Luke 15:1 All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats wit
Do you ever wonder what the heart of God looks like? This passage shows us a lot about the heart of our Lord. He is a good Father who engages and seeks after those who are not interested in Him. God’s Word reminds us constantly that we are all, at one time, enemies and adversaries of Jesus because of our sin. However, the beautiful, good news is that “while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!” (Romans 5:10). We serve a risen Savior who welcomes and eats with sinners.
“Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.” –CS Lewis
The tax collators and sinners drew near to Jesus. Jesus made himself available to others. Jesus engaged others by inviting them (sinners) to eat with him. Remember God’s heart yearns for those who need him and who are uninterested in him. How can we do a better job at making ourselves available for those who are lost?
“Live like someone died for you.” Lecrae
Have you ever been ugly to your parents? How did your mom or dad react when you asked forgiveness? Did they welcome you with open arms? Remember our heavenly Father loves us through our disobedience. We can gather around to hear him even if we make mistakes. He will always welcome us to Him no matter what we have done.
Take a moment to thank God for welcoming you into His family through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!”
The Gospel of Luke reminds us, “believers should be engaging the lost in meaningful relationships”, not complaining when sinners surround our Lord. Ask yourself today: Is your church welcoming to sinners? Is your life welcoming to sinners? Do you find yourself complaining when others inconvenience you? Remember there are no inconveniences when someone needs to know the grace of Christ.
Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success. –Hudson Taylor
Most students will identify themselves with a certain clique or group of students; athletes, nerds, band members, etc. God has placed you on your school campus to be a missionary for the cause of Christ. Are you engaging the group or clique that you identify with for Christ? What about the students outside of your clique or group? Do you look down on people that may have a completely different lifestyle than yours?
“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” - Charles Spurgeon
Kids often do not see race, sin, habits, or other things that may cause them to discriminate. They learn from parents and those around them what it means to exclude others. Are we passing down bad habits?
How do you feel when others are playing with your stuff or you are not being included? We do not see Jesus excluding anyone. What a glorious truth this is: that everyone is welcomed into the arms of our Savior.
Take time to pray about your attitude toward people that are lost.
Luke 15:3 So He told them this parable: 4 “What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?
Jesus goes after/sweeps for the lost sheep and coin. Are you lost? If so, know that your heavenly Father is diligently looking for and pursuing you. Do you know others who are lost? May you share the saving message of the Gospel with someone this week. Have you invited someone who is lost to worship with you? Our Shepherd leaves the 99 and seeks the one who is lost. May our hearts break over the lost.
"The church is the great lost and found department." Robert Short
We all want to be winners whether it be individually or on a team. We will train, diet, lift weights, run, jump and go as far and long as we can to be successful and win. How far and long will you go to share Jesus with family or friends that are lost? Remember Jesus “went after” (15:4) the lost sheep until he found it.
"One single soul saved shall outlive and outweigh all the kingdoms of the world." - J. C. Ryle
Have you ever been separated from your parents in a store? How did you feel once you realized you were lost, and how did your mom or dad react once you were found? Re-read verses 5-6. How did the shepherd respond? These verses point us to Jesus, in that he goes after the lost (non-believers) and he rejoices when they are found (saved).
Take time to pray for those in your circle of influence who have yet to put their trust in Jesus Christ.
Luke 15:8 “Or what woman who has 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she finds it, she calls her&
It is often said that you become what you celebrate. If true, what does this say about our spiritual lives? We see in the above passage that God celebrates and heaven rejoices over repentance. How are you celebrating over repentance in your life? How can you develop a celebratory life this week? Do you need to celebrate the repentance of others in your life this week? Take time to rejoice and encourage others who have put their faith in Christ through repentance. At Bethel, our next celebration service will be April 10th when we celebrate those who put their trust in Jesus and respond through baptism.
The celebration is because of the one that repents. Repentance is turning to Jesus. Remember Jesus has received sinners (15:2) and is at the table eating with sinners. His message is still the same today, come to the table and repent. Heaven rejoices when just one comes to Christ. Are you excited when your friends come to Christ? How much greater your excitement when you help share the good news and are part of that celebration.
"Since no man is excluded from calling upon God the gate of salvation is open to all. There is nothing else to hinder us from entering, but our own unbelief." - John Calvin
What are some celebrations in your life? Birthdays? Christmas? Why do we celebrate? One of the most special celebrations is baptism. Baptism is a celebration of our new faith in Jesus Christ. It is a time to show others that you have made the most important decision you will ever make: to make Christ the Lord of your life and follow Him.
Take time to celebrate repentance in your life.
Luke 15:11 He also said: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the asset
God embraces those who turn to him. Have you failed the Lord even after you are called a son? Do you feel like the prodigal? What a wonderful picture that the father, seeing his son still a long way off, ran and embraced him. Likewise, our heavenly father, even when we were far way, sent His Son to restore and embrace us.
“Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace gave him a feast.”
Have you rebelled or are you running from God? When you run from God you will run to something else. You may feel like your sin is too great and unforgivable. It may be drugs, alcohol, porn, lying or stealing. Whatever the sin, it will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you can pay. Remember the father ran to his son and welcomed him back. Jesus does not hold you at arms length, he welcomes you back.
"If I could believe that God was not angry with me, I would stand on my head for joy" – Martin Luther
Earlier this week we discussed how our parents forgive us when disobey. In the same way, our heavenly father loves us even though we sin. We are all going to do things wrong. When you come to your senses, Christ welcomes you back. We must be willing to ask for forgiveness and return to the Father.
Thank the Lord for His compassion and loving kindness.