1.0 Caring for People (Luke 15:1-3, 8-10).

Luke 15:1-3, 8-10-”1Now the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’

3Then Jesus told them this parable:

8‘Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me: I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Jesus often taught using stories-parables.

  1. The stories’ aim is to help change the hearer’s heart and mind because they presented very transforming lessons.
  2. The parable of the missing coin is the second of three stories Jesus used to help His audience understand that ”lost people are valuable to God.”
  3. The lost sheep
  4. The lost coin
  5. The lost boy
  6. There is no such thing as a neutral relationship with God. You are either lost or found.
  7. Lost people must be sought.
  8. Found people must partner with God to seek lost people.
  9. The parable teaches that even like this woman diligently searched for her one lost coin God diligently seeks to find lost people even if only one is lost.

Note: The Pharisee’s problem with Jesus was: ”Why are these worthless people attracted to You and You to them?” The flawed thinking of the Pharisees was: Holy people do not engage socially with unholy people. Jesus then cannot be holy. He must be a fraud!

  1. The reason for this parable was a singular one: Jesus wanted to explain to His critics why ”the irreligious and the dregs of society” were attracted to Him and He welcoming toward them.

2.0 A Coin is Missing! Now What?

2.1 Care Deeply!

  1. A) To CARE DEEPLY is the approach God takes and Jesus took towards lost people.
  2. Jesus asked His audience to imagine a woman who has 10 silver coins and loses one.

Luke 15:8-8Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?

  1. Jesus creates a little disorientation for His hearers by using a woman searching for a lost coin to describe God’s searching actions for a lost person.

Cultural Facts

(1) The word woman in the text is commonly used to reference a wife.

(2) The word Pharisee means ”separated one”. They were separatists who taught that salvation comes through separation. Jesus’ behavior grieved them because He was allowing the riffraff into His social space and life.

(3) The charge against Jesus was not simply that He ate with the irreligious; but he feasted with them. A feast is a planned meal where many gather. In essence, Jesus was taking pleasure in dining with sinners.

(4) In the mind of a Pharisee, a sinner was someone who led an immoral life (i.e., adulterers, swindlers, etc.). It also described people who were engaged in a dishonorable profession such as tax collectors, donkey-drivers, shepherds, peddlers, etc.

  1. The coin was lost.
  2. This is not simply an ordinary silver coin-a drachma-equivalent to one day’s wage.
  3. This coin formed part of the woman’s head-dress, which was part of her dowry-a gift she brought to the marriage.

The head-dress may not be laid aside; it was regularly worn. It was of such great value. Wealthy women had lost of coins in their head-dress.

iii. This poor woman’s deep care for the lost coin caused her to turn the house upside down in search of it.

The loss was not simply a silver coin; it was a disfigured head-dress; a flawed dowry. How could she regularly wear it now?

Having just 10 silver coins (or 10 drachmas) signaled that she was quite poor.

Jesus attached a spiritual meaning to the word lost.

Luke 15:9-10-”9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me: I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

  1. Lost means to be disconnected from God-a sinner.
  2. Lost means to live independent of God, ignoring both His existence and His demands on you.

Are You Lost? You Don’t Have to Be!

iii. To be found equates to the genuine repentance [change of heart] of the lost person. This is an abandonment of sin in order to be brought into alignment with God.

2.2 Search carefully!

  1. A) The woman lights a lamp.

Luke 15:8b-”…Does she not light a lamp”

  1. The house, having at best a few small windows and a low door does not let in enough light. So she lights a lamp.
  2. Light is a metaphor for truth; truth about where lost people stand with God.
  3. The woman sweeps the house.

Luke 15:8c-”…Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?”

  1. The sweeping action speaks of her thoroughness.
  2. She is willing to ensure the palm-twig broom removes the dust on the floor that may be preventing the coin from shining.
  3. C) The woman searched diligently for the coin.
  4. The gospel must be diligently shared with lost people for them to be brought into right relationship with God. There six main styles you can use to search for lost people:

i The Service Style

Note: You’re constantly doing good for others which stems from your love for them. This opens their hearts.

The Confrontational Style

Note: Your words are direct and confrontational but must be spoken in a respectful manner.

In the book Becoming a Contagious Christian, author, Mark Mittelberg shares his conversion story. For a long time he had played church and pretended to be a Christian.

I’d heard biblical teaching all my life, knew the Gospel message inside and out, and could quote lots of Scripture verses. But I needed a confrontational style evangelist who could get right in my face about my need to start living out what I knew to be true. And one day God sent one.

A friend I’d known in high school challenged the discrepancy between my beliefs and my lifestyle. Before we parted he looked me in the eye and told me I was a hypocrite. That made me angry. But over the next few days that anger turned to reflection and later to repentance. The following week I committed my life to Christ. Mark knew when he was found. The moment you repent is the moment you’re found.

iii. The Intellectual Style 

Note: You love to offer people knowledge, facts, or even debate serious issues. This helps intellectuals process.

