Sermons

The Lost Coin

Sun, Jun 16, 2019
Teacher: Tom Blackford
Passage: Luke 15:8-10
Duration:26 mins 27 secs

Message text

The Lost Coin
Luke 15:8-10

INTRO:
Good evening. We will continue our look at the parables and we are going to look at the parable of ‘The Lost Coin’ this evening which is found in Luke 15:8-10.

First though I must tell you this story I came across about little Johnny. Little Johnny’s mother and father had just finished tucking the children into bed one evening when they heard sobbing coming from three-year-old Johnny’s room.
Rushing to his side, they found him crying hysterically.
He had accidentally swallowed a penny and was sure he was going to die.
No amount of talking could change his mind.
Desperate to calm him, his father palmed a penny that he happened to have in his pocket and pretended to pull it from Johnny’s ear.
Little Johnny was delighted. In a flash, he snatched it from his father’s hand, swallowed it and demanded cheerfully, "Do it again, daddy!"

Now usually when we have found something we lost, we are not anxious to lose it again, but some things do become lost again despite our care, including people.

The parable of “The lost coin” is closely related to “The parable of the lost sheep” which we looked at last week in Luke 15:3-7. It’s also closely related to “The parable of the lost son” which is found in Luke 15:11-32. We will look at that another time.

All three parables go together because they all come from the same source, they came from the same comment. We read this comment in Luke 15:1-2 “Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

In other words, the parables are told to the Pharisees and the teachers of law who were condemning Jesus for associating with sinners. What Jesus is doing in all three parables is explaining why He associates with these people.

