Posts Tagged ‘Stupid’


Dancing with the Stars is starting soon. I know that there are a few fans here. One Dance you will not see the contestants performing is the “Dance of the Moron”. And no you will not see this couple performing either. We laugh, but there really is a dance of the Moron that God says describes as the forbidden dance, one which He is Passionately Opposed to.

The Dance of the Moron looks exciting and wonderful to other morons, but to God, it is very deadly.

This Dance of the Moron is described in the verses we will look at in Romans 1:18-23.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:18-23 (ESV)

Terms Defined

Before we examine this Dance of the Moron and God’s Passionate Opposition to it, it would help us to define some terms:

Moron (moraino-vs 22)

  • A person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment.
  • In Psychology. a person of borderline intelligence in a former classification of mental retardation, having an intelligence quotient of 50 to 69.

God does not quantify morons by their IQ. God classifies people as morons based upon how they respond to the next term we’ll define. God is the one who determines who is a moron or not.

Revelation (apokalyptō – vs 17 & 18)

  • The act of revealing or disclosing; disclosure.
  • Something revealed or disclosed, esp. a striking disclosure, as of something not before realized.

I. God’s Case Against Mankind

    Why God Responds With Wrath? From Romans 1:18-23.

A.   God has Revealed Two Things to Mankind

1.    He Is and He is Righteous (vs 17)

Verse 17 says “For in it (Gospel God) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. This Gospel that we saw last week, that Paul surrendered his life to, is revealed in the Greatest Power this World has ever known-the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. By faith in God’s Message, we see, we know, we possess the very Righteousness of God. Gospel God is opposed to all those who by intent or by ignorance or by stupidity refuse to Honor His Righteousness.

Righteousness is “what God requires; what is right, uprightness, justice; righting wrong; (God’s) putting (man) in a right relationship (with Himself).”

God is not content being Righteous by Himself. This World, everything that is in it, including you and me, God desires with all His heart to set it Right once again. He created it RIGHT, but sin happened. He has revealed His Righteousness to us, His way of setting it right again, and it is by FAITH that this RIGHTEOUSNESS can be ours. Jesus Christ has made everything possible, and we must simply life in FAITH in what God has done through Him. IN THE GOSPEL, God has REVEALED HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOW IT IS AVAILABLE TO US!

2.    He is and He is Passionate (orge-desire – vs 18)

Various translations translate ‘orge’ in this way:

  • The wrath of God (KJV, ESV, NIV)
  • God shows his anger (NLT, GW, TEV, NCV)
  • God’s angry displeasure erupts (MSG)

Orgē is from orgaō, to teem, to swell. It is the temper of God towards sin, not rage, but the wrath of reason and law (Shedd).

Passion from Dictionary.com:

  • any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
  • strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.
  • strong sexual desire; lust.
  • a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything: a passion for music.
  • violent anger.

Instead of viewing ‘wrath’ as some angry outburst, we should see it as a passionate display of His Righteous character. The same way married couples respond to unrighteous threats to their marriage.

  • “Wrath is the holy revulsion of God’s being against that which is the contradiction of his holiness.”
  • God is not passive but active in response to sin.
  • This attitude and exercise of righteous indignation against evil is no vice but a virtue which God perfectly displays against sin.

B.   God is El Qanna – I am Jealous

  • for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” Exodus 34:14
  • God desires His Creation to Worship Him, to Walk With Him, and He jealously injects Himself into our life.

Police will tell you that the most dangerous situations they often face are domestic conflicts. Passions and Jealousies ignite tremendous rage at times.

PERSONAL WITNESS: One of the most dramatic things I have ever witnessed was as I was a freshman in Bible College at a Laundromat doing my laundry. It was Thursday evening, I was watching Kung-Fu. All of a sudden I hear a screeching of tires as a car slammed on its brakes. Into the Laundromat a gal comes stomping, screaming, “you been messin with my man. You better getta away from my man”. This other gal doing her laundry starts screaming back and before I know it these two women are down on the ground pulling hair, punching at each other, biting. Before long the police come and drag them away. Now, I don’t know who the guy was, but he obviously had ignited a lot of passion between these two women. That passion led to violence. Their passion was based on their own selfishness.

