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                The Gospels in Harmony                 Sermon #323     Posted 11/11/20


Luke 15:1-7  Sermon #323-11920
1  Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 
2  And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.  
3  And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 
4  What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 
5  And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 
6  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 
7  I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Luke 15:1-7

    Well as we begin Chapter 15 in Luke in our study of the Gospels in Harmony, we see that Jesus is attracting many people from many walks of life.
First we see the publicans, the tax collectors who were Jews working for dishonest gain by collecting taxes for the ruling Roman government. Not that working as a tax collector was dishonest but they were allowed to charge a fee above the tax as compensation for their work. Here is the dishonest and most hated part of their profession. Greed would soon cause them to bend and break the rules and charge far more for personal gain. 
Zacchaeus is a perfect example.
2  And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
Luke 19:2
So first we have Jews who were working in a dishonest trade collecting money from their brethren for the hated Roman empire.
     Second we see listed --sinners.
Well, that is a very broad and general term. Who do you think that would be? Look around you in the world today and you can see and hear and recognize what people are blatantly doing against the word of God.
Not just their professions but the things they say and believe and do with and to each other and on and on. The degradation of society has become the accepted and promoted way of life. It is not acceptable and even punishable if one says anything against it. That right there eliminates any effort in attempting to promote the Word of God to them because it is now considered hate speech toward them. 
    Do you think it was much different in the days of our Lord with us?
Sinners have always been a majority in this world! 
Noah was a righteous man and was allowed to take his wife and 3 sons with their wives on the ark to be saved while God brought destruction upon the rest of all men because of their sin.
    We are swiftly returning to that very time! There are an ever increasing number of blatant God hating sinners in the world and even worse an ever increasing number who accept their behaviors and attitudes. They may not participate but they believe no one has the right to say anything against them including the one and very simple word that should be said. No!
    Look at what is going on right now in this country’s leadership. The majority is the most ungodly group of self righteous sinners that could ever be collected and they are doing everything to discredit the few who are really attempting to change this country for the good. I’m not talking politics here. I’m talking right and wrong by the Word of God!
    Is it any wonder when the people of this country begin to see that someone really is willing to work for them that the servants of Satan step right up by command of their father and do and say everything they can to discredit those who are drawing this country back into the light? 
Look at what the scribes and Pharisees said and attempted to do to Jesus. The first thing they did was create a sin to label Jesus with. They were so righteous in their own eyes they could accuse someone of sinning and because they said it, it was true and needed to be believed and responded to.  The scribes and Pharisees had every intention of using their self righteous opinions and self appointed authority to belittle Jesus so no one would believe Him. It’s impossible to be a leader when no one will follow. 
   To a Jew a publican was a despicable person. He was a sinner by association with the Roman Empire. Therefore, anyone who associated with them was obviously in league with them. Cut from the same cloth so to speak; guilty by association. Surely a holy a righteous man would have nothing to do with a publican willingly. 
Likewise, a holy and righteous man would abstain from mingling with known and blatant sinners; even people who were considered sinners because they were poor or ill. Surely they had committed sins that had caused their poor physical and monetary conditions. To associate with such people would surely mean one was no better than they were.
   This is the accusation being made about Jesus and the sin that was being created by the scribes and Pharisees. Yes, created by them. It is what they wanted people to believe was a sin. First to discredit Jesus and second to credit themselves. 
I can assure you no one has ever falsely accused another without a dual intent. It happens every day. If you don’t believe me, once agian look at this country and it’s so called leadership. That’s all they do. Just like the Pharisees they make up what they want to say against one another to tear them down while attempting to make themselves look so worthy and righteous. That is blatant sin!
    Was it wrong for Jesus to rub elbows with publicans and sinners? Is it wrong for us to be seen with people of poor health and poor wealth and even well known sinners? No!
It is a sin to refuse to help the sick and the poor. In the same aspect it is a sin to partake in activities that are known to be against the commands of God. Being near them does not make you a sinner. Neither did it make Jesus a sinner in anyway, but it did prove what His accusers were.
Let me use a simple example. Being an old farm boy I can give you a very clear example. Out in back of the barn there was a rather large pile of animal waste. We cleaned the barns and piled it out back to rot down so we could put it to good use in the fields and gardens as fertilizer. It was a manure pile.
Now if a single ray of sunshine pierced through the clouds and landed on that manure pile was that ray of light tainted in anyway? Absolutely not! That beam of light could set directly on that pile and never be changed. However, the energy of that light creates heat and can and will begin breaking down that pile of waste to become of great value. Without that energy that pile would sit there and the process would never begin.
We as Christians are called to be that light in this dead and dying world. We are not called to isolate ourselves from sinners. Remember, without knowing the Word of God most people don’t even know they are sinners. They may well believe they are righteous and holy because of what they have heard from false teachers and by what they see as acceptable in the World.
Know I want you to hear me or at least read these words with great attention to the instruction they give. 
You were once as lost as the very people you now refuse to be seen with. Why are you no longer as lost as they are? Because someone came close enough to you to get you to hear the truth. Someone left a tract where you frequent. Someone took the time to speak words of encouragement to you and invite you to join them in their activities that promote holiness and righteousness and sinless behavior. Someone loved Jesus so much they followed in His footsteps to come near to you that you may see the light, feel the light and begin to change for the good.
 16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16
    The Glory that Matthew speaks of in his recording of Jesus' Words to him, is the salvation of men. It is the turning from the darkness of sin. the wretched decay of death by and in sin that glorifies God. It is the repentance of sin and the confession of life in and through Christ Jesus that Glorifies God. We are all lost in the darkness of sin until someone makes the effort to come close enough to us that we may see and hear and rise to follow them into the light of holiness. Into the life of freedom from sin in Christ Jesus.

