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A Word for this Week - Pastor Bill Mugnolo

Week of September 16-22, 2019: “Who Are Today’s Lost Sheep” … Luke 15:1-7

Luke, Chapter 15 has been described as the “Lost and Found” chapter of the Holy Bible. In it are three parables which speak of Our Lord’s mercy and love as He had come to “seek and save the lost”. Surely, there were many such” lost sheep” in Israel back then (Matthew 9:36, Luke 15:4-7). But who are the lost sheep of today? There are four types that I’d like to identify:

First, are those who worldly and hedonistic. These are like the type that Paul describes in Romans 1:18-32. They have, as Paul writes, darkened hearts and they worship created things rather than the Creator. Because of this, God has given them over to dishonorable passions and depraved minds. A good part of a whole generation is like that today—a people who have “forgotten that they have forgotten God.”

A second type still maintains a “loose connection” to the Church. They were baptized, confirmed, and then … they disappeared. They’ll show up to be married, to have a child baptized, or to attend a funeral—the so-called functions of “hatch, match, and dispatch.” Sadly, most people on the rolls of many congregations are of this type of lost sheep as most are Church members in name only.

A third type are the religious, but self-righteous folks who are like the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day (Luke 15:2). They are a people of whom both Isaiah and then Jesus Himself say are those who honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him (Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8). These people may well masquerade as “pillars of the community” and as “pillars of the Church”, but their deed tell a different story (I’ve had to deal with a number of these folks in past parishes!).

The fourth type are … yes, those who are in Christ! They are like the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 119. Throughout this psalm, he spoke of his love and devotion to the Lord, but then, in the final verse (v.176), he confesses, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant.”

Yes, we are all lost sheep who need the love and mercy of Christ! Thankfully, He seeks us and finds us again and again and rejoices over us (Luke 15:5-7). Yes, all lost sheep are meant to be found and all found sheep are meant to have a heart for the lost--just as Jesus, our true shepherd has for us (Ezekiel 34:11-24).

PASTOR JIM UPDATE

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