The Sermon for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost September 11, 2022
Text: Luke 15:1-10 CW-21 Series C 22:2342
Theme: Love that Found Me.
Luke Chapter 15 is sometimes called the “lost and found” chapter of the Bible – not because the writing was lost, but because in it Jesus told 3 parables about lost and found things. However, it is not the lost object or person that is the main point of each parable. Rather, the main point of each parable centers on the amazing love, caring concern, and undeterred determination of the one who lost the object.
Jesus told the Parable of the Prodigal Son not as much to describe
the behavior of the son who ran away as much as to impress upon us the love of the father who longed for his son’s return.
He told the story of the Lost Sheep not as much to describe the predicament of the sheep as much as to dramatize the concern of the man who owned it.
He told the story of the Lost Coin not as much to describe the plight of the coin as much as to portray the care of the woman who lost it, and her determined efforts to recover it. The main “character” in each parable was not as much the thing lost as it was the person who lost it and was eager for its return.
Isaiah writes, “We all like sheep have gone astray; each has turned to his own way” (Is.53:6). I have sinned, sinned grievously. Yet, the Savior’s love remains warm and constant. He came to seek and to save the lost (Lk.19:10). I was lost, not He. Likewise, it is He who finds me, not I who find Him.
I. He yearns and searches for me when lost.
Were you ever lost…in a store, a city, a different country? How did you feel…anxious, apprehensive, afraid? I once got lost in a foreign country. I think I have told you about it before. That can be scary because absolutely nothing is familiar. Here’s what happened.
Eight years ago, in the spring of 2014, I was on my first trip to China with our China Partners, also called 316 NOW. It’s a group of pastors who teach biblical doctrines to people in China over Skype on the internet. That year I travelled to China for 6 weeks to meet with groups and schools and teach them personally. My plane landed at Shanghai’s airport. I had travelled 14 hours alone and was scheduled to meet my translator at the gate. After passing through customs and walking with hundreds of people into the terminal, I missed my contact. For an hour I walked amidst a sea of faces, pondering what my next step should be. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to face Ting Wang, my interpreter, holding a sign with my name on it. “Pastor Lehmann,” she said. “You found me.” You found me? Really? Who found whom?
In her concerned relief Ting might say, “You found me.” But my anxious heart knew it wasn’t I who found her. It was she who had searched and found me. She wasn’t the one who was lost. I was!
Men sometimes eruditely talk about finding God. Learnedly, they speak of their quest for God, the search for certainty, and their discovery of divine things. But it was not God who was lost; it was we! Nor is it we who find God. It is God who finds us, just as in these parables it was the sheep who was lost, not the shepherd; it was the coin that was lost, not the woman. The lamb, caught in a thicket, fallen into a ravine, maybe surrounded by wolves could not come to the shepherd. The shepherd went to it. The coin, stuck in a corner or covered in dust under the bed, could not roll back to the woman. So, the woman got down into the filth to get it. Jesus is that shepherd; He is like that woman, yearning and searching for us when lost.
From eternity He saw me wandering in the wilderness of sin, alone. He saw me rolled away like a lone coin, covered in the dirt of unbelief. “Our guilt separated us from God” (Is.59:2). So, He went to get us. He covered the entire distance between God and man so that we should say, “Love found me; divine love brought me in.”
As Christians we say in the Explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (Jn.6:44).
We do not come to God on our own; we do not find Him. God finds us and draws us to Him by Word and Spirit, bringing us to faith, making us heirs of His heavenly Kingdom. Love, divine love, caring love, redeeming love drove the Savior to the cross to pay for our sin. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lays down his life for his friends” (Jn.15:13).
If today we are safe in the Shepherd’s keeping, it is only because God from eternity saw us wandering in the darkness of sin and covered the entire distance between us. “Herein is love,” writes the Apostle John. “Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent
His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1Jn.4:10).
“Love that found me, wondrous thought! – Found me when I sought Him not.”
II. He and all heaven rejoices for me when found.
And when He finds us and brings us into His fold, all heaven explodes in joy. Whenever a sinner repents and is drawn to believe in the salvation that Christ gives, all heaven rejoices.
Jesus said, “When the shepherd finds his sheep, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep.’” Likewise, when the woman finds the coin that rolled away, “she calls together her friends and neighbors and says, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents!” Over one, just one, each one! All heaven rejoices when that one is found!
