save sinners."

Because He loves us, the Lord finds us to the end(John 13:1, Luke 15:4-10). His method of finding us was to sacrifice Himself. (1Pet. 1:18-19, Rev. 5:9-10) He proved His love through that blood(Rom. 5:8). That is God's initiating love(1John 4:10). Thus, the Lord is our good shepherd who turns our places back into green pastures(Psa. 23:1-3).

 

2) It means that we belong to the original number of the heavenly citizens

The "one hundred sheep" in the passage has a spiritual significance that there is a predestined number of salvation that the Lord has set. Each of us is a sheep before God. God does not mistreat even one of His sheep. He considers them more precious than anything else(Mark 8:36). One is the beginning, progress, and end of all things. Thus, there cannot be a beginning, progress, or fulfillment even if there is one of us missing from the whole. Now, what would happen if you still miss worship services and give all kinds of excuse to back out from the tasks given to you? We must remember that Jesus shed His blood to atone for my one life(Rom. 14:15).

When He finds the lost sheep, He joyously carries it on His shoulders back home(Luke 15:6). Isn't this the joy of regaining the original number of the heavenly citizens? This is the joy of not only the true shepherd, friends and neighbors, but also the sheep himself. This indicates the joy of salvation and the ultimate joy(Luke 15:7). There is absolutely no destruction to us who have been elected in Jesus before the creation. There will come a joyful end to this world because of us.


There is a famous African-American leader in U.S. named Tom Skinner. As a son of a pastor in Harlem, he was an exemplary student at school and church. However, he attained hatred toward Caucasians and ended up joining the biggest gang in Harlem. He wasted away his life through robbery, drugs, sexual immorality, and etc.  Then, a time came when they had to decide on a leader of the gang. One the night of the decision, he turned the radio on to listen to the news and heard a voice of a preacher.  He preached on 2Cor. 5:17, "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." He said, "It doesn't matter what you have done. Jesus Christ is looking for you right now. He wants to forgive you. After listening to the sermon, Tom fell on his knees and wept. Then he sincerely prayed, "Lord, if what that preacher said is true, please forgive my sins. Please, change my life!" Since then, Tom's life took on a new path. Eventually, he became a missionary in Harlem, reaching out to the gangsters. Also, he became a messenger of peace that mediated between the white and black societies. God found Tom who was lost and he became a delight to himself, God, and others.

There are many lives to be found in this world. They are the lives that are lost and hidden in the jungle of the world full of diseases, unlawful riches, futile authority, and mixture of religions. Our Lord will surely find them. History will last until this great work of salvation is fulfilled. Please believe that it is when the "one hundred sheep" are all found, the history of sinfulness will come to an end and the reign of the new King in the wonderful new heavens and new earth will disembark.

The shepherd and the sheep cannot be separated. Hence, God sent Jesus Christ to find His lost people in this world. We also have to fulfill that task of finding the lost with the same love. Evangelism is the act of relocating a person's soul from death to life(John 5:24-25). That's why it pleases God the most. Let us remember that reason for the existence of the church on this earth is to find the lost sheep of God and sharing the joy of salvation and may we all be fulfillers of this task until the end!


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