Lost Coin and The Amazing Father. Jesus isn’t talking about lost LOCATION-ALLY. He’s talking about being lost RELATION-ALLY. God knows our physical location. What God lost was a relation with the person. The response of the father is the amazing part, not the actions of the son. Father God allows us to squander life away as he patiently waits and never not loves us.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 15

Lost Coin and The Amazing Father (Luke 15:8-24)

By Delbert Young

Lost Coin and Amazing Father – Luke 15:8-24

Scriptures: Luke 15:8-10, Luke 15:11-13, Luke 15:14-16, Luke 15:17-20, Luke 15:20-24

This is a difficult lesson to title. Perhaps you will understand as we progress. We’re doing what I’m calling “The Prodigal Series” as it’s all one parable (15:3) with four stories in series. Last week we looked at the “Lost Sheep.” This week we want to look at the “Lost Coin” and “The Prodigal Son,” or “The Found Son.”

The Pharisees and experts in the law muttered about Jesus welcoming sinners and eating with them (Luk 15:1-2). People nothing like Jesus, liked Jesus and enjoyed his company. Likewise, Jesus enjoyed their company far more than the company of the religious. Sadly, the church, the Christ in the earth today, has lost this ability. Neither sinners nor most who call themselves Christians enjoy church. We need to fix this. Religious people pride themselves for their separation from sinners. This shows how far out of touch we are with Jesus and Father God if this is our thinking. To address their muttering, Jesus told a parable. He sailed up beside them as a ship in battle and blasted them with stories.

Hopefully we understand how the lost “one” is more important to God than all those secure. In the first parable, you left the ninety-nine, to search for the one lost. You rejoiced, called friends, and pitched a party when the “one” was found, not over the ninety-nine secure. Jesus told the second story in the parable very similarly.

Luke 15:8-10 “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? And WHEN SHE FINDS IT, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have FOUND MY LOST COIN.’ IN THE SAME WAY, I tell you, THERE IS REJOICING IN THE PRESENCE OF THE ANGELS OF GOD over ONE SINNER WHO REPENTS.”

Again, we are to suppose. Jesus invites us into the story. This time you’re a woman with ten coins, but you lost one. There are all sorts of conjectures about what these coins represent – dowry, income, etc. It’s obviously irrelevant as Jesus didn’t say.

Again, we ask did the coin lose itself or did you, responsible for the coin, lose the coin? If we’re going to change how the lost and “Christians” view church, we need to accept responsibility. We can do better keeping up with them, but it is definitely our responsibility to find the lost. We want to shed responsibility saying it’s the pastor’s job, or the evangelist’s job, or it’s Jesus’ job. He is suppose to add to the church, not me (Acts 2:47). No. You are the body of Christ. For whom are you searching?

How long did she search carefully? UNTIL SHE FINDS IT. Don’t give up on people. If you keep searching, one day you will find them. Again, Jesus points out his teaching. It’s therejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. The one is the most important. What makes heaven happy is not the 99 getting together and singing on Sunday morning. It’s not the 99 studying the book about searching for the lost. That’s good and we should. It’s not the 9 in a Life Group talking about the sermon and eating all that good food. That’s good and we should, but what makes everything in the presence of the angels happy is when the “one” lost is found. Heaven rejoices when it happens. Heaven reconnects with the disconnected. Heaven’s found the lost coin. Heaven’s found the lost sheep.

People hearing the parabole may think, “So, I’m a dumb lost sheep, or a coin. That’s how God sees me? Lost? Well, I’m not lost. I’m right here. Anyone around here feel lost? Anyway, how can God lose me? I thought God knew everything about everyone – the omnipotent thing. Jesus, you said Father God has all my hairs numbered (Luk 12:7). So, how can God lose me?”

Jesus isn’t talking about being lost LOCATION-ALLY. He’s talking about being lost RELATIONALLY. God knows our physical location. What God lost was a relation with the person. It’s supposed to be a father-child bond. It’s for this God is searching and it’s for this God gets happy. Heaven’s searching for a relationship with you. Jesus said there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God. Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, angels, saints, everything in the presence of the angels of God wants to be involved in your life. Your parents and ancestors already in the presence of God from way before you call all of heaven and say,“Come rejoice with me; my grandson/granddaughter is found. Let’s have a party!”

There’s something about being a parent that helps us understand love. You can love an animal and a coin, but a child is a whole new level of love and responsibility. I’ll never forget the first time I held my own children. I felt something so deep it’s unexplainable. Strangely, as much as I loved them then, I love them more now. And grandchildren, oh my goodness! A “whole nother level!” Jesus took what he meant by lost to a new level. Jesus came to project God to us as Father.

This story is called “The Prodigal Son.” The word “prodigal” (not in the parable) means spending money or resources recklessly, wastefully, and extravagantly. I think the parable should be called “The Amazing Father.” Of all the 38 stories Jesus spoke, this is the longest and probably the most familiar.

Luke 15:11-13 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had TWO SONS. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, GIVE ME my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property BETWEEN THEM. “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.

There are three characters in the story – a man and two sons. The main character is not the prodigal son. The main character is the Father. The temptation is to focus on all the thingsthe younger son said and did. The Son is easy to understand. It’s the father’s love Jesus wants us to grasp. Father’s love will find us when nothing else will.