Think about that. What is it that makes all the saints and angels in heaven delirious? It’s not the newspaper headlines of a political, social, or athletic triumph. It’s not the good news of victory against an evil enemy on earth’s battlefields. It’s not the cheering report of a full and final cure for cancer that might be found. Rather, it’s the thrilling news that one sinner, one more is brought to faith in the Savior. The news that a wanderer from God has been stopped short on the highway to eternal ruin and placed on the road that leads to the Father’s House, that make heaven erupt in joy!
There was joy among the hosts of heaven when that first drop of baptismal water splashed on your forehead. And heaven rejoiced! There was joy among the angels when the sweet Gospel of the Savior from sin broke through your stone-cold heart. There was joy in the mansions of heaven when the Savior put you on His shoulders and carried you into His Kingdom. And heaven rejoiced because no matter how insignificant we might view ourselves to be, God counts each soul precious to Him. He is concerned for all and willingly gave His Son on the cross. He could not be fully happy until the soul returned to Him who created and redeemed it. Such an awesome comfort to know that we are not unwanted sinners and social outcasts to Him! We are redeemed children of God, brought home to Him, priceless possessions in His House! Every rebirth into His heavenly family is cause for great joy among angels and saints above.
Boy, if that doesn’t lift your spirits in this oft-times troubled world and spur you on to want to share the Gospel with those who are still lost, what will? One sinner returned, and all heaven rejoices when he is found!
The guy at the desk next to yours…the friend with whom you eat lunch…the neighbor you meet in the store…the millions around the world who still do not yet know the Savior – God help us reach them, one by one, a soul at a time.
That’s what happened to you; that’s what happened to me, a lamb once wandering in the wilderness of sin…now carried on the Shepherd’s shoulders…a coin rolling away and lost in the dust…now returned to Christ’s assembly above…Love Found Me.
Oh, the height of Jesus’ love! Higher than the heavens above,
Deeper than the depths of sea, Lasting as eternity.
Love that found me – won’drous tho’t!
Found me when I sought Him not. (CW-21 578:2; TLH342:2)
God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
You can also find us on Facebook
The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost September 11, 2022
“There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity. Cleanse me and I will be clean.” (Psalm 51).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
God’s Merciful Love. If one considers how often we wander from God’s path and go a different way, one cannot help but be surprised that we are still around. Why haven’t we already destroyed ourselves or worse, perished because of God’s righteous judgment? After all, how many times would you be willing to put up with someone’s rejection of you?
But God is not like us. In His merciful love He searches for the lost and reaches out to every sinner, even the chief of sinners, the Apostle Paul. When one returns to Him in repentance and faith, He rejoices – and all heaven with Him!
God grant us joy in His presence and give us merciful hearts like His, patient and loving, that we might lead other wandering souls to Him.
To that end we pray: Lord, we pray that Your mercy and grace may always go before and follow after us that, loving You with undivided hearts, we may be ready for every good and useful work; for Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Hosea 3:1-5
The Lord called Hosea to renew his commitment to his adulterous wife and love her again. Hosea’s redeeming act serves as a prophetic reminder that the Lord God desires to forgive and restore all who wander away from Him.
The Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11
A member of the church in Corinth was lost in sin. But through the act of loving church discipline, he was moved to repentance. Paul encourages the members to be diligent in forgiveness and welcome him back into the fold of the church. As Christ forgave us so we forgive the one who returns.
The Gospel Lesson: Luke 15:1-10
Jesus tells the Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin to illustrate human weakness and the strength of God’s care. In merciful concern and forgiving love for those who have strayed from Him, He will search carefully and diligently for them so that they might return to Him. When the sinner returns, all heaven rejoices.
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Today’s Organist: Jane Rips
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “Today, as we contemplate the wonders of God’s love as revealed in the Gospel of salvation, we thank Him for having one out into the night and having brought us into the warmth and light which are ours in our most holy faith.
“If today we are safe in the Shepherd’s keeping, it is only because God from eternity saw us out in the darkness of sin and decreed that we should be brought into the shelter of His fold. The entire distance between God and man was covered by God.
“Today we are not lost, simply because God found us!”
— Herman Gockel on Love that Found Me
Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love He sought me
And on His shoulder gently laid and home, rejoicing brought me.
