Monday, July 28, 2014

The Scandal of Grace: The Lost Coin

This is the second part of the study of some awesome parallels found in the fifteenth chapter of Luke's gospel. The thing that I love the most about this chapter is that three separate events form one incredibly beautiful picture!

Last week we looked at the parable of the lost sheep in The Scandal of Grace: The Lost Sheep (Click here),  and brought out a point that can make some people uncomfortable. People can get lost by neglect and the laziness of someone who holds a religious title and honestly, it happens every single day. I have been privileged to correspond with people all over the world because of this blog and one of the common threads of conversation is found in helping people understand that God desires them even if their church does not.

Not every church is harming people through a performance based acceptance mindset, but there are some that do. So the beauty of the story last week is that if you find yourself wounded understand that Father allows hirelings to have a fold in order to bring people to Him! Hirelings wound because they do not care for the sheep, but the Father heals and His desire has always been relationship with nothing, and no one in between. He will use whatever platform is necessary to bring and individual into a relationship with Him.

There is second part of the story that I want to look at today and it parallels with a second group of people. The sheep parallel those people who are lost by NEGLECT and the coin parallels those people who are lost by IGNORANCE.

"Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.  And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 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? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  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.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.
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? 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.  Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." ~Luke 15:1-10

The Coin: Lost by Ignorance.
The story of the coin is very interesting because not only does it deal with money, because we all have an understanding of the value of a coin, but because the coin would be an object that had no understanding of its own loss or value.

A coin is completely ignorant of the fact of it's own worth and it is unaware that it is really even lost. It lies in the dust or under a couch cushion or on the pavement outside of the grocery store absolutely oblivious to any ones desire to find it.

I see in this little coin a picture of a person, who holds value to God, completely unaware of their lost state. They lay in a dust pile somewhere and really have no understanding of their condition. Is it possible that some people have no idea that they are lost?

If you go back to the book of Genesis sometime and read what God had to say about man after He was created it requires us to drop the glasses of indifference that we wear when we look at man and his value.

God created everything, and with every act of creation there was the phrase, "...and it was good." When Man was created the statement changed to, "...and it was very good." We tend to look at nature sometimes and say, "This is very good!!!" and we look at man and say, depending on appearance or behaviour, "That is not very good."

The truth of the matter is, God never changed His mind about His creation being "Very good" and where we may be quick to slap a label on someone, God made them  in His image and His image is "Very Good".

Did mankind anger and frustrate God? Absolutely they did and when you read the old testament you see that anger displayed. Then you have the cross where God's wrath was POURED OUT on Jesus Christ. Jesus took God's wrath for us and the only way that we will ever experience that wrath is if we choose to face a Holy God apart from Jesus being our savior.

John three sixteen is emphatically true!!!

"That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." ~John 3:15-20

It was for this reason that Jesus died on the cross. To restore us into everlasting fellowship with the Father. The people that go out of their way to ridicule God and defy Him are people that have tremendous value to Him.
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." ~ 2 Peter 3:8-10

Romans tells us that man will naturally not seek after a relationship with God, they are the coins that have no idea of their own value or their lost state.

I have a lot of diverse pictures up here but I also have one of religious people as well. People with the title of Christian can also be completely bind to their value and state just as much someone who does not know Christ.

You see the actions of people who claim to have a relationship with Christ and while it may be frustrating, you have to understand that people present the God that they know. One of the most sobering passages in the Bible is found in Matthew 7.

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." ~ Matthew 7:22-23

The name of God is powerful and you can do a lot of good and bad in that name, and God made mention of that in the ten commandments where He said, "Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." Be careful what you do in God's name. He takes His name seriously.

Look at an example of two parties claiming the same name and see if you can spot the "lost coin".

"Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:  And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." ~ Matthew 12:22-30

Jesus' teaching was not popular with the religious people because it challenged everything that they held their identity in. They operated their life FOR God and not FROM Him. There is a difference between those who know about God and those that know God. I read this story and I have to wonder, What would a Pharisees comments look like if they had social media back then?

If you notice as you read any of the accounts between the Pharisees that Jesus was firm, but He never called them out by individual name. Why? Because the name is not the enemy. The mindset is the enemy. It is the mindset that Christ opposed, not the individual.
Look at even the crucifixion at the response Christ gave to the individuals as they waited for Him to die.
"And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God." ~ Luke 23:33-35
The lost coin had no idea that it was lost. Why get mad at the coin? It has no idea of its own value so don't be surprised if lost coin people act like a lost coin. They honestly do not know. I believe that some of the pharisees had a love for God and wanted to please Him so much that they could not break away from what was familiar for what was true. They were right in their statement of His condition on the cross. He came to save others and not Himself. That is a beautiful statement because of who is making it. They could not stand the fact that He did not agree with them and time after time He guided people on a different agenda than what they were presenting.
It was the ignorance of man that sent God to the cross.
Think about that statement for just a minute. Both the need for and the method of the crucifixion were provided due to man's ignorance. His "Lost Coin" mindset.
Lost people will act like lost people.
The awesome part of the story of the lost coin is that the person who recognized the value of that coin never stopped searching for it. She swept the floor and looked under the tables and other furniture. Relentless to move every speck of dust and dirt until that coin was found.
The scandal of grace is that God never stops looking through any dust or dirt that we may hide ourselves beneath in His mission to introduce Himself to us. The "broom" he uses to disrupt our world may be a financial upset. It may be a medical arrangement or a loss of something that we were hiding within. His broom may even come in the form of another person who is "stirring up" our environment. Rest assured that God is searching for the lost coin inside and outside of His church.
The scandal of grace reaches out when we find ourselves chewed up and neglected. It reaches deep into a mess of ignorance and next week I cannot wait to show you the biggest scandal of all in the post: "The Scandal of Grace: The Lost Kid"
If God has sifted you out of some stuff, praise Him because you do have value to Him!
"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
                                                                                                        ~ 2 Corinthians 8:9

You have value and so does everyone around you. Never forget that everyone was counted worthy of Him and His redemption!

Climbing with you,


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