I. Turn with me to Luke 15:8-10 – “8. "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she finds it? 9. "And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!' 10. "Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.''” Nina and I grew up on farms and hard money was not easy to get. I recall riding my bicycle down Chillicothe and Cedar roads looking for bottles that people had tossed. I would wash them under the cistern pump and turn them in at the general store for some change. Nina recalls finding coins when walking and picking them up. The other kids said if the found coin was tails up you would have bad luck, but she did not care, it was spendable, found tails up or heads up.
A. The coin in question here was likely a silver drachma, which by our standards is worth very little, but during Jesus’ time, this was worth a lot. It was equivalent to just over a day’s wage. We can understand why this woman was so desperate to find the lost coin. It meant the difference between eating and being hungry. In those days, like some people in the world today, many people lived on the edge of things.
1. In Matthew 20:1-16 Jesus told “The parable of the vineyard workers”. And in that parable some of the men stood at the market place all day long, waiting for the opportunity to work.
2. The opportunity to work stood between them eating and going hungry. The coin was of importance and Jesus says at the end of Luke 15:8 that the woman, “swept the house and searched carefully until she found it.”
3. In other words, she turned the house upside down looking for this coin because that coin was important to her.
4. Remember that Jesus is talking about His relationship with sinners and tax collectors.
B. Let’s look at this parable and see what we can find out.
II. I’m going to start with something I rarely do and that is discussing a point that we are not told about. People often do this with the Bible and in general I’m not a fan of it since it can lead to unprofitable speculation. Nevertheless I’m going to ask us to consider; how was the coin lost?
A. I strongly suspect that the woman herself lost the coin. Maybe it was through stupidity, through carelessness or even neglect. In any case the woman was likely responsible.
1. It was her fault that the coin was lost so we can’t blame the coin, because the coin was lost through no direct fault of its own.
2. Unlike the sheep which we looked at last week, which strayed and became lost through its own stupidity, the coin is completely passive.
3. In other words the coin being lost was someone responsibility and not the fault of the coin.
B. Have you ever been trying to watch a TV program but there’s a distraction in the house? I recall one evening when I was trying to watch something and on the window was a fly, a big blue bottle fly, just buzzing around and around (preacher makes buzzing noise). It was distracting me.
1. The poor thing was trying to get out, but it couldn’t because it was powerless to do anything for itself. It couldn’t open the window and fly to freedom. It couldn’t save itself.
2. I had to open the window and let it go free. I bet you thought I was going to say that I grabbed the flyswatter, weren’t you? Chasing a fly around with the swatter was not in my plans, so I let it out, I had to help it because it couldn’t save itself.
3. The point of the story is that the coin couldn’t save itself. It could do nothing to save itself. Again, unlike the sheep, the coin couldn’t wander back. It couldn’t shout out to the woman “Here, I am over here”.
4. It’s a coin and couldn’t do that. When you think about it, a coin wouldn’t even realize it was lost. The point I’m trying to make is that all the searching had to be done by someone else.
C. Jesus says in Luke 19:10 – “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, God in the human form of Jesus Christ came on a search and rescue mission. That’s what He did. He came to search for those that were lost and bring them to salvation.
1. Folks, that includes us, that includes every single human being on this planet that is willing to let Him save them.
2. Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”
III. In these parables so far, we have seen a sheep that gets itself lost and a coin that is lost due to some action or inaction of its owner. That brings me to my next point. I want to ask you, how are people lost?
A. It would be very easy to go off the mark with this parable and make every little detail mean something but we know every person faces judgment on their own deeds and every person who is lost is lost because of their own sin. Remember that the coin is passive, people are not.
1. No person is lost just because of the sin of someone else.
2. God put an end to that idea in Ezekiel 18:1-4 when He said, “1. The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 2. "What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'?”
3. What is he saying there? He is saying the proverb states that the children are being punished for what the fathers did.
4. He goes on to say: “3. "As I live,'' says the Lord God, "you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. 4. "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.”
5. In other words, you’re responsible for your own sins; you can’t go blaming others for your sin. You can’t blame your father or your uncle. You must take responsibility for your own sins.
B. You’ve probably heard of John Wesley, a very famous preacher in the UK many, many years ago. He worked among the coal miners in Cornwall.
1. The story goes that during the days of John Wesley and concerning his work among the coal miners, whole villages were transformed from people that were gambling, swearing, and skipping assembly on the Lord’s Day, to men and women of sobriety and godliness.
2. In many homes in Wales there was a picture of John Wesley, the man they all knew and loved. The story goes that one day a stranger visited one of these humble homes and saw the picture hanging on the wall. The visitor asked the man, “Whose picture is that?” The old miner reverently lifted his hat and said, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”
3. If you read the scriptures, you know what that means.
4. John Wesley was a powerful influence in his time with the people he met.
5. How powerful? Well, many took up the work do to this man and the story is told of one who became a village minister in the south of Wales. When this village minister passed on, a well-known Welsh preacher went to deliver the address at the funeral. Hundreds of miners assembled in silence around the grave, and these were the first words that fell upon their ears: "My brethren, the greatest obstacle on your road to hell has been removed."
C. I wonder what sort of influence we have on others. You see the influence we have on other people can determine where they spend eternity.
1. Yes a person’s sin is their own responsibility but I hope and pray that we realize the power we have to influence people.
2. Titus tells us how we can influence other saints in the church, and that we can oppose those who oppose our teachings. Titus 2:7-8 – “7. in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8. sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”
3. Paul reminds us that it is the church that is to do the influencing not the world. Ephesians 4:17-19 – “17. This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18. having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; 19. who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
D. As Christians our lifestyles, teachings and beliefs should be the very things that influence the people around us, but we must be careful not to let it happen the other way around.
1. What did Jesus say about you and salt? Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth.” You’re not the salt in the worship place. You’re not the salt of your house.
2. Jesus says you’re not the salt sitting in a dish in this building; you’re the salt of the earth. You need to go out and season and influence the people in your world with that salt. Mix with the ungodly, influence them; season them until they become godly.
E. Jesus also warned His disciples in Matthew 16:6 – “Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.''”.
1. The word “leaven” is usually used in the Bible in terms of evil influence.
2. That’s what Jesus meant in Matthew 23:15 when He tells them, “"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” The point is that people can influence people. I believe we all know that.
F. That’s what we do. As Christians we should influence people for the good, but we need to be on our guard against the world influencing us with evil.
1. Evil can come at us in many different forms. It can come in the form of false teaching. It can come in the form of lack of church attendance, from not taking time to be with fellow Christians and be encouraged.
2. It can come in the form of lack of zeal in our study of God’s word. It can come in the form of a lax attitude towards sin. Oh, God will forgive me—that sort of mentality.
3. What happens if your influence helps someone to decide to become a Christian? They are going to follow your example aren’t they? What if you then become influenced by evil?
i. The person following your example won’t think that the Bible is important, if you don’t think it’s important.
ii. They won’t think it is important to come to worship, to meet with other Christians, if you don’t think it’s important.
iii. They won’t think it’s all that important to give up some sin in their lives, if you don’t think it’s important to give up the sin which is in your life.
4. When we let the world influence our religion, our religion becomes worthless. Just like the coin in the parable. When a coin is lost, it becomes worthless.
i. You know when a coin goes out of circulation it still has its basic worth. In other words, a nickel lost is still worth 5 cents when found. A dime lost is still worth 10 cents. But any coin that is out of circulation, lost, is unusable. It still has value but is unusable. When a coin is lost, it becomes unusable. Money is only good when it is usable, when it can be circulated. When a person is lost their influence for good is lost.
ii. What Jesus is teaching us is that people could wear the name God, but were lost to God. Their soul is still worth more than the whole world, but if their souls are not given to God, they’re lost.
G. I’m going to read from Romans 1:18-21 – “18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19. because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21. because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
1. What is Paul saying in these verses? He is saying there are people who are lost, and they’re not even bothered about it.
2. Why aren’t they bothered? Because they don’t even recognize they are lost. A woman looses one coin, so what, it’s a coin.
3. The Scribes and Pharisees thought that way about sinners. Why be bothered with the lowly, the outcast and the poor? That was their attitude.
4. You see, a coin may be just a coin and some people may not care if it is lost, but coins can have more than their monetary value. Such was this coin to its owner. So she got a lamp and lit it and searched the whole house to find that which was lost. The value was not in the coin itself but it what it could do for her and her family.
H. Let’s look at this another way. How keen are we at searching for the lost? Most of us are quite willing to search in the worship place.
1. In other words we’re quite happy to sit here until some lost soul comes to us here in the building on a Sunday morning. But what about outside? Remember we are His hands on earth. What about the other 6 days of the week?
2. A person doesn’t have to come to the building to find out about God, this is the place where we gather every week to worship our God.
3. I’m sure most of us have got friends who aren’t Christians. Are we going to share the Gospel with people the other 6 days a week, or are we going to have the attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees?
4. Are we going to say, “Why bother, they won’t listen anyway.” You don’t know that, unless you’ve tried.
I. I read of a survey conducted by Christians. It was all about church growth and was given to over 10,000 Christians. One question was, "What was responsible for your coming to Christ and His church?" Here’s what they replied;
1. 0.5 % said I attended a Gospel meeting.
2. 1 % said I visited there.
3. 2 % said I had a special need.
4. 3 % said I just walked in.
5. 3 % said I liked the program.
6. 6 % said I like the minister.
7. 5 % said I like the Bible classes.
8. Take a guess about how 79 % of people came to Christ and became a Christian? 79% of people said they came to Christ and His church because a friend or relative invited them.
9. With all the talks, discussions, sermons and studies on how to reach the lost, the most effective way is simply this, you talk to people and invite them. In my own case, yes, I was looking, but I could not find. If I had not been encouraged to come and taste by Nina, I might have gone on the rest of my life without finding. I class myself in that 79%. Those who were fortunate enough to have parents or grandparents that brought them are in that 79% too.
J. Jesus didn’t say, the preacher is the light of the world. He said in Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.” We all are. We don’t need to share the Gospel with the world in one go. Some people are frightened by that.
1. We don’t need to wait until there are 3 or 4 or 100 people around us to share the gospel with them. We need to share the Gospel with people one at a time.
2. 1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.”[para] There is no set procedure for talking to people, no “formula”. There are all sorts of ways to go about it.
3. Some people are confrontational, up front, other people are nice and gentle. It doesn’t matter as long as we’re using what God has given us.

