The Lost Sheep, The Adventure – sermon notes – The Lost Sheep. In response to the Pharisees’ murmuring, Jesus told a parable. He used common objects to teach how his kingdom works. A man had one hundred sheep. He discerned one of them was missing. This one lost sheep became his focus. This one lost sheep was on his mind. He wanted the one lost sheep found. This is the heart of the evangelist.

PARABLES OF JESUS
By Pastor Delbert Young

The Lost Sheep – The Adventure

Scriptures: Ephesians 4:11-13, Luke 15:1-2, Matthew 9:10; Mark 2:15, Luke 5:29-30, Luke 7:34, Luke 15:3-4, Luke 15:4, Romans 1:16, Luke 15:6-7

Parables of Jesus

The Lost Sheep – The Adventure

Before I pursue the parable of the Lost Sheep, I want to say I was tremendously moved by the first two verses of Luke 15, which is where the parable is founded. This caused me to do some heart searching which led me to Ephesians 4:11. It is actually there I want to begin today.

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

perfecting of the saints

We note he (Jesus) gave individuals to the church with specific talents and giftings. These individuals with these talents and giftings were given for something. The something is for the perfecting of the saints. The saints are to be perfected for something. The something is for the work of the ministry. The work of the ministry is for something. The something is for the edifying of the body of Christ. There is a domino effect. The final effect is the edifying or building up of the body of Christ. To correctly build a body, we must begin with the five giftings and these are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

These five, the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, have come to be called “the fivefold ministry.” The church leader must be strong in at least one of these, but I do not believe it necessarily stops with the leader. I am called to do what I do and I believe I do a very good job of it. Let’s see how this works. Let me ask you, “Of these five, which one do you believe I do the best? If you said, “Teacher,” then you probably spotted my primary spiritual gift. How do I know this? I know this is my primary gift because I not only teach. I love the teaching process. Teaching is an adventure for me. I enjoy seeking the subject to teach. I enjoy researching the subject and finding the nuggets many may not see. I delight in thinking about the presentation. I lay in bed at night allowing my teaching to go through my head over and over. I am always open to new methods of teaching. I write books because I want people to grasp the teaching. I put my sermon notes on the web. It is an adventure for me. This is how I know.

However, I am not limited to one of the fivefold ministries even though I have a primary gift. I have a secondary gifting. What do you believe would be this gift? If you said, “Pastor,” I believe you would be correct. The Greek word translated as pastors is poimen (Strong’s 4166 {poy‑mane’}) meaning a herdsman, esp. a shepherd; those who commit themselves to the care of others and who teach others their precepts.

A shepherd does not drive the flock, but rather leads the flock. The thought is the Lord has placed people, his sheep, into the pastor’s trust. The pastor should be able to lead the people by example. I enjoy leading and especially enjoy leading by example. I am convinced my precepts work. Another thing the shepherd provided for the sheep was a “sheepfold.” A sheepfold was a place to come to for safety, rest, and refreshing. I have spent much time, money, and effort to provide a sheepfold. I delight in caring for the people the Lord has placed into my trust. I laid my life down to become a pastor. I continue to lay my life down when one of my people needs their shepherd.

Those two, the teacher and the pastor, are fairly obvious. My third gift would be the prophetor the apostle. According to prophetic ministries, I am an apostle, but because I am not certain exactly what this means, I don’t believe it is my primary. My definition of an apostle is in the process of being adjusted. I can and do frequently minister prophetically, but I don’t have a passion to minister in this dimension.

So, where is the evangelist in me?

Well, this is what our lesson is about. Obviously, the evangelist is the weakest of my gift mix so it has become the weakest in our spiritual house. This is not good. In the natural, we understand parents produce children who inherit physical qualities of their parents. These qualities can be both positive and negative qualities. For example, tendencies for high blood pressure, or diabetes, or heart disease can be inherited. Some good qualities would be not to inherit those negative tendencies. In other words, the parents somewhat reproduce them self. It is the same in the spiritual. I produce believers much like myself. I produce people who are very strong in the word of God. I have equipped them and taught them how to study and research. I have taught them how to present their teaching. Also, I have taught them and equipped them concerning caring for our people and about praying for our people. I have even taught them and equipped them to prophesy.

All of the previous would be the “spirit of this house.” This house is a very “wordy” church. We have a lot of understanding about the word. We enjoy sharing and teaching the word to people. We are also a very loving and caring church for people in our sheepfold. We are pastoral. Also, many of us find it easy to step out and give a prophetic word to a person. Our house is prophetic. Our weakest point, and probably the weakest point in many churches, is the evangelist. This should not be and I will attempt to explain.

