God's family member
Reading: Luke 15:1-32
Blanks: ninety-nine, joyfully, rejoicing, lamp, angels
I am going to tell you a story.
It is not a true story.
But here we go:
There was a father who wanted to go to Disney World.
So he took his wife and his three children to Disney world.
Then in the morning he said to the kids:
“Now I am going to send you off to enjoy the rides.
But I want you to come back to this flagpole at 9 pm, OK?
Be sure to be here at 9pm!
Otherwise, we are leaving without you, alright?”
The children said “yes” and ran to the rides.
Nine o’clock came.
The parents were at the flagpole waiting.
The first child has arrived.
The second child has arrived.
But the third child was not there.
The father looked at his watch one more time and said to his wife:
“Okay, honey, let’s go home.”
His wife was like:
“We cannot go!
Our last child has not come back.”
The father was like:
“Listen, honey, he agreed to be here at 9 pm.
But he’s not here.
We have two wonderful children here who were able to do what they promised.
Let’s go home and raise them well.
His wife was like impossible to move.
She was like:
“Have you forgotten that we have three children?”
The father said:
“Why are you so obsessed with numbers?!”
She was like:
“Because we lost our child.
We got to find him!”
Again this is not a true story.
Aren’t you glad that it is not a true story?
This mother will search to find her child.
This mother would not give up.
Then she will be happy when she found her child safe and well nurtured.
Today, Jesus told us this kind of stories.
As for Jesus God is like this mother.
God would like to find God’s missing family member.
God would search for the last.
God would not give up.
Then God would be happy when God finds God’s children safe and well nurtured.
In the first story that we heard, Jesus was saying that God is like a good shepherd who had a hundred sheep.
But when he found out that one is missing.
He didn't say:
“I already have 99.
I think I have plenty.
I'm going to just take good care of them.
Let's take good care of 99.”
The shepherd left ninety-nine in the field and went to find his lost sheep.
Every one of us is found in this way.
Then when he found his sheep, he picked him up and joyfully carried him home.
Then he called his friends and neighbors and said:
“Let’s have a party.
I have found my lost sheep!”
In another story, Jesus was saying that God is like a woman who has ten silver coins.
But she lost one silver coin.
Then she lighted a lamp and searched carefully.
But she couldn’t find it.
So did she give up like that the father in the Disney World?
No, she cleaned the whole house searching carefully.
Then she found it.
Then, she called her friends and neighbors and said:
“Rejoice with me.
I have found my lost coin.
Let’s have a party.”
Telling these stories, Jesus explained his ministry.
He came to find God’s sheep.
Other shepherds in Israel would not take care of God’s sheep.
They were like the father in the Disney World.
So, many of God’s people were lost
Many Jews were separated from God.
They needed shepherds to take care of them.
But those shepherds were busy doing their own things.
They were busy keeping their tradition.
They were busy making people follow their authority.
They didn’t know how to help people to live for God.
So God’s sheep wandered off.
Some left to find another gods.
But those sheep were God’s, even when they lost their way.
They were still God’s people.
So God sends the Mother Jesus to find the lost and bring them home.
Jesus found the lost, one by one.
Jesus walked around the Sea of Galilee to to find them.
Jesus went and talked with them and healed them and helped them believe in God.
Jesus found the lost inside and outside the synagogues.
Jesus went to preach in their hometowns and in their meeting places and in their churches.
Like this, Jesus helped them experienced the heart of God the Mother.
And Jesus healed all the people who came to him.
Jesus healed people and worked miracles.
Jesus gave them reasons to believe in God.
When Jesus worked miracles, they experienced the kingdom of God appearing in their midst.
Where there is the Good Shepherd, the kingdom of God appears.
People saw this in him.
So many people followed him.
They knew that he was the good shepherd.
So they followed him even to the mountainsides and listened to him.
They knew Jesus is not like the father in the Disney World.
So they liked to listen to him.
Then Jesus found God’s family members.
Jesus brought Jewish people back to God.
But then even when people were gathering at his church, he left to find another church member.
So his church went with him to the streets.
