Tuesday, August 18, 2015

THE WORTH OF A SOUL


I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.  (Luke 15:7)

The worth of something is determined by the amount someone is willing to pay for it.  So, how much is one precious soul worth?  What was God willing to pay for our redemption?  It cost the blood of His darling Son.  What is a soul worth to our church?  How valuable is that one who is lost?  Jesus drives home the point in Luke 15 because the religious crowd despised them and thought sinners were only fit to fuel the fires of hell (v.1-3).  Jesus responds with one parable in three illustrations.

The worth of a soul is seen in the devotion of the shepherd in seeking for one lost sheep (v.4-7).  Our question is, if one is valuable, then aren't the ninety-nine others valuable also?  Of course!  It is a matter of priorities. The others are safe and sheltered in the fold.  They are cared for...as well they should be.  There is a crisis, however.  One is lost and in a desperate condition.  It is not like a dog whose homing instincts might lead it back home.  It is not a cat that could claw or climb a tree.  It is not a horse that could gallop away.  It is a helpless, hopeless lamb.  Unless it is sought, it perishes.  Now, that would be sad.  The reality behind the story is far worse.  That sheep stands for the sinner, and death brings an eternity of despair.  Therefore, the evangelizing of the lost must claim priority in every decision for the church.  It is that urgent.  It is the mission of Jesus (Luke 19:10).  Is it ours?

The worth of a soul is seen in the diligence of the woman in seeking for one lost coin (v.8-10).  What effort does this woman go through to find the lost coin?  She turns the house upside down!  Why?  The coin was valuable...and she hoped recoverable!  People mean so much to God—they should to us!  We have to believe that our efforts can pay off.  Diligence and perseverance are required.  Jesus likened our work to fishing for men (Lk.5:10-11). Fish don't typically flop into your boat—you go after them!  The success of our search is related to effort and endurance.
 
The worth of a soul is seen in the compassion of the father in forgiving one lost son (v.11-32). The first two stories picture the devotion and diligence of a seeker.  The seeker of course is not the sheep or the coin, but the shepherd and the sweeper!  Having said that, there are others who will be rescued from sin only when they have become weary of the high cost of low living.  You can and should warn them, but many won't listen.  This is when we wait and watch—in an attitude of compassion and the activity of intercession—always with the spirt of expectation that when the person has reached the bottom, they will seek a different life.  This story is often referred to as the parable of the prodigal son, but it is more accurately the story of the Father's heart.  We shouldn’t focus on the sins of the son—which is what the elder brother did!  Jesus focused on the forgiveness of the Father!  The party he threw was extravagant.  The self-righteous always have a reaction against reaching lost sinners.  “Where's my party?” is their self-centered concern.

4 comments:

Dougald W. McLaurin, Jr. said...

God used this to speak to me this morning! POWERFUL ending statement, and unfortunately too many churches/church members focus on the sins of the son and not actions of the Father. And your statement nailed it - it is really due to our selfishness (and maybe self-righteousness). However, what spoke to be first was about the very nature of the lamb/sheep. The sheep was not seeking---I stopped to ponder the term "Seeker church."

True - as you stated - some will grow weary and perhaps come to Christ. BUT basically they are not seeking. The church needs to start seeking....

Dennis Thurman said...

Bless you brother! How encouraging to me that God used me to speak to your heart! Let's seek some lost soul today!

Crystal Green said...

I work at McDowell Missions a homeless shelter in marion. I look through my newsfeed at work because at times I become very discouraged and I always find that god speaks to me expecially today when I read your newsfeed. I work with many women who are held captive by there idol of substances, men, co dependency, and some just make really bad choices. I have to remember to hate the sin not the sinner and be reminded that not all will come to repentance but that just that one is worth the fight. Please keep me in your prayers I once lived a life of idoling drugs I have been sober for 2 years now and I work now everyday to help women who are struggling just like I was I want them to know the love of christ like I do. You posts are very comforting thanks Dennis

Dennis Thurman said...

God bless you for what you're doing to make a difference in these women's lives!