Sundays: 9 & 11am LATEST MESSAGE

Maintaining Our Focus

Charlie Boyd - 10/22/2023

Scripture: Luke 15


We are moving in our Sunday studies from “What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches” to “What the Spirit is saying to us” and then to “What is the Spirit saying to me” as we look to God to work in all our hearts to make the Adams Mill opportunity become a reality. As you know, God has “graced us with growth,” and we’re almost out of space. But God, in His grace, has opened a door for us to expand and multiply our ministry to the Adams Mill YMCA. We have a good idea of how all this will work out, but the most important thing right now is our “why.” Why are we doing this? The “why” goes beyond being out of space. Why are we multiplying our community to another part of our community? That’s the question we’ll answer today, and it’s the answer to that “why” question that must remain our focus moving forward.  *We are a church located in Greenville, South Carolina. Our vision is to see God transform us into a community of grace passionately pursuing life and mission with Jesus.


In Luke 15, Jesus tells us three different stories (parables) that make one single point. And, in these three stories, Jesus illustrates the “why” behind the “what” of everything He said and did. First, Luke tells us who was listening to Jesus on this particular day. There were “tax collectors and sinners” in that crowd that day. “Tax collectors” were hated by everyone b/c they were traitors to their own people. “Sinners” were people who didn’t faithfully keep the law of Moses. They were people who were far from God, and they knew it. All these people were despised by the Pharisees and scribes who were also in the crowd. Good, moral, and religious people wanted nothing to do with those awful “sinners.” And they were grumbling about how Jesus spent time with them. They were especially put off by the fact that Jesus was going to their homes and enjoying meals with them. So, Jesus tells these three stories to a mixed audience like that. He wants the “sinners” to know how much their Heavenly Father loves them, and He wants the “religious” leaders to question why their hearts are not open and welcoming to “sinners” in the same way the God they claim to worship is open and welcoming toward them.

The first story: The Lost Sheep (Luke 15:3-7) — A shepherd who has a hundred sheep loses one and so he leaves the 99 and goes out looking for the one that was lost. When he finds that lost lamb, he calls his friends and neighbors, and they all rejoice. And Jesus says, “Heaven throws a party when “one sinner who repents comes back home to God. The point is: “When something is lost, the lost thing becomes the focus of your attention.” We see this same idea in the next story.

The second story: The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10) — A woman has a ten-coin headdress that was part of the dowry that her father would give to a new son-in-law. She loses one of those coins, and she frantically sweeps her whole house, looking for that lost coin. Same ending: When she finds that coin, she’s ecstatic. She calls her friends and neighbors, and they “rejoice” with her. And Jesus says, “In the same way, the angels in heaven celebrate “over one sinner who repents” and comes back to God. Two times now, we see that when the lost are found, heaven throws a party.

The third story: The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) — Now Jesus moves from “lost things” to a lost son in a family. Basically, what Jesus means by “lost is this—“Lost” people are those who are relationally disconnected from their Heavenly Father. So, an ungrateful, self-centered son goes to his father and basically says, “I wish you would just go ahead and die so I can get my half of the inheritance.” The father’s response to that boy is unthinkable. “Okay, here you go,” and off he goes to a far country to live a purely self-indulgent life. He hits rock bottom. He knows his only hope is to go back home so he comes up with the idea that maybe he can just be like one of his father’s servants and work his way back into the father’s favor. But the father sees the boy coming from a long way off. He runs to meet. He hugs him and kisses him. The boy doesn’t even get the chance to tell his father his “work-my-way-back” plan before the father calls for a great celebration. The son who was dead is alive. The son who was lost is found. And that calls for a party. The older son isn’t having any of it. He (just like the religious leaders in the crowd) can’t imagine his father showing such grace to this prodigal brother of his. And the father says again, “It is right that we celebrate, for this YOUR brother was dead, and now he’s alive. He was lost and now is found.” …The End. We’re left hanging. We don’t know how the older brother will respond.

And that ending is intentional. It forces us all to think—“Will I have the father’s heart toward the “lost” or will my heart be like that of the older brother?” We have to decide if our Father’s heart for the lost will be our heart for the lost. We have to decide if we will partner with Jesus in His search and rescue mission for those who are lost. You see, the “why” behind the “what” of everything Jesus said and did—the “why” behind the “what” of everything Jesus did in discipling the 12 men who followed Him everywhere He went and who would carry His mission forward in the world after He was gone—the “why” behind the “what” of His death and resurrection—was that He came to seek and save all who are lost. Jesus’ “why” must be our “why”—our “why” of multiplying our community to reach our community. God is saying to us, “This building is not big enough to do what I want to do here and in this community. There are more people to reach, more people to disciple, more people to send out on mission. There are lost people to be found.” So, the question is: What will be our response to God’s grace? The prayer we’re asking you to pray is: “Father, what would you have me give to Your work in this Adams Mill Expansion so we can continue to be a part of Jesus’ search and rescue mission in our community?