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The Lost Sheep

John Bradshaw

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What makes a painting worth $450 million? And what makes a sinner even more valuable? Join Pastor John Bradshaw and examine a parable that shows you how precious you are to God.

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John Bradshaw

President of It Is Written

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  • July 23, 2020
    9:00 AM
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I'm glad you're able to join me today I'm glad I'm able to join you before we get in the wood Let's pray and expect God's blessing Let's do that now Father in heaven we're grateful that we can gather around the Bible lead us by your spirit we pray and we thank you we expect you to do so we ask it of you in Jesus name a man. When I were younger man's clothes I was living in London England working in an ice cream store in less to square it was the hog and ice cream restaurant there are worse places to work there are probably also healthier places to work but I was there for 13 days before getting another job no calamity I wasn't fired simply got a better opportunity. The Haagen does ice cream restaurant at which I worked in London England was on Leicester Square and if you know anything about the geography of the West End in London then you will know that list a square is just a stone's throw. You got to have a pretty good Om I suppose but a stone's throw from Trafalgar Square and when you go down to Trafalgar Square one of the most important and outstanding objects there in addition to Nelson's column in the middle or thereabouts of the square is the National Gallery or the National Gallery this place is. In the National Gallery there well there is always. Paintings and pictures there almost beyond value you know you don't even have to like or high brow to like what's there at that gallery on Trafalgar Square in London England the place is a neck an international treasure so I was working in Leicester Square I would trundle down to Trafalgar Square and wander around the Art Museum and I knew that once I went back to my home country of New Zealand they'd be nothing remotely like it there so I should take the opportunity to soak in some of the works and see if I could develop an appreciation for this sort of thing so while I was there they happened to be holding an exhibition of impressionist and so they were paintings by Monday and then golf and and and Ses on whom I actually just love and others and I appreciated that and if you've ever wondered about fine I mean good I mean expensive. You may have wondered what it would take to own one of those pictures so let's look at some numbers together how much do you think. Is the is the greatest price ever paid for working by not we're coming up painting Well let's start with painting at number 5 chip in my little list it's a painting by the American artist Jackson Pollock 5th highest price paid for a painting at least at the time this list was published you know these things change on an ongoing basis but at the time of checking 5th most expensive work of painting that is in the history of the world $200000000.00 and it's a painting by Jackson Pollock by the way if you look at the top 10 or the top 20 you know there are some interesting works of ox one of them as in fact Number 6 by the American Pain to Mark Rothko it's just colorless So the shape maybe it's a rectangle is sort of a frame and just some colors it's beautiful it's impressive a cynic would say it looks like something a high school might bring home but a high schooler who could do that as a pretty bright future point is that simple one of the most expensive paintings ever is a Picasso one of his abstract things with bits and pieces of bodies and I don't know bicycles or vases I don't know you can never really tell when you're looking at a Picasso one of his abstract number 5 Jackson Pollock 200000000 dollars number for a painting by Paul Gunn it's. It's nice I mean here I am the art critic $210000000.00 Now what I really like anything by say Zohn is going to be fantastic painting number 3 3rd most expensive painting ever says on 2 $150000000.00 So if you have some spare change or if you saving for something you might be able to pick it up for a little more than that 2nd most expensive painting and I don't know if I want to admit this so I'll phrase it differently I don't know if you've ever heard of Willem de Kooning of course there are some particularly well educated and some mavens and so forth you're all of a dick kerning not some of us Willem de Kooning this painting 300000000 dollars for a painting by seriously good artist but somebody many of us many of you many of some people have never heard of now if I would ask you which just painted the most expensive painting ever you probably could guess this if you thought about this had a conversation with somebody once and the question I said was it was a Michelangelo but what he was really more of a sculptor really wasn't you know it was Leonardo da Vinci and the painting is untitled Salvatore Monday savior of the world and it sold not that long ago to somebody who must have had an awful big piggy bank paid $450.00 millions of dollars for a single painting just one Owen by the way was it really by Leonardo da Vinci maybe the painting is reportedly by or reputed to be by with some of these old paintings is not really any real way of telling for sure. But the buy a