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 on the face of this earth.  In regard to the Final Judgment, Jesus referred to sheep and goats, wheat and tares, good fish and bad fish, good-and-faithful servants and wicked-and-slothful servants, to represent the redeemed and the lost –  just “them that do” and “them that don’t”!

Among that class that is presently living in the lost condition, there are three types, which Jesus further illustrated in these three parables:

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.”

Jesus then 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 – Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he 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 Prodigal Son represent three classes of humanity who are in a “lost” condition.

 

Romans 3:23, 24  “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”   All are “lost”.  Every last one of us.

Romans 7:18, Paul confesses: “I know that in me dwelleth no good  thing.”  And …

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

 

The Apostle Paul says in Romans 3:10-12 “As it is written, there is none   righteous, not one

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 at these parables.

 

The Lost Coin – did not even know it was lost.  Its owner had to 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 one example of a “Lost Coin”:  A very wealthy, powerful, influential man; a good man by all the world’s standards; a Pharisee, a strictly-religious, prominent man in the church and the community.  We find him in the third chapter of the Gospel of John.

John 3:1-7   “1 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?’  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. 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   He had no clue that he was lost.

Is it possible that we could be like The Lost Coin? 

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

Some of us are disconnected from our Heavenly Father, and we can sense our lost condition, but we don’t know what to do, or where to begin, to find our way back home.

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 (on Jesus) the iniquity of us all.”  KJV

The Lost Son  (The Prodigal) – knew he was lost, and  he knew the way back home.  But he wasn’t sure he would be received and accepted again.  So, after he had hit rock bottom, and his situation was steadily growing worse instead of improving, he sucked up his pride, took the necessary steps to begin his journey back  home;  steps necessary in order to be reconciled once more with his father..

 

Note that Scripture says the father saw his son “when he was yet a long way off”.  Now, what would that tell us?  That grief-stricken father must have been out there, day after day, watching up and down the road, scanning the horizon for the slightest sign of his wayward son.

Some may know that they are separated, estranged from their Heavenly Father, and may even know the way back.  These folks need to be encouraged and prayed over, and guided back home, and then welcomed warmly when they return to the family.

The father in this parable had compassion for his son. Nobody knew better than the son that he had failed big time. As good earthly parents, we have an abundance of compassion for our children.   Likewise, our Heavenly Father has greast compassion toward us, His wayward children.

The Prodigal’s father had already forgiven his son long before he came home. Our Father in Heaven also has forgiven us, in the Savior, a long, long time ago.  In 2 Corinthians 5:19, Paul writes: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” KJV   Jesus offers His forgiveness freely to those who come to Him.

The Prodigal though, among his many concerns, feared that he might not be accepted again by his father.  Have you wondered whether your Heavenly Father will receive you again?  Here’s some good news:

Eph 1:6-7  “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”  KJV  Now, who would be ”the Beloved”?  It’s Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten of the Father, in Whom He is well pleased.  And the redeemed are “in Him”, one with Him, accepted in the Savior.  We are the Prodigal!

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  … and now, continue on thru verse 17  ”For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”  KJV   Wow!

 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, nothing of any eternal value or consequence)

 John 15:4, 5  “… without me ye can do nothing.” (That is, nothing of any eternal consequence, which is a clear reference to “bearing good fruit”)

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!

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

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, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy … “  KJV

 … this is precisely His message to us right now!

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