THE PARABLE OF THE LOST SHEEP, THAT IS RE-COVERE
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(Luke 15:3-7) And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you [one of us but ideally, a type and shadow of Jesus Christ], 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 was lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep that was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth [repentance is in a very real sense, a life-long process], more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Commentary: "if he lose one of them" = All of the Good Shepherd’s "an hundred sheep" are irrevocably saved (ref: last week’s 02-16-14 message), imputed for righteousness, and born-again from "before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:3-7), and evidentially, are herein referred to as His sheep "for I have found my sheep which was lost." Let us examine a saved sheep that has temporarily lost its way as to who is responsible for the temporary loss of that sheep? Well, the sheep is responsible, of course (Deut 24:16; 2 Kings 14:5,6). Through the manifestations of the sheep’s own inherently rebellious nature, and in an act of willful sin biblically described as backsliding, this lost sheep has rejected the extended open hand (Heb: yad; the open one) of Jesus Christ (Eph 4:11,12), i.e., "The Hand Ministry;" he has rejected the offered "way" (John 14:6) to happiness, which is, from God’s omniscient viewpoint, eternal life in heaven, that he may, at his own leisure and pleasure, disobey God, and find and follow his own way to happiness. After the sheep’s backsliding incident commences, the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, you and I, await, as in the prodigal son parable, the inevitable plaintive cry for help (a heart-felt expression of repentance, as exemplified by Peter: "Lord, save me" Mat 14:30,31) for the sheep now realizes ("when he came to himself" Luke 15:17; "and in his right mind" Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35) that he has lost his own way, lost himself.
(Eph 1:3-7) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world [John 15:16], that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us [ b] unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption [c] through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
a. (John 15:16) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name [in the name of Jesus Christ], he may give it you.
b. predestination = Dict: the action of God in foreordaining from eternity whatever comes to pass. 2. the decree of God by which men are foreordained to everlasting happiness (election) or [everlasting] misery.
c. redeem = Dict: 1. to buy or pay off; clear off by payment: to redeem a mortgage. 2. to recover by payment or other satisfaction: to redeem a pawned watch. 3. to obtain the release or restoration of, as from captivity, by paying a ransom. 4. to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner.
(2 Kings 14:5,6) And it came to pass, as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand [Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah], that he slew his servants which had slain the king his father. But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses [Deut 24:16], wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
(Eph 4:1,12) And he gave some, apostles [the thumb], and some, prophets, and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [i.e., The Hand Ministry, the Hand of Christ Jesus/God in this earth]
(John 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way [Gk: a road; by impl. a progress (the route, act or distance); fig. a mode or means:--journey, (high- way)], the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
(Mat 14:30,31) But when he [Peter, in the ship on "the way" to the Promised Land, as he was walking on the water to go to Jesus] saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid [he had doubts, uncertainties]; and beginning to sink, he cried [Gk: to scream, i.e. (gen.) to call aloud (shriek, exclaim, intreat)], saying, Lord, save me. And immediately [Luke 15:20] Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him [Gk: to seize /// take up] [a type and shadow of "rapture"], and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt [Gk: waver]?
Commentary: Again, may we repeat from the message of last week that this parable only relates to a sheep who dwells on the "good ground" within the sheepfold of God. This parable does not relate to the great many goats mixed (mingling) into the flock whose rendered thoughts and actions cause them to appear on the surface to be sheep, but unknowingly even to themselves, these are in fact denizens (goats – rebellious creatures) dwelling upon "stony ground" and "among thorns," i.e., unsaved creatures. Additionally, there are also numerous goats who intentionally impersonate sheep, but in reality are "false prophets, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (2 Cor 11:13,14).
Commentary: However, may we parenthetically note that as an impediment and deterrent to the occurrence of this most unhappy backsliding occasion, the good shepherd (pastor) carries both the rod of correction and the staff of retrieval. Trees (wood) are a biblical symbol of man. Utilizing both of these wooden instruments, for we indeed are instruments of God, the good shepherd continually corrects the errant sheep with the former, and with the latter, the good shepherd successfully stretches out ("Jesus stretched forth his hand" Mat 14:31) his staff and draws the backsliding (saved) sheep who is foolishly seeking to travel upon a divergent dangerous path back into the fold.
the rod of correction = a short thick wooden stick (ministering men – The Hand Ministry), in form like a cane, with a larger knob on one end.
the staff of retrieval = a long wooden shaft (ministering men – The Hand Ministry) with an incurving but open end designed to curve around, entrap and grasp the sheep’s neck and gently pull it (pressure) back into the flock.