This study is based on Luke 15:3-10, “3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, 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 is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
1. What are the main characters in the two parables?
- First parable: a lost sheep.
- Second parable: a lost coin.
- In both parables, something is lost, and something is found.
- There is also something that is different between the two parables. One is an animal (sheep), the other is an inanimate object (coin).
2. What else is common/similar in both of the parables?
- Somebody has to go and look for the sheep and the coin.
3. In verse 7 and 10, what is the main lesson that is found in these two parables?
4. What is the meaning of repentance?
- A change of mind, reversal. It is not just saying sorry.
- But, did the sheep change? No. Did the coin change? No.
- Generally we think of repentance, we think of change. However, do we see the changes in the sheep and coin? They were just simply lost, and then they were found.
- What did the sheep and the coin do? Absolute nothing!
- In these 2 parables repentance is illustrated but it really has nothing to do with us. It is more about what God does.
- Romans 2:4
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
- God’s goodness leads us to repentance.
- Acts 11:18
When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
- God granted repentance.
- 2 Timothy 2:25
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
5. Who does the sheep represent?
- Obviously it is us. But let’s go back to the parable.
- Luke 15:7
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth…
- The lost sheep represents the sinner.
- How about the 99 in Luke 15:4? Who does the 99 sheep represent?
- Luke 15:7
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
- The 99 represent those that don’t need repentance. They are in a saving relationship with Jesus.
- However, we all have been sinners or last at some point in time in our lives.
- Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
- Romans 3:10
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.
- Romans 3:23
- So we are all lost and if we are to be found, what is the process that has to happen? Repentance. And remember, according to these 2 parables, repentance has nothing to do with us. It has more to do with the shepherd who looks for the lost sheep and the woman who looks for the lost coin.
- Both the sheep and the coin are incapable of doing anything to right their situation to be found again.
6. So who does the shepherd represent?
- John 10:11
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
- He represents Jesus.
- In the first parable, Jesus is found looking for the lost sheep. This is what Jesus did 2,000 years ago. He came to give us repentance.
- Any time we have these feelings of remorse, of feeling sorry, having this impulse that makes us feel guilty, even for those who don’t know God, that feeling of guilt and desire for change comes from God. It is because of God’s goodness.
7. If the 99 sheep are just, how can we be just?
- Romans 1:17
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
- We must learn to live by faith. Faith in what though?
- Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
- It is faith in the gospel. Faith in the word of God. Because it is the power of God unto salvation.
- We may change for a while because we are afraid of consequences, but if we want long-lasting change we must find it in the Bible.
8. In Luke 15, the first person who went to look for the lost sheep is the shepherd. In the second parable, who was the one who went looking?
- The woman.
- What does a woman represents in the Bible?
- Ephesians 5:25
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
- The woman represents the church.
- Ephesians 5:25
- Why are these 2 characters representing 2 different people? The first is Christ, and the second is the church?
- The church is to do the same thing as what Jesus did, to help and seek for those that are lost. To help them to change and to repent.
- So the 99 sheep are those who should be a blessing to the rest of the world. That is the work and duty of those that are just!
9. What does the woman have to do in order to find the lost coin?
- Luke 15:8
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
- She lights a candle. Sweeps the house. And seeks diligently.
10. The first steps is to light a candle. What does light represent in the Bible?
- Psalms 119:105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
- If we are to help others to experience repentance and change in their lives, we must give them the Bible.
- Just as the righteous and just live by faith on the word of God, we must learn to give others and share with others the word of God as well.
- But remember, she also has to sweep and seek diligently. It’s not just a casual sharing of the word of God, but diligently sharing it.
Here is an interesting side application:
- The woman lost one piece out of the ten pieces of silver. What does silver represent?
- Psalms 12:6
The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
- It represents the word of God.
- Psalms 12:6
- 10 pieces of the word of God. What could that possibly point to in the Bible?
- The 10 commandments!
- And it says that one was lost. Which one of the ten commandments was seemingly lost?
- The fourth, the Sabbath commandment.
- And in order to find it the church had to turn on the light of God’s word and seek diligently, sweeping away the dust of tradition and they were able to find it again.
The first parable illustrates the work of Christ in the heart of those that are lost. He goes out to seek and to save them. He works upon their hearts.
The second parable illustrates the work of the church and how we are to follow what Jesus has done for us. And how we can seek and to save the lost is to help those around us to see the light of God’s word.
Today if we want to fulfil what God has called each of us to do, we must have the light of God’s word in our hearts so that we can share it with others. Being a Christian is not about just going to church and just sitting through a sermon, but it is about experiencing that true repentance through the word on our hearts so that we can go out and be lights to the world. Unfortunately not many Christian’s are fulfilling that calling today.
So where can we start? Let’s give God a chance to work upon our hearts. Let’s spend more time in His Word.
9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Let’s give God’s word a chance to change us today and in this coming week.