The Heart of God in Salvation
An exposition of Luke 15:1-24. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, June 21, 2009.
Sermon Notes »
Have you ever lost something of great value to you? Something that may not have been of any value or worthy to anyone else but it meant something to you? I have a tendency to like “a” shirt. And I will wear that shirt until it is worn out – then I’ll latch onto another one. It’s a flaw in my otherwise flawless character! One day I went to the closet for my shirt. It was gone. “Rheadon where is my shirt?” “What shirt?” “My shirt! What shirt…what kind of question is that? She probably threw it away – she knows I love that shirt. What did I say? Oh, nothing dear.” I ransacked the closet. Nothing. Emptied the draws in the dresser – not there. Dumped the laundry basket. The washer? No. The dryer? Empty. I’m going to find my shirt if it kills me. After an exhaustive search I found it – yes where I had left it – wadded up on the floor. I wept.
He had done it before. It was nothing new – in fact every time he got the chance he ran away. I never understood it. He was greatly loved. He was abundantly provided for but he wanted more. He didn’t seem to care about the pain he caused when he ran away. Our weenie dog had run away again! I got on my bike and circled the block calling for John. No response. We got in the car and with great intensity and determination my eyes searched as I called out his name. “There he is.” As we pulled up beside him I threw open the door and he jumped into my lap. My fear and frustration were gone. All that matter was that he was found.
Lost things. What happens when something that you love is lost? And what happens when it is found? That’s what I want us to think about this morning as we explore Luke 15.
Text: Luke 15:1-24
The Scriptures are clear – those who are “outside” of Christ are “lost.” Those who have not repented of their sin and put their trust and confidence in Christ and Christ alone are separated from God. They are aliens and strangers. They are denied both the pleasure and the benefit of His presence. They know nothing of his peace, mercy and grace. They are, in the words of the apostle Paul, “dead in trespass and sin.”
What is the attitude of God toward those who are lost? Many only see the response of His holiness. They think of His wrath, His vengeance and His judgment. While God is holy and while there is a fearful judgment that awaits those who die in their sin – that is not the whole picture. If we want a true picture we must add to His wrath and judgment His love and grace. That is the focus of our text. Luke 15 is one of those mountain peaks in Scripture. The story of the “prodigal son” is one of the most familiar texts in all the Bible but I think that it is often viewed out of its context.
Now it is in response to all this that Jesus tells them this parable. (15:3) What follows is one parable. Not three but one. They must be taken together in order to get the whole message.
Thesis: Salvation is the work or our great and compassionate God.
Reflected in this parable is the work of God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and God the Father. Salvation is the triune work of God. These are not three parables looking at one truth from three perspectives. Rather it is looking at the one great work of God and seeing the depth of that work.
There are three things I want us to note in our text.
- The lost sheep reveals the heart of God grieving over the one lost. (15:3-7)
- The lost coin reveals God’s compassion in diligently seeking the lost. (15:8-12)
- The lost son reveals the love of God joyously receiving the repentant sinner. (15:13-24)