Confirmation Question Responses 9-15-13

Last Sunday, I preached on the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. See that posting here.

This was the first Sunday that my confirmation students have been working on sermon notes, and several of them asked questions. I will do my best to field those questions here.

Why would a person leave 99 sheep to find 1 that might be dead?
Excellent question…and that’s exactly the point of Jesus’ parable. You might remember that I said that when Jesus calls something “lost” in this passage, it means destroyed or dead…and so we can assume that the lost is in fact dead.  Now remember that Jesus isn’t trying to be literal here, he’s not actually talking about lost or dead sheep. Rather, he is talking about us. In the book of Romans we hear that the wages of sin is death and since we are all sinful, we know that we are dead in sin. Jesus is the shepherd going in search of the lost (or dead). For us, it is impossible to find something that is destroyed or dead and bring it back, but God is able to accomplish the impossible.

Will God always find us, or will there be times that he won’t?Another great question, and one that I personally struggle with. Unfortunately, there are individuals that never receive the Holy Spirit and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I don’t know why that is, but it does seem to be the case, but it is not God’s intention that there be anyone that is not found. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” I wish I could answer the question of why some people are not saved, but I can’t. But the one thing I can cling to is that when we are found by God, nothing can take that away. Romans 8:38-39 tells us “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So once he’s got you…he’s got you for good.

Why does God make us lost if he is just going to leave everything else and look?
Another good one. To start, God does not create us lost…but rather we become lost (dead) due to our sinful nature. Sin has warped God’s creation and caused death. It’s not quite accurate to say that God leaves everything to go searching for us, though admittedly that’s what the parable sounds like. Remember though that it is a parable. It’s a metaphor. What its actually pointing at is that God entered into our reality…the reality where we were lost in sin and death. Jesus (God the son) entered that reality to bring back the lost (us).

Will God always be there for me, even if I do something bad?
You better believe it. This is precisely what the parable is talking about. There is rejoicing in Heaven over every sinner that repents. We all do bad stuff…every single one of us. That’s sin, try as we might, we make mistakes all the time. But God tells us that if we repent…if we confess what we did and are truly sorry, then Jesus washes those sins away. It’s like they never happened. That’s what happens when God finds us.

How does God know where you are?
Great question. Simple answer, God knows everything and he sees everything. But what’s important to note here is that the parable is not talking about being physically lost (like the sheep in the story). Rather, its about being lost (destroyed or dead) in our sinfulness. That’s not a physical place, but its a state of being…like saying its “what” we are, not “where” we are. Jesus (God the son) saves us from what we are…dead in sin.

Thanks for all the great questions from the students. I hope this is helpful in clearing them up for you.

 

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