figure that was a dividend she thought he was on to a good thing wrote a chick Well a big long number including a lots of zeroes $450000000.00 So what makes a painting worth $450000000.00 or let me ask the same question from another angle is it really will. $450000000.00 It's. Painting is it worth that much think about it because of course you might say oh no no painting is worth $450000000.00 No football quarterback should $3040000000.00 a year no house in Allen neighborhood should sell for $600000.00 no Cobb should sell for $3000000.00 understand I understand the thinking but why should it not oh that's a reckless amount of money perhaps we might say but is it really is it really I mean you wouldn't pay $3000000.00 for that old 700-0022 1000000 to $10000000.00 or whatever it might be for that house and you wouldn't pay that much for whatever it might be and what is it that gives these things they value $450000000.00 for a painting that's a god game show and sum of money what gives it its value Well quite simply someone was willing to pay that much. Why should a quarterback 30 or $40000000.00 a year because someone is willing to pay that much that's why why should that house on that street sell for that much money because someone was willing to pay that much no in all seriousness Salvatore Monday the painting by Leonardo da Vinci might one day sell for 50 bucks that is if suddenly everybody decided the thing was worthless not worth having not worth paying the money for you and I both know that there are certain things that ludes they have value to whatever effect is but all that means is that they came a time that nobody was willing to pay that much for that thing if somebody values that price goes up if somebody doesn't value it the price on the other hand goes down think. For a moment with me if you would of the most valuable thing ever purchased and what would that be we're going to look at a parable together it's a very short parable I want to look at it with you it's in the Gospel of Luke It's in Chapter 15 it's one of a series of para bull was that actually flows together and we will look at Luke 15 and verse one where the Bible says they end drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him I spoke to a lady the other day she told me that. She and her family left the church many years ago she finally came back after about 40 years after about 40 years I said to why did you leave the church. And she said My dad was never a church member but my mother would take us to children with to a certain church it's still in existence I could tell you the name of it but I won't and it's immaterial because this happened well about 41 years ago she said something happened at that church one day who what I asked Where are we going with this she said we were in the church one day when at family came into the church obviously not well to do they were scruffy and they clearly were a fish out of water in our church at least going by looks everybody saw them come in and everybody saw one of the deacons approached them. And escort them. Because they weren't appropriately a time for our church she said my mother was so disgusted she said of that's how our church treats people I don't have anything to do with it and she left now granted she was right to be disgusted wrong to leave that you've lowered your buying price if you can let the devil get you that easy Have you heard stories like that oh I have where some young people come to church and they get to the door dressed in black gothic looking in black polish and black lipstick and black everything and not looking too jolly and the kindly greeted says Oh you can commit a church dressed like that do you better go home and get changed and then come back oh wait what. No I don't think so you notice the Bible says to us in Luke Chapter 15 in verse one that then drew near to Jesus all the publicans and sinners full to hear him when Jesus came to town he attracted the riffraff he a trap to attracted the hopeless he attracted the down cost frequently the off scouring of society was drawn to Jesus isn't it interesting if Jesus is that they. Then your house of worship will attract people who down on their luck if you let me put it that way if Jesus is there your church will attract some people who are desperate and looking for a better way they ought to be someone in your church who doesn't look like everybody else you ought to be happy if there's someone in your church who doesn't smell just as clean as everybody else you ought to be happy in a way but you know the way I'm talking about so I'll remove the qualifier now you ought to be happy if someone comes to your church smelling of alcohol you ought to be happy because what it demonstrates 9 times out of 10 that is is that the church is doing its job why does the church exist to save the last to reach the lost and lost people frequently look last act lost it lost smell lost Talk lost. Sure it can be a little bit like blending oil and water but here was Jesus and all the publicans and all the sin is the moral the should the they were drawn to Jesus no don't stretch this too far and say oh jesus went and people that Jesus went to hang out with descendents know Jesus ministered to the sinners is not that Jesus in ways the bad cd part of town I got to go and sit in a dive bar and and hang out with my friends no it wasn't like that Jesus was on a mission to seek and save the last when the last people came around him that was a good thing ladies and gentlemen my hope is