Weekly Devotional | "The Lost Sheep"

This devotional is based on Christian Wegert's sermon, The Lost Sheep, given on October 30, 2016.

Day 1: Lost (v. 4)

Quotes:

  • “We think living without God will lead us into freedom and liberty. We believe we are autonomous and independent without need of God or Christ. We think walking to the horizon far away from our shepherd will satisfy our soul. We think it will give us freedom and joy, but the flood will come.” Christian Wegert
  • “We were made for God but we rejected him. We refused to live under his authority, and so we are not living the way we were designed to live. And we try to fill the vacuum which now is in our hearts by hurling ourselves into work, into making money, into worshiping our health and beauty, considering ourselves as the center of the universe. Everything must serve us. We live distant from God. We wonder why there’s so much strife and conflict and fear in this world but not only in the world but in our hearts.” Christian Wegert
  • “Jesus was describing the tax-collectors and sinners he was eating with, but his words were also aimed at the Pharisees. They didn’t recognize themselves, however. They assumed they were righteous; everything was fine. They felt no need for a savior. They didn’t recognize their need for Christ as Shepherd. That’s the attitude of many people. I would say that’s the attitude of most people.” Christian Wegert

Questions and Reflections:

  • Why is sin so deceitful? If God truly is the fulfillment of our deepest desires, why then does he sometimes seem to be against our desires?
  • Do you know someone who is trying to fill the vacuum of their heart with things other than Jesus? What can we take from this parable to appeal to them that those “freedoms” are actually chains of slavery?
  • What about life under Christ’s Lordship is so much more satisfying than even the most comfortable life without him?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Consider what Isaiah 53:6-7 has to say about us as sheep. Next, consider how Jesus was led away like a sheep in our place. Ask God to deepen your sense of helplessness without Him and for help to stay close to his side.

 

Day 2: Sought (v. 6)

Quotes:

  • “This act of rescue would not be convenient, nor would it necessarily be easy. If it was at night the shepherd might himself be in danger by himself, but he doesn’t care. His heart is set on the lost sheep. He will do whatever it will take to bring this lost sheep back. Why does he do that? What is he so focused on rescuing this one sheep? What causes him to leave 99 of his sheep behind in order to seek this one lost sheep? Why is it that for the shepherd no difficulty is too great and no sacrifice is too big? It is because the sheep is his.” Christian Wegert
  • “If you are here this morning and you are a Christian, did you know that before you were saved Jesus already viewed you as his own. God had set his love upon you and even while you were a sinner he came after you. Jesus said in John 15:16, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you.’ In his great High Priestly Prayer he said, ‘Father, they were yours and you gave them to me.’ And this was not a recent thing. Paul writes in Ephesians 1 that God chose us before the foundation of the world. So no Christian should ever think that, ‘I sought out God.’ None of us were looking for God, he was looking for us.” Christian Wegert

Questions and Reflections:

  • Read John 10:11-15. Why does belonging to Jesus make us so valuable to him?
  • Look at either John 15:16, John 17:24, or Ephesians 1:3-6. How does the passage uniquely describe God’s intimate election? How does this warm your affections towards your Father?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read about the compassion of God the Shepherd in Ezekiel 34:11-16. Thank God for how deeply he cares for his sheep, that he himself would come off his throne and seek his people in their dirt and muck.

 

Day 3: Found (v. 4)

Quotes:

  • “Where must the Shepherd be in order to find the lost sheep? He needs to go to the place where the lost sheep is. He does not sit in a command center sending an unmanned drone in order to save his possession. The Shepherd himself goes. He enters into the dirt and mud and shame of his sheep, and this is what God did for us. In order to find us the Living God became like us. He became a man in Jesus Christ. He left heaven and humbled himself in order to rescue us from the mire and mud of our lostness.” Christian Wegert
  • “God does not only seek, but he also finds. In Christ he did what was necessary to find us. He’s paying the price for the lost sheep on the cross. He said in John 10:11, ‘I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.’ And how long does the Shepherd seek the sheep? He goes after the one that is lost until he finds it. He does not stop seeking. He does not loose interest. He loves his own, and that is why he will go after you until he finds you. There’s no obstacle too big, there’s no muck too thick, there’s no place too far from him to find you. The Shepherd will find his sheep, and you never know how he might do it.” Christian Wegert

Questions and Reflections:

  • Reflect on Romans 8:31-34. What is the relationship between the tree, unmerited nature of God’s love, and the security we can experience from it?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Read John 10:11-15. Ask Jesus to deepen your trust in his love for and commitment to you. Ask him to strengthen your faith in his perfect and finished work for you so that you may take greater joy in him and may not be shaken by the accusations of the Enemy.

 

Day 4: Joy (v. 5-7)

Quotes:

  • “There’s joy in heaven. There’s joy in heaven when one lost sinner comes back. There’s joy in heaven when people repent of their sin. Heaven is celebrating. It was this joy that sustained Jesus even as he went to the cross. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, ‘Jesus, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.’ It was this joy that was set before him: the joy of repentant sinners who come back to the Shepherd. All that Jesus endured, suffering at the hands of sinners, dying a criminal’s death, separation from his Father in heaven, enduring the very wrath of God, why? For the joy of seeing lost sinners like you and like me come to himself. By nature God is a savior. This is his character.” Christian Wegert
  • “If you are a Christian and you have forgotten what God is like, forgotten what he did in seeking you and in finding you, let this passage of Scripture remind you, and let it bring fresh gratitude to your heart, fresh amazement to your soul, and a fresh sense of God’s love for you. Do you know he rejoices over you? Do you live with a sense of being his sheep that he came after, that he found, and that he now carries?” Christian Wegert
  • “Jesus spoke these words to religious leaders to broaden their view of God’s heart for sinners. He wanted them to know God can save anyone.” Christian Wegert

Questions and Reflections:

  • How is it that heaven never grows tired or bored with celebrating the salvation of the sheep?
  • Do you stay “close” to your own salvation, often remembering how God uniquely saved you?
  • Knowing that God delights in embracing us as children rather than keeping us at arm’s length, how should we expect him to respond whenever we stumble and fall in our Christian walk? Why is this important to think about?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Zephaniah 3:14-17 describes a future time when the joy of the Lord overflows into loud singing over his people. Take a moment to thank God that, because of the righteousness that Jesus gave us, He rejoices over you.

 

Group Discussion Questions:

  • What in particular from this message stood out to you?
  • Many things can cause us to wonder from Christ. Take time and consider some things in your life that are consistently distracting you from Christ. Is there a current sin or situation you are facing that is causing you to wonder away from God? If so, how can you change your approach and respond in a more Godly manner?
  • Practically speaking, what are ways we become comfortable without Christ in every-day life?
  • What is your reaction to being sought by Christ? Is your response one of amazement and joy?