I have been researching all week and preparing. A statistic given is 10% of believers are evangelistic in their primary or secondary gifting. This would mean these have an above average desire to bring people into a relationship with Jesus. If we figure the percentage according to Ephesians 4:11 using the five different ministries, we would have a 20% figure. So, I ask, “Where are our evangelists?” My conclusion is they are here. If they are here, then why do we not see more people coming to the Lord? I have a few thoughts.

  1. You are here, but not certain what an evangelist is or should do. Therefore you don’t know if you are an evangelist.
  2. You are here and you feel a deep compassion for the lost, but you don’t know what to do about it.
  3. You are here, but because bringing people to Jesus has not been emphasized at Life Gate, you do not pursue it.
  4. You are here, but because bringing people to Jesus has not been emphasized at Life Gate, you will leave and find a place where it is emphasized and you release your gift there.

Let’s first address number one. “You are here, but not certain what an evangelist is or should do. Therefore you don’t know if you are an evangelist.” The primary purpose of today’s lesson is to uncover or discover our evangelists. I am very weak in this gifting. I need you for the perfecting of the saints. The saints need you for the work of the ministry. The ministry needs you for the edifying of the body of Christ.

I have prepared a short five point evaluation based on the parable of the Lost Sheep. After the evaluation you will know if this is a gifting in your life. At each point on the “score” blank, place a ’10’ for high or always, a ‘5’ for medium or sometimes, or a ‘0’ for low or never. Because you place a ‘0’ does not mean you are not saved. It simply means this is not a primary or secondary gifting God has given you. Also, because it is not a person’s primary or secondary gifting, it does not mean the person cannot bring people to Jesus. They may not do it as easily or quickly or have the drive to do so, but we are all to be witnesses unto him.

  1. Do you feel a special drawing (welcome/receiving) and compassion for people distant from God?

(a) The evangelist can discern the spiritual condition immediately (radar).

People with a high evangelism gift can discern a person’s spiritual condition almost immediately upon meeting them. It is like spiritual radar. People with a high mercy gift can receive radar quickly if someone is hurting and needs compassion. Judy and I will be talking to someone and as we walk away she says, “They were hurting so badly. Did you notice how injured they are?” I say, “No, I thought they had a neat tie.” The person with the gift of an evangelist can tell nearly immediately if the person has a relationship with Jesus or not. Often, with just a casual conversation they know immediately if they are close to receiving Jesus or if they will be a hard case and will take years and much work and prayer. (The shepherd noticed immediately one sheep was missing out of a hundred.)

(b) The evangelist is not repulsed by the spiritual condition.

The neatest thing is the evangelist is not repulsed by this discernment. Even if the person is hard and mean and ugly, the evangelist reaches out even more. Something inside of them says, “Maybe our paths crossed for a reason.” “Maybe this is the beginning of an adventure and the Lord will use me to help this person find the Lord.”

People with this gift find themselves very much at ease with the lost. They are not repulsed by the language or jokes or lifestyle of the lost. Somehow they have a grace to understand and a desire to help.

(c) The evangelist even looks forward to spending time with this person.

Those with a high gift level of the evangelist look forward to the opportunity of spending time with these people. They know the Lord might be up to something and they want the adventure.

How is your score on this one? Place a ‘0’ or a ‘5’ or a ’10’ in the “score” blank.

Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth [NIV welcomes] sinners, and eateth with them.

As I read verses one and two of Luke chapter fifteen, I realized a deficiency in my life and in our church. First publicans and sinners drew near to Jesus. They wanted to hear what he had to say. Seldom do I get sinners to come close to me. I get a lot of religious people who want to hear what I have to say. It could be because sinners don’t know what I am talking about (teaching terms like eschatology, the millennium, tribulation, pretribulation rapture, dispensational, hermeneutics, eisegesis, etc.). The next verse says the Pharisees murmured. They said Jesus receiveth sinners and eateth with them. Did you know this was true? The NIV says they said Jesus welcomes sinners. They were not a necessary evil or a burden to put up with. He welcomed them.

We see the heart of the evangelist in Luke 15. Jesus received sinners into his life. He would eat with them. He was not concerned what people thought nor said. He knew heaven was up to something if the lost wanted to be with him. When it’s done correctly the sinners want to come and hear. Was the accusation of the Pharisees true? Did Jesus receive sinners?

