The Parable of the Lost Sheep

The Parable of the Lost SheepSUBJECT: Repentance

TITLE: The Parable of the Lost Sheep

PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will discuss the parable of the lost sheep. From this parable we learn that 1) Sheep Become Wayward, 2) Sheep Have Worth, 3) Recovering Sheep is Wonderful.

OBJECTIVE: We have a responsibility to recover the wayward by going after those who have gone astray. We do this by loving other people consistent with their true worth in Christ and lovingly teaching God’s truth.


1. Read: Luke 15:1-7

2. About the Text:

1) Isaiah tells us there was nothing physically attractive about the Messiah (Isa.53:2).

2) Jesus’ teaching drew others to hear him, and he refused no one from listening.

3) Luke tells us here that tax collectors and sinners came to Jesus.

4) The Pharisees criticized Jesus for receiving them.

5) They did not love their neighbors’ enough to seek to serve and help them.

6) Jesus told this parable to criticize the Pharisees and their lack of love for their neighbor.

7) He teaches us that true love does not give up on people but continues to seek and rejoices when they are found and brought back.

3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: From this parable we learn that . . .

I.   Sheep Become Wayward

1. This parable is the first in a set of three dealing with the wayward.

1) Lost Sheep illustrates when someone is lost due to ignorance.

2) Lost Coin illustrates when someone is lost due to negligence.

3) Lost Boy illustrates when someone is lost due to their own desire.

2. Some become lost due to ignorance.

1) “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

2) This could be their own ignorance.

3) This could be ignorance of others.

4) The Pharisees were willfully ignorant.

5) They did not want to help sinners to repent.

6) They were hirelings; they wouldn’t go after the sheep.

7) “But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep” (John 10:12-13).

3. All sinners are like this.

1) “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa.53:6).

2) “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

3) “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).

II.  Sheep Have Worth

1. They are worth looking for.

1) Jesus pointed out that not one of them would take the loss of one sheep idly.

2) They would leave 99 to go find one because of its worth to them.

3) They understood the value of livestock, but they didn’t understand the value of people.

2. How much more valuable is a person than a sheep?

1) “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

2) God wants the sinner to return to Him.

3) He wants us to share His love for our fellow and His desire for them to return.

4) Do we let our sins get in the way of seeking and saving the lost?

3. Jesus shows us how to seek the lost.

1) We must go into the wilderness after them.

a. We must be in the world, but not of the world.

b. “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15).

2) We must be willing to carry them back.

a. This is what the Pharisees would not do – work with people to help them.

b. We have got to get involved in other people’s lives.

c. Here’s the rub: other people’s lives are messy.

d. A lot of times we are forced to confront our own problems.

e. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2).

f. “let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).

4. God, through Jesus, is telling us that people are worth the effort.

III. Recovering Sheep is Wonderful!

1. The Pharisees could find no joy in Jesus’ teaching sinners.

1) Their pride, envy, and anger had consumed them.

2) They couldn’t see the value of what Jesus was doing.

3) If we are not rejoicing when sinners repent, there is something spiritually wrong with us and we need to repent.

2. It is a time to rejoice personally.

1) The shepherd who finds the sheep rejoices when he finds the sheep.

2) Is this our attitude when we go out to seek the lost?

3) “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:22-24).

3. It is a time to rejoice communally.

1) The conversion of a sinner to God’s truth is a time to rejoice.

2) “So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren” (Acts 15:3).

4. God rejoices at the penitence of one sinner more than over 99 that need no repentance.


1. From this parable we learn . . .

1) Sheep Become Wayward.

2) Sheep Have Worth.

3) Recovering Sheep is Wonderful!

2. Invitation