that way you worship Jesus is so pronounced so prominent so visible so obvious so presented that lost people make their way to him it's not a good thing when our churches all look button down and squeaky clean it's evidence that we're not doing our job of reaching the last some last person or to be there now granted you and I both know that when they come to the feet of Jesus they're going to stay that way they'll change they'll grow they'll develop they'll become more and more like Jesus I could tell you about a fella who used to go to church and when the sermon got a little boring he'd go into the restroom and he'd line up a little line of cocaine somewhere on the on the sink and he'd sniff it up his nose and he'd shake his head and go back to the church and was always surprised at how much better the sermon had got in a very short period of time I'm not telling you it's a good thing that he took his cocaine to church or into the restroom at all don't do that. But what's interesting is that one day he took those cocaine into the restroom lined it up on the sink said to himself What am I doing pushed it into the sink ran it down the plughole that was the end he never used it again he gave his life to Christ thank God he was in the house of the Lord at all so he could hear the good news and be impacted by it and changed by it became a completely new man it was good that he was in church that day Jesus attracted the publicans and sinners now it was the barest sees and sometimes we have a Pharisee on the front door who says oh you can't commit a church like that do you sometimes we have a Pharisee who's one of the deacons leads the visiting family out. It's the fairest not by the way let me let me take a time out here I know that in the vast majority of cases Christians are welcoming in the vast majority of cases Christians I happy to see all kinds of folks come to church in the Vost majority of cases people will greet somebody or speak to somebody or make somebody feel welcome I know that but we ought to be able to say in every case and there are some churches where we need to do a little reeducation process and explain to people that we just want to see him and should yes I hear what you say what doesn't God have standards yes he has standards and you know them and when somebody doesn't know them we extend grace to that person and we extend Christianity to that person we want to be able to say anyone welcome however you all the time at all costs remember the hymn we sing just as I am without one plea but that your blood was shed for me we come to Jesus just like we do when someone lives across the street from you comes to church just like they are comes to Jesus just like they are we celebrate and we sing and we pray and we be the hands and feet of Jesus in that person's experience but we must push on because the Bible says and Luke 15 and goes to the Pharisees and scribes. Saying this men receives sin is and eats with them Jesus did what they said we could learn from Jesus because he didn't engage in argument and he didn't try to defend himself he didn't get down into the weeds of what they were talking about he didn't want to soil his hands would be petty. And objections this man receives sin is as though there was something wrong with that Jesus said. This is a teaching moment this is an opportunity for me to communicate something special something that they'll be blessed and benefited by and so the Bible says in verse 3 and he spoke a parable unto them saying and here we go this is verse 4 it's a very very well known parable as a very short parable but this is what Jesus says in Luke 15 and verse 4 what men of you having and a 100 sheep if he lose one of them does not leave the $90.00 and $9.00 in the wilderness and go off did that which is lost until he fall and. Here you are criticizing me about receiving sinners but me I ask you a question many of you know agriculturally minded. Depending on the village where Jesus was or the city where Jesus was speaking they all had hoods and flocks flocks for the most part no question Jesus said you can relate to this he said which person here if you have a 100 sheep in your last one which person wouldn't go to find it. Which person wouldn't go to find it there is something I find interesting about this passage and that's this Jesus did not talk about someone who had 100 alpacas he didn't talk about someone who had a 100 cows he didn't talk about someone who had 100 breeding stallions or 100 broodmares didn't do that do you know how much an alpaca costs Neither do I but I know they're not cheap. Do you know how much Cal costs or a studio you know you go to the For Each thing you know where the kids are parading their animals and then sometimes auction them and sell them and you know that the cow or the the bull then they'll go for some money especially if there's some kind patron in the crowd wanting to help out the child so a cow steal a bull that could sell for a king's ransom Well Ok I mean other than a small time king but a lot of money but a sheep I remember as a kid growing up in a country where there was a lots and lots of sheep they would times when the sheep prices were so low it was almost not worth the sheep bomb as time sending the sheep to the meat works because the cost of their time and the cost of shipping was more than they might get for the sheep itself you know how markets have been flow and they're up and down they depict and it was those times sheep a sheep This is not a farmer who had horses