Matthew 9:10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. (Not only Jesus)

Mark 2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.

Luke 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? (Jesus taught this to his disciples)

Luke 5:29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.

Luke 7:34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

It wasn’t Jesus simply “put up” with the lost. Jesus was actually a friend of publicans and sinners! (Luk 7:34). He would actually go out for meals with them. They desired to be with him and even followed him. In addition Jesus taught his disciples to do the same.

Luke 15:3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

In response to the Pharisees’ murmuring, Jesus told a parable. He used common objects to teach how his kingdom works. A man had one hundred sheep. He discerned one of them was missing. This one lost sheep became his focus. This one lost sheep was on his mind. He wanted the one lost sheep found. This is the heart of the evangelist – the lost sheep.

  1. Do you create and maintain a bridge into the lost sheep’s life?

(a) The evangelist does not make people feel uncomfortable about spiritual things.

Instead they, with often great genius, create a bridge to enter the lost sheep’s life. They maintain a bridge so the lost sheep can travel back across the bridge to enter their life. They do not make people feel uncomfortable. They know when to talk about spiritual things and when not to talk. They have a great gift in this area. There is no patterned way to bring in the lost. Those with the true gift of the evangelist do not pass out flyers or tracts or yell through loud speakers, “You are going to hell you lost sinners.” Their focus is the lost sheep.

People who do not have the gift tend to put winning the lost into a formula. The “Roman Road” is an example. These memorize certain thoughts and scriptures to pull out and jab their prey and this is how the lost often feel. The lost sheep often feel like a project rather than people. They attempt to manipulate and force the conversation into salvation and they are some turns off.

Paul at Athens

The apostle Paul had come to Athens and was deeply troubled because the whole city was given to idolatry. Paul had spoken in the synagogue about Jesus and one day, Paul met some philosophers who had heard of Paul’s teachings. They began to question Paul about Paul’s God. Paul’s approach is brilliant. He created a bridge. It’s called the sermon on Mars Hill. Paul first commended these people. He said, “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” (Act 17:22, 23 NIV). Paul told them they were very intellectual and had a genuine curiosity and desire to discover who God really was. First he built a bridge to get to them. He said he had walked around their city and was fascinated about how religious they were. They even had an altar dedicated “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” They wanted to cover every god and to make certain they did not miss one, so they made an altar to an unknown God. Paul said he wanted to proclaim to them who the God was they did not know. He then began to preach to them the God who created heaven and the resurrection through Jesus Christ.

Jesus/Woman at well

Jesus with the woman at the well said, “Can I have a drink?” They talked about water, the Jews and the Samaritans. Jesus began talking about a living water to satisfy the woman’s thirst. Jesus saw Zacchaeus and said, “Zacchaeus, how about lunch? Can you arrange it?” Jesus said to Peter, “Would you enjoy catching men instead of fish? Put your net down and follow me.”

There is no patterned way to bring in the lost. The evangelist has a gift to create a bridge and be patient waiting for the Holy Spirit.

How are you on this one? Write a ‘0’ a ‘5’ or a ’10.’

Luke 15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

We are not told exactly what the shepherd had to do to locate the lost sheep. We are told he did go after that which is lost. He created time and methods.

  1. Do you enjoy the entire salvation process (adventure)?

he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing (Luk 15:5)

(a) Evangelists are fulfilled because they know the Lord is using them in their gift.

People with the gift of teaching enjoy the entire process. I love to come up with a cool topic and a catchy title. I love to research and type it out. I spend hours and hours on one message. I look for new way to present it and say it. I want to hear your reviews because I want to become better at what I do. I enjoy the entire process. It is an adventure for me. I know God is using me in my gifting and it is so very fulfilling.

It is this way with the person with the gift of the evangelist. They enjoy the entire process. From the initial meeting to the crossing the line into the kingdom, it is their adventure. They enjoy the fellowship. They enjoy the necessary prayer. They enjoy building the necessary bridges and answering questions and correcting the misconceptions about Jesus and church. The entire process is their adventure.

Paul and Felix

In Acts 27 the apostle Paul had been arrested and moved to Caesarea because of a plot to kill Paul. At Caesarea, Paul came before Felix for judgment. For two years, Felix kept Paul in house arrest. For two years, Paul witnessed to Felix about Christ. Felix was hoping for some money to release Paul, but Felix enjoyed talking with Paul also. There is no record Felix ever came into the kingdom. But neither is there any record of Paul resenting the time required to witness to Felix. We learn two things. First, the salvation process may not be a quick trip. Second, an evangelist enjoys the process. They live for those times and all incorporated in them. When I see someone interested in a teaching I have some understanding about, I love the moment. I live for this moment. Even if I cannot persuade them to see it the way I see it, I do not begrudge the time. I learn what I most do next time. I feel the Lord using me and I am doing what I am gifted to do.

