What Man Among You?

"What man among you, who has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?” Luke 15:3-4

When you lose something valuable, there’s a gut reaction to find it. In Luke 15, Jesus’ question invites us to reflect on who God is as the Good Shepherd. This Sunday, Pastor Josh Kelsey explores keys of God’s character and care for us through the perspective of the Parable of Good Shepherd.

The Nature of God’s Love: Relentless and Personal

  • In order to discern the difference between ninety-nine and one hundred, you need to count. God is detail-oriented.
  • Across the planet, not one person is lost to God. He knows where each person is and graciously pursues them.
  • We must take captive our thoughts to make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) because it’s easy to believe lies about God, like Eve did in Genesis 3.
  • You may have experienced people giving up on you in human relationships, but the truth is that God is relentless and will never give up on you. The rejection of others is not the rejection of God.
  • Without the Holy Spirit, humans have limits to their love. We need the limitless, relentless love of God in order to love others well.
  • The woman at the well in John 4 couldn’t comprehend the radical acceptance of God through her history of broken relationships.
  • The beginning of worship is being honest about your brokenness. Acknowledge that you’re lost so that you can experience being found.
  • Psalm 139:1-4: "O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether."
  • God knows you better than yourself. God has searched and known you—and still wants to be with you.

The Value of the Individual: Every Soul Matters

  • This parable says that when one sinner repents, all of heaven celebrates.
  • We get so used to celebrating big numbers that we subconsciously begin to believe that the one doesn’t matter that much.
  • God doesn’t only celebrate bigness. Every individual is precious in his sight.
  • The way we shepherd isn’t by relying on a pastor on stage but by thinking about who we personally met in church but haven’t seen back for a while.
  • If we care about the one, we will check in on them with a shepherd’s heart. Include people and see what God does with your invite.
  • Matthew 10:29-31: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."
  • God knows even the smallest details about us, such as the number of hairs on our head, which highlights how much He values and loves each one of us. 

The Joy of Restoration: Heaven Rejoices Over One Sinner Who Repents

  • When we fall short, sometimes we believe that God is exasperated with us. But God is not burdened by your restoration. 
  • You will carry a heaviness if you think God is upset or mad when he restores us. 
  • But when the Good Shepherd restores the lost sheep, he doesn’t berate or beat it. Instead with joy, he carries it home.
  • Luke 15:7: "I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."
  • This heavenly joy reflects the heart of God, who delights in our restoration and reconciliation. It encourages us to repent and return to Him, knowing that our return brings great joy to His heart.
  • Heaven isn’t just rejoicing for sinners who repent the first time—but for any repentance! We can rejoice anytime someone is restored to God, in any capacity.
  • We often think that we’re the ninety-nine, but we should consider ourselves the one, in need of daily repentance.

The Call to Compassion: Extend God's Love to Others

  • We are a polarized and divided people, but the parable of the Good Shepherd reminds us that our response to others is not pointing with judgment but compassion.
  • Jesus calls us to deal with the log in our own eye before looking at the speck in another’s (Matthew 7:5). Judgment is a log that blinds us.
  • We don’t understand the level of grace that was needed to save us if we go first to judgment. 
  • You aren’t better than anyone else because we are all fallen. It’s only by the grace of Jesus Christ that we have new life.
  • We are all the lost sheep, the lost son of Luke 15—in need of repentance, recovery and restoration.
  • The shepherd's care for his sheep models the compassion we are to show.
  • Just as he searches tirelessly for the lost, we are to seek out and support those around us who feel lost or marginalized.
  • Our love for others becomes a testimony of our discipleship and reflects the love of Christ to the world.
  • John 13:34-35: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

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