The Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, the Lost Son
There’s a story in Luke 15:4-7, telling of a man who had 100 sheep, but had lost one of them. And he searched and searched until he found it. And when he found it, he gathered his friends and neighbors together and said; “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.” V-6
Then V’s 8-10 tell of a woman who had ten silver coins, but she lost one of them. And she searched, and searched until she found it. And when she found it, she called her friends and neighbors together and said; “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.” V-9
In V’s 11-32, we have a story of a father who had two sons, but through no fault of his own, he lost one of them. One of those sons went out on his own accord, and through his own neglect, he became lost. But the story tells how he eventually “found himself”, so to speak. And the father said in V-24, “For this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; He was lost, but now is found. And they began to make merry.”
Three stories, about three different things that had been lost. And in all three cases, when that which had been lost, was found, there was rejoicing! Do you know what the moral of all three stories is?
“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7 It’s not that the ninety-nine righteous persons aren’t just as important. But the righteous are already saved. And there was just as much joy in heaven when each one of them was saved, because you know as well as I do, that at one point, they were all lost too. And so each and every time someone is saved, the joy in heaven is renewed!
The Lost Christ
In Luke chapter 2, verses 41-52 there’s another story. And this story is about the lost Christ. And I can guarantee you, that there is joy in heaven, each time that Christ is found!
Let’s read the story though.. It’s talking about a young boy named Jesus..
“And His parents used to go to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He became twelve, they went up according to the custom of the Feast. And as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus, stayed behind in Jerusalem. And His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan.”
“And they went a day’s journey, and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. And when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him. And it came about, that after three days, they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions.”
“And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding, and His answers. And when they saw Him, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him; Son, why have you treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.”
And He said to them; Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be about the things of My Father? And they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.”
“And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth. And He continued in subjection to them, and His mother treasured all these words in her heart. And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
How do you think Jesus’ parents felt while He was lost? They had travelled about a full day, before they noticed He was missing. And then they had to travel another day back to Jerusalem. And then they spent two more days looking for Him IN Jerusalem. The temple should have been the first place they looked, but it was the last place wasn’t it? Shouldn’t they have known where to look?
There’s a lot of people looking for Jesus today, who don’t know where to look for Him. We think they should know where to look, but it’s not that clear to most people. It seems like they’re always looking in the wrong place. And so most people won’t ever actually find Him, because they’re not looking in the right place.
Even Jesus Himself said to His parents, “Why is it that you were looking for Me?” When Jesus asked why were you looking for Me, what He was really asking was; “Why didn’t you KNOW where to look in the first place?” “You should have known where I would be.”
If you were going to look for Jesus today, where would be the first place you should look? Should you look in the Book of Mormon? What about the Baptist Handbook? How about “Catechisms of the Catholic Faith”? I’m telling you today, without any doubt at all, that you’re not going to find Jesus in any of those books, or in a thousand other books just like ’em, written by man! There’s only one place that you’re going to find Jesus, and that’s in HIS book, the bible!
Why don’t people automatically understand, that if you want to find Jesus, you don’t go looking in a man’s book, you look in GOD”S book!
Luke tells us, that when Jesus’ parents realized He was “lost”, “..they began looking for him among their relatives and acquaintances.” Luke 2:44
They were evidently travelling with a fairly large group of people. There was the immediate family, then other family relatives, and then acquaintances. And Mary and Joseph just assumed that Jesus was with the group somewhere.
You know, that sounds like all the various religious groups today. There’s all these different religious groups, all teaching different things, and practicing different things. They all suppose that Jesus is among them, but is He? Do people really investigate closely enough, to KNOW whether Jesus is among them? How do you know for sure, if Jesus is among you?
Jesus said in Mathew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.” That statement of Jesus, confirms a major principle of Christianity. And that principle is.. We must have the authority from Jesus, for Him to be with us in what we do. Without His authority, He’s not there! “Where two or three are gathered IN MY NAME, there I am in their midst.”
Jesus has ALL authority! He said, in Mathew 28:18, “All authority has been given to Me, in heaven and on earth.” If Jesus gives us the authority to assemble for a particular purpose, then when we do that, He’s with us in that assembly. If Jesus gives us the authority to believe a certain thing, He’s with us in that belief. And if Jesus gives us the authority to perform a specific work, and we do it, then He’s with us in that work.
BUT, if we assemble for a purpose NOT authorized by Jesus, He will NOT be with us. And if we DO things, NOT authorized by Jesus, He won’t be with us. And if we believe things NOT authorized by Jesus, He is NOT with us in those beliefs.