or elephants or camels is she you know would the whole lot if you understand what I mean you know if you were a little Lando or some subsistence bomber and you were taking care of your family and all you had was 100 sheep Ok that's one percent of your work and that might be a little sum of money but even think about that who couldn't afford to see one percent go and live on the 991 percent of your assets it may be a calamity it may be we're not even going to miss it this man lost one sheep out of 101 sheep out of 100 and by the way you lose your dog Did you ever see an advertisement. Taped to a lamp post that said lost sheep. I've lost my land I mean you may have but I doubt it very much did you ever see one of those sheep lost description whites and woolly. Please call this number did you ever see that you never saw that but what did you see you saw last kitten a lost cat and usually there's signs for lost what dogs because the dog can become part of your family I mean there are some people who let him up on the big. Dog sleep in the garage or ride in the car will come in the house to get under the table or just plop down in the living room or outside in the kennel but you know what I'm saying people and their dogs so you can understand that this is a sheep you don't hug a sheep a sheep doesn't lay down next year and put its head in your lap it's a sheep it's not a family pet 99 times out of 100 it's just a sheep so it's not expensive it doesn't have great value this isn't a parable about someone who lost a diamond misplaced the crown jewels It's a sheep it's not a person who lost his brother because you never stop searching for your lost brother dad went wandering off I heard a unfortunate story somebody I know from my childhood the dad dealing with dementia wandered off couldn't find they moved I mean heaven and earth to find Dad's search parties perfect strangers it's a member of the family when a member of the family goes missing you leave no stone unturned you do everything you've got to do this was a sheep and by the way no offense here but sheep can be pretty dumb. They can be pretty stubborn they can act kind of strange you know what I mean now I know there's going to be an animal scientists who says oh no wait a minute their research actually demonstrates but the rest of us think sheep pretty stupid so this wasn't an expensive animal it wasn't a member of the family it wasn't even anything this special East smot and he is someone Jesus saying if you lose a sheep you are going to do everything you can to go and find the sheep true or not and they all had to admit that's true Him All right we're green with that sure sure but Jesus went even further and he said in verse 5 and when he had found it he left it on his shoulders rejoicing and when he comes home he calls together as friends and neighbors saying unto them read Joyce with me for I have found my sheep which was lost right now clearly these individuals would have said oh you know he has a point that's that's exactly how we act about a sheep Tis true and then Jesus brought it home he brought it home and he said in those 7 of Luke Chapter 15 I say unto you that likewise joy shall be in the Heaven of all one sinner that repent it more than of the $90.00 and $9.00 just persons which need no repentance imagine this Jesus is saying that he feels about the last like one of these bombers would feel about a lost sheep. Now we might look around the world and say you know the people that want as we're getting close to 8000000000 of them they're everywhere. You know would a whole lot I mean dollar value I don't know how you place a dollar value I suppose some of them can be I mean. Less then wise in their thinking we are prone to make mistakes with faulty we were created to live forever a sin has come under ravaged us we get sick we die everyone who dies dies young we were supposed to live forever we make trouble for God We wander off like the sheep in the parable wander off now this is interesting because sheep if you know anything about of their great followers it's not often that a sheep one sheep alone sheep will wander off because she loved to follow they'll follow the flock so this is a sheep that stepped out of line that was stubborn this was a sheep that wandered off for whatever reason you might even have said. Maybe the farmer would be better off without that sheep maybe but the follow source something in the sheep that he valued Jesus see something in human beings which have wandered off which have made mistakes in fact human beings whose sin held in Jesus on an old rugged cross and yet God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son He came to this world and the like of loving kind shepherd. Huge and the lost sheep so that he might carry the lost sheep home it's a pretty tend to picture really isn't it. There will be joy in heaven of a one last person who repents joy in heaven more joy than over the 99 that don't need to repent what does this tell you about God Well it tells you a lot doesn't it tells you about the love of God in the patience of God in the long suffering of God and the willingness of God to go to any length to do whatever he had to do to the extent that Jesus would die in the cross so that we can come to heaven one day soon. Shifty is here but I want to minimize this this is a picture of the tend love of God the paternal love of the Father one of Jesus'. Most Treasured themes it speaks to us about a Jesus who would who would go searching for a sheep again you