21D Fishers – Day 6: Lost Sheep

We all have family, friends, co-workers, or loved ones that don’t know the Lord or don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. Maybe those loved ones know about Jesus and even once had a relationship with Him but have fallen away and are not pursuing that relationship anymore. OR MAYBE that loved one is actually ourselves and maybe the relationship we once had with the Lord is not the same as it used to be and we haven’t been giving it the attention or investment we should be.

You see, either we know some lost sheep or we might be lost sheep ourselves, or possibly both.

  • But I am here tonight to tell you that there is hope because we have a good shepherd in our midst.
    • Back in biblical times, they did not have fancy fences or enclosures for their sheep like we do today. So, there would need to be someone there with them all the time leading them, guiding them, showing them where to go, feeding them, giving them water, and most importantly watching over them. The shepherd was not just hired help but took personal responsibility for the safety and care of his sheep even if that meant sacrificing his own life to protect the flock from predators.

John 10:1-16

“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me[a] were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.[b] They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

  • This is a beautiful description of how Jesus came to be our shepherd. How much He truly cares for us that He took it upon himself as a personal responsibility to sacrifice his own life in order to protect us from our eternal death. And He is still with us through our relationship with Him and the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we can be guided, nourished, and pursued.
  • But how are the lost sheep pursued?
    • The shepherd always knew how many sheep were in his care and if one went missing, he searched fervently until the sheep was found because he had a responsibility for each and every single sheep under his watch.
  • This is a search and rescue mission!

Luke 15:3-7

So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

  • If you’ve ever lost anything valuable in your life, you understand the rejoicing that comes when it is found. Even if it’s just your car keys.
  • When I was younger, I would go to the store with my mom. I wandered off a lot. I always thought I would remember where my mom was but then there was this one time, where I lost her.  She wasn’t where I thought she was and I just couldn’t find her.  I remember going up and down the aisles calling out for my mom.  Other people would come alongside me and help me to make sure we were reunited.  I remember the feeling of relief when I found her and the tears that came with that joy.
  • So this is how God searches for His lost sheep and pursues them.
    • He calls out for them by name.
      • This can be what some people would call “coincidences” or “luck” but I like to call it divine intervention of the Lord calling out for us and trying to get our attention.
      • This can also be a feeling or an urging in their spirit. Your lost sheep loved ones may not understand why they feel led to come to church with you this week but they just know that is what they are supposed to do.
    • He also brings people alongside them to pray for them and to help Him search for and rescue them.
      • This is where we come in to be diligent in praying for our lost sheep loved ones.
      • In addition, we are called in the great commission to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to share the sacrificial gift He freely gave us to help our lost sheep loved ones see how much they are loved by our Heavenly Father.
  • But what if I’m a lost sheep too?
    • If we are feeling lost and not sure where to turn to, there is no greater truth than the Word of God. Dive deep into scripture.
    • The more we read, the more we know our Shepherd’s voice and the closer we can connect with who He is in our lives.
    • Pray and speak scripture truth over your life.
      • Psalm 23 is great for when we are feeling a little disconnected because it speaks the promises of what our shepherd has made with us.
        • The Lord is my shepherd;
          I have all that I need.
          He lets me rest in green meadows;
          he leads me beside peaceful streams.
              He renews my strength.
          He guides me along right paths,
          bringing honor to his name.
          Even when I walk
          through the darkest valley,[a]
          I will not be afraid,
          for you are close beside me.
          Your rod and your staff
          protect and comfort me.
          You prepare a feast for me
          in the presence of my enemies.
          You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
          My cup overflows with blessings.
          Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
          all the days of my life,
          and I will live in the house of the Lord

We all go through times in our life where we feel lost and distant from our good Shepherd and I want to encourage you tonight that you are not alone and that you are still being passionately pursued just like your loved ones.  Your shepherd is calling out your name!  Do you hear it?