Saturday, September 14, 2019

Pentecost 14 - Proper 19

Pentecost 14 – Proper 19
Luke 15:1-10
15 September 2019
God rejoices over sinners who repent

Almighty God, every good thing comes from You. Fill our hearts with love for you, increase our faith, and by Your constant care protect the good you have given us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever, Amen [1]

God rejoices. When sinners repent. Angels and archangels laud and magnify the king of heaven. Every time a soul is added to the kingdom. Evangelism is happy time of the church. Because it is an echo of what goes on in heaven. 

But when the Pharisees saw Jesus surrounded by tax collectors and well-known sinners, they grumbled and complained. “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” With respect to the Pharisees - it was too late for “those people” who had messed up so badly. These Pharisees. They didn’t even want such people. They were damaged goods. They didn’t believe in a God who would allow such sinners into His house.

So Jesus told the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. Jesus came, looking for them. Jesus came to find just these very people—sinful people, rebellious people, lost people.  Jesus came to pay for their sins, suffer for their sins, die for their sins, because He wanted them back—back in His kingdom. Back in His house.  He called them to repent of their sin and to trust in Him—that He would forgive them for everything, and bring them back into God’s house, for free.

Why is the Father rejoicing when we repent? Heaven’s bells right out. The Father rejoices over every sinner who repents. How is this so?

1. God’s will is fulfilled.

A. His desire is that all should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

1. Are all men saved? Man still has the will to say “No!” to God. Many in our world still do. But this didn’t stop Jesus and His mission. 

2. The goal is that all should be gathered. None should be missing. This is the purpose for Christ’s coming. 

3. We are way too inclined to put people into categories and then label them.  We see this in the media, but if we are honest we do it ourselves!  But, the guest list to the Father’s heavenly banquet is a long list.  The Father’s love extends beyond our petty categories and prejudices.  In fact, not only are all of THOSE people invited –so are YOU! The Father’s guest list of those whom He loves madly and passionately is a lot bigger than your guest list.   So come!  The table is set!  All are invited!  God’s love is showering down upon you!  

B. Come! That you would rejoice in the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.

1. This is the Father’s desire. God will never stop to look for and reclaim the lost!

2. This is His plan at work in your life and in the lives of all the people you love and also all the people you might have trouble. Christ’s love is so extreme that He will go to great lengths to seek us out and He never will let you go. 

C. That you would give thanks for God’s goodness. We thank Him for His generosity towards us. We praise Him for His care in our life.

1. Where would you be without Christ?

2. How different would your life be without Him?

Transition: The Father’s will is fulfilled when even one sinner repents. This is what pleases the Father. He is happy for sinner’s sake.

2. God is happy for the sinner’s sake.

A. You are now a part of God’s family. What was lost is now found. What was broken is now mended. What was found wanting is now restored.

1. Family is a unique grouping of peoples.

2. In this Friedheim Family “last names cease when we enter the parish door!”

B. By this act of mercy you now have access to the Father’s throne-room of grace. Every request, ever petition, every cry is heard by your Father in heaven. 

1. Every request is answered. According to the Father’s will. 

2. You can be assured that the Father’s will is being fulfilled in your life.

C. The same motivation of which moved the Savior to break into time and space to save and redeem you is the same motive to sustain and keep you. Remember the Catechism. He “guards and keeps us in the one true faith and keeps us with Jesus Christ our Lord.” This is why you’re a part of this Friedheim Family – you are incorporated into a community of faith called the Church.

1. There are no soloists in God’s choir. None going it alone. This runs completely counter to our present culture; which champions rugged individualism. In a world fixated on individual needs, personal desires, and particular thoughts and feelings it’s easy to translate this into our spiritual lives namely where we become focused on our own individual relationship with God.  Christ calls us to look at life through a wider lens. The Shepherd didn’t go after that one sheep to have quality time. Or one-on-one time. He goes after that one sheep to bring it back to the fold where it belonged. Those persons sitting next to you are your sisters and brothers in Christ. Persons for whom the Savior died and rose again. They are in a word, family.    

2. We each need each other. As part of the family of faith we enjoy each other, we grow together, we support and encourage each other.

The Church is family. The family of God. Welcome to the family. In this family you experience the Father’s love and welcome. You are accepted. By the Savior’s action the Father’s will is fulfilled. And the Father is happy for your sake.

Jesus receives sinners. That’s the message that comes through loud and clear. And when Jesus receives sinners, He rejoices over them. He rejoices that they’ve been found and brought back. And not only does Jesus receive sinners, and not only does He rejoice over them, He does one more thing. He restores these sinners to His service. Jesus Receives, Rejoices and Restores. 
Words - 1050
Passive Sentences –15% 
Readability – 83.7%
Reading Level – 3.7
The lost sheep copyright © Google images

[1]  Collect for Pentecost 14, For All the Saints A Prayer Book For and By the Church Vol.2 Year 1: The Season After Pentecost © 1995 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

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