Luke 15 contains three parables about lost items. In each story, extreme measures are taken to seek the lost; when each is found, there is great rejoicing. These stories are pictures of how God seeks us and the joy heaven experiences when we are found. In Part 1, we examined the first parable Jesus told about a lost sheep and the shepherd who goes out to rescue it. Today, we will look at the second parable.
II. THE LOST COIN: God has Gone to Extreme Measures to Rescue You
In this second parable, it’s not a lamb that has wandered off on its own; it’s a coin that has been accidentally lost. Jewish brides often wore a headdress of ten coins strung across their foreheads. So the coin had great sentimental value because it was part of her wedding vows. That’s why she literally turned her house upside down to find it.
The woman is so intent on finding the lost coin that she does two important things: First, she “lights” a lamp and second she “sweeps” up the dirt on her floor. In our lost condition, we are represented by the lost coin and Jesus is the one searching to find us. There is an important application we can make from these two details of light and sweeping.
1. Jesus Lives to Give You Light
The first thing the woman did was light a lamp to help here see clearly. There is a joke about a man looking for some lost money under the street light at night. A policeman started helping him look. After a few moments the policeman asked the man, “Exactly where did you lose the money?” The man replied, “Oh, I lost it half way down the block.” The policeman said, “Then why are you searching here?” The man said, “Because the light is so much better!”
It does help to have light when you are looking for something. Before Jesus finds us, we are lost in the darkness of sin. Jesus came into this world to provide the light of truth. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
In the Bible, there is a connection between light and truth. God gives every person a measure of light or truth about Himself–even if they don’t have a Bible. They can look at creation and understand Someone superior and intelligent designed it all. They can look within and understand that every person is born with a sense of right and wrong (so there must be a moral absolute in the universe). Everybody has some light. If you walk toward the light, God gives you more and more light about Jesus. If you walk away from the light the Bible says in Romans 1 that your understanding becomes darkened.
2. Jesus Died to Sweep Out Your Dirt
The lost coin was somewhere on the floor, and the best way to find it was to take a broom and sweep up all the dirt. In the process of cleaning every square inch of the floor the woman found the coin. There’s a great lesson here as well. In addition to giving you light, Jesus desires to cleanse your life of all the dirt and filth accumulated there. He died on the cross so your sins could be forgiven. “And the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). The Bible says there is cleansing power in the blood of Jesus. Before you can be found, you need the light of the Lord and the cleansing power of the Lord.
In all of these parables the single theme that emerges is
III. The Joy of Salvation: Heaven Rejoices Over Every Changed Life
The jubilant shepherd called his friends and they rejoiced over the little lamb that was lost and is now found. The woman was so overjoyed when she recovered her lost coin she plans a party to celebrate it. Jesus said there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents. Let me share with you two reason why heaven rejoices over a single person who repents:
1. The Happiest Experience of Life is to be Rescued by God
Remember the saddest experience of life is to be spiritually lost, but to be found and rescued by God is the most joyous experience. I believe we should be more excited about our own salvation. You cannot lose your salvation, but sadly, many people have lost the joy of their salvation. Do you have a sense of this inexpressible and glorious joy? When Jesus is in your heart, there will be this sense of joy. Jesus said, “I have spoken these things to you, so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). I sometimes encounter professed Christians who are negative and pessimistic about everything. I want to say to them, “If you really have Jesus’ joy in your heart, then you should notify your face!”
2. We Should Celebrate What Heaven Celebrates!
What is it in life that really gets you excited? What would give you the greatest joy that you could imagine? What would it take for you to grin and jump around and dance a jig and shout, “Whoo! Hoo! Yippee!?” I wonder if anything could move some people to that kind of joy. Some people are so straight-laced, a stick of dynamite couldn’t move them! But what would it take to really get you fired up? For some, it would be winning the lottery, or getting a hole-in-one, or hearing the doctor say the words, “cancer free.” It might be different for different people. But for those of us who claim to love Jesus, I submit to you we should celebrate what heaven celebrates. There is joy in the presence of angels when one sinner repents, so there should be joy among believers when a person repents.
In these parables, Jesus is teaching us God is like a shepherd who goes searching for one little lost lamb, and when He finds him, God celebrates! God is also like the woman who turns her house upside down to find the one lost coin, and when God finds that lost person, there is a party. Our God is personally interested in every lost lamb, every lost coin, and every wayward son. He is interested in the secretary in your office, the student in the classroom, the executive in the boardroom, and the drunkard on the street. He wants every lost person to be found.
You will never fully celebrate your salvation or the salvation of anyone else until you understand how wretched and miserable it is to be totally lost without Christ. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound; that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost; but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see!”
Have you ever admitted you were a “wretch” before Jesus found you? Do you realize how miserable and depraved you were before you repented and accepted God’s love? You’ll never truly celebrate and appreciate God’s grace until you realize how terrible it is to be lost.
If you are lost today, you can be found. God is seeking and searching for you. He loves you so much that Jesus came and died on the cross for your sins. Will you repent? To repent simply means to change your mind and to change your behavior. Change your mind about Jesus and Who He is and what He can do for you. Accept His grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Change your behavior and start living as He wants you to live. When you turn to Him, there is joy in the presence of angels!