The Lost Sheep

Luke 15:3-7

And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4  What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5  And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7  I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.;

Matt. 18:12,13

How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.


The Parable


This illustration is one part of three illustrations that make up Luke 15.  The main focus of the illustration is to show the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes that there is righteous joy when a lost sheep is found.  The sheep is not human, does not have an eternal soul, but does have feelings.  Even though the sheep is not eternal, there is joy when it is found.  In this same manner, there is joy in heaven when one sinner repents.


I.    The shepherd is Christ Himself.

A.  John 10:11 - Jesus said He is the good shepherd.

1.   The Pharisees would see only a shepherd, not Jesus Christ, the son of the living God.

2.   They would understand the story, but never why Jesus told the story.

B.   Qualities that make Jesus a good shepherd.

1.   He is omnipotent to save.

2.   He is omniscient to see all that can possibly happen to the least of His sheep.

3.   He is all merciful, and his tender mercies are available to all His sheep.

4.   He is infinitely responsible, and never leaves the care of His sheep.  Heb. 13:5, ...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

C.   Jesus as the good shepherd will never lose a single sheep.

1.   John 6:37-40 - All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39  And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

D.  David is a type of Jesus Christ being the good shepherd.

1.   A good shepherd will defend his flock - See I Sam. 17:24-36.  David killed the lion and bear.

2.   A good shepherd will do all in his power to keep from losing a single sheep.

a)   They are all important to him.

b)   One sheep is not more important than another.

3.   He is faithful to keep the flock.

a)   See I Sam. 17:20 - When David had to leave the sheep to see about his brothers, he left the sheep with a keeper.

b)   A good shepherd takes the responsibility of the flock very seriously.

E.   Jacob told Laban he was a good shepherd.  Genesis 31:38,39 - This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. 39  That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.


II.   The lost sheep are sinners given to Christ for His redemption.

A.  This parable complements the parable of the tares.

1.   There are only two families on this earth.

2.   That of the good seed, and the seed of Satan.

3.   The elect are the children of the good seed, while the seed of Satan is the bad seed.

B.   It is interesting to note that the shepherd had 100 sheep and one of them went astray.

1.   God knows how many good seed He has planted in this earth, and will not lose any of them.

2.   The wandering sheep was not discovered by God, then added to his flock.

3.   The wandering sheep was already one of his flock, that is: elected from before the foundation of the world.

4.   In the passage of time, the sheep was born into the world, but was lost.

5.   The preaching of the gospel tells of Christ suffering and anguish for the salvation of every lost soul.

6.   The lost sheep is "found" by Christ at salvation.

C.   Scriptures showing lost sheep are the eternally elect of God, the wheat that was sown in the world.

1.   Psalms 119:176 - I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

2.   Jeremiah 50:6 - My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.

3.   Matt. 10:6 - But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

4.   Matt. 15:24 - But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.


III. Christ seeking for His sheep.

A.  Luke 19:10 - Christ came to seek and save the lost.

B.   John 4 - I must needs go through Samaria.

C.   It is also interesting to note that Christ is seeking the lost sheep, they are not seeking Him.

1.   Men are totally depraved and will not seek Christ.

2.   The sheep is living physically, but the soul is dead in trespasses and sins.


IV. The joy in heaven at the finding of lost sheep.

A.  Every lost sheep that is found (saved) is another example of God's victory over the curse caused by Satan.

1.   This is the primary reason there is great rejoicing when a sinner is saved.

2.   A sinner being saved is the same thing as Christ finding the stray sheep.

B.   There ought to be great rejoicing in the earth because a stray sheep is found.

1.   Not just because the person is saved, but because that salvation shows the victory of  Christ over Satan.

2.   When sinners are saved, every person ought to be able to understand the "eternal" victory that is won.