His church went out with him because Jesus went out for the lost.
Who are the lost in the Bible?
They are not religious people.
They are those who don't know anything about God who loves them.
We don't care what their jobs is.
We don't care what country they live in.
As long as they don't know about God who loves them through Jesus Christ, Jesus may send us to help them.
When I read Jesus leaving his home again and again to find the lost one, I feel guilty sometimes.
Just like some of you I feel guilt that we haven't start a mission project yet.
And I'm also thinking of some people that I did not help.
I'm thinking of some people who I wasn't able to serve well for whatever reason.
But I sense Jesus encourages me to go once more and find the lost one.
So I'm thinking about how to help them to understand God better.
And I pray that they may get to know God better.
But at the same time, I know that people don't need me.
People don't need us.
People need to find Jesus the Good Shepherd, not me, not us.
We may love them.
But we are not the Good Shepherd.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
So what we hope to do is to help them find the Shepherd Jesus.
Jesus is the greatest pastor we have ever had.
Jesus is the great shepherd we have ever had.
Jesus is the great parent we have ever had.
We are glad that we found or we are found by this Good Shepherd.
We are glad that Jesus loves us.
We are glad that he is not selfish like us.
We are glad that he would sacrifice his life to find us God’s children.
But in this world, there are many people who misunderstood about Jesus.
So they didn’t expect very much from God.
So they didn’t come to know God.
Instead, they may search for something else.
In order to reach out to them, what are we need to do?
One thing that we may try to do is to use their languages.
When Jesus helped people to understand, Jesus used their language.
They knew about farming, fishing, gardening, building houses, flowers, birds, rock, and seed.
So when Jesus explained the kingdom of God, he compared the kingdom of God with farming, fishing, gardening, flowers, birds, houses, rock, and seed.
Jesus explained heavenly things using what they knew so that they might understand how the kingdom of God works.
Maybe God created these things so that Jesus could use to explain the kingdom of God.
When Jesus teaches his people enough, Jesus may say something like this to some people:
“Go and live for me and for my gospel.
Share my gospel with people.
Explain to them and show them what you have learned from me.”
Jesus is not asking us to find a sheep that is already found in another farm of his.
Jesus is asking us to find some people who need to know God.
We may think like this.
Jesus is the missionary.
Jesus is calling us to be missionaries in US.
We are missionary in US.
This is not our true home.
Our true home is found in the heart of God.
But then who are missionaries?
What does a missionary do?
They get to know Jesus and help one more person to find their home in Jesus the Christ.
They help one person at a time to find home in the heart of Jesus the Christ.
They somehow give people a chance to learn Jesus and experience Jesus.
Here we're not talking about bringing people to church per se.
We are talking about bringing the gospel to people.
In these days I am trying to find a mission project that I could recommend to you.
I'm looking at some mission organization.
I'm praying about some missionaries wondering whether we should support them together.
I don't think I know clearly yet what God wants.
Then I also hear that you have various good ideas.
You may have a better idea.
So let's talk about that together.
And let's wait together for the Holy Spirit to lead us in this.
In the meantime I again encourage you to pray for one of your neighbors.
It does not matter whether they are Korean or not.
It does not matter whether they could come to our church or not.
Jesus died and rose up again for them.
That's enough for us.
So we want to reach out to that person.
So let’s remember to pray for that person.
In this way we may follow Jesus who comes to find the missing God’s family member.
Lastly, remember that we are missionaries in the world.
And Jesus is trying to help one person at a time.
Jesus is still trying to find one more person.
Jesus may need us to show a small kindness so that they may sense the presence of God.
As a member of God’s family, as a person who know Jesus, may we help one person at a time.
May we find one person for God.
May he or she find Jesus as their Good Shepherd in life and the savior.
Jesus, thank you for reaching out for us.
Thank you for searching for us and find us.
Help us to love one person at a time.
May we help one person at a time.
Help us to reach out and search for your sheep.
Help us to serve your sheep.
May you help us to take care of your people.
And, help us to be the church that you desire.
We pray in Jesus name.