God’s Passion does not grow from selfishness but from His Righteousness…

  • Because He is Righteous, he cannot tolerate people who deliberately turn away from Him, from His righteousness, and then declare their own! They are Morons to Him. God’s angry displeasure is against all morons, because THEY JUST DON’T GET IT, IN FACT THEY REFUSE TO GET IT. They simply keep on dancing the dance of a moron.
  • The Passion of God is not an emotional outburst as people imagine. His desire is such that we know His righteousness, that we are Holy as He is Holy. When we are not, his desire for us is kindled to the point that He would do anything to get us to turn to Him.
  • No exact form of judgment is specified; the present judgments of God are seen in a variety of ways–“natural” calamities, local disasters, etc.
  • Whether or not you believe God had a hand in the natural disasters that have been so prevalent recently, and have been revealed from the heavens, the results have been that many people have turned to Jesus Christ.

God has done so much for us, he is shouting at the top of HIs Voice, I am Your Creator, Your God. Why won’t you give your lives to me? Why do you insist on ignoring me, on living your own way? Why do you insist on being ungodly and unrighteous? Because of my Righteous desire for you, here is a taste of my Power. Wake up and turn to Me!

Look at What Has Happened as the Result of His Wrath in the recent earthquake in Haiti:

In Haiti: A reported 40,127 Haitians have made professions of faith in Jesus Christ since a major earthquake hit the impoverished nation in January, according to pastors and directors of missions within the Confraternite Missionaire Baptiste d’Haiti (CMBH).

“Haiti is ripe for a spiritual movement from God,” said Craig Culbreth, director of the Florida Baptist Convention’s partnership missions department, which coordinates the work of the CMBH, upon his Feb. 22 return from Port-au-Prince.

During a Feb. 16-17 citywide holiday observance in Cap Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city, Culbreth saw “thousands upon thousands filling the streets where people are seeking God and asking Him to spare them from what happened in Port-au-Prince. For me, it was a New Testament expression of what it looks like when the Spirit of God shows up. I have never seen anything like it.”

God’s Passionate Desire is For Us to Walk in His Righteousness

You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. Psalms 89:13-16 (ESV)

Men May Complain That God is Not Fair and that He is so Hateful…Yet one day we will all see that His Acts Have all Been Based upon His Righteousness:

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:2-4 (ESV)

God Reveals Himself in His Righteous Acts, even though they may seem like wrath.

II. GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS VS. MAN’S UNRIGHTEOUSNESS

A. Man’s Reaction to God’s Revelation

1. Ungodliness (asebeian). Lack of Reverence because of an innate wickedness – wanting to do things their own way.

2.Unrighteousness (adikía).

  • Injustice. What ought not to be, that which is wrong. In 1 John 5:17, “all unrighteousness [adikía] is sin [hamartía].”
  • Lack of right conduct toward men, injustice  This follows naturally from irreverence. The basis of ethical conduct rests on the nature of God and our attitude toward him, otherwise the law of the jungle (cf. Nietzsche, “might makes right”).
  • Unrighteousness will result in deeds which violate law and justice
  • Immorality

B.   The Result of Man’s Reaction:

1.    Men Hold Back (Suppress, repress-Katechonton) the TRUTH by their Unrighteousness

  • The conduct of men that is a result of their lack of reverence for God actually hold’s back God Truth.
  • Just as disobedience caused Adam and Eve’s eyes to be opened to see their nakedness, so sin blinds our eyes to God!

2.    Sin blinds us to our need for God!

Now the holy anger of God is disclosed from Heaven against the godlessness and evil of those men who render truth dumb and inoperative by their wickedness (Philips Translation)

C.   Man Chose to Ignore the Truth of God

1.  God  Reveals Himself to Man

  • God Reveals Himself in Blazing Neon Signs
  • Men deliberately chose to be irreverent toward God
  • Men deliberately chose their own morality which leads to injustice, disobedience, partiality, greed, selfishness, and every kind of immoral behavior.

For what can be known about God is plain(phaneron) to them, because God has shown(phaneroo) it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20 (ESV)

  • phaneron  phaneroō

That which can be known about God is phaneros – (to shine, to make to shine or to cause to appear. Apparent, manifest, plain –  it is that apparent!) You cannot escape the obvious revelation of God!