If someone came up to you at your place of employment and said, “I hope you die soon so I can have your job” and meant it, how would you feel? Betrayed? Angry? Bitter? Uncomfortable? What if your child said this to you? The younger son wanted his inheritance (Deu 21:17-1/3 of the estate), but an inheritance is not realized until someone dies. In their society this degree of disrespect was grounds for stoning (Lev 20:9). Instead, the father divided his property BETWEEN THEM. Both sons received their share of the estate, not only the younger. The younger son was saying, “I wish you were dead. You hinder my life. I want out of this family, but I want the money I’m supposed to get when you die now. Act like you are dead and give me my share.” The younger set off for a distant country with a small fortune. He left Israel and went to a pagan unclean uncircumcised country. There he squandered his wealth in wild living.

This is a sinners request to be as free from and as far away from God as the sinner desires, breaking off all relationships with heaven. Amazingly, God gives us this freedom exactly. We can get as far from God as we want. We can take everything he’s given us and squander it. We can become as vile as we want.

Jesus shows us Father God’s desire to connect with his child relationally. There he stood location-ally. “Give me my inheritance,” but Father lost him relationally. If the only way is for him to allow us to go so we will come to our senses and reconnect relationally, he’ll do it.

The response of the father is the amazing part, not the actions of the son. Father God allows us to squander life away as he patiently waits and never not loves us. C.S. Lewis said, “God, in the end, gives people what they most want, including freedom from himself. What could be more fair?” Perhaps this will help answer someone’s question about “Why?” “If God is God then why do bad things happen?” It’s because he’s not a controlling God. He’s a loving God who will allow us to squander our lives away if this is what we want. Even what we call natural catastrophes are a result of man’s rebellion against Father God (Adam and wicked generations (Gen 6).

Luke 15:14-16 After he had spent everything, there was a SEVERE FAMINE in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So HE WENT AND HIRED HIMSELF OUT to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to FEED PIGS. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

Famine always comes in life. Instead of the famine sending us back home, often it sends us deeper into our filth. His “A” plan didn’t work. This is typical of sinful rebellious people. We attempt to find a way to make our mess work. Instead, he became like a pig. How many of us adults remember wanting to get away from our parents and having to do our life their way? Did you have a rude awakening? What was your rudest awakening? Work? Money? Bills? Relationships? Parties all the time are not good? Responsibility? We learn doing life our way unrestrained doesn’t work. Serious realizations take place when in rebellion.

Most of us in this room learned this about God. Life separated from Father God’s love is dehumanizing. We resemble pigs. We eventually, if left to ourselves, end up with pigs and ingesting filthy pods of life. Hopefully, at some point our rebellion catches up with us and we come to our senses.

Luke 15:17-20 “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! I will set out and GO BACK TO MY FATHER and say to him: Father, I have SINNED AGAINST HEAVEN AND AGAINST YOU. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So HE GOT UP AND WENT TO HIS FATHER

Have you ever rehearsed what you would say to someone you sinned against? I have. The Prodigal worked out a full apology. Our sins affect both heaven and people. It’s here we see what repentance is to Jesus. To the Jews, it’s doing Jewish rituals. To some denominations, it’s being water baptized. Some teach it’s when you pray the magic prayer. To Jesus it’s when we get up, go back – go home to Father.

Repentance has become a religious word, but we should repent all through life. I do. When I figure something isn’t working, I repent and act on the repentance by changing the directions I use. Repentance toward God is realizing my way is for the pigs. It’s not praying a prayer. It’s going home to Father.

Luke 15:20-24 …”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. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “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. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For THIS SON OF MINE was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

THIS LOST  SON became the most important son. The father was filled with compassion – splagchnizomai {splangkh-nid’-zom-ahee} – to be moved as to one’s bowels, hence to be moved with compassion, have compassion. It’s a powerful word causing an involuntary movement and action. Have you ever felt something like this? Maybe you burst out crying, or couldn’t help but do something. The father ran to his son. He couldn’t help but run, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Father’s love is unrestrained. He could have walked fast. Instead he ran energized by compassion. Dad didn’t need to hear the rehearsed speech. Can you imagine when God ran to you? Or, when God will run to you? Throwing his arms around you? Kissing you? All he cared about was THIS SON OF MINE WAS DEAD AND IS ALIVE AGAIN! He wasn’t back location-ally. He was home relationally. At that moment you are/were the most important person in all the world.

The father had no shame. Instead of puffing up and boasting of the son’s failure with “I told you so,” he shamelessly ran to his son. He’s shameless when it comes to his children. He didn’t demand an account of what he’d done, an apology, or explanation. Father didn’t care what anyone thought or said. What a beautiful picture of God and the human race? God is shameless when it comes to people. He doesn’t care what happened in the past. He’s only concerned with relationship.

God will run to meet you, me, anyone as soon as he sees us coming. He doesn’t meet us half way. He sees us coming a long way off and runs.When he gets to his child what does he do? He threw his arms around him and kissed him. The child was already ceremonially unclean from living with the gentiles, but he’d lived with pigs as well. No wonder the father said,“Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him…” (kidding). The robe and the ring reestablished and placed the son into his place of honor. It’s an honor to be in God’s house. We don’t have to get things straightened out and smelling better before we come to or back to God. Neither do we have to do any thing – works. It’s simply about repentance – coming home. He just wants you to come home. He’ll take care of the rest.

Luke 15:24 For THIS SON OF MINE was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

If you’re in prodigal son mode, I want to tell you God is running to you if you’re trying to come home. I promise you, he will not have a list of everything you’ve done wrong. He doesn’t care about your repentance speech. He says, “I’m so happy your home let’s don’t talk about all the other stuff.” All he cares about is establishing a relationship with you.

Other Related Sermons:

Prodigal Son part 1 – sermon video audio notes

Prodigal Son part 2 – sermon video audio notes

The Resurrection Proofed – Easter sermon video audio notes

http://thesovereign.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/1098/