FPC Bethlehem's "Going Deeper with the Sermon" is designed to give you an opportunity to reflect on the sermons, go a the sermon text a little deeper and apply it to following Christ in the real world. FPC Bethlehem's "Going Deeper with the Sermon" is designed to give you an opportunity to reflect on the sermons, go a the sermon text a little deeper and apply it to following Christ in the real world.
GOING DEEPER WITH THE SERMON:
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
SPEAKER: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
DATE: August 13 & 14, 2016
TEXT: Luke 15:1-2, 11-12
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.
THE BIG IDEA
God has hard-wired us for community—we have an innate desire for home. What’s more, God wants us to be at home with him, to be family. He has done everything necessary for you to come home. In fact, God is searching for you with greater intensity than a shepherd searching for a lost sheep, or someone looking for a lost set of keys. Come home!
1. Recall a time when you were lost. Perhaps you were on vacation or had moved to a new city. What did it feel like to be directionless and disconnected from home? How did the situation resolve? How did you feel when you were finally back in familiar territory?
2. Reflect on your relationship with God. Was there a time in your life when you were distant from God, wandering away from Him? How did He bring you back? Who were the people, the situations, and the places that were part of that story of redemption? Give thanks for those things that helped you return to God.
3. Where are you today spiritually? Would you say that you are a growing, maturing, flourishing follower of the Lord Jesus? How would you describe your present spiritual condition? Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of things that need to be added or subtracted from your life in order to allow you to follow Christ more faithfully.
4. If you’re wandering at the moment. Do you doubt that God is eagerly waiting for your return, indeed even working toward your return? If so, acknowledge that to Him. And ask that He would give you the grace to return home.
5. Is there someone in your life who is wandering far from home at the moment? What is one concrete thing that you could do this week to reach out and show Jesus’ love to that person? Will you commit to pray that he or she would return home?
Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who will never lose a sheep—all whom the Father has given to you will be yours (John 6:37). You have given to each of us a natural desire for our true home, a relationship with you. You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you (St. Augustine).
Enrich and deepen, we pray, that desire for your presence that marks the life of all Christians. Help us to find such satisfaction in knowing you that we can say with Paul, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). Use us as your instruments to show your love for those who are wandering from you and to share with them the hope that we have found that comes through the gospel alone.
You know that we are weak, that we are prone to wander, and that we often fail. Thank you that your electing love is stronger than our weakness and stronger than our strength—that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is found in you, Lord Jesus.