2.    His Invisible Attributes Shine Big and Bright

JBPhilips: It is not that they do not know the truth about God; indeed he has made it quite plain to them. For since the beginning of the world the invisible attributes of God, e.g. his eternal power and divinity, have been plainly discernible through things which he has made and which are commonly seen and known, thus leaving these men without a rag of excuse.

Paul is speaking of what man can see in the created order because of the knowledge he inherently possesses as a creature made in God’s image.

  • Special revelation shows God as Redeemer;
  • General revelation shows God as Creator!
  • Special revelation is the norm for the church;
  • General revelation is the norm for society!
  • Special revelation is the means for salvation;
  • General revelation is the means of condemnation!

3.    Men are Without Excuse

Even if Jesus had been preached to them, they would have rejected Him, because they reject God Himself!

III. Why Are Men Without Excuse?

THEY REFUSE TO KNOW THE TRUTH IN THESE THREE WAYS:

A.   Men Refuse/Fail to Glorify God as God

1.  They know (ginosko) there is a God.

  • to know by personal experience.
  • En autois suggests intuitive knowledge, the sphere in which God is known (phaneron), our heart and mind.
  • Murray combines the two ideas: God is known “in them” (en autois, v.19a) because He revealed Himself “to them” (autois, v.19b) in creation.
  • This knowledge of God in man is a result of God’s own self-disclosure. All men possess clear (albeit limited) knowledge of God, for He has made Himself known to them.

Paul addressed the Greek Philosophers on Mars Hill:

that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Acts 17:27-28 (ESV)

God made us with the capacity to recognize that there is a God, that this God created us, designed us, and desires to have a relationship with us.

2. They Refuse or Fail to Render Proper Glory to God.

  • doxázō: To honor, bestow honor upon, exalt in dignity, render glorious. CWSD
  • Proper Honor means to render glory to Him, recognize Him for Who and What He is, to celebrate with praises, worship, adoration. CWSD
  • Proper Glory means we seek to Worship Him with our substance, with our hearts, with our hands, with our lives.

Whatever we do we do it with the Glory of God in Mind! How many people would murder, steal, lie, cheat if they lived to give proper Honor to God?

3. How Does Mankind Refuse or Fail to Give Proper Glory to God?

  • Act like He doesn’t exist.
  • Ignore His Message
  • Complain about What Happens
  • Depend upon yourself or your friends or the Government
  • Fail to acknowledge Him as you work and play
  • Act as if He doesn’t exist.
  • We are not just talking about Heathens, Hooligans and the Hell-Bound!

“Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the Lord.” Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless? They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’ And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit. “Therefore I still contend with you, declares the Lord, and with your children’s children I will contend. For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see, or send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has been such a thing. Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:2-13 (ESV)

B. Men Refuse/Fail to Give Thanks to God

1. Wonders of Creation

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalms 19:1 (ESV)

2. Provisions and Blessings

Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. Psalms 40:5 (NASB)

3. In the Way they Treat Others and their Environment

God’s Law had amazing provisions for care of the blind and lame, as well as taking care of refuse and trash.

4. In the Way we Treat our Possessions

  • Look at the way God wanted His Tabernacle constructed and maintained
  • Do You Tithe, do you treat your money as your own?
  • One way God says that we fail to give Him thanks is to Rob Him of His Tithe. Malachi

C. Men Become Vain in their Thinking

Became vain” is mataioō. The noun is mataios, “devoid of force, truth, success, result.” The word “vain” today means “proud.” The Greek word did not have any idea like that. Mataios refers to that which is in vain, futile, that which is without result or success. It refers to the unsuccessful attempt to do something or be something. It refers to that which does not measure up to that which it should be.

1.  In scriptures becoming vain usually means to become corrupt and wicked.

Vain conversation and living is CORRUPT when contrasted with God

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1 Peter 1:18 (KJV)

Vanity is a Wicked Walk away from God

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. Ephesians 4:17-19 (KJV)

2.    They think of Themselves

a)   Look at me,
b)   Look at what I can do,
c)    Look at all that I have accomplished.

