WHY WE NEED A SAVIOR – Kevin’s a really great guy – refreshingly-honest, loyal, courteous and respectful. He’d give you the shirt off his back! He’s a righteous dude! So, where does he fall short? Whaaat? He’s still a sinner? You’re going to have to explain that to me!

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Why We Need A Savior -

                             Man’s Dilemma and God’s Fix!

 

There are only two classes of people who have ever walked the face of this earth. In speaking of the Judgment, Jesus taught parables of sheep and goats, of wheat and tares, parables of good and bad fish, good-and-faithful servants, and wicked-and-slothful servants – all representing the redeemed and the lost –  it’s simply “them that do” and “them that don’t”!

Among the latter class, those who are presently in a lost condition, there are three types, which Jesus further illustrated in these three parables, which we’ll find “bumper-to-bumper” beginning in  …

Luke 15:3 – Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home.  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”   Now Jesus continues in verse 8:

Luke 15:8 – “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Then Jesus concludes with:

Luke 15:11 – The Prodigal: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ // (This is a display of cold disrespect for the father – “I can’t hang around here till you die. I wanna live now, I wanna party!”)  So his father divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

 

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

 

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

The Parables of The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Lost Son depict three classes among all of humanity who are in a “lost” condition. 

From birth, we are all “lost”.  Romans 3:23, 24  “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”   Every last, individual soul.

Romans 7:18, the Apostle Paul confesses: “I know that in me dwelleth no good thing.”  This is the indictment against the human family:

The Prophet Isaiah tells us, “… we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6

Paul testifies in Romans 3:10-12 “As it is written, there is none righteous,  not  one”.  We are all under condemnation.

Spiritually, all  have been – and perhaps many still are – in the condition of either the Lost Sheep, or the Lost Coin, or the Lost Son.  Let’s take a closer, deeper look into each of these parables.

The Lost Coin – did not even know it was lost.  Its owner had to miss it, and search for it, and retrieve it.  Some are in a spiritually-destitute condition, of which they may even be unaware.  Someone must care enough to seek them, and share with them the Good News of the Gospel.

Here’s a prime example of a “Lost Coin”:  This is a wealthy, powerful, influential man; a good man by the world’s standards; a Pharisee, a strictly-religious, prominent man in the community.  We find him in the third chapter of the Gospel of John.

 

John 3:1-7   “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’   3 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ 4 Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ //  (Disregarding the sarcasm, Jesus stays on-message.) 5 Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. //  Something to ponder: In the natural birth, we are born of water and spirit – the water of the womb, and the “pneuma”, the Spirit, the  breath of life.  The RE-birth of water and the Spirit, to which Jesus is referring,  consists of the water of Baptism, from which we emerge, and the life-giving Holy Spirit.)  6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again.”   NKJV   Nicodemus had not a clue that he was lost!

Is it possible that we could be a Lost Coin?

The Lost Sheep unlike the lost coin, the wayward sheep knew it was lost and realized its condition, but it was helpless to find its way home – it simply didn’t know the way.  The shepherd had to seek it – to come looking for it; and when he found it, he had to place it up on his shoulders, and carry it safely back again to the fold.

Some of us are disconnected, separated from our Heavenly Father, from the fold. We can sense our lost condition, but we don’t know what to do or where to begin.  We don’t know how to find our way back home.  We may have friends, family members who are lost sheep.

Isaiah 53:6  “ All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him  (that is on Jesus) the iniquity of us all.”  KJV   Jesus, the True Shepherd, seeks us, and longs to bring us into the fold, to return us to His family. He IS The Way!

Ephesians 1:6-7  “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved, (Who is ‘The Beloved’ of the Father?) in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”  KJV   We are the Prodigal, and the message we have to share is: Yes! you can come home!

The Lost Son was not only accepted, but he was restored to the family, as evidenced by the ring, a symbol of authority, and the robe, symbolic of the Robe of Christ’s righteousness, and sandals.

The Lost Little Lamb was received with open arms by the shepherd, and was restored to the fold with full grazing rights!

Even the Lost Coin was gleefully welcomed back by its owner, and was, I’m certain, promptly restored deep into her purse!

The Prodigal Son is a fictitious story; it’s a parable, designed to illustrate the lost sinner and his complete restoration into the family.  But the Bible also tells a true story;  one about a lost daughter who came from the town of Magdala, whose name was Mary.  We know her as Mary Magdalene.

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John 8:2-11  “And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them.  And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,  4 They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, ‘Woman, where are thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?’   11 She said, ‘No man, Lord.’ And Jesus said unto her, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.’ ”

Most Bible scholars concur that the woman spoken of in this story is indeed Mary of Magdala, or Mary Magdalene.

Luke 8:2  tells of “ certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities”, and names Mary, called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons.”  NKJV   Was Mary lost?  She certainly had been.

 Was she fully restored to His grace?  Oh, you bet she was!  When we return to a trusting relationship with our Heavenly Father, He is able, and is most willing, to bless us abundantly, and then to use us in many ways in His Gospel ministry work.

Watch this, now, and witness Mary’s astounding response to Jesus, and her demonstration of her love and gratitude for His mercy and His saving grace:

Luke 7:36-39  A prominent member of the Pharisees invited Jesus to a dinner he was hosting. “He went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.

37 And, behold, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

 

39 Now when the Pharisee which had invited Him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, ‘This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, for she is a sinner.  KJV  A sinner, yes – but,  a sinner saved by grace!

John 12:3  positively identifies the woman who anointed Jesus as Mary.  “Then Mary took about a pint of pure spikenard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”  NIV

The Scriptures testify that she did indeed return home and, as a result, was blessed with the privilege of being present at the foot of the Cross, to comfort Jesus until His final breath … Matt 27:59-61  “When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb … he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb … And Mary Magdalene was there.”  NKJV 

… and then, incredibly, she was blessed and privileged to be the very first person to whom Jesus appeared at His Resurrection.   Mark 16:9  tells us, “He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.”  NKJV  

 Does God bless and reward His faithful?  Yes, indeed, He does!

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”

Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” KJV

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” KJV   Don’t stop here!  Watch verse 17.  Here’s God’s purpose!  ”For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”  KJV   Wow!  And that’s why Judgment Day is called “The Day of Covering”!

 II Cor 5:21  “For He (that’s God) hath made Him (Jesus), Who knew no sin, to be sin for us;  that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him (in Jesus).”  And therein lies the supreme Gift of God!

John 15:4, 5  “… without Me ye can do nothing.”  That is, we can do nothing that is of any eternal value or consequence, without Him.

To the Found Coin, to the Retrieved Sheep, and to the Reconciled Son, God’s Word assures:

Rom 8:1  “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  KJV    … who once were lost but now are found; who have been restored to the fold;  who have come home to stay.  There is No condemnation!   Are you “In the Beloved of the Father”?

As Jesus spoke gently to the Lost Daughter, Mary of Magdala, He speaks to us, as well, “… neither do I condemn you go and sin no more.” … which is precisely the core message of His Everlasting Gospel!

Jude 24  “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, (This is Sanctification language!) and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy”     KJV  (And this is pure Judgment talk!  Praise Him!!)

(Now, turn to the comforting, good news message of Psalm 103!  Please read all of it!  Make it yours!  Never, ever let it go!)

 

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