know not a not a stallion these things can sell for tens of millions of dollars he didn't go searching for his last go go on or say or did when she painting this wasn't a work of God Instead this was one of the one of God's own children and Jesus sitting lot of wandered off but I want to go find him want to bring him back I want to bring her back. Let me sports here for a 2nd. Where are you in relation to God let me ask you Are you might be just fine you might be in a good spot if you're honest you'll concede that at the very least there are some glaring defects in your experience you might even know that you're a long way from God What's tragic is if you're a long way from God and you don't know. But you might be a long way from God You might have wandered off and what is the story tell us about God's love for you the Bible tells us that even when you wander off it was it was the sheep's fault I think even when it's your fault even when the guilt is yours even when you've made mistakes Jesus is willing to come off to you. And bring you know. It's a beautiful story let's shift this direction now amid a fellow who was raised in the church but then wandered off I think I think he was a teenager and he just wandered off he told me he lived a rough life from time to time he would come back to church come back and it's family members still in the church you know rough life often when he would come back and he would fall away and he would come back and visit go again he admitted to me that I had some vices in his life and he was right about that he said there were some fairly significant vices and he was right about that too what he told me was something a little bit alarming He said I've been attending church again off and on frankly I think more off than on for about 3 years he said and I've never made any real connections in that church we don't know anyone his wife who has no background in church has gone to church with him once or twice and after 3 years of walking in and out of those doors he's not able to say that he's made any kind of meaningful connection with anybody inside that church want you to think about that I wonder if there's somebody like that where you go to church I wonder if that's you. At the same time I marry I'll come back to the guy amid a young woman who told me that she came back to church. To do the math actually after about 21 years of being gone now she's you know she's older someone called a young she'd probably be pleased if we did but she's a whole lot older than she was and she came to church and reached out to the church emailed texted nothing. No reply no response I know you would say all that never happen in my church but if you went to that church you would probably say the same thing it is a wonder that she has hung in there I mean a miracle that she was hung and there she came back to God you know how difficult it is to come back to church after being gone for more than 2 decades and then be ignored she talked to me about this with tears running down his face ignored but she hung in there my friend most people don't hang in there they come to church and they get ignored and they get the message the message is you are on Love You are on wanted now you might say ah but they might smell by the way neither of these people did not look like I said when I talk like I said I might not be my same culture they might not might not might not wait a minute the children of God in you might be waiting for somebody else to make the throw a smooth What's necessary is that somebody steps forward shakes that person by the hand come and sit with me what are you doing for lunch by the way Wednesday night would you come back all Monday I'd love to meet you at Taco Bell will take a walk or ride a bike or see you at the gym or whatever it might be so the one young lady she managed to hang in there the other man a little older. Well he's kind of hanging in there but he's kind of hanging out no one person has made any kind of real contact with me you know how easy it is to fix that sort of thing. And shake. If that's appropriate a conversation a visit I am guaranteeing you as far as my limited powers and able me to guarantee. That if someone had reached out if someone had said we're going to be here at lunch on Sunday why don't you join us if somebody had said we'll go into the to the pacu the National Park or the I don't care what why don't you join us almost willing to guarantee that this fellow would be in the church boots and all and more than likely his wife because often all people need is love is care is somebody saying I'm really actually interested in you and often it means stepping across a boundary different race does that match a different color does that matter different age does that matter I can tell you about my friend who when he was a young man joined a church was baptized he figured out pretty quickly there no one like me in this church he was young and he was basically a hippie and no one who looks like me in this church nobody speaks my language you know in my culture no one really my age some elderly people spoke to him that 1st week he was in church under all of you have plans for lunch but if you'd like to come and join us then we would love it if you would and he said no they're old but I'm hungry and hunger trumps everything even an age difference sure don't know these people from anybody I'll go to the home and eat their food sure and he had a happy time oh there's a big age difference but does that matter when you're