Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 18 - Leaving 99

Read Matthew 18:1-14

Rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep! v6  The story of the lost sheep is all about pursuit and celebration! This is a beautiful picture of our Father God who actively seeks out sinners and brings them home.   My question is also about those “99” who are in the fold?  Are they really in the fold?  The only way into the fold is through God pursuing all of us.  We all need to repent and make the 180 degree turn. Ultimately it is not us that find Jesus, He finds us.  The truth of the matter is that we love God because He first loved us. We have a seeking God who takes the initiative.  This was a revolutionary lesson for the religious people, the rabbis, who only saw God as one who welcomes a righteous person.  1 John 4:19 tells us that we can’t be righteous apart from him.  He welcomes sinners who recognize they need to be clothed in Christ’s righteousness.  The Pharisees thought they were in the fold.  The question we are left with here is, are we in the fold?  Jesus strategy was to ‘lose’ the ‘found’ and ‘find’ the lost! 

There is a huge difference between being religious and finding God.  To those who really understood the extent of their spiritual sickness, He was their caring doctor.  What made Jesus so attractive to the irreligious?  He took the initiative, he gravitated to the soul sick.  He genuinely loved the people others couldn’t stand.  Unfortunately for the Pharisees they could only see contamination coming from contact with sinners.  To those who took pride in their goodness,  He did whatever it took to put His finger on their sin.  He has no interest in us living with our the pseudo-security of human righteousness.

The second discovery is that we should never be satisfied with the status quo.  There are lost sheep out there that need to be found and we must never get to the place where we are happy with the way things are. God wants to work through us.  Finding the lost is a joyful experience, it is what we are all about and it is the most amazing adventure out there.  We carry our friends to Jesus like the friends who cut the roof open and brought him to the Saviour in Mark 2. 

The joy in heaven is not that we are all safe and protected in the fold.  No, it is rejoicing over taking risks to get out there and reach out.  It is a  dangerous mission to go out there, out of the safety of our church walls and be a true expression of Jesus.  We might get a bad rap and others may question your motives.  They may even call you names as we saw happen to Jesus, but He tells us to rejoice in Matthew 5:12 because great is your reward in heaven for bearing His name with grace. The shepherd carries the sheep on his shoulders, he joyfully puts it on his  shoulders.v5 We carry each other’s burdens and we bring them home to Jesus.  Are there people God is calling  you to bring home to Jesus?  Pray for the opportunities, they will come!

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