3.    Man attempts to become something, and instead becomes NOTHING!

  • Solomon said, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” That is, “futility of futilities, all is futile.” All that he tried was futile, unsuccessful, in giving him complete satisfaction.
  • Men and Women, refusing to glorify God and be grateful, became futile, unsuccessful in their reasonings (imaginations). The word is dialogismos, “the thinking of a man deliberating with himself, deliberation.”Wuest

4.    Man’s Thinking Gets Messed Up

  • Men, in refusing to recognize the true God, entertain foolish and wicked thoughts of who God is.
  • The implication is they become evil and wicked
  • The thoughts of men were continually evil before the flood.
  • They become foolish in imagining there is no God.
  • They become foolish and start worshipping other gods, idols, things, even themselves.
  • Mental Disease is also the result.
    • Depression
    • Schizophrenic
    • Anxieties

IV. The Result of Man’s Choice

They Dance the Moron Dance

“their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:21-23 (ESV)

  • They lost the light of divine knowledge;
  • foolish heart: ἀσύνετος, Without insight or understanding, unintelligent, foolish. CWSD
  • Their heart becomes darkened so they no longer have any insight into God.

The Hebrews in the Wilderness

This is how the Israelites could be the way they were in the wilderness. In spite of all God had done and was continuing to do, they were clueless when it came to the need to worship and honor Jehovah God.

God had Moses take the Jews the long way around Edom. It was desolate land, not plush and green like the many oasis in Egypt. Even as slaves they had a choice of food, stores they could go to, nice things they could buy. Water was plentiful. Clothing was beyond compare. The ladies could buy the latest slave fashions. They had nice homes to live in, stoves to cook on.

Now they were forced to march in the desert, going who knows where. No stores, no variety of food. None of those Egyptian delicacies they had grown so fond of. All they had now was this Manna that they had to pick up off the ground. Water was scarce and had to be rationed. The heat was unbearable. They had to pitch tents all the time. No cushy commode to sit on and relax. You had to fight off the insects and wild beasts when you went to the bathroom. No fancy Egyptian makeup or Spa treatments in the wilderness.

They got to thinking they were better than this. They deserved more! They started complaining against Jehovah and against Moses.

“Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”

So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Numbers 21:4-6 (NLT)

  • Have you ever seen someone trying to avoid an aggressive, striking snake?
  • They start dancing a silly, stupid, moronic dance

When the snakes started attacking, there was a lot of dancing going on.

Paul wrote: Claiming to be Wise, they became fools-moraino. That’s that word we learned about a few weeks ago. Jesus said that salt can become “moraino” insipid, bland, useless, good for nothing.

God says to you and me:

I created you in my image. I meant you to be so wonderful and so marvelous, yet you refuse to honor me, you refuse to thank me, you put yourself first. You’ve become a moron, you’ve become useless to me, and to top it off you are doing a stupid end zone dance saying “Look at me, look at what I’ve done, Look at how great I am!”

  • You start doing the moron dance, and then you dance around your idols, your stuff and you say look at all my great stuff.
  • You start dancing around at a football game and say look at how great our team is.

God says, “OK, you want to dance the Moron Dance, go ahead. Here I’ll help. How about an earthquake. How about a Tornado? Can you dance in a hurricane? How about some aggressive snakes?

The Dance of the Moron is the dance of someone who refuses by intent or by stupidity to Honor God as God, to Thank God, and instead put themselves on the pedestal.

They become moraino and exchange the Glory of God meant for them into something stupid and temporal like a car or a house or a football team or a soft pillow on Sunday morning. Or they create their own God, their own religion.

What Can I Do?    –   Have a New Focus!

We think that Romans 1:18 – 32 applies only to heathens, gentiles, those that reject God. But if you read Scriptures, Christians can become darkened in their heart, carnal in their heart, fleshly. Christians can even do the Dance of the Christian Moron.

You supposedly know better. You supposedly have been made alive to God. You supposedly have God’s Holy Spirit living in you?

Why then are you not honor God, Honoring His Word, Obeying Him? Why are you robbing God? Why do you pay him lipservice, but go out and do what you want to do?

Why are you so ungrateful to HIm? Why do you hold on to your money and your possessions like they are yours?

Why do you pat yourself on the back so often, and think how well you have done.