What has Jesus Authorized?
Jesus has authorized, through the bible, WHAT we should believe, HOW we should conduct ourselves, in our private and public lives, and HOW and WHEN and WHY we should assemble, to worship God.
I actually read about a group of people who called themselves, a “supper church”. And they would attempt to worship God, by coming together and cooking a meal, and then eating their supper together. That’s not worshiping God, that’s worshiping yourself and your belly! And I guarantee you that Jesus is NOT present in that assembly.
But here’s something else that people do in the name of “worship”. There are groups that include dancing, in with their worship of God. But you’ll never find any authorization in the new testament, for dancing. And consequently, Jesus is NOT present in those assemblies either.
What about handling snakes in worship? People do it. But Jesus isn’t there.
What about having a band up on a stage, playing music in worship to God? Lots of people do that! But you won’t find any authorization for it in the new testament. And so, Jesus is NOT among them!
So if you’re looking for Jesus in one of those assemblies, He won’t be there.
And if you want the word of God on the subject, here it is..
“And WHATEVER you do, in word or deed, do ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him, to the Father.” Colossians 3:17. In other words, do it ALL by His authority, and do nothing without His authority.
Let me give you a brief list of some of the things people do in worship to God, for which they have NO authority..
Finger-snapping, hand-clapping, arm-waving, foot-stomping, solo-singing, choir-productions, band-playing, orchestrations, dancing, eating and drinking, candle-lighting, incense-burning, and bell-ringing; All done without the authority from God or Jesus Christ!
And for those who think that they can authorize things on their own, Jesus has these words..
“I never knew you! Depart from Me, you who work iniquity!” Mathew 7:23
There is not a more serious issue, or a more important principle, in all the bible, than the need to have the authority from God, for everything that we do.
The young Jesus said, “Did you not know, I had to be about the things of My Father?” We too, need to “be about” the things of God, not the things of men.
The parents of Jesus, went back to Jerusalem
When Jesus’ parents realized that he wasn’t with them, they started looking for Him among their relatives, and then among their acquaintances. And when they still didn’t find Him, they had to go all the way back to Jerusalem. They had left Jerusalem, but Jesus never left.
If we want to find Jesus today, where do we have to go to find Him? Well, I can tell you that you’re NOT going to find Him in a religious organization that was started by a man (or woman) in the eighteen or nineteen hundreds, in the United States. And you’re not going to find Him in any organization started by men in the fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen hundreds in Europe. You won’t even find Jesus in an organization started by men, in the fourth century in Rome!
No, to find Jesus, you have to go all the way back to Jerusalem! Because that’s where Jesus is. His word is world-wide, but Jesus is in Jerusalem.
Listen to Revelation 21:2-3.. “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying; Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men! And He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them!”
The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the bride of Christ. It’s the tabernacle of God. And that tabernacle is among men. What is the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, the tabernacle of God?
1 Tim 3:15 says it’s “..the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth!”
That household, is the “called out assembly”, (that’s what the word church means) It’s the pillar and support of the truth.. and it’s among men, and God is among them.
If you want to find Jesus, you’ve got to go back to Jerusalem!
And the people who HAVE gone back to Jerusalem, “do ALL things, by the authority of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him, to the Father.
The parents of Jesus, “supposed that He was among them”. But they hadn’t made sure. The truth is, they had “lost” the Christ. How many people today, simply suppose that Jesus is among them, but in reality, they’ve lost Christ? Christ hasn’t gone anywhere, He’s still in Jerusalem. It’s the people who have left. They’ve left the word of Christ and His authority.
If you have left Jesus, you need to go all the way back to Jerusalem, and do all things by His authority. Don’t look for Jesus, in a man-made religious organization, because He’s not there.
Jesus said to His parents; “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be about the things of My Father?” Luke 2:49
And Jesus says to us; “Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46
Here’s what Jesus tells us to DO, to be a part of the new Jerusalem..
Jesus says, Believe.. “If you believe not that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24
He says, Repent.. “Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
He says, Confess.. “If you confess me before men, I will confess you before My Father who is in heaven.” Mat 10:32
He says, Be Baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.. “He who believes AND is baptized, shall be saved..” Mark 16:16
And he says, Remain Faithful.. “But the one who endures to the end, the same shall be saved.” Mat 24:13
May God bless you in the study of His word, and in your journey back to Jerusalem.
I urge you to leave your thoughts and questions in the space provided below.