How do you score on this one? Write a ‘0’ a ‘5’ or a ’10.’

  1. Do you have extreme confidence in the gospel message?

(a) The evangelist has an extraordinary confidence the lost will respond to the gospel.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

If a person has the gift of the evangelist, they have a confidence people will respond to the gospel. Billy Graham would preach some of the simplest messages, but thousands of people would respond. Those who are not high in this gift say something like, “O, the gospel. It is a good thing. And it ought to be spread. And I hope when it is spread it works. It would be wonderful if some folks would respond.”

(b) The evangelist can remember in vivid detail the power the gospel had upon them.

Those high on the evangelistic gift remember in vivid detail the power the gospel had on them. They remember vividly where they were and what they were thinking and what was said and what was done. They remember how the gospel affected them. We know in the book of Revelation there is a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb (Rev 7:9-10). There is not a nation capable of resisting the gospel. It affects more people than can be numbered. Those high on this spiritual gift easily see this.

If you notice at a Billy Graham crusade, there is a huge empty space immediately in front of the platform where they could put out maybe a thousand more chairs. Do you know why this space is left empty? Because Billy Graham and his team have a tremendous confidence people will come down in response to the gospel.

(c) Those high in this evangelistic gift believe the opportunity to share the gospel is a huge victory.

Those high in this evangelistic gift believe the opportunity to share the gospel is a huge victory. They know one day there will be a response. They know most people will require several touches before they make a decision. These know they are a part in their decision.

How do you score on this one? Write a ‘0’ a ‘5’ or a ’10.’

  1. Do you celebrate at a conversion (tremendous joy)?

Luke 15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

(a) No one rejoices when someone comes to the Lord as does the evangelist.

No one rejoices when someone comes to the Lord as does the evangelist. See, it was the evangelist who went looking for the lost sheep. Nothing was more important than the one lost sheep. His heart and his mind were consumed with the sheep. He (or she) found it. Then the evangelist layeth it on his shoulders. The evangelist takes it upon himself to carry the lost lamb back, but the entire trip, the evangelist is rejoicing. He is enjoying the journey. It is his adventure. However, his rejoicing does not stop there. He comes home and begins calling all his friends and neighbors saying, Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep which was lost.

How do you score on this one? Write a ‘0’ a ‘5’ or a ’10.’

The purpose for our lesson is specifically to uncover our evangelist. I pledge to you I today drive a stake in the ground and promise to do all I can to equip you and acquire for you teachings and instructions. I sincerely apologize for stifling your so very necessary gift. We want to do all we can to develop you and perfect you.

To those who are not high in this gifting, please don’t feel bad. You have gifts we want to bring forth also, but today the Lord is emphasizing the evangelist and I am excited. You can be used also to point people to Christ. It may not be the adventure it is for the evangelist and it may not happen as often, but we all can witness and we all can point people.

Now, who scored 30 to 40 on the evaluation? You have an above average gifting and this is probably at least your second if not your primary gift. Who scored 40 or above? Evangelism is your primary gift. To both those of the secondary or primary gifting I say, you must turn over heaven and earth to develop this gift. This is the talent given you by Christ and the item you will stand accountable before Christ one day. You must leave denial and recognize this is your gift. You need to read about it and study about it. You must pray about it. You must be trained and train people. Get together with others and provoke one another and inspire one another.

AM I AN “EVANGELIST?”

Place in the “score” blank a “0” if very low or never, place a “5” if medium or sometimes, place a “10” if high or always.

  1. Do you feel a special drawing (welcome/receiving) and compassion for people distant from God?

(a) The evangelist can _____________________________________________________ immediately (radar).

(b) The evangelist is ___________________________________________________ by that spiritual condition.

(c) The evangelist even looks forward to ___________________________________________ with that person.

SCORE: _______________

  1. Do you create and maintain a bridge into the lost sheep’s life?

(a) The evangelist does not make people feel _____________________________________ about spiritual things.

SCORE: _______________

  1. Do you enjoy the entire salvation process (adventure)?

(a) Evangelists are _______________________________ because they know that the Lord is using them in their gift.

SCORE: _______________

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