Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 5 months ago

The Singing Savior

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christian McArthur

Luke Chapter Fifteen, as we continueto make our way through the parables and will be continuing and Luke. We'rein Luke fourteen last week and will be in Luke fifteen for the next fewweeks. Lord Willing, Luke fifteen will begin in verse one. Now.The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him, him beingJesus, and the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying this man receives sinnersand eats with them. So he told them this parable. What man ofyou having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, doesnot leave the ninety nine in the open country and go after the one thatis lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, helays it on his shoulders rejoicing, and when he comes home he calls togetherhis friends and his neighbors, saying to them, rejoice with me, forI have found my sheep that was lost. Just so I tell you, therewill be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninetynine 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 thehouse and seek diligently until she finds it. And when she has found it,she calls together. They're her friends and neighbor saying rejoice with me,for I have found the coin that I had lost. Just so I tellyou there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.This is the word of the Lord. You may be seated. What causesyou to rejoice? What causes you to...

...want to throw a party? Whatcauses you to want to sing? What in life causes you to want todance? Perhaps that one was too far for Presbyterians. will go back tosinging. But think about it. What in life makes you want to celebrate? I mean we like to celebrate things, and rightly so. Perhaps your weddingday, if you're married. Perhaps that's the moment in life that youthought that was the time that I wanted to celebrate the most, a daywhere all cultures, it would seem, throw parties, feast, say evendance. Perhaps a birth announcement. We've had several of those recently among us. Those are times that we celebrate rate. Perhaps you think back to the dayyour first child was born, and that that moment where where you wantedto sing or cry, but rejoicing. We like to rejoice. Graduations,birthdays, anniversaries, times that we celebrate yearly. What makes you want torejoice? What makes you want to throw a party? I think thinking aboutthis reveals something about our hearts, and and a good way. When wethink about what we rejoice, what makes us want to celebrate, we geta glimpse into our hearts, don't we? Again, we get a glimpse intowhat we love. Let me ask you this. What makes God rejoice? What makes God want to throw a party? What makes God want tosing? Well, I want to consider...

...that this evening, as we lookat our text, will take a look at these two parables, these twoparallel parables that that are probably familiar to many of you, and as wedo, I want to keep this question in mind. What makes God rejoice? And as we look at these parables, I want to want to break themup into three headings for this evening. One, the bitterness of the righteous, to the rejoicing in heaven and finally, three, the heart ofGod. The bitterness of the Righteous, the rejoicing in heaven and the heartof God so over the next few weeks we will be in the evenings LordWilling in Luke fifteen taking a look at some parables that are familiar. Butthe the statement at the beginning of our parables this evening really sets up thethe context for the rest of these parables, including the prodigal son that will begetting to next week. And this is this first verse. Now,the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to him. Jesus and thePharisees and scribes grumbled, saying this man receives sinners, and not only that, but he eats with them. So right here, before we jump intothe parables, we are we're found with two very distinct groups of people.We have Pharisees and scribes on one hand, we have tax collectors and sinners onthe other. Men will consider both for a moment. As we've thoughtthrough the parables this summer we've often come into contact with Pharisees and and scribesand if we'll recall, these are Jewish...

...leaders. We get a odd tastein our mouth when we hear pharisee inscribe. But these were men to be respected, men with high social status, but also men with high religious status, men who took the word of God very seriously, who knew the Torah, who knew the scriptures, not only knew them, but worked very,very hard to follow them. Men that would be respected, men closely associatedwith the religious elite, and and rightly so, it would seem from alloutward appearances. Well, on the other hand, we have the complete opposite, tax collectors and sinners. As we've thought about tax collectors, we knowthat these are individuals who make their living defrauding their own countrymen, most ofwhich are Jews, that the Romans have recruited to to collect taxes amongst theirown people. These would be the worst of the worst, not exactly peoplethat you would be excited to see when you came around the corner tax collectors. And then sinners is kind of a catch all category for people who,to some degree or another, we're not taking the Torah seriously. Specifically asit came to the ceremonial laws and laws that kept them clean so that theymight come to the Temple to worship, these folks did seem to care awhole lot about keeping that ceremonial cleanliness. So, on one side, rightin the beginning. We have these religious elite, upright folks, and wehave the bottom of the barrel sinners. And we find here that these thesepharisees, these scribes, are concerned and...