The Relational Style

The Right Goal: Football great, Deion Sanders, says: ”I tried everything. Parties, women, buying expensive jewelry and gadgets, and nothing helped. There was no peace…I’d see a beautiful woman who was a challenge and I’d end up conquering her and I’d say to myself, Aw, man, this is not it! I’d go to Hollywood and hang out with celebrities and actresses I knew out there, and I’d conquer them, and No, this ain’t it either! Next thing I knew I’d be lying up in bed with two, three, four women, and realizing, I’m just getting farther and farther away. And this is definitely not it! Over the course of a number of years and several players and non-players praying for me and sharing their faith with me, Deion says, ”I put my trust in Jesus and asked Him into my life.” Source: Deion Sanders. Power, Money and Sex. (Nashville, TN: WORD Publishing, 1998), 86-87 and 99.

The Invitational Style

The Testimonial Style

These 6 styles help you Search Carefully

for the lost people in your world!

Everyone can use the testimonial style. It’s your personal testimony of how you met Jesus. Jesus encourages you to share your story so lost people can be found.

Mark 5:18-19-”As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”’

The testimonial style avoids appearing confrontational or disapproving of the person.

The testimonial style avoids your need to dismantle their arguments and reasons for not receiving Jesus as their Savior.

Tell your story! Don’t preach!

Acts 4:20-Peter and John said, ”For we cannot stop speaking of what we ourselves have seen and heard.”

  1. Tell your story of how you met Jesus!
  2. What was going on in your life back then?

What was your worldview before Christ?

iii. How did you cope with the trials, difficulties, and pain you were facing back then?

  1. How did you meet Jesus? How did He change your life?

Don’t preach! Tell your story!

The 2017 NCAA Basketball champs was the University of North Carolina thanks to their forward, Justin Jackson.

Justin’s Twitter bio says: ”I’m a Christ follower who’s in desperate need of my Savior, Jesus Christ, each and every day.”

”Personally, I play to glorify God. I write message[s] in Sharpie on my shoes-and also on my Instagram and Twitter accounts. I’m truly defined by my savior. And I’m so grateful to my parents who introduced me to my faith because I believe it’s kept me grounded and shown me what’s really important in life.”

Justin says, ”My identity isn’t in basketball because it fails. You have bad games and lose games, but with Christ He never fails.”

Justin is using the testimonial style to influence people for Christ. Use it too!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: ”Jesus himself did not try to convert the two thieves on the cross; he waited until one of them turned to him.” Source: Letters and Papers from Prison

2.3 Celebrate joyfully!

Luke 15:9-10-”9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me: I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

  1. Finding a single lost coin brought joy to the woman’s heart because without it she could not wear her head-dress.
  2. Finding it, the woman makes the call for her neighbors to share in her joy.
  3. The neighbors were most likely poor and would sympathize with her plight.

The loss of one coin would’ve ruined her dowry. The finding preserved it.

iii. Jesus taught that the woman’s grueling search portrays God’s loving efforts to find and rescue lost people.

Are you lost? You can be found todayright now!

  1. Repentance is the key to being found.
  2. Repentance is your cry for mercy-God’s mercy.

There must be a turning away from sin and a turning towards God.

  1. Jesus was teaching the religious rulers that they should act the same way as God when a lost person is found.
  2. There is rejoicing in heaven when even one lost person is found.
  3. A new person has been added to God’s family. Celebrate joyfully!

Another life has been eternally changed. Celebrate joyfully!

iii. The sacrificial death of Jesus scored another point of victory. God rejoices! Celebrate joyfully!

Jesus told the religious folks that they must join God in performing an exhaustive search for the lost.

Work hard at learning how to engage lost people in spiritual conversations.

Draw illustrations from popular culture so the person connects.

iii. Carry an invitation card with you.

  1. Prepare different versions of your personal testimony.
  2. Don’t forget the role of prayer. We ought to work really hard at learning how to search for lost people.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on the way from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, to Beijing on March 8, 2014, prompting the largest and costliest search in aviation history.

The Joint Agency Coordination Center in Australia helped lead the $160 million hunt for the Boeing 777.

The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 included a deep-sea search of a desolate stretch of the Indian Ocean.

The above water search covered over 46,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean without finding a trace of the plane.

They searched for the missing plane from the skies. The air search, lasting 52 days, covered 1.7 million square miles and involving 334 search flights.

”Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting-edge technology, as well as modeling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the almost three-year search has not been able to locate the missing aircraft.” The search has been called off!

Can you Search Desperately for your missing

loved ones with an equal or greater effort?

To the LOST in this audience, I must ask you this: Should God call off the search for you because you are eternally lost? OR

 Should God call off the search for you because TODAY you plan to be found?

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About The Author

David Ireland is the lead pastor of Christ Church, a multi-site multiracial congregation in New Jersey. Ireland serves as a diversity consultant to the NBA and also leads chapel services for the New York Giants, New York Jets, and the U.S. Pentagon. He has written over twenty books and appeared on The Dr. Phil Show, CBS Evening News, and The 700 Club. He began his career in civil engineering with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering (Farleigh Dickinson University) and a graduate degree in civil engineering (Stevens Institute of Technology). Later he attended seminary, earning a master’s degree in theology (Alliance Theological Seminary) and a doctorate in organizational leadership (Regent University). He and his wife Marlinda married in 1984 and have two daughters.

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