Challenging Truth: The Found Are Left, the Lost Are Found

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Last week’s readings focused Jesus’ followers on the difficult decisions they will face. Christians must count the cost of following Jesus. They must be aware of all they gain in Christ so that they are willing to bear the cost of whatever they might lose.

There is, of course, one decision we cannot make as Christians. It is the most important one. It is the decision to put our trust in Jesus in the first place. Left to ourselves, we are lost and helpless. We have no more ability to find our way to Jesus than a wandering sheep or an inanimate coin.

Therefore, Jesus seeks out the lost. Jesus had repeatedly indicated the types of people who respond to His gracious invitation to sit at His heavenly banquet. It would be the poor, the crippled and the blind—those who knew they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. On one occasion, in our Gospel Lesson, the behavior of the religious leaders led Jesus to tell two parables, that of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. In these parables Jesus rebukes those who consider themselves already found and not in need of repentance. At the same time He teaches His own great patience and mercy toward the lost—which each of us was before He mercifully found us and graciously forgave us.

In our Old Testament Lesson God taught His mercy toward hardened sinners by example. He commanded the prophet Hosea to marry an adulterous woman. His wife would be the ultimate object lesson. Her behavior resembled that of the wicked and rebellious people of Israel. Hosea’s marriage to her demonstrated the mercy and longsuffering of the Lord toward Israel. The Lord’s love for Israel never waned despite their unfaithfulness to Him. As a result, they would eventually come to their senses and “return and seek the Lord their God.”

In our Epistle Lesson Paul explains the purpose of calling a sinner to repentance. In 1 Corinthians Paul had told the congregation to exercise “Church discipline” and excommunicate a man living in public adultery. The congregation’s united action had had its desired effect. The man had come to his senses. Now in 2 Corinthians Paul urges them to comfort, console and welcome this lost sheep back into the flock.

Our Psalm is one of David’s Psalms of repentance, after He had come to his senses following his adultery with Bathsheba.

Our sermon will focus on the Gospel lesson under the theme: “Lost and Found”

This Week’s Lessons:

Hosea 3:1–5

2 Corinthians 2:5–11­

Luke 15:1–10

Psalm 51