October 30, 2007
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And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.
And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.
And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;
And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
And they could not answer him again to these things.
And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,
When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
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Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
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?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
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.
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.
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
And he said, A certain man had two sons:
And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
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Thought for the day:
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Luke 15 contains a series of parables showing the importance of finding that which is lost. The religious leaders were once again murmuring against Jesus because He was spending so much time with sinners. Of course, it appears from the opening verse that it was the sinners who had an interest in what He was saying, for they knew that they had fallen far short of the demands of a holy God. The Pharisees thought of themselves as being spiritually satisfactory to God, and thus were not interested in hearing about their sinfulness and their need to repent. They simply came to watch and criticize. By the way, you can be sure that human nature has not changed. Many who are filled with pride and self-righteousness, even sometimes within the church itself, will watch, but not because they desire to be changed. They may want to see the show, but they also want to be in a position to criticize those who are attempting to make a difference for the Lord.
Christ responded to their complaints with three stories. The first concerned a shepherd who had one hundred sheep in his fold. At the end of the day he took count of them and found that one was missing. Rather than take the lazy view and decide that ninety-nine was good enough, he left the others in a safe place and went out in search of the lost one. When he finally found it he was filled with joy and carried it home. When he returned he gathered his friends together so that they could rejoice with him. The second story spoke of a woman who had ten pieces of silver. One night she lost one of them, and she lit a candle and looked throughout the house until she found it. She then called her neighbors so that they could rejoice with her. Both of these parables end with the same general statement:
"joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth".
When the Lord finds a person who is lost, and that person chooses to allow the Lord to save him, God Himself rejoices, as do the angels and the rest of the heavenly multitude. It is interesting to note that in verse 7 the rejoicing over the finding of the lost is
"more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."
The shepherd does not rejoice at the end of the day over what he has; he rejoices over what he finds. Likewise the woman does not call her friends together to tell them that she still has what she started with, but she does contact them when she finds that which was lost. The Pharisees could not understand this, because they failed to see themselves as lost. There was no rejoicing in Heaven over their self-righteousness. It was not that they did not need to repent; the problem was that they did not think that they needed to repent. There was more joy in the presence of God over one publican coming to Christ than over all their adherence to rituals and laws. Sometimes we as Christians can become very sanctimonious. We begin to think of ourselves as morally superior to the ungodly. Yet we are only sinners saved by grace, and we need to remember that these folks need to be saved also. We should welcome the opportunity to talk to them about the Lord, and should not be annoyed by their lost condition, but rather be excited about the chance to see them get found.
The third parable is the most familiar, for it deals with the Prodigal Son. Here we have two brothers, one who obeys his father and one who rebels. After spending time in sin the younger brother finds himself in a horrible condition. He comes to his senses, and shows genuine repentance by his decision that he would not longer need to be treated as if he were a son. He returns home and his father, who has been watching for him, runs to greet him. He accepts his repentance, restores him to the benefits of sonship, and has a great feast so that all can share in his joy. When the elder brother heard of it he refused to join in, but was embittered towards both his brother and his father. This reveals his true character. He may never have been externally rebellious, but inwardly he was rebellious, and he opposed his father. There was rejoicing over the return of the wayward son, but none over the one who never realized that he was a sinner too. Thus the Pharisees, who claimed to follow God, were on the outside of the kingdom while the sinners, who had openly rebelled against the Lord and then repented, were a source of great rejoicing.
Two questions need to be asked here. First, have you seen yourself as a lost sinner and allowed yourself to be found by the Savior? Second, do you rejoice over the salvation of the wicked, or would you rather just hang around with other believers and look down your spiritual nose at the unsaved? I hope you can give the Biblically correct answer to both questions.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery