[SW118] 12/06/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013
He seeks you, but you also must seek Him. So seek Him, and you will find life as God has it.
Scriptures: Luke 15
“He receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:2)
A “sinner,” in the eyes of the scribes and Pharisees, is one who does not follow Jewish Laws regarding clean/unclean, go here, don’t go there, and so on.
prosdechomai (4327); to receive to oneself: —to accept, to cherish, to look for, to wait anxiously for.
Jesus has just told the parable of a man giving a dinner (Luke 14:16-24).
His invited guests make excuses,
refusing to come to the dinner.
So the man sends his servants out into the streets and lanes
to bring to the dinner those who were considered sinners,
unclean, impure, cursed —
that is, the poor (ones who crouch and cower, beggars),
the crippled, the blind, the lame.
These were not considered “chosen,” in the eyes of the religious ones.
These “unchosen” he compels (14:23) to come in.
Why He speaks the parables in Luke 15 to them:
If the religious ones refuse to come at His invitation,
His plan will still go forth.
He will send His servants to bring in those who are not “the chosen.”
He will make for Himself a people who were not a people.
1Peter 2:10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. (also see Hosea 1:10)
The shepherd leaves the 99 unprotected in the open pasture (literally, wilderness)
to find the one that is lost (literally, perishing).
Then he returns with the one that was perishing,
laying it on his shoulders (Isaiah 40:11).
And he calls together his friends
and they celebrate with him.
There is more joy in heaven over one perishing sinner who repents,
than for 99 people who think they don’t need to repent (the religious ones),
who think that they get to heaven by doing good deeds.
These are the self-righteous.
He seeks the one who repents,
who changes his mind (mind and heart the same in Jewish thinking),
who turns away from the sin he is doing,
and turns toward God.
This one is a treasure to Him, as you’ll see.
The shepherd leaves the 99 in the wilderness, unguarded,
but he returns to them with the one who repented.
Perhaps they will become jealous.
The former Pharisee, the Apostle Paul, says it well:
Romans 11:11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.
God’s intent, even in leaving 99 in the wilderness,
is that the 99 repent as well.
But his plan will go forth, even if some of them don’t come in.
He considers these “unchosen” ones to be valuable,
so much so that they are worthy of His sweeping the earth,
seeking carefully and continually until he finds them.
They are a treasure to Him!
There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents!
Our Lord seeks, He seeks!
The Father does not desire that any should perish, but that all should come to the point of repentance.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Listen! You are His creation. He considers you to be worth seeking.
From the time Adam sinned, He has been seeking repenters,
the poor in spirit, the ones who realize they are beggars
in need of His rich mercy.
The extravagant son spends his inheritance on wild living.
He ends up in a pig pen, the most unclean place known to a Jew,
dying with hunger.
He will literally perish
because he is in a physical state of famine,
a deep, gnawing hunger.
In his famished state,
he realizes that if he goes back to his father,
he may at least have food and not perish.
But he knows he can’t go back without saying,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
“I am no longer worthy to be called your son;
“make me your servant.”
That is repentance!
And before he reaches his father,
he sees the father running toward him,
and before he can say “I have sinned,”
the father receives him as a son,
not a servant.
The Father sees his heart!
It is the same for anyone on this earth.
You were created by God.
If you will repent, He will receive you.
He will see your heart,
and run to you and embrace and kiss you.
You will be received as His son, His daughter!
But you will not repent
if you do not understand that you are perishing,
if you are not hungry to the point of being in famine.
You must see a deep, gnawing need to turn!
If you don’t understand that you are a sinner,
a rebel against God,
you see no need to turn to Him.
The Lord seeks ones who know they are sinners.
not the ones who believe they are good,
and do not need a savior.
The Lord seeks!
But the repenting part —
the turning part —
that is your part.
You must seek the One who seeks you!
Seek the Seeker! Do it with your whole heart (Psalm 24:6)!
O church, just as the Pharisees and scribes
were the target of Christ’s parables,
you are the target.
Do not think you can get to heaven by being a good person,
by doing good deeds.
In God’s eyes, you rebel when you think that way,
because if we can get to heaven by doing good things,
we are saying there was no need for Him to send His Son!
There is only one way for you to enter heaven — repent!
Believe that you need a Savior, Jesus Christ!
Jesus Christ will receive you to Himself,
He will accept you,
He will cherish you.
He waits for you. It is your move.
He seeks the one who will repent.
That one He will receive, He will bring to Himself, He will cherish.