...fact bitter, it says, orcomplaining that that Jesus would hang out with these kind of people. It saysthat they're they're drawing near to him. It says that that he is eatingwith them, people that are unclean religiously speaking, you would not want toeat with and would contaminate you. And then, if you are contaminated,you would contaminate others that you came in contact with. It would render you, at least for a time, on Holy. So to a certain extentthey're justified in their concern, aren't they? And it says that they grumble.Interestingly, we know that word when it's associated with with the Jews,as they were often grumbling in the old testament because they weren't happy with howGod was working. Well, we should keep that in mind perhaps, asthese folks are grumbling. They're irritated folks who have gone to great lengths tostay kosher, literally speaking, and now they see Jesus hanging out with peoplewho seem to have no interest and saying kosher, no interest and following theTorah. But when you think about rejoicing, as we started out with, what'swhat's kind of the opposite. You could think of perhaps grumbling, complainingfits the bill, and I think that's exactly what we see here. Thesefolks, in response to Jesus receiving sinners, act completely the opposite of how Godends up acting when he sees his son receiving sinners. Instead of rejoicing, they grumble, instead of joining in the celebration of Heaven, they excludethemselves from the banquet. If you recall,...

...this is in the context of lastweek's parable, where Jesus has come to leaders of the Pharisees and essentiallysaid, you know, you think that you're coming to this end times banquet, but you're but you're not. You know who's going to be there?Well, sinners, people who are socially outcast, he says, the blind, the lame, the crippled. So this is coming just a few versesafter that parable. And here we see, as we often do, is Jesusteaches a parable. What he teaches starts playing out right in front ofhim, and that is what is going on here? Well, in responseto this grumbling, the grumbling of these righteous men, Jesus decides to tella couple of stories. It seems that he is not quite done teaching them, and that's good for us, because we need to hear the word aswell this evening. So these parable speak of the rejoicing and heaven. Sowe have the grumbling of the righteous. Now let's consider the rejoicing of heaven. Jesus gives us two parallel parables, very similar as we can see,the lost sheep and the lost coin. Let's let's consider them together. WhatMan of you? He begins in verse four having a hundred sheep. Ifhe lost one of them, does not leave the ninety nine in the opencountry and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? Well, right off the bat, I don't know about you, but my firstthought is, well, this doesn't exactly seem echianomic or economically expedient. Youknow it, that's it's it's one percent of your possessions has been lost andyou put the rest at risk. That...

...that doesn't quite seem how I wouldshepherd, but I'm not the Lord, so we'll see what he has.I think what we see here is that the Lord often, as we see, is not about economic expedients. Is he act. He's rarely seems tovalue the same things that we value. Instead, it would seem that theheart of this shepherd is not expedients, but a heart set on seeking andsaving that which is lost, which makes sense as we put it in thecontext of the rest of the scriptures, especially as we know that Jesus isthis shepherd. So the shepherd goes out, he goes to look for this onethat was lost and when he finds that, he lays it on hisshoulders rejoicing. Now I'm not sure where the image is from, but Ihave a picture seared in my head. I don't know if it was thechildren's Bible or there's paintings of this, but with this blond, blue eyedDutch looking Jesus with this like stuffed animal, like lamb, on his shoulders,it looks like a very peaceful scene. But I've done a little bit ofreading about shepherds and it would seem like what happens is is when asheep gets lost, they go a little bit crazy, they become obstinate becauseof their fear and and they don't react well once they're off on their ownto the kind instruction of a shepherd. What often has to happen is thatshepherd has to injure the lost sheep and order to get them back to thepack. So this situation of a sheep on a shepherd shoulders is not necessarilya pleasant situation, either for the sheep or the shepherd. But here wefind this shepherd going after this sheep,...

...having to do whatever he had todo to get him on his shoulders, and he does so. What rejoicing. This is a pleasant shepherd. Indeed, a task that does not seem overlypleasant, but for the joy that is set in his heart, heendures it. So we man handles this sheep, maybe injures them, whoknows? But gets the sheep back to the pack. And when he doeshe does something quite strange. Again, we probably heard this parable over andover again, but let's think about it for a moment. He gets thesheep back, this obstinate sheep that ran off from the pack, and hecalls his friends as neighbors and he says it's party time. He says.This one lost sheep who got away I found it. Come rejoice with me. It's time to celebrate, for I have found my lost sheep. Interesting, he goes on to tell of this lost coin. What woman would notlight a lamp and sweep the house to seat diligently until she finds this lostcoin? You know, we think about this as well. Why not sweepthe house? Is a good opportunity to clean up you've lost something, butthink about we're not. We're not thinking about hardwood floors, laminettes. We'rethinking about a dirt floor. Right. She is causing a huge mess tofind this lost coin that may be lost in the dirt. She is lightinga lamp, she is looking for this coin diligently. This coin represents abouta day's wages, not a small thing...

