Jesus went into the highways and byways seeking those in need of the gospel. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul examines Christ’s parable of the lost sheep.
And so we read, “So He spoke this parable to them, saying: ‘What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he finds it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” For I say to you that there will be more joy in heaven over the sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.’” There’s been a great hymn written on the basis of this short parable called “The Ninety and Nine.” You know the hymn: “The ninety and nine who safely lay in the shelter of the fold, but there was one lost sheep on that hill far away, far off from the streets of gold.” And it tells the story of the pursuit of God to seek out that which is lost.
I once heard my friend John Guest involved in an evangelistic crusade speak about the change in the mentality of the church today from previous times when the church understood its mission to join with Christ to seek and to save the lost, and that’s important. Jesus didn’t say, “I simply came to save the lost,” but “I came to seek them.” He didn’t just hang a sign up in front of His church and say, “Everybody’s welcome to come and hear Me preach.” But He went out into the highways and byways and sought out the people who were the people in need and ministered to them. That was characteristic of Jesus’ method of operation. Well, John Guest, when he was speaking about this, said that we have replaced the hymn, “The Ninety and Nine,” with a different hymn, because we don’t really even believe in evangelism anymore, because we don’t believe that anybody’s lost. And even if we do believe that they’re lost, we think that it’s politically incorrect to go after them and search for them. And he said, “The theme song for today comes not so much from the pages of Scripture as it does from Mother Goose.” Because now the anthem of the church is, “Leave them alone and they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them.” And I don’t think I’ll ever forget the significance of what John said there, that we forget that our Lord was profoundly concerned to go out and find the lost.
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