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Parable of the Lost Sheep, Coin, Son reveals the mission of all Christians while on Earth. Jesus rebukes the religious leaders and tells us what's truly important God's kingdom. 

Lost Sheep-Coin-Son Parable

Harmony Of The Gospels Series-31, Luke 15

For more information about Jesus see these books on the History of Jesus Christ

Ever wondered why God leaves us here after we receive Jesus? Why doesn't He just beam us to heaven? Why do we have to stay in these sinful bodies, continuing to struggle, suffer, fail, and fall? What's that all about, anyway? Sometimes that's a good question to ask the Lord in you prayer time, "Why am I here? Lord, what's my mission?" Obviously, He has a reason. God doesn't do anything by accident. If we don't know why we're here, how can we ever be fulfilled and happy? The fact is, each of us does have a purpose, a mission assigned by our Creator. We need to know what that is. Her are some of the best-selling books on the Lost Sheep and Other Parables.  Once we become followers of Jesus, we begin to explore possibilities again, just like a newborn child. We start to look for parts of our life that have meaning in this new "awakening" of ours. We start to discard those things that are meaningless or that oppose the new life in us. We're literally being recreated by God into who we were designed to be.

Then, for many, sadly, the religious people take over. They say we have to dress a certain way, and talk a certain way, and vote a certain way. They say we have to make offerings a certain way, and worship a certain way, and pray a certain way. They tell us the Bible is so complicated that only they can interpret it for us. They teach us if there's any difference between what we hear from God and what they hear, we must follow them. If we don't, we're disobedient…to God. Yet, the Bible says to follow God, and serve Him only. Our very mission is blocked by religious "rulers", Pharisee's, parading around, pretending to be the dispensers of God's will. They say His mission for us is anything but what He says it is.

Today we get a wonderful glimpse into the struggle between the mission of God and the mission of religion. If you haven't read it already, pause right here and read Luke 15. I'm not going to read it for you, and you won't understand me if you don't read it. Jesus told all 3 stories to highlight the difference between God's mission and religion's mission. Much of the New Testament records the battle in the Church between God and religion. That battle continues today. We need to be wary of what's being taught by the religious and how it's being taught. I'll tell you, if you're not studying God's Word for yourself and checking constantly what you're being told, you're not even safe at, as careful as we are…we're still living in these sinful, human bodies. Religion teaches us to elevate and serve ourselves and those like us and to avoid and judge everyone else. Yet Jesus teaches us in these 3 stories that His mission is just the opposite.

There is only one mission for a follower of Jesus…finding lost sheep.

1. Pharisee: We're gonna start with the end of the chapter, where Jesus uses the "older" son to explain the religious mindset, you know, the Pharisees. I'm starting here because we rarely hear this side of the story. Religious people love to try to identify with the lost son, but don't want to be challenged to compare themselves with his older brother. Upon hearing his lost brother had returned, the first reaction of the older son was relief? joy? Celebration? No! It was anger! He was so angry he would not even enter the house. He explained by describing his relationship with the father as slavery. He whined that the father had never given him enough. It was clear he felt he had a right to be called son because he had earned it by serving and obeying his father. It was clear he felt his younger brother deserved nothing because he had not served and obeyed his father. Ever heard someone brag how much better they are than someone else because of their behavior? Ever seen that person in the mirror? I've heard myself do it…how 'bout you? I'm learning better, but there are religious leaders who have said such things as, "we deserved the attack on the World Trade Center because of our sinfulness". How many religious people believe we deserve bad things that happen to us because of wrongs we've done? This is the sad and lonely mind of the religious, always condemning the wayward while commending and excusing themselves and members of their exclusive club. Jesus was warning them and us, this club opposes His mission in the world. Let's take the "Pharisee test", to see which club we're in. Which groups below do you feel are more deserving of God's love? __________ a. Alcoholics b. Billionaires c. Christians d. Abortionists e. Priests/pastors f. Murderers g. Tithers (correct answers hidden later in this lesson)

Continued at Lost Sheep-Coin-Son Parable-2

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