extending friendship to somebody. So the next week he comes to church and that is him right up to him and they say. You know we had such a good time last week and we would love it if you if you'd come and have lunch with us again would you do that I mean if you don't have any other plans and he didn't and so he set himself up food is pretty good no young man and I don't have to go home and take care of myself absolutely the 3rd week he came to church they come to me I say hello good to see you how you doing we've got the table set already and we've got to place it for you so we'll see if the lunch light they just assume that you know they must've been a great age disparity between the old a couple and the young hippie the money be the great cultural disparity between the old clean cut straight laced folks and this guy who just came out of the world and was recently baptized and in a look like everybody else at church looked but none of that mattered what mattered was love what mattered was care. And somebody loved him and somebody cared for him. And that's what made the difference you see if Jesus is willing to demonstrate to us that God was willing to go beyond the extra mile and do what ever needed to be done to reach a lost world to reach a hopeless world to reach a sinful and rebellious World Con we step out of our comfort zone once or twice to extend to others that same love and care and concern wherever you go to church there's a roll of the church members on it half the people on that road don't come and half them don't know anybody and should or haven't been in church in forever and no one's reached out to them. No one stopped by the house one afternoon off to church and said hey we missed you today love you to go next week he is a bulletin and here's a here's a copy of the pasta sermon and hey if you're not doing the Wednesday you think it'll make a difference true in some people's cases it make no difference at all but in others it make a difference all right might make an eternal difference there are people in these are the low hanging fruit someone comes to church shows they face walks off no no no if they come into church they come up to you there's a reason they're dead check it out ask questions be a friend you don't want to be all on them like a rash you don't want to be a trouble but. Certainly are on the side of friendliness rather than on the side of diffidence Jesus came into the world to seek and to save the lost when Jesus showed up sinners showed up in some of them didn't look good and some of them didn't smell good and some of them didn't talk appropriately and some of them didn't act like pillars of society but they were attracted to Jesus wonder if we can work on attracting people to us attracting people to the church is what I'm saying by being welcoming and combine and presenting a Jesus that people will be drawn to but then outside of the corporate attraction. I wonder if we can work individually on attracting people to Jesus on going off to the last on issuing an invitation on showing Love Can we would work on just being concerned can we work on being nice nice Jesus was nice and there's a certain power in genuine loving kindness as cheeses demonstrated in his life. Other people knew you that you can reach is this somebody you going to stumble into the in strew the doors of your Church sometime soon that you can make a difference in that person's life as someone who used to come to church someone you know who will engage in spiritual conversations that you could just in gauge with and pray Lord lead this proces lead me in that person's life I'm sure there are people like that and when we become welcoming and when we become accepting and when we become loving and lovable then God's going to trust us with more people that he sins our way right attitude is followed by the moving of the Spirit of God you prepare yourself God will say this is a person there is a body of believers that I can trust with some of my precious children who are looking to find their way home Jesus is coming back soon I know you believe that I believe that we look today in Luke Chapter 15 at a man who according to the passage receives synonyms Oh yes he does a man who goes to the extent that when one lost sheep has wandered off he leaves everything behind to go after that lost sheep you see the lost sheep precious to Jesus how precious. To you let me pray with you now. Father in heaven all around us there are hurting dying suffering longing wondering waiting willing individuals. Wonder Lord if you would open our eyes to the. Sometimes they walk into our midst. Sometimes they are they are sitting in the pews Sometimes we see them it would look cool we see them when we're out walking or we see them we see them. Lord give us a bird and the souls grant that we would value the lost sheep in the same way Jesus did what do they would if a painting a painting can be valued by someone at 450 $1000000.00 if Jesus can value a sin it to the extent that he would die for that person making a sinner the most expensive purchase in all of history then we lot can enter into that work of representing you and reaching out to someone Lord prepare our hots bring them to us or bring us to them that we might represent Jesus and attract people to Jesus and the cross we ask you in Jesus name please say with me a May and wonderful to spend time with you in the wood looking forward to doing that again sometime soon God bless you.

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