CONCLUSION:
I like this story a man who was walking along a beach, and he saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer, he saw thousands of starfish the tide had thrown onto the beach, unable to return to the ocean during low tide, the starfish were dying. He observed a young man picking up the starfish one by one and throwing them back into the water. After watching this seemingly futile effort, the man said, "There must be thousands of starfish on this beach. It would be impossible for you to get all of them. There are simply too many. You can't possibly save enough to make a difference." The young man smiled picked up another starfish and tossed it back into the ocean and said, "It made a difference to that one." Finding one lost sheep and returning it to the fold may not seem like much—unless you are that lost sheep.

We all want the church to grow. For that to happen we need to plant the seed, one at a time, in the hearts of people outside. As God gives us opportunity, we will water that seed, then God will cause the seed to grow and then He will add to our number.
When God does add to our number, it’s a time to rejoice.

A preacher in the UK related this story; “I remember when I lived in Scotland, I lost my wallet and so I cancelled all the credit cards and reported it to the police.
A few weeks later our daughter Roxanne was playing with her toys. She was playing shops.
She had a little till and a little cupboard with all sorts of things in it. And out from behind the till, Roxanne brings out my wallet. Roxanne had it all the time.
There was rejoicing in our house that night, and as I had £20:00 in that wallet that meant we could buy Chinese takeout. We had the Chinese and celebrated.
Although we rejoiced, we didn’t go out in the street and rejoice with our neighbors, but the woman in the parable did.”

Luke 15:9 “And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.'” [para]
She was overwhelmed with joy, finding that lost coin was more important to her than the other 9 coins she didn’t lose. Why? Because the other nine were already safe, she knew exactly where they were. They were in her possession.
Jesus goes on to say in Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." God loves us and cares for us and gives us grace and peace and eternal life. Nothing makes Him and the heavenly hosts happier than when someone who turns their back on their sinful lifestyle and turns toward God.

Hebrews 12:22 says, “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly.” [para]
That’s what happens when a person decides to follow Jesus, thousands upon thousands of angels gather in joyful assembly. Why, because when sinners repent and follow God’s ways, that’s worth celebrating.

When sinners say, ‘not my will be done, but His will be done’, that’s worth celebrating.
Let me encourage you this evening if you’re not a Christian, to talk to someone today about what it means to be a Christian.
Let me encourage you today to seriously think about becoming a follower of Christ.
Your decision to follow the Christ can give the saints, not just here, but all over the world and the angles in heaven a reason to rejoice with you.
Heaven will have a party because of your decision to follow Jesus.
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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

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