From the Pulpit: Word of God should be followed, honored

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Lost Sheep

The lost sheep is the first three parables told by Jesus and recorded in Luke 15. It is followed by the lost coin and the lost boy.

All three parables are told as a response to the grumbling of the Pharisees.

They saw tax collectors and sinners coming near to Jesus to listen to him. As a result they said, &8220;This man receives sinners and eats with them.&8221;

From the mouth of the grumblers, we begin to see a picture of Jesus.

In Jesus, the sinners found a man with whom they felt comfortable enough to come close. They found a man they wanted to hear.

Evidently the Pharisees thought sinners were not to be received but condemned and shunned.

So Jesus tells the story. We know the Shepard searches for the sheep, rejoice when he finds it, and brings it home, but look at the treatment of the sheep when it is found.

I&8217;ve gone in search of lost animals on many occasions. Most were brought home in frustration at the trouble they had caused me.

But this Shepherd lays the sheep on his shoulder, rejoicing. Not in anger. Not in Frustration. Rejoicing.

Jesus says this is the way it is in heaven.

Not only did the Pharisees not understand nor appreciate Jesus, they did not understand nor appreciate heaven.

Do we?

Abraham and God&8217;s Word

Abraham is the father of the faithful. His trust in God&8217;s promises is used in the Bible as the example of what our faith in God should be like.

But a study of Abraham&8217;s faith is also a study of how he &8220;handled&8221; or honored the word of God.

That would be expected since &8220;faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.&8221;

We have a tendency to extremes. Often, those extremes come about because we emphasize one part of God&8217;s word over another.

Abraham did not do that. Two more seemingly contradictory extremes cannot be found than &8220;your descendants shall come through Isaac&8221; and &8220;take Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice to me.&8221;

Abraham did not ignore one statement in favor of the other. He did not decide that one of the statements could not be from God.

He reasoned from both and decided that God must be going to raise him from the dead. He almost got it right. He had not figured on a substitute to die in Isaac&8217;s place.

Abraham avoided our mistake of &8220;either or.&8221;

&8220;Which is, it faith or works? Heart or mind? Doctrine or unity?&8221;

Abraham knew the word of God could not be viewed from an &8220;either this word or that word&8221; mentality. The word of God is &8220;both and.&8221;

Dewayne Spivey is minister of Riverchase Church of Christ