Lost and Found
July 3, 2022 anno Domini
Lost and found are the words of the Lord for us today.
What does it mean to be lost? For the coin and the sheep, it means to be apart from your owner. The sheep is apart from the shepherd. The coin is apart from the woman. So lost for the Christian is not merely to not know where you are going, but it is to be apart from God. It means to be living in sin instead of in Christ.
For the sheep being lost means danger and fear. A sheep without a shepherd will soon be lamb chops for the wolf. A sheep without a shepherd will be paralyzed with fear. A sheep apart from her shepherd will not findgreen pasture or still waters.
A coin without a master is useless. It has no purpose. It sits in the darkness and gathers dust. You know what those lost coins look like when you clean your car. A coin’s value is only in the owner’s hand and being used for the owner’s purpose. A hundred-dollar bill stuck in the back of grandpa’s recliner doesn’t do any good.
What does it mean for you to be lost? Apart from God you live in danger and fear until you are devoured. What makes you afraid? The goal of Fox and CNN, the preachers of the world, is the same, to make you afraid – afraid of Trump or Biden, afraid of the right or the left, afraid of dangerous Democrats and radical Republicans. Fear sells. Fear gets votes. Fear divides so that those selling fear can devour. Are you afraid of Covid? Afraid of the vaccine? Afraid of the Supreme Court? Afraid of an unplanned pregnancy? Repent. You’re acting like you’re lost, like you are on your own, like COVID or the vaccine could actually kill you. According to Scripture there is only One who can take your life and that is the God who gave you life. More importantly He redeemed your life. By your baptism into His Son, He is your Father. By the seeking of Jesus, you have been found. You’re not lost like the sheep.
What does it mean to be lost like that coin? Well, the coin didn’t walk away like the sheep. From the sheep we learn being lost is our fault. Sin is on us. We walked away from God. From the coin we learn sin is our condition. Being lost is what we are apart from God. Being lost also means we have no value, no purpose. Think about how little value is placed on human life in the world. Russia has no problem bombing a shopping mall in Ukraine. 60 million babies were aborted in the world last year alone. Millions of living children grow up not valued by the men and women who created them. Daughters do not know the love of a father and sons do not know the nurture of a mother. Is it any wonder boys join gangs or girls become promiscuous? Or that a boy thinks being a girl will make him feel better? If you’ve ever struggled with depression or questioned your own value – you know this lostness. It is like you are in a corner, gathering dust, with no purpose, no joy, and are no use to anyone.
One more point about being lost. Unlike a man who gets lost and finally listens to his wife and asks for directions, the sheep and the coin and you cannot find your way back to God. Anyone who says, “I found Jesus” is mistaken. Jesus isn’t lost. You are. You are as unable as that coin to find your owner. You are like a sheep who gladly eats his way into trouble and never looks or listens for the Shepherd’s voice.
God must find you and He wants to find you. He is the Shepherd who leaves the 99 to search for the one. He is the woman who tears apart her house to find that one coin. God sent His Son to seek and to save the lost ones – you. Christ tore the world apart searching for the lost. He has brought down Kings and destroyed empires. He has divided families and nations. God has swept the world with the news of His son and shown the light of His Word into her darkest corners.
How does Jesus save you? By being you. The Shepherd goes where the sheep is lost. Into the raging river, down the cliff, into the jaws of the lion. So, Jesus becomes a man and then goes in the sinner’s place. He becomes the lost one, cast off from His Father. Hear His lostness from His cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” His purpose is to get lost so we can be found, to be alone with our sin and in hell so we can be welcomed by the Father into the communion of Saints and the resurrection of heaven.
He saves you like that woman seeking the coin. She stayed up all night. She deprived herself of sleep. She went into the dirtiest places in her home. She pulled the stove out, looked behind the fridge, and into that dark and dingy room in the basement she normally avoided. She had her heart and eyes set on that lost coin. Jesus deprived Himself because He had His eyes on you. He set aside His glory and honor to take on human flesh and your sin. He owned no home, married no wife, bought no property. He went into the dirtiest places – to dine with tax collectors and prostitutes, because His light would dispel their darkness. His death takes away your sin. His blood washes you clean. His love makes you lovely again and restores you to your true value – child of God, beloved of the Father.
Being found is not just an event in your life it is your identity. You weren’t just baptized a long time ago, you are baptized. You weren’t merely born from above, you are God’s child. You are found. That means you’re back under God’s ownership. You are His. Your sin doesn’t define you. The darkness isn’t your dwelling place. Your value isn’t silver or gold, but the holy and precious blood of His son. You don’t have to trust in Republicans or Democrats to make heaven on earth. You don’t need to fear Don Lemon or Tucker Carlson. You have heaven on earth right here. You have a Father who created you and redeemed you. You have a brother who loved you to death and volunteered to take your punishment. You are not alone, for the Holy Spirit has brought you into the communion of saints and angels. Every sheep that is rescued and every coin that is found results in a party for the whole neighborhood, why? Because the angels in heaven rejoice over a single sinner who repents – that’s you.
You have a purpose. That is most evident in the lost coin. A lost coin is useless to anyone. But once it is back in the hand of the owner it can purchase a Rib-eye steak, or get a noisy toy for the grandson, or buy some fireworks to celebrate our freedom. That coin can go in the offering plate to support the preaching of God’s Word, or it can stand up for life at the Pregnancy Resource Center. That’s you, when you are found. Your purpose is whatever God has given you to do – to work to supply your needs, to care for your family, to help the helpless and love the loveless, to support the Gospel so that Christ’s light can still shine in the darkness and the Shepherd can still seek the lost. You once were lost, but now are found and the angels rejoice in the name of Jesus.