Could you heart be getting dark? Could your soul be getting hard toward God? Is that your leg starting to quiver, to move. Is that your arm starting to wave?

Christians can dance the Moron Dance as stupidly as any heathen. How do I stop? How can I become useful to God? How can I experience this Glory of God?

Journey to the Cross for New Life

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Prodigal GodThen drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:1-10

Luke 15 begins with the religious leaders noticing something—that Jesus seems to attract and befriend “tax collectors and sinners,” moral outcasts of respectable society.

In the Lord of the Rings we find a weird creature named Gollum. He is always offering riddles for the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins to solve. One of them I will offer for you:

Voiceless it Cries
Wingless it flutters
Toothless it bites
Mouthless it muttters

(Answer – the Wind)

We read in verse 2 that they “murmur” to one another about this. “to mutter, murmur, grumble, say anything in a low tone” The air was stirring with their murmurings! We can almost hear them saying: “He welcomes sinners! This kind of person never comes to our meetings. This must be because he is telling them what they want to hear. He is not calling them to repent or change.”

This murmuring prompts Jesus to tell the three parables of Luke 15.

  • Parables of the Lost Sheep
  • Lost Coin
  • the Lost Sons.

Jesus Seeks the LostBy listening carefully to all three parables, and especially to the last one, traditionally called The Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus challenges his listeners’ fundamental assumptions about God, sin, and salvation. He gives them an entirely new way of thinking about God, themselves, and the whole world.

Most people think of religion as “humanity’s search for God.” We like to think of ourselves as spiritual seekers, as honest inquirers. We look at the religions of the world and, while giving somewhat different directions about how to do so, they all seem to agree that if we sincerely search for God we will find him. Millions of people the world over believe that by believing and obeying God’s law in the Bible, they can find God.

The problem is that anyone who feels they have searched for and found God will naturally disdain those who seem to be making no effort at all. They will look at “sinners” and say, “I found God! If you try, you can. I did.”

And here is the first great blow to the “religious” people of the world. Religion and religious behavior is NOT the way to God! Jesus is telling us that God had to come down into the world to seek and save us. Salvation must be by His grace, not our achievement.

The end of each parable challenges not just the categories of the Pharisees but their heart and attitude. A theme through all three parables is the joy of finding the lost. God does not look at spiritually lost people the way the Pharisees do. Because the Pharisees do not see themselves as lost sinners saved by grace, they disdain “sinners”. They feel superior to them. But heaven rejoices when “sinners” are reached and found.

Jesus New CommunityJesus is declaring to the religious establishment that He is creating a New Community of People. A Community of People bonded together by the experience of Death & Life. To Understand this New Community, we will look closely at the first two parables. In the next four weeks following we will examine the Parable of the Lost Sons.

This week we look at the first two of these parables. Let’s notice three sets of characters:

  1. the listeners
  2. the lost things
  3. the joyful seekers.

1. The listeners—verses 1-3.

Jesus and the ListenersThere are two groups of people around Jesus—“tax collectors and ‘sinners’”, and “Pharisees and the teachers of the law.” The ‘religious’ group is especially offended that Jesus eats with sinners. In the Middle East an offer of a meal is an offer of Friendship. It is an offer of Community. Table fellowship was considered a sign of acceptance and friendship. How, they thought, can he be so open to them? Doesn’t he realize that they are the “bad people”— who are the real trouble with the world? (And, therefore, that we are the “good guys”?)

jesus with sinnersJesus does not give a direct, compact answer. Instead, he responds with three stories or parables.It is important to realize that these parables were not spoken in a vacuum. The purpose of all three parables was to challenge the “Religious Peoples Point of View” of what Jesus was wanting to do.

When we get to the final parable, we will realize that BOTH groups of people—“sinners” and “religious people”—are actually in the parable. That is why the last story, the story of the prodigal son, is Jesus’ final answer. But that is to come later. For now, let’s notice how he begins to challenge our attitudes and categories of thought in the first two parables.

2. The lost things—verses 4-5, 8.

The Lost SheepJesus uses these “Lost” things to teach us religious types what He is all about. Why He came to this planet, and what He is accomplishing. The impact of these parables is lost on us because we do not look at them from a Middle Eastern viewpoint. These teach us about the community that Jesus want to build within His body – the church.