(CW-21 – #552:3)
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Opening Hymn: #706
Order of Worship: The Service: Setting One page 154-160
Prayer of the Day
The Ministry of the Word
2 Corinthians 2:5-11
Gospel Acclamation: pg.161
Sermon: Luke 15:1-10 Love that Found Me
The Apostles’ Creed pg.163
Our Response to the Word
Prayer of the Church: pg.198
The Lord Blesses Us
The Closing Prayer and Blessing Hymnal page 171
Closing Hymn: #654 st.1&7
The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost – Series C
Old Testament Lesson: Hosea 3:1-5 – A Picture of the Lord’s Love
1The Lord said to me, “Go again. Show love to a woman who is loved by another man, a woman who keeps committing adultery. Show love just as the Lord loves the people of Israel, even though they keep turning to other gods and loving the raisin cakes.”
2So I bought her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver and nine bushels of barley. 3I said to her, “You will stay with me for many days. You must not be promiscuous. You must not be with any other man, and I will also be for you.”
4So the people of Israel will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred memorial stones, and without the special vest or family idols. 5Afterward the people of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.
Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 – Forgive and Comfort Sinners
5Now if anyone has caused sorrow, he has not done it to me, but to all of you to some extent (not to overstate it). 6This punishment inflicted on such a person by the majority is enough, 7so that instead you should rather forgive and comfort him, or else such a person could be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8For that reason, I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. 9In fact, this was also the purpose of my writing: I wanted to know the result of your being tested, that is, if you are obedient in all things.
10If you forgive anyone anything, I do too. To be sure, if I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven it in the presence of Christ for your sake, 11so that Satan would not take advantage of us. We are certainly not unaware of his schemes.
Gospel Lesson: Luke 15:1-10 – Parables of the Lost Sheep & Coin
1All the tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3He told them this parable: 4“Which one of you, if you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that was lost until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls together his friends and his neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ 7I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.
8“Or what woman who has ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, would not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
Fellowship & Bible Study
Church Council Meeting
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
“Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can. Found seldom in a woman, never in a man.” That may be considered a cute little saying, and yet how true. Even those of us who claim to be patient people reach a point where we can be patient no more. What a blessing it is that we have a God who is always patient with and loving towards us, forgiving our many sins, rejoicing in our repentance, and promising to take us to heaven!
The Gospel Lesson: Luke 15:1-10 (answers are found on the back side)
- What was ironic about the statement that the Pharisee’s and teachers of the law muttered?
- What do these two parables spoken by Jesus emphasize?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter, diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis; Elizabeth Lisenby; Barbara Long; Lois Wiese; all students & teachers returning to school; those still struggling with the after-effects of 9/11. May God grant them peace through the Gospel.
Reorganizing a Choir Would you help us in reorganizing Zion’s Adult Choir? Due to Covid and the Lord moving on to other locations some of our key choir members, we have not had an organized choir in a few years. Do you like to sing? Would you be willing to join us in preparing songs for the worship service? If so, please see pastor.
Forward in Christ’s next issue for September has arrived. There are plenty of copies for family and friends in the narthex.
What Do the Following Represent? Sorry, we didn’t get at this last Sunday. But we will today, God-willing. “Gluttons, clouds without rain blown by the wind, fruit trees with no fruit in the fall, wild waves of the sea, wandering stars destined for blackness.” Join us in Bible Study after the worship service to find out.
Tuesday, Sept.13 – Elders/Trustees and Church Council Monthly Meetings
Saturday, Sept.24 – Grace LC, Lowell, AR, Annual Women’s Retreat (see WWFC bulletin board for more information)
Monday-Tuesday, Sept.26-27 – Fall Pastors’ Conference of MN District’s Southern Conference at Martin Luther LC, St. Louis
Saturday, Oct.15 – LWMS Missouri Valley Circuit’s Fall Rally at Martin Luther LC, St. Louis
The Week in Review
Last Sunday Worship: 31; Bible Class: 17; Midweek Bible Class: 4; Offering: $3,829.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 15: Ecclesiastes 5:10-20; 1 Timothy 6:6-10,17-19; Luke 16:1-13 (CW-21, Series C)
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were amazed that Jesus would eat with “sinners” like prostitutes and tax collectors. What they failed to see was that they were just as guilty of sinning against God as the other “sinners” were.
- These two parables emphasize the value that God places on each individual soul. May we be led to value people’s souls just as much and share the soul-saving news of the free forgiveness that is found in Christ with all people!
This week I am praying for……