God Wants You Back: The Lost Sheep and Lost Coin

  • Presented by  K. Peters
  • Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, April 11th, 2018

This series was created by Pastor Victor Dyman. For several weeks, the Church youth took different stories in the study and presented it at the Wednesday Night Prayer meetings. This was our presentation week.

How many of you have lost something before, (anything) and you knew that you have lost it? How many of you have lost someone or have you been lost before? We are going to be looking at the beginning of Luke 15 as we will be spending some time focusing on the lost and the found.

Luke 15: 1-10 (KJV)

v 1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

v 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

v 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

v 4 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?

v 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

v 6 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.

v 7 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.

v 8 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?

v 9 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.

v 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Labels are big in the bible. Some people get labeled because of what family they are a part of, what God they worship, what country they were born in, or what social class they fell in. For some, a label was a source of pride, for others, a label was a sticker of shame and disdain. In verse 1, we see two groups that were labeled. They were the publicans and sinners. In verse 2, we meet two other groups: the Pharisees and scribes.

Publicans (tax collectors) and sinners were the outcasts of the society, yet many of them saw their need for salvation and flocked to Jesus. The scribes and the Pharisees were the opposite of these groups; or so they believed; and were disgusted by how these ‘sinners’ followed Jesus.

Isn’t it remarkable that the scribes and Pharisees pointed fingers at the outcasts of society as sinners, as if they weren’t sinners themselves… but that is the very foundation of the problem: they did not see themselves as sinners, so in their minds, those labeled as such (pause) were rejected by God so they would reject them too.

In the book ‘Christ Object Lessons’ chapter 15, it says

The rabbis had been disappointed in Jesus. Why was it that one who claimed so lofty a character did not mingle with them and follow their methods of teaching?…If He were a true prophet, they said, He would harmonize with them, and would treat the publicans and sinners with the indifference they deserved.

In this Youth Revival Series, when speaking about the scribes and Pharisees, it says

“ They believed we humans have to work really, really hard, do all the right things in the right way every minute of every day and then maybe, if we’re really lucky’, God might accept us…they believed they were righteous and therefore worthy of God’s attention, and the tax collectors and others they looked down on were not”

But Jesus came to reveal Our Father’s love for all mankind, and to explain this, He employed His use of parables.

In the first parable, we are introduced to a shepherd and his sheep. He has 100 of them, and in his travels with them, he realizes one is missing. It is lost!

What do you know about sheep?

Sheep are docile, meek animals, they have good hearing, great sense of smell and are sensitive to noise when being handled.  They have great peripheral vision (and can see alone their sides), but they have poor depth perception, so shadows and an uneven ground will stress them a bit. When alarmed, they will run towards the lit area rather than dim areas.

When I lived in the Caribbean, I lived near a shepherd who owned sheep and goats, and when he went to untie them and bring them to the stream to drink, or to take them to other plains where there was more grass, I would love joining him. He made weird sounds to them, to keep them all together, and sometimes, I am certain, it seems they answered him when he called to them!

The Series Notes says to imagine if you were a sheep, and for a time, you are eating grass along with your fellow sheep family members, and it says “perhaps you think you see something green over in another spot, and you go to investigate to see whether you can eat it. But after a while, you realize you are alone. The rest of the flock has left you!” Some people believe maybe that sheep started to wander around, and then got stuck somewhere and couldn’t get out. But during all of this, you are cry out for help; hoping to hear that familiar sound of your Master, but you hear nothing. You are lost, you maybe scared, hurt and anxious; but in all of this, you are not the only one suffering! The shepherd is hurting too.

Christ Object Lessons (chpt 15) says the shepherd, once he discovers one of his sheep is missing doesn’t say

“I have ninety and nine, and it will cost me too much trouble to go in search of the straying one….. No;  no sooner does the sheep go astray than the shepherd is filled with grief and anxiety. He counts and recounts the flock. When he is sure that one sheep is lost, he slumbers not. He leaves the ninety and nine with the fold, and goes in search of the straying sheep.”

The shepherd goes searching and listening; listening for his sheep’s voice until he hears a faint cry.

Following the sound, he climbs the steepest heights, he goes to the very edge of the precipice, at the risk of his own life. Thus he searches, while the cry, growing fainter, tells him that his sheep is ready to die. At last his effort is rewarded; the lost is found. (Praise The LORD!!) Then he does not scold it because it has caused him so much trouble. He does not drive it with a whip. He does not even try to lead it home….In his joy he takes the trembling creature upon his shoulders; if it is bruised and wounded, he gathers it in his arms, pressing it close to his bosom, that the warmth of his own heart may give it life. With gratitude that his search has not been in vain, he bears it back to the fold.