...to lose. But it's interesting thatwhen she finds it, she says it's time to rejoice. Let's rejoice overthis lost coin. She calls her neighbors, she calls her friends. It wouldseem like any decent party would cost more than this one lost coin thatshe found, and yet she calls everyone to rejoice. So we have onepercent of the possessions, this this lost sheep. We have the one outof ten coins that was lost. Not Small things, but doesn't seem likethe kind of possessions you throw a party over. And I don't think thestoryteller in this case is trying to say that in and of themselves, thesethings are of great worth. I mean, Jesus has told stories about things ofgreat worth. Has any pearls of great price, treasures and a field? But here we have a sheep and we have a lost coin and ashepherd and a woman willing to go to great links to find things that don'tseem all that important. Kind of like the guest list from last week's parableright, if we think of this in context, sending out the servants tofind who? Not to the rich neighbors, but the poor, the lame,the blind, the crippled. So why does Jesus Tell Us these parables? What? What are we supposed to Glean from them? Well, again, I think we need to consider them in light of the context, don'twe that we need to consider them and in the light of the attitude ofthe scribes and the Pharisees, who were grumbling because Jesus was hanging out withthe wrong type of people again. But...

...we should also look clearly at thereasoning that Jesus himself gives us, and I think if we hold these twothings, we can kind of see what Jesus is getting at. What doeshe what does he tell us? The end of the first parable he saysjust so, I tell you there will be more joy in heaven over onesinner who repents then over ninety nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Or, in the case of the coin, just so I tell you, thereis joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Well,there's a lot of theology to think about here, isn't there? I mean, one how does this affect our definition of repentance? And the case ofthese two parables? A lost sheep that had to be shouldered was repentant.A lost coin found in the dirt was repentant. In this certainly must playinto our doctrine of repentance. Right that God comes and finds us and causesus to repent by His grace. That's certainly a great, true ruth thatwe should consider here. But I think the main thing that Jesus wants toexplain. Again, considering the context of what Jesus says is that Jesus wantsus to see this opposition between the grumbling of the righteous and the rejoicing ofHeaven. It would seem like he has set these in contrast. In contrastto the Pharisees and the scribes who are grumbling, when Jesus receives tax collectorsand sinners, people who seem like they wouldn't be a whole lot of worth, and the Kingdom of Heaven, God...

...throws a party. It's interesting.Here Jesus does another thing that would probably irritate the Pharisees. He peels backthe curtain of Heaven, claiming that he knows what goes on and the divinecounsel. He says, you want to know what happens in heaven when oneof these sinners repents, he says God calls the angels and says it's timeto go. It's time to celebrate. When a sinner is repented by thegrace of God, there is a Party and heaven the music kicks in,people start dancing and singing. The party of the year breaks out over onesinner, one tax collector, who repents. Perhaps you think I'm going too farwith the party, but if we look a little bit further to theprodigal son, it's exactly what we see, don't way? If you'll recall theolder brothers in the field, and what catches his attention? Oh,he hears noise back home. Here's The music, and the servants come outand tell him what your dad's your dads thrown a party, the grill isgoing, the fatted calf has been killed so that we can party. Andthen the father comes out, probably sweating from dancing the Y M see andsays, come on in, this party's for you too. Your brother,who was dead as now alive. It is fitting that we celebrate to theserighteous grumbling that Jesus would invite the wrong kind of people, God is rejoicingover one sinner that repents. I think this shows us something really important,doesn't it? It gives us a glimpse...