In order to understand and grasp the meaning of parables, I find it helpful to meditate on the visual images Jesus uses. People of the middle east are very visual in their thinking. It comes from a long line of oral history. That is why God painted very visual images of His miracles in the hearts of His people. That is why all the Jewish feasts and Holy Days are very visual.

The Sheep, the Search, & the Shepherd.

First, Jesus confronts their View of themselves and their Righteousness. The Pharisees thought they had it made. They were children of Abraham. They were children of the Covenant. They were chosen. They followed the Law. But Jesus says none of that is important to him. If we are to be important to Jesus, we must realize we are sheep.

In the parable of the lost sheep, the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to go looking for the one lost sheep. We think that being a sheep is a warm fuzzy huggy type of description. We think of Mary and her little lamb, or Little Bo Peep. Being called a Sheep is an INSULT!

Sheep are StupidA Sheep is a stupid animal. It loses its direction constantly, in a way a cat or dog never does. Even when you find a lost sheep, the sheep will rush to and fro, but will not follow you home like a dog or cat might. So when you find it, you must seize it, throw it to the ground, tie its feet together and carry it over your shoulders.A sheep is a stupid animal that is completely helpless when lost. We need to view sheep like these people did.

  • Sheep will go after grass no matter how impossible the place is.
  • They will go onto the most dangerous place to eat grass.
  • They will need to be rescued, or they will fall to their death.
  • In the second parable the lost object is a coin, even more incapable of finding its way home.

The three lost “objects”—the sheep, the coin, and (in vv. 11-32) the son—all represent people who are spiritually lost, far from God. This is Jesus characterizing the people the Pharisees view as “sinners.” They are lost, yet they are lost in quite different ways. The sheep is lost through foolishness, the coin through thoughtlessness, and the son through willfulness.

But no matter the ‘Lostness’, they are each valued by Jesus, because of their condition.To have value to Jesus, we must realize to the depths of our soul that we are LOST, with NO HOPE of ever being saved.

The Sheep Teaches us We Need to be rescued

Communion2In liturgical churches sometimes the Pastor will administer the Lord’s Supper by saying this:

May the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, preserve your body and soul to eternal life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.

It implies that your soul is feeding on something. And of course, this is true, no matter your spiritual condition. We all cling to something.The deepest hopes of your heart for security and love are resting on something. It can be image, status, wealth, career, position, family, Mr X or Miss Y.

If you are feeding on anything but Jesus for your peace, well being, satisfaction; You are like a sheep feeding on the ledge of a mountain. Say you are dating Mr. X, and decide he is the “one”. You rest your hearts deepest hopes on that person or that relationship. You believe you are valuable because this person loves me.

The truth is that if you are relying on anything or any person other than Jesus, you are in danger of an emotional and spiritual plunge off the mountain side.

You are like a stupid sheep, searching for sustenance in dangerous places, without any sense of your impending doom. You are headed for a spiritual and emotional plunge.

You will have no self worth, no hope left, for you have fed your soul on the wrong person, the wrong things.

We are all like sheep, we have all gone astray

Sheep need rescuingWe all need to be rescued. We can contribute nothing to our salvation. The shepherd has to walk the sheep all the way home. We are utterly lost in sin. We must be saved totally by the grace of God.

Salvation is not a process of cooperation. Our shepherd is not telling us how to live, not giving us self-help pointers. Being a Christian is not trying to live like Jesus. Not wearing a wrist band “What Would Jesus Do?” We must be asking ourselves What is Jesus Doing for Me at this very moment? Jesus must be our life!

We try to be a dog or a cat, but we are sheep. A Teacher is not enough, we need a Savior. We need someone who is able to do everything that we have to do, but are unable to do. He lives the life we should have lived, He dies the death we should have died. Everyone is utterly lost in sin.

The Search Teaches Us:

The Search for the LostJesus is friends with those who need rescuing. The community of Jesus is with the broken, the lost, the sinners, the failures of society. Jesus is building a faith community with these people in it. Normally these people are excluded-they can’t be included.

The Pharisees shake their fingers at them and say “These are the type of people we are NOT supposed to be like! But Jesus says these are the very people I want in my community. Jesus is creating a new faith community that includes publicans and tax collectors.

