telling others

Yesterday at our church gathering we had a powerful convicting service and message on the parable of the lost son (as well as the parables of the lost coin, and the lost sheep). Jack Brown shared with us the importance of us sharing with others the good news of Jesus, and God’s reconciliation of the world to himself through Christ. Who himself was made sin for us on the cross, that in him we might become the righteousness of God. So that Paul’s message was to implore everyone to be reconciled to God.

We are to tell others the good news of Jesus. And we are to warn others of the judgment to come. The bottom line as was seen in the passage of Luke 15 which we dwelt on yesterday is that we are to be about God’s work of finding the lost. To the woman the lost coin was valuable. In an agrarian culture a lost sheep is significant. How much more so a lost child, in this case a lost son!

The parable of the lost son, traditionally the prodigal son is one of the most well known of Jesus’ parables. A son asks for his share of the inheritance which in that culture amounts to telling a father I wish you were dead; I want now what I would get when you die. The father is shamed, but he complies. He does not force his will or what is good and right on his son who has come of age. We know the story. The son is prodigal in the true meaning of that word, wasting his inheritance in extravagant living, in the end having nothing, and hiring himself out as a servant to care for pigs. Even sharing food given to the pigs.

At last he comes to himself, or to his senses, thinking that his father’s servants are better off than he, and realizes he should go back to his father, acknowledge his sin against God and against his father, and ask his father to make him one of the father’s servants. So he makes his way home.

His father sees him coming from a distance; he evidently had been looking for him. And in an unacceptable fashion, contrary to that culture, the father comes running to his son and when he gets there he embraces him. The son begins to tell him what he had planned to, but the father interrupts him and tells the servants to put the best clothes on him and a ring on his finger along with sandals on his feet. That they were to prepare a feast to celebrate his homecoming. “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Of course there’s more to the story, and it is all important. But I stop here, as we emphasize the lostness of this son (and actually the older son is lost as well, in a different way).

Apart from Christ we are all lost. And to be lost from God is to perish and in the end face destruction. God lets people go and lets people suffer the consequences of their sins. But to God all of these people are lost. He created each, and all that God created he loves. And he longs to see them return to him.

We are given the message of the good news in Jesus that God in Christ has indeed reconciled the world to himself through the death of his Son. And that we who are in Christ are given this message of reconciliation to share with others. This is God’s work. God will help us know how to love, reach out and share this good news with another. We just need to be open to doing our part as humble as it may seem.

This good news is a part of what we experience each day in Jesus. How can we keep it back from others? If we really believe all are lost and destined to perish apart from Christ, how can we love them if we don’t share with them God’s good news about his Son? It’s a good news of recovery to the place and purpose God has for us as his image bearers. To be stewards of the earth, to do our part in God’s kingdom work in Jesus that is ongoing in this world in preparation for the day when all that is lost will be forever found and made new in Jesus.

What can motivate us to tell others? And do we have to be “sold on it” ourselves, both with reference to our own life, as well as for the good of others?