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I Have Found My Lost Sheep

Luke 15:1-10

Rev. Kurt Hering

Pentecost 17, Proper 19, series C
Christ Lutheran-Elkhart, and Faith Lutheran-Hugoton  
Kansas


right-click to download MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Sep 11, 2016 

Preaching to the saints of the Lutheran Church at Christ-Elkhart and Faith-Hugoton in Kansas since February 8, 2015. All sermons prior to that date were preached either at Trinity Lutheran Church-Layton or First Lutheran Church-Tooele, Utah.

“I have found My lost sheep.” That is what God declares in Holy Baptism and what we rejoice in every Lord’s Day in the Divine Service, as well as in every worship service of His Church--from the Baptism by which we are reborn into the kingdom of heaven, to the funeral service in which our bodies are laid to rest and commended to the care of our Lord until the Resurrection of all flesh on the Last Day.

To hear the entire sermon as it was preached to the saints at Christ Lutheran-Elkhart, KS for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, "I Have Found My Lost Sheep," click on the audio link provided above. The sermon begins at 13:00.

For those of you who prefer to read or read along while listening, the preaching manuscript the preaching manuscript follows below. .

Nota Bene: Sermons are meant to be heard. Bullet points in the manuscript are explained and filled out during the preaching, so you will need to listen to the audio file to get the full message.

Dear Baptized,

“I have found My lost sheep.” That is what God declares in Holy Baptism and what we rejoice in every Lord’s Day in the Divine Service, as well as in every worship service of His Church--from the Baptism by which we are reborn into the kingdom of heaven, to the funeral service in which our bodies are laid to rest and commended to the care of our Lord until the Resurrection of all flesh on the Last Day.

According to Walther (and Luther) the greatest task of the preacher is to rightly distinguish between, and rightly apply, the Law and Gospel of a given text of Scripture.

Another, rather simpler way of doing essentially the same thing is to point you to Jesus and deliver Him to you.

"You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39

but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:31

The Law is that without the Scriptures you cannot know Jesus Christ or come to Him—you are a sheep lost in sin.

“Therefore, we must constantly maintain this point: God does not want to deal with us in any other way than through the spoken Word and the Sacraments. Whatever is praised as from the Spirit–without Word and Sacraments–is the devil himself.” [Smalcald Art. VIII.10: Confession]

"Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Matt 24:23 24 NKJ

So we confess in the Third Article of The Creed (LSB p. 323): “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

What does this mean?

I believe I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.

In this Christian Church he daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers.

On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.

This is most certainly true.

There you have it. The work of the Holy Spirit is none other than to deliver Jesus to you, and you to Jesus, for safe keeping unto eternal life. And this He does through the Gospel as it is preached and given in the Sacraments by the servants of His Church.

This is why Paul exhorts young Pastor Timothy to “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Tim 4:16

So let’s take a look at today’s Gospel and see if we can find Jesus, and ourselves:

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."

So He spoke this parable to them, saying: What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' 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.

In Baptism Jesus lays you, sinner and lost sheep that you were, on His shoulders--rejoicing as He brings you into His heavenly home to give you a seat at the table with Him and all the believers in Christ.

• Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, Rom 6:4 5

• even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph 2:5 6

In the prayed Word of the Liturgy and the preached Word of the sermon, Jesus again brings us lost ones home to rejoice in our Baptism:

• "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matt 18:20

• "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. Matt 28:19 20

In the Lord’s Supper Jesus gathers with all believers and all the hosts of heaven and rejoices with these ones who were lost but now are found and brought to repentance.

• The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [that is, the participation in and fellowship of] the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Cor 10:16

• “Therefore with angels and arch angels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Thy glorious name evermore praising You and saying...”

So here you all are, the sinners whom Jesus receives and with whom He sits and eats at His Table. You are those of whom Jesus says, “I have found my lost sheep”—once lost in sin and wandering in the sin of this fallen world, now the Baptized children of God born on the shoulders of your Shepherd and Savior, gathered together to have your sins forgiven and to live in the kingdom of heaven both now and forevermore--In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.



Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.



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