What happens next? Verse 6 tells us when he returns home, he tells his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him because he has found the lost sheep.

Verse 7 is the highlight of this section of scripture: it says, (Jesus speaking) 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.

The Series Notes says the pharisees and scribes didn’t like this story. It seems to them that Jesus was saying he loved the lost more than them, but Jesus was not saying that. Jesus knew all humans are sinners and they all need to repent. The Pharisees and scribes’ problem was that they didn’t think they were lost.

But Jesus didn’t stop there.

He had another parable for everyone listening (in Luke 15: 8-10):

We are now introduced to a woman who had ten silver coins. We are not told more about this woman. Some assume she was married (so some believe this was her dowry– her marriage portion), others believe she may have been single or widowed. Whatever her marital status, that money was hers, and it was important to her to find the lone missing coin.

In Christ Object Lessons,  it says houses in the East were poor and usually consisted of one room with no windows. Because of this, we can understand when one of this woman’s coin went missing, she need light to find what was hiding in the darkness. The place was probably dusty, so things probably got swallowed up by dust and dirt when they fell on the floor. With a candle lit, she swept the home diligently.

Now although we were not told about her status, we are told that she, like the shepherd, told her “friends and neighbors” that she lost one coin. The Series Notes say perhaps she was alone with no children or husband to care for. Because of this, and because there were almost no jobs for women, these coins (about ten days’ wages) may have been all she had saved!

In this scenario, you can see why she was anxious about finding that missing coin.

Can you imagine yourself as that lost coin? How do you feel? The Notes says

“If you were the coin, would you be all upset and frightened, like the sheep? No, because coins don’t have feelings. Could you struggle and call for help? No, coins can’t do that. The coin didn’t even know it was lost. It had no idea it was valued or that somebody wanted it and was searching for it. It didn’t get lost by wandering away or losing track of the other nine.” 

But in her searching, Thank The LORD, she found the lost coin and happily tells her friends and neighbors about it.

“The scribes and Pharisees were like this coin. They hadn’t wandered away from their faith; in fact, they were extremely faithful in performing all the duties and rituals they thought were important to be a good Jew and having God’s favor. They would have been horrified if someone said they were lost or needed to be rescued….they were lost among a forest of rules they’d made up for themselves, trying to earn God’s love.”

But no matter what circumstance, God wanted to save everyone who hears His voice.

With these verses, we can imagine the joy and exhilaration that may take place in heaven every time one lost person comes back to the God who wants him or her back.

Can you imagine that? Angels cheering for you when you return to God! That vision should always be in the forefront of our minds: heaven is very interested in your salvation, and all of heaven is indeed rooting for you!

These two parables are similar in a way, but they have their differences.

 Christ Object Lesson says “…the two parables represent different classes. The lost sheep knows that it is lost. It has left the shepherd and the flock, and it cannot recover itself….The lost coin represents those who are lost in trespasses and sins, but who have no sense of their condition. They are estranged from God, but they know it not. Their souls are in peril, but they are unconscious and unconcerned…The sheep wandered away from the fold; it was lost in the wilderness or upon the mountains. The piece of silver was lost in the house. It was close at hand, yet it could be recovered only by diligent search. ”

The sheep was lost away from home; the coin was lost at home, but in the end, they were both lost.

They both belonged to someone: the sheep to the shepherd and the coin to the woman.

It wasn’t enough for the shepherd or the woman to just go out and buy another sheep or obtain another coin; they wanted what was theirs – that particular sheep and that particular coin. They wanted them back.

God wants you back. He wants me back. What is your answer to Him?

Now, you are a FOUND sheep…a FOUND coin. What are you going to do about it? Do you know others who are lost? Why not tell them about the Heavenly sheep-Seeker or coin-Seeker. He doesn’t just want you, He wants you back. Take the first step; He is already waiting with open arms to welcome you back.

Extra:  On a broader sense, our whole world is a lost sheep and a lost coin. We wandered away from God and chose our own way, and some of us on this planet (like the sheep) realize we are lost; others (like the coin) don’t, but God has made provision through Jesus Christ that all of us can be found and saved.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (from God Wants You Back Series)

  1. Compare and contrast the two stories in this lesson. How are they similar? How are they different?
  2. Have you lost something? What happened?
  3. What do you think it means to be lost and not even know it? How much rejoicing in heaven is there over you? (Hint: a lot!)