The Value of Souls
Text: Luke 15:1-10
I. It is far too easy to lose sight of the goal
A. We look at the sin in the world around us, knowing that we are not to get caught up in it - Romans 6:1-2
B. We don’t want to be influenced by the world - I John 2:15-17
C. But in the effort to maintain our moral purity, we forget that it must be done while living in the world - I Corinthians 5:9-10
D. We cannot isolate ourselves from the sinners of this world because it is those sinner who need the gospel so desperately.
1. Our duty is to reach the lost in the world with the gospel - Matthew 28:19-20
II. People do forget
A. Mark 2:16-17 - Aid needs to be given to those who need it the most.
B. The Jews couldn’t see past the sins - Luke 15:1-2
1. In the confrontations between the Pharisees and Jesus, they could not find anything wrong with Jesus so they attempted to pin blame by association.
2. “A person who hangs around with sinners must have things in common with them”
C. Jesus answers with three parables to explain why we must change our attitude
1. Luke 15:4-7 - The lost sheep
a. How much effort is one willing to give to bring just one animal back?
b. The scribes and Pharisees were looking at the situation wrongly. They saw sinners. Jesus saw people who needed saving.
c. Jesus left his throne of glory to seek and save the lost - Luke 19:10
d. Every soul is precious and God wants every effort made to rescue what is lost.
(1) In a way, the lost soul is more important to God because of the fact that it is lost.
2. Luke 15:8-10 - The lost coin
a. This parable emphasis the effort a person is willing to give to find something lost.
b. How many of you have torn up your whole house just to find an item that could have been replace in less time than it took you to tear up the house?
c. The coin was a drachma, worth about a day’s wage. She had nine others, but the realizes the lost one is valuable enough to put effort into finding it.
d. People get excited at finding a lost coin, how much more exciting is it to rescue a lost soul?
3. Luke 15:11-32 - The lost son
a. Here the emphasis switches from the seeker to the lost.
b. The son who left represents the lost sinners. We learn that the lost are in that state by their own choice. They return also by their own choice.
c. God wants the sinner back even though they left him.
(1) He is able to forgive and forget all past wrongs.
d. The joy of return again is expressed, but notice the reaction of the elder brother who did not stray.
(1) The Pharisees and scribes were represented by the older son who was too caught up in his own righteousness to see the value in another person's return.
III. It is so easy to become self-righteous
A. We stay on the straight and narrow. We know that what we do is pleasing to God.
B. When we see how the lost are ruining themselves, it is easy to fall in the snare of pride.
1. Our focus becomes what I want, what I need, instead of looking out for the needs of others - Philippians 2:3-4
C. The disciples fell into this trap - Luke 9:51-54
D. This is the trap Jonah fell in
1. Jonah did not want to teach in Nineveh - Jonah 1:1-3
a. Nineveh was the enemy of Israel.
b. Jonah was not interested in their salvation, he wanted to see them destroyed.
2. When Jonah was forced to go, he taught that they only had 40 days - Jonah 3:1-4
a. I’m sure Jonah did not mind that those who heard his message would soon be dead.
b. I’m sure the reaction was not what Jonah was expecting.
c. The people from the lowest to the greatest, turned! - Jonah 3:5-9
3. So God changed his mind - Jonah 3:10
4. Jonah was furious!
a. God would not have mercy on him! He made Jonah go and preach to his enemies - Jonah 4:1-3
(1) How soon he forgot his rescue from the whale! Was that not mercy?
(2) See how he applies mercy to himself, but not to his enemies?
5. God teaches Jonah a lesson - Jonah 4:4-11
a. Jonah cared more for the plant than a city full of people!
b. Jonah had done nothing for the plant, but he did teach a whole city.
c. 120,000 people turned because of one man’s teaching! Should God not have pity on such people?
IV. We need to keep our focus.
A. Luke 15:10 - When someone responds to God’s message, there is excitement that reaches all the way to heaven!
B. Each and every person, no matter how high or low stationed in life is important to God.
C. Ezekiel 33:11 - God doesn’t look forward to punishing the wicked. He will do so, but he would rather that each person turn to him. He leaves the choice to the individual.
D. II Peter 3:9 - God would like everyone to turn to him
E. There are precious souls to snatch away from the true enemy. Each one is a tremendous victory for our Savior.
F. II Timothy 2:24-26 - See how the emphasis is on the lost, and not the saved.
V. If we spend countless hours reaching out to someone lost, is it not worth it if they turn back to God?
A. It is a matter of priorities. Too often we make our convenience and our comfort a priority.
B. How valuable is your neighbor’s soul to you?
C. And know that God values every one of His children, but to find a lost child is far more important.