The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 15:1-10

Trinity III

1. Lk. 14 ends with Jesus saying: "Let the one who has ears be hearing." Someone has said: "God put ears on sinners so that they would listen." Lk. 15 begins with those who were hearing and those not hearing.

2. The tax-collectors and sinners (likely harlots) were outcasts in Israel. The Pharisees and scribes avoided them and would not even eat with them. "This man welcomes and eats with them (sinners)" is a high compliment to Jesus but it was the cause of the grumbling of the Pharisees and scribes. The sinners were repenting and hearing. The Pharisees and scribes refused to hear and repent. But Jesus spoke the three Parables of this chapter because He loved His enemies too and wanted to bring them to repentance.

3. There are three parables in this chapter: Vss. 3-7, 8-10 and 11-32. All three have two words in common: "lost" and found". Both words describe what has already happened to the tax-collectors and sinners. The word "lost" describes the true condition of Pharisees and scribes but they have not yet been found because they refuse to repent.

4. Vss. 7 and 10 tell us that the angels in heaven rejoice when one sinner repents. Scripture mentions the rejoicing of the angels three times: at creation, Job 38:7; when Christ was born, Lk. 2:13-14; and when one sinner repents, Lk. 15:7.10.

5. Vs. 1 speaks about "all the tax-collectors and sinners". That very likely means that they came in large numbers. In vs. 3 the antecedent of "them" must be the Pharisees and scribes.

6. The expressions "what man" in vs. 4 and "what woman" in vs. 8 naturally cause us to answer: "Every one would do that." These parables are axioms, truths which are invariably true. They are illustrations to which Jesus' enemies had to say: "Everyone would do that" thereby admitting that Jesus was true in what He said and did. It is a masterful way to preach and teach. He loved them too.

7. The owner of the sheep was more concerned about the one lost sheep that over the ninety-nine seemingly safe sheep, braved the wilderness to find it, was gentle to it when he found it and even asked his neighbors and friends to rejoice with him. That goes far beyond what usually happens. Likewise, the care, work and industry of the woman seeking her lost coin and calling her friends together goes far beyond what usually happens. But it pictures Jesus' love for lost sinners. And our love for Him should make us realize that we are debtors to all people, obligated to them, to bring them to repentance and faith. That's what Paul meant at Rom. 1:14. Jesus' love for lost mankind should be our love for lost mankind.

8. There are two schools of thought over the meaning of the end of vs. 7. Some commentators think that the ninety-nine represent those who have already repented and therefore are safe. Others think that the ninety-nine represent those, like the Pharisees, who refuse to repent. But you can teach this text without deciding that matter. Because the stress in both vss. 7 and 10 is on the one sinner who repents. Keep your eyes on that and you will teach the text correctly.

9. The first of Luther's 95 theses reads, "When our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, said 'Repent ye' He meant that the whole life of the Christian should be one of repentance." The Christian's primary need is to confess his sins and receive absolution. That is a constant need. That's why we have confession and absolution in church services. These three parables are necessary for me until I close my eyes in death.

10. Jesus said: "The Son of man came to seek and save the lost." Lk. 19:10. I did not seek Him. He sought me. I did not find Him. He found me. I did not save myself. He did that.

11. A Jewish proverb said: "There is joy before God when those who provoke Him perish." But Jesus said: "There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 15:1-10

Trinity III

THEME: Lost, Sought And Found


The three parables in Lk. 15 have been called one of the loveliest chapters in the Bible because they picture the true God Who wants all men to be saved. Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost, all people. Some refuse Him. Some accept Him. But He truly seeks all.




In the third parable of Lk. 15 the father speaks to the son who was still lost, vss. 25-32. The lost son was jealous of the son who was found. He resented the love of the father for the lost son. But the father continued to plead with this second son. And so it is today. Just as the sun shines on all and the rain and snow fall on all so the love of God in Christ still calls out to all men: "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. He who believes not shall be damned."

This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.

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