    So let's paint a visual picture of what is going on in this recording of a portion of Jesus' life and ministry here with us in this world.
Jesus had drawn near enough to the hated tax collectors and blatant sinners that they had begun to willingly come to Him to see and hear what their hearts knew was missing. They were being drawn to the light because there was no light in them.
1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
2  The same was in the beginning with God. 
3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 
5  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 1:1-5
9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
John 1:9
12  But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 1:12
    Verses 5 and 12 are the scriptural and spiritual descriptions of who Jesus is speaking to in our text for today.
Verse 5 is describing the Scribes and Pharisees and Verse 12 is describing the publicans and sinners.
You see we need to understand that all these people were sinners but one group refused to see the light and the other drew near to take in more light.
Jesus quells the murmuring of the religious leaders by answering them with a parable.
3  And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 
4  What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 
5  And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 
6  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 
7  I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
     Jesus used a reference to a common and easily applied situation. It was something that would have been clearly understood by all because it was a way of life for these people in that time. 
     We are all lost sheep in this world until the light of truth, Jesus Christ, the living Word of God draws near to us. And when we finally respond in a way that we may be gathered into His arms, Heaven rejoices. The angels sing in thanksgiving and honor and praise of God for His Son who has saved one more life from death and eternal damnation.
But please do not make the mistake in believing Jesus was comparing the scribes and Pharisees to the ninety nine sheep that needed no repentance. No Jesus was talking about those who had already given their lives to Him in faith. They were the ones He could leave in this world of sin and death knowing they would be there when He got back. They would still be His flock safe in faith and obedience to Him.
    When Jesus drew near to the publicans and sinners and they drew near to Him, did the Scribes and Pharisees rejoice? 
No! 
They pulled out their long pointed fingers and began to rail against Him. 
You see although they claimed to be holy and righteous and the truest followers of the Word of God they were no better or dare I say even worse sinners then the people of the world who knew they were lost in their sin and looked for a savior to lift them from their lost condition.
The religious hypocrites remained in their self righteous lost condition while the Jews who were refused by them were saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Even today we can see the lesson here. God uses the saved that will rise and go to the lost to call them to be in the family of God. It is Jesus Christ, the living Word of God that is the light that shines in the faith filled and obedient believer and servant of God that the lost can and will see and draw near to. It is not Religion!
We are all lost sheep until we are saved by grace through faith. Then we become members of the flock and are entrusted with the service of going out to gather in the lost who will be found and who will respond to the call of the Great Shepherd. It is the light of Truth in the living Word of God that needs to shine in and through us that even one lost soul may see and come to it to be saved. 
16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16
Religion creates division. It creates finger pointers and accusers of men. The living Word of God creates unity and salvation in one. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Take the light of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the world and all who the Lord has called by His Spirit of truth will be saved. And there will be great rejoicing in heaven just as there was when you were saved!
AMEN!
Pastor Steven Freede
Cornerstone Independent Church Ministry
11/9/20

 

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