I Love My Church

Introduction:

I Love My Church is most likely not the most common phrase that we hear in our daily lives. But at Northstar we want those words to sweep through our church and community. The church is more than a building, it is a movement. It’s a place where God changes lives and people take next steps. That’s why we love our church. It’s more than a weekly gathering. It’s a family that’s focused on Jesus. A place where found people find people because lost people matter to God so they matter to us. Join us through this sermon series as we learn the truth about why the church exists, why it matters and why we should love it.

Bottom line:  Found People Find People

Something To Talk About:

A key biblical text that makes clear of the importance of found people finding people is Luke 15.  In that chapter, Luke tells us that the Pharisees and scribes weren’t happy that sinners were hanging around Jesus and listening to Him. Their complaints prompt Jesus to tell three stories, each of which is about a lost thing: the story of the lost sheep, the story of the lost coin, and the story of the lost son. Jesus was using these three stories to say, “Listen guys, I hang around with sinful people because God loves them and wants them to come home.” In fact, Jesus said on another occasion, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10). In each case:

  1. Something significant was missing: In all three examples, what was lost had real significance. Though lacking in money, the woman in the parable does have some—ten silver coins that are of great value to her. But one day she discovers that one is gone. This coin was valuable; she must find it at all costs. And every parent knows that you can’t place a value on a child. Even when a child is lost for a few seconds in a mall, we panic. Losing one sheep doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it was if you were a shepherd in the ancient world. A shepherd’s sheep were his life. Every one of them was prized and precious. Jesus was showing them, and us today, that God has an incredible love for the lost and that everyone has great value to Him.
  2. When something significant is lost, it warrants an all out search: We can imagine the heart of this woman skipping a beat and her gasping with shock when she learns the coin is missing. Has she mislaid it or dropped it? Has someone taken it? This was enough to send a person into a panic. Where could it be? A typical house of that time had a few small slits for windows or no windows at all, so that there was little light. To search for the lost coin requires more light. Oil for a lamp is not cheap, however, and she normally saves it for the night. But she must find that coin. When that sheep went missing the shepherd went out looking for it until he found it. In the story of the prodigal son, the father exercised restraint because he respected his son’s right to find freedom and live on his own, but his eyes kept scanning the horizon hoping to see him return. If you really value something, you will look for it until you find it. Have you lost something recently? If you gave up the search easily, than the thing that went missing was not important to you. Lost people matter so much to God that it warrants an all-out search to find them. He has invited us to join him in his great big rescue mission to find people who are lost and bring them back to Him. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to know him in a personal and intimate way.
  3. Retrievals result in celebrations: In the immediate context of Luke 15, Jesus wanted the Pharisees and teachers of religious law to understand why he “welcomed sinners” (Luke 15:2), and to understand that all heaven rejoices “when one sinner repents” (15:7 and 10).  Jesus wanted the religious leaders to know God’s heart for lost people. The shepherd found the sheep and threw a party. The woman found the coin and she threw a party. The son came home and the father threw the biggest party of all. In Luke 15:10 we read that when one spiritually lost person comes back to God there is great rejoicing in heaven. 

Questions:

  1. What do you view as God’s primary call for all of us?
  2. Do you give much thought or prayer to the plight of lost people? How can you change this?
  3. How practically can we show lost people that we genuinely care about their spiritual condition, especially when they don’t seem the least bit concerned?
  4. The Bible forbids us from being too closely associated with unbelievers. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17). How then can we befriend them to reach them with the gospel? Where’s the balance? How far should we go with this?
  5. Think about 5 people that you have a connection with. Write down their names and begin to pray for their salvation.
  6. What can we do this week to increase our passion for the lost? How can we shake off our apathy and develop a passion to win the lost?

Take One Thing Home with You

Found people finding people matters because lost people matter to God, so much so that He sent Jesus Christ to earth to redeem the lost people of the world, including you and I. God’s plan for continuing His saving work is through everyone who has received Christ as Lord and Savior. So Jesus has commanded His followers to be just that: followers of His example by taking the good news of grace, forgiveness, transformation, and eternal life to others.

But where do I start? You can start by praying for people you know that are far from the heart of God. Praying for the lost requires a burden for them. You must have a passion for their salvation. This truth is illustrated in Romans 10:1, “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.” Paul states that his heart’s desire was to see Israel saved. He longed for the Jewish people to turn to Jesus Christ in faith and repentance. He yearned for them to turn from their self-righteousness and to Jesus and Jesus alone. How can you cultivate a passion for the lost? What can you do to develop this passion that will fuel our praying? Then wait for the opportunities that the Holy Spirit will provide.