#7 ~ The Kingdom Is for the Lost

#7 ~ The Kingdom Is for the Lost

Have you ever been lost? What are some things that we celebrate?
How do you relate to non-Christians? How do you think you come across to them?

The disciples must have been thinking about this “Kingdom of Heaven” quite a bit. In Mark 9:33-34, which may have been the same setting that we are going to read in Matthew 18:1-4, the disciples were arguing about who was to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. We should not overlook the fact that they believed in the reality of this Kingdom of Heaven because they were coming to Jesus asking questions about it. Based on their questions, though, it seems that some of the basic teachings of the Kingdom of Heaven were foreign concepts to them. This should be no wonder to us, because all we know is this world and the kingdoms of this world. They really are foreign concepts to all of us. See also Luke 9:46-48, Luke 22:24-27.

Matthew 18:1-4 ~ Little children are the greatest? The response of Jesus shows that the Kingdom of Heaven is not like the kingdoms of this world at all. The one who had no say, the one who was the least would be the greatest. In fact, unless each person is converted and humbles themselves, they will not even enter the Kingdom of Heaven. How can you be thinking about how great you would be while humbling yourself? The point of Jesus is that this type of thinking must be turned around, converted, before you can even enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In the context of what Jesus has been teaching, the point is that you must repent. Turn from your sins. Humble yourself. Once you do that you will not be arguing about who will be the greatest.

Matthew 18:10-14 ~ Jesus came for the lost. In this parable, Jesus is trying to convey to His disciples that the real rejoicing occurs when sinners are found and converted, when they humble themselves and repent. If the whole mission of Jesus was to come to seek and save that which was lost, how well is our church fulfilling the mission of Jesus? Which sheep out of the 100 was the greatest? Which one received the most attention? What does verse 14 teach us about the will of the Father?

Note: This was good discussion amongst a group of people who have been at the same church for a long time. The focus is not on the sheep who have been in the fold the longest, or on those who have never went astray. The focus is on the one who needed to be brought back.

Luke 15:1-2 ~ Jesus continues to eat and drink with sinners. The Pharisees have a big problem with the people that Jesus associated with. He already had the title of Friend of Sinners that we saw back in Matthew 11:19. Why do you think this was difficult for the Pharisees to accept?

Luke 15:3-7 ~ The Parable of the Lost Sheep. The parable is essentially the same as in Matthew 18:11-14, but the context is slightly different. How does this parable show the heart of Jesus as the Good Shepherd? What are some of the differences between the two passages? When was the last time you called someone to rejoice over the repentance of someone else?

Isaiah 53:6 ~ People are like lost sheep. How does this passage portray us?

Luke 15:8-10 ~ The Parable of the Lost Coin. In this parable, the person doing the seeking is a woman. It seems that the household riches have been entrusted to her. A drachma was a day’s wage. Think about how much you earn in a day’s work, and then think about this woman being entrusted with 10 days’ wages. One of them gets lost. This is not a little sum of money. It would be like losing a $100 bill or your cell phone. You would notify neighbors asking them to keep an eye out for it. You would search the whole house. When it is finally found, you would experience a huge sense of relief. Do we have this same sense of urgency when we realize that people are lost?

Luke 15:11-16 ~ The Parable of the Lost Son. Instead of a sheep that gets lost, or a coin that gets lost, Jesus chose a willfully disobedient son to portray something lost in this parable. How would you feel about someone who took advantage of a relative in this way?

Luke 15:17-19 ~ The Repentance of the Lost Son. Is there some selfishness in the reasoning of the lost son? If someone who had stolen half your goods came back and was asking forgiveness, how would you react? Do you think the son had some reservations about how he would be received?

Luke 15:20-24 ~ The Reception of the Father. How does the father receive his lost son? Where else have we seen celebration language like this?

Note: In the other parables we see wedding banquet language in relation to the Kingdom of Heaven.

This would be a great story if it ended there. It doesn’t end there, and self-righteous people are the reason why. Jesus has an additional part to this story to demonstrate how two people who seem to be in the same family can be at odds over how to welcome lost people into the family.

Luke 15:25-32 ~ The Older Brother. What do the actions of the older brother show how he felt about his younger brother? What do the words of the older brother show about his focus? Look at the words of the father in verse 31 and ask, was it enough for the older brother to be with his father, to belong to his father, and have everything that he had? Is it difficult to rejoice for someone else and not want anything for yourself? What was the last thing you complained about here at Evanston and what does it reveal about your heart?

What are the two things we must do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? (Repent and believe the gospel). Did the older brother see his need for repentance? See verse 29. Do you come across as self-righteous to non-Christians? How are you doing at seeking out the lost? When someone repents, how are you doing at celebrating?

Lyrics: There Were Ninety and Nine by Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane (1868)
1 There were ninety and nine that safely lay
in the shelter of the fold,
but one was out on the hills away,
far off from the gates of gold —
away on the mountains wild and bare,
away from the tender Shepherd’s care,
away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

2 “Lord, thou hast here thy ninety and nine;
are they not enough for thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer:
“This of mine has wandered away from me,
and although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep.”

3 But none of the ransomed ever knew
how deep were the waters crossed;
nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed thro’
ere he found his sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert he heard its cry —
sick and helpless, and ready to die,
sick and helpless, and ready to die.

4 “Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way
that mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn,
they’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

5 But all thro’ the mountains, thunder-riv’n,
and up from the rocky steep,
there arose a glad cry to the gate of heav’n,
“Rejoice! I have found my sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back his own!”

If the Kingdom of Heaven is for the lost, how should we organize our church services and ministries?

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

P.S. Unless you understand that you are lost, you will never repent and believe the gospel. Unless you understand that you are lost, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. If we are to reach this world for Jesus Christ and preach about the Kingdom of Heaven, we must put this at the forefront of our message. We are lost. Christ came for the lost, not the righteous.

This entry was posted in Bible, Parables, Parables of Jesus, The Gospel of Matthew, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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