...at the heart of God, andthat's what I want to consider for the last few moments this evening. Aswe have seen time and time again in these parables, God goes after thewrong types of people. He invites people to dinner that would make us reallyuncomfortable. The poor, the lane, the blind, the crippled, taxcollectors, sinners. He moves towards us with hospitality and kindness before we everturn toward him. And that's what he shows us in going after these people, isn't it? That's what he shows us in going after people like us, people who would never run to God, but he runs to us. Weread from Romans five this morning, during the reading of the law andthe confession of sins and assurance of pardon, that while we were still far fromGod, while we were still unrighteous, at the right time, Christ diedfor us. God and His grace leaves the ninety nine and while weare yet lost sheep and lost coins, he comes after us. He findsus by sending his son to take on our humanity, to find us wherewe are and by his spirit gives us the grace to repent. We arethe lost sheep, we are the lost coin, but not only does Godgo after us and find us, he...

...does so rejoicing. I think that'swhere we see this, this heart of God. Let's look at it again. There will be more joy and heaven. There will be more joy and heavenover one sinner who repents then over ninety nine righteous persons who need norepentance. That is God's heart for you, joy over our salvation, over ourrepentance. You know, I think oftentimes we get in our heads thatGod was so gracious to save us but now he just kind of puts upwith us, that you know, for the most part we're just massive failuresand that he's just holding on until finally Jesus comes and and most of thetime we're thinking, or we're thinking he's thinking, Oh, they're at itagain, they're doing it again. I mean, I know, I maybeI'm the only one, but I think that's often how I feel. Godlooks at me as a failure. But is that what we see here?A God who comes to says but would just put up with us for therest of our lives? I don't think that's what we see. and toback up that claim I want to consider a text as we close that weactually opened our time with, and Zephaniah, and I want to go ahead andturn there. The table of contents was made for the minor prophet,so it's okay to look at it. That's at the tail end of theOld Testament. I want to look at Zeph and I have three and justconsider it for a moment and how it might help us understand the heart ofGod. This evening, Zeph and IAH...

...contains this prophetic poetry, most ofit speaking of the coming judgment over Jerusalem and the nation surrounding speaking of exilebecause of the disobedience of the people. It's a pretty heavy prophetic word.But in the ends we see this this prophetic poetry, speaking about a futurerestoration. Interestingly enough, it talks about how God will restore the humble,he will restore those who are outcast, and these specifically talks about the lameand and the crippled and and we see this heart of God and this futurerestoration that after this judgment comes, God will himself save a remnant. Andwe get to Zeph and I a three verse seventeen, and it says theLord Yahwah, your God is in your midst, a mighty one who willsave. He will rejoice over you with gladness, he will quiet you byhis love, he will exalt over you with loud singing. The Lord,your God is in your midst, the mighty one who will save. TheHebrew word for save is as Yeshua, from where we get Joshua or renderedin the New Testament, Jesus. We could read this. A mighty onewho will Jesus you. And that's what we find in the New Testament,in the fulfillment. Isn't it that he saves us in his son, andin that salvation, what do we find? That he will rejoice over you withgladness, he will quiet you by his love. He Will Exalt overyou with loud singing. There are some commentators who suggest that this word exaltshould actually be translated dance. I don't...

...know if we presbyterians want to gothat far, but but think about that. He will exalt, he may danceover you with loud singing. Is this a God who thinks you're adisappointment? Doesn't look that way, does it? Because in his son weare not. When he sees us who have faith, he sees his sonand it makes him want to sing. The beginning of our time we askedthe question what causes God to rejoice? What Causes God to sing? WhatCauses God perhaps to dance? You do. What Causes God to rejoice? YouCause God to rejoice. What Causes God to want to throw a party? You Do, saving you, when God got Ahold of Your Life.He called the angels and he said, Jackie repented, it's time to party. He said, Christopher repented. I guess what, I'm going to makehim a pastor. You won't believe it. Every time one of US repented,he called the angels said, Ronald Repent it it's time to party,it's time to sing, it's time to dance, and he continues to singover us, to rejoice in our salvation. That is God's heart towards us.What Causes God to rejoice? We do. What an amazing thought thatwe are not disappointments to God, far...

...from it, but we are agreat treasure, a great inheritance, and that reminds us that neither are thosesinners who have repented. Rejoices over them as well. All repentance, theirrepentance is an opportunity for God to throw a party, to call all thecompany of Heaven. We read from the Psalm Ninety three this evening of howthe oceans roar. That he causes that, I mean he can throw a party, he can call all creation to sing because of your salvation, becauseof our salvation in Jesus Christ, and may we feel the warmth of hisrejoicing this day, in this week, and may we share in the heartof God and the rejoicing is other sinners like us, come to repentance,come to faith in Jesus Christ. May We share his love with others aswe go this week. Let's pray.

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