Sharing God’s Love

JESUS SPEAKING

             “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.  For the son of Man has come to save that which was lost.  What do you think?  If a man has a hundred sheep, and one goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?  And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.  Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Mathew 18: 10-14.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

            Jesus gives a warning here, and when he gives a warning, it’s best to take it very seriously.  Indifference and distain for sinners is a symptom of an inner sickness.  Pride is the cause; those who fancy themselves as ‘good’ in comparison to those who are engaging in evil have become distant from God.  Followers of God share His heart and God’s heart beats for all people; sinners and saints alike.  Many of the religious leaders were criticizing Jesus for being friendly to tax collectors and prostitutes.  Those who were self-righteous misjudged God’s love for all of His children.  God loves sinners so much he sent his Son in to the world as His shepherd; his purpose, to gather together the lost sheep and to bring them back in to ‘the fold.’  God, contrary to popular belief, is not some distant, vengeful, angry God, but rather a loving Father, eager and ready to forgive [but many refuse to accept His love and His forgiveness.]  God feels pain when he sees one of his children destroying themselves.  So if God feels compassion and sorrow and love for the lost, those who call Him Father should share his concerns, his desires, and a love.  A love for God Himself, a true love, spills over in to a love for the things that God loves; and God loves the lost.

            Jesus illustrates this when he describes the story of the Prodigal Son.  I will paraphrase the story for you, ‘There were two sons of a wealthy Father [the Father represented by God.]  One of the Sons asked for his inheritance early, and he went in to a far country and spent it on wild living (women, parties.)  When the money was gone, he tried to work, and he began to be starved; as he was feeding the pigs, he wanted to eat the food he was giving to them.  He came to his senses, and decided to return home, hoping that his Father would take him back as a lowly servant and not a son.  When he came home, his Father ran to him, kissed him, put sandals on his feet, and a robe on him, and demanded that all of the household celebrate.  They killed an animal to cook and went in doors and began to dance and play music.  The Father said ‘my son was dead, but is alive again to me.  He was lost and is found.’  The father had gotten something back that was irreplaceable.  The Son was mistaken about his Father’s reaction to his return, because he misjudged the love of a father for his son (much like we do today as well when it comes to God.)  As they were all celebrating, the Son who had stayed (the one who had acted and behaved properly all of those years) refused to celebrate.  He wasn’t happy that his brother was alive, and that his brother had returned.  The Father came out from the party and begged his Son to join them as they celebrated; but he hated his hatred for his brother created a rift between he and his Father.  (In this parable, the Jews who were self-righteous were represented by ‘The Good Son.’  The sinners and prostitutes who were coming to Jesus to give their lives back to God were represented in this story by ‘the son who returned home.’  The Party is heaven, where God is, which the second son refused to enter because he hated his brother so much.)  Instead of celebrating and being happy that lost people were coming back to God in the days of Jesus, the religious leaders condemned Jesus, because they had always valued themselves in comparison to the ungodly and unrighteous.  (Suddenly, they were losing their value) and so they turned on Jesus and refused to join in on the celebration.  This hatred, this pride, had separated them from the very God they proposed to worship and love.

            Today, in this place, anyone who comes to believe in Jesus Christ becomes a shepherd, sent out in to the world to continue the ministry of Jesus Christ.  The shepherds share the same heart with God.  As shepherds we must never look down upon sinners or separate ourselves from them.  Rather, we need to love them and let them know about the loving Father they have that has sent us out to seek after them.  Has God called you to reach out to the person sitting next to you?  Are there any people at your work, in your family, on the bus, in the coffee shop, that need to hear about this Father?  The message is love, and we are His messengers in this place.  Let’s reach out to our brothers and sisters who are struggling, and let’s do it with the love of God in our hearts.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and we lift You up; You are an awesome and mighty God.  Lord, we ask that you remove any pride in our hearts that is separating us from You.  We ask that You help us to have Your compassion, and Your love for those who are lost.  Help us to continue Your work here in this place, and guide us by Your Holy Spirit.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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