Sermon for Pentecost 14 – 9.11.22

+ 14th Sunday after Pentecost – September 11th, 2022 +

Series C: Ezekiel 34:11-24; 1 Timothy 1:5-17; Luke 15:1-10

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA


“Lost and Found”


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


You get to your car at the fair and realize your keys aren’t in your pocket. You’re standing at the check-out line at the grocery store. You reach for your wallet. And it’s not there. Or every parents’ nightmare…You turn your head for a moment to look at check what time it is and when you look up you can’t see your child.


We’ve probably all had that dreadful feeling of losing something or someone before. The instant panic. A surge of adrenaline. And you can’t rest until what’s lost is found. That’s the seeking heart of the shepherd and the woman in today’s Gospel. It’s the heart of the Lord telling the parable. He’s the seeking shepherd, the searching woman, the God who is totally focused on seeking and finding the lost.


There’s a similar fear and panic that sets in when you’re the one who’s lost. Turned around on a hiking trail. Took the wrong exit off the freeway. Being lost is a dreadful feeling. You feel completely alone and helpless.


Jesus tells two parables of lostness in today’s gospel reading. A lost sheep. A lost coin. In the biblical view of things, to be lost is to be dead. A lost sheep and a lost coin might as well be dead to their owner. Dead to the world. Dead even to themselves. Helpless and alone.


This is the way Scripture speaks about us, that we are lost in Sin and Death. Lost and in need of rescue. So, Jesus tells us a trilogy of parables, or one parable in three parts. Lost Sheep. Lost Coin. Lost Sons. All of which have to do with our lostness, sin, and Death. And Jesus who finds, rescues, saves, and rejoices in doing so.


“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the other ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he puts it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost!’ 


It’s a familiar, beloved parable. But pause for a moment and consider just how crazy this story is. When Jesus asks…What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the other ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? Any shepherd will tell you, ninety-nine out of a hundred. That’s the cost of doing business, they might say. Write the one off as a dead-loss.


But not this shepherd. What kind of shepherd runs off to rescue one lost sheep? A shepherd who loves his sheep, that’s who. A shepherd who won’t rest and will stop at nothing to find, rescue, and bring home his beloved sheep.


“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 


Again, it’s a rather odd story if you think about it from a financial or statistical point of view. You might go searching for five or six lost coins, but one? Not worth the time and effort.


Remember, Jesus tells these parables to the scribes and pharisees who saw welcoming, eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners him, and grumbled against him. The “lost” are the Gentiles, the “tax collectors and sinners” who were flocking to Jesus. Jesus welcomed them and ate with them. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. The ninety-nine righteous sheep and the nine coins were Israel’s religious leaders, the scribes and Pharisees. It’s not that they needed no repentance; they did. But they didn’t think they did. And that was the problem. You don’t rejoice in being found until you realize you’re lost.


You see, Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep and lost coin aren’t about farming or finances. Jesus is teaching us – along with the scribes and Pharisees – that God’s kingdom operates not by calculating, bookkeeping, or our own righteousness – but solely by His grace. Jesus’ parables are about God’s amazingly outrageous grace that seeks and saves the lost.


We’re that lost sheep, wandering aimlessly in sin, easy wolf-chow. We’re that lost coin, buried in the dark under the couch cushion. That’s the thing about the lost sheep and coin in this story. They’re lost. Helpless. And they can’t do a blessed thing to find themselves. In the kingdom of God there’s no such thing as self-rescue. No room for self-righteousness.


There is, however, plenty of room for sinners. Which is good news for us. The rescuing shepherd, the seeking woman – these are all pictures of our gracious Lord who specializes in finding, rescuing, and rejoicing in lost things. Jesus is the Redeemer of the unredeemable, the Justifier of those who don’t have a case. Jesus is the Finder of the lost, the One who seeks losers in their lostness and raises the undeserving dead from their grave.


Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life to rescue you. Jesus is the one who finds you, rescues you, throws you on his shoulders on the cross, and rejoicing, carries you home. He sets you down here in his house and says let the party begin.


‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost!’ ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the coin which I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”


That’s really the beating heart of these parables: joy. The joy of Jesus seeking, searching, rescuing you. The joy of Jesus who for the joy set before him – the joy of rescuing and saving you – he endured the cross. And the joy of Jesus who carries you home on his shoulders to a feast of forgiveness, a party of outrageous forgiveness for undeserving sinners.


A word that opens heaven to you every time you hear it. Water that washes you clean and restores you to new life in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Bread and wine that feed you with the body and blood of your Good Shepherd Jesus. Here in our Lord’s house, you are welcomed as were the tax collectors and sinners with whom Jesus ate and drank. The Church is our Lord’s great “lost and found” of wayward sheep, lost coins, and sinners of every sort who have come to faith’s recognition that they aren’t lost after all. You are found in Jesus.


And isn’t that remarkable. What brings God joy. What puts an eternal smile upon his face and fills his mouth with a ruckus, booming, belly-aching laugh is the joy of sending Jesus to find you, rescue you, and bring you home.


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

By appointment only June and July


2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
(253) 922-6977
(253) 922-6977