Luke 15:7 “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
It is the time of year when the school year ends that we laud the achievements of the students and graduates. Awards, trophies, and certificates will be given. Hard work and diligence will have paid off.
The festivities only last for a little while, and then it’s time to clean up and go home. After the celebration has ended, some fade into obscurity and are seemingly forgotten.
What about that student who lost their parent, struggling with grief, and their grades suffered because of it?
What about that young girl who got pregnant?
What happened to the young man arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people?
Some are dealt a blow, whether by situation, circumstance or even by something self-inflicted who do not immediately rise up. We hear the comments in small groups who criticize and gossip.
What of the fallen, forsaken, and forgotten? Who will be the one to come alongside them to help them rise up again?
While the Lord Jesus Christ walked the earth, He was strongly criticized for the company He kept.
Matthew 9:10-11 “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?”
We all put our best foot forward, don our masks, and try to put forth a front that lets everyone know that everything is okay when in reality, we are falling apart on the inside.
The fight within, trying to push down the feelings of guilt, shame, and regret while trying to function like we have no problems, is genuine for many.
What I read today should give us great hope for any situation and circumstance we may face.
God the Father, knew that we would need a path back to Himself when either taken in the bondage of sin or overwhelmed by the circumstances of life. Each and every soul matters to God.
God is no respecter of persons.
He will not favor any one person over another when it comes to salvation. It is offered freely to all who will come.
Time after time, Jesus sought those the religious leaders of the day condescended to. He gave illustrations of the Pharisee and the publican who came to pray. He shared company with those viewed as unworthy, unclean, or castaways.
A woman taken in adultery was brought to Him, and he showed mercy and forgiveness instead of being goaded into judgment.
The heart of our Heavenly Father was revealed in the life of Jesus Christ. Our Father’s love for us was about to be put on display in such a way that the whole world would be forever changed.
Faith needs action to be seen by those who need it most.
Who, today, is going out to seek those devastated by sin?
The poor, the homeless, the single mother, the incarcerated, the addict, the victim of abuse, or even the abuser; who are the ones leaving the fold to bring them to Christ?
There is far greater rejoicing for that one’s return than anything we celebrate here on earth.
Luke 15:10 “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
We can feel comfortable and secure in the confines of our church. We begin to be bothered by those who would need something requiring labor or sacrifice on our part.
When the church starts down that path, it will eventually turn into a social club attended by its members and shun those who don’t “fit in.”
May we embrace the heart of our Heavenly Father by seeking those for whom Christ died. A church’s mission program goes around the world with the gospel. It takes very little to give money to support such a ministry.
But to fulfill the great commission closer to home takes time, talent, and treasure that employs hands and feet locally. We can cause all of Heaven to rejoice when we visit those in nursing homes that family and friends have forgotten.
We can make the angels sing when that one in jail hears there is freedom even behind the physical bars they hold by accepting the Savior.
Music will be played, and rejoicing begins when that lost one will bow their head and place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save their soul.
You and I cannot fathom the intensity of praise and worship when we bring a lost one home.
Lastly, Jesus follows this passage with the story of the prodigal son. There are so many lessons in it, but this is worthy to note here.
The prodigal’s father maintained a daily watch for his son to return home.
When we are taken by sin and wander away, our enemy tries to tell our hearts that our Heavenly Father is disgusted with us, rejects us, and wants nothing to do with us. It breaks His heart to see us in the grip of sin and apart from fellowship.
Often, the hardship that comes into our lives is there to bring us back to the Father. If we are His child, He will correct us to get us back into close fellowship.
Hebrews 12:5-6 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
You may feel alone, lost, and without hope today. But if you are a child of God, you are not forgotten or forsaken.
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
When you do come home, know that there will be rejoicing in Heaven when you do.