Becoming Family - An Army of One Part 2
Christ was unashamed to reach out and touch the broken and untouchable.
- Where human’s saw a prostitute, Jesus saw a woman who could change the world with her story.
- When others saw a tax collector, Jesus saw a disciple (Matthew).
- When people saw a physician, Jesus saw Luke the ministering physician.
- When the disciples saw two demoniacs, hopelessly lost, Jesus saw two missionaries.
Jesus sees the World so differently then we do!
A young man walked into a church in California. His hair was long and pulled back into a ponytail. His overalls were not in the best of shape, a hole here or there, but they were clean. As he sat down in the Sabbath School class that morning, he noticed that he was given lots of room. To the class, he was just another person off the streets. If he would get his act together, then maybe they would give him notice.
How wrong they were! This was a man who Jesus planned to use to impact thousands of people. He had orchestrated countless miracles to bring him through the doors of His church. His child was finally home.
But what is this?! His church is not reaching out!
I can see Jesus, with tears in His eyes, pleading with one person after another, "Please reach out to him. Won't someone invite him home for dinner, or at the very least talk him?"
But no one heard the calls. So caught up were they in their own little world, that they missed the great opportunity. The Great Shepherd had brought a child of His home, but His church, His fold, was un-ready to receive.
The young man left that congregation. I can picture the angels, with great anxiety, watching what is going to happen next. Would he return? Was all their work to bring one of God’s children back home for naught?
What happened? How is it that God’s church could turn away from a man whom God and His angels and worked miracle after miracle to bring into His fold.
They did not understand the value of one.
“‘What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.’”
The sun is setting. Storm clouds in the distance grow threateningly. The ominous rumblings of thunder can be heard, as the storm approaches. The Shepherd, hearing what is coming, calls his sheep and moves towards a protective coral.
As the single file makes its way into the fold, the shepherd counts each one… 1, 2, 3, four… 97, 98, 99… He looks up, expecting one more, but there is none! In surprise and fear, he recounts his sheep, 97, 98, 99…
There are only 99! Already the drops of rain, telling of the storm about to begin are falling around him. For an instant, a tempting thought flashes through his mind, “I have 99, what’s one more…?!” But even more quickly he dismisses the thought.
This shepherd loves his sheep!
And out into the stormy dangerous night, he heads.
The rain is coming down in sheets now. The wind is tearing at his clothes. Pressing on into the black night he goes. His calls are snatched away by the wind. He keeps looking, calling. Finally, in the distance, he hears the feeble cry of his sheep.
Instantly he turns toward it. The bleating is becoming weak. He moves with greater earnestness. Carefully he ascends the rocky crevasse. Then he sees the sheep, caught on the edge of a steep cliff.
With great care, He ascends the wet rock. His own life is in danger, but he gives this no thought. If only he can save his sheep.
Finally, the sheep is saved. Carefully he carries him home. The 100 are back.
You see, the shepherd understood the value of one sheep.
Here is the divine guarantee that not even one of the straying sheep of God’s fold is overlooked, not one is left unsuccored. Every one that will submit to be ransomed, Christ will rescue from the pit of corruption and from the briers of sin.
"Pastor," you say, "I have fallen into sin." That is true. But Jesus came to save sinners.
1Tim. 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
If you were not a sinner, then the salvation of Christ would not be needed.
"But pastor, I have fallen again and again into the same sin."
Rom. 5:20 …But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
No matter how broken you may be, no matter how often you have fallen, Christ is there to pick you back up and lead you into forgiveness. How gracious, and forgiving Jesus is!
Desponding soul, take courage, even though you have done wickedly. Do not think that perhaps God will pardon your transgressions and permit you to come into His presence. God has made the first advance. While you were in rebellion against Him, He went forth to seek you. With the tender heart of the shepherd He left the ninety and nine and went out into the wilderness to find that which was lost. The soul, bruised and wounded and ready to perish, He encircles in His arms of love and joyfully bears it to the fold of safety.
Here is the point. Jesus loves humanity so much, that no cost is too high for our salvation.
What about you?
Has the Love of Jesus so filled your heart that you are willing to let him save you?
Let’s take it a step further, what about loving enough to reach out to those lost and in need here in our very congregation?
What would have happened, if, after the shepherd brought the sheep back to the fold, the other sheep had ignored this lost sheep? What if they were incensed that this sheep had wandered away. It was dirty from the mud, bleeding from cuts it had received on the cliff, it just wasn’t like them?
Back to our story.
As Doug left the church that Sabbath, he was disillusioned. But God was not done. After some months, he visited a little congregation in the country. There the members warmly received him. He was invited home for lunch. The Bible was studied, friendships were formed, and Elder Doug Batchelor joined the Seventh-day Adventist church.
Over the years, God has used Elder Batchelor to reach thousands with the good news of Jesus Christ.
For just 1 sheep, Christ left all. What are we willing to do to regain the lost?