No Matter the Source of your sin, You Must realize your Lostness.

Here’s an example. Mr. Smith has a problem with abusive anger—he often flies off the handle and is verbally abusive and sometimes physically so. Why? Is his problem genetic? Is it a matter of brain chemistry? Is it just part of his inborn nature, as in the example of the sheep? Or is his problem the result of a bad environment? Perhaps the result of poor parenting and family life? Was he, like the coin, mismanaged by his “supervisors”? Or does his problem stem from selfishness and pride, as with the prodigal son?

We Have ALL Gone AstrayThe answer is that usually, in varying degrees, it is all of the above.

Sin is deeply complex. It is inborn in you, it is magnified by sinful treatment, and it is deepened and shaped by your own choices. Jesus’ view of sin is more comprehensive and multi-dimensional than that of many psychologists, sociologists, and many religious leaders. It is certainly more comprehensive than the view held by the Pharisees listening to him.

Jesus’ view is that no matter your sin, you must realize it is sin, that you are lost and you need saving, or you will die out on a ledge somewhere.

The Shepherd Teaches us

He is the only one who can rescue the lost. The lost are worth rescuing. The coin was the woman’s dowry, livelihood. The shepherd is not complete til he finds all of his sheep.

3. The Joyful Seekers—verses 6-7, 9-10.

The Joyful ShepherdJesus confronts their categories about salvation. He reveals that He comes from a community in heaven that is this way. “I come from a community in heaven that celebrates sinners saved by grace” It does not celebrate righteous people who don’t realize their lostness. I am creating a community like this here.

Community – bonded into a body through an intense common experience.

The more intense the experience, the stronger the bond. The Karen People are being brought into the United States by our State Dept. They have suffered persecution and death at the hands of the Myanmar Military Junta. No matter where they are placed in the United States, they quickly form a close-knit community with fellow Karen. What is the bond-it is their shared death and life experience. The persecution and killing has created an intense bond amonst the Karen in the US.

We all have “identity” factors that create bonds with other people. Black, white, College, No, Good school, acheivements, all come to represent our identity in the world. This identy is our self worth, self image. It is hat makes us distinctive. It is the foundation of who we are.

Christians should have an intense bond that forms the basis of our identity and how we relate to one another. Ephesians 2 begins with Christians who are dead in trespasses and sin, but who share the bond of being made alive by Jesus. Ephesians 2 ends stating we are all like living stones that are fitted together to build a temple in which God’s spirit will dwell.

Other religions aspire to make you better so that you might be like God. In otherwords they treat you like a dog or a cat. Take you to the groomers, to obedience school. You’ll be fine.

The Gospel is for sheep-we must realize we can do nothing to be saved.It is a life and death experience. I am infinitely lost, but I am infinitely loved and infinitely treasured. I am infinitely valued. The Shepherd will do anything to bring me home. It blows your complete identity factor away.

WHO I THINK I AM DOESN’T MATTER

I can be from an IVY league college, be moral, come from a big family. I can derive joy from these things and even feel superior to others. Certain things automatically make us feel better than other people. That joy excludes people who are worse off than we are. It excludes publicans and tax collectors.

Jesus declares that these things don’t matter, that TRUE JOY comes when these Lost people are FOUND! His community doesn’t look down on people, but welcomes all with open arms!

This community has the common bond of death and lostness, but now we are found and saved!

THE QUARRY

quarry rocks for templeThis is the Community of “1 Kings 6”. When building the Temple, the Quarry masons worked so well preparing the monstrous stones for the Temple that on the Temple Mount the stones needed no further hammering, the stones fit together perfectly. So the temple went up in silence-no need for hammering, no need for mortar!

If you have been to the quarry, if you have been through life and death, nothing matters, not your pedigree, your accomplishments, your wealth, nothing matters. You have a bond – a Life and death bond.

Jesus knocks down all barriers to seek those that are lost.

Shepherds aren’t consultants, they aren’t trying to improve the sheep. Sheep are absolutely dependent upon the shepherd.Sheep should give themselves to the Shepherd COMPLETELY!

Jesus New Community1Jesus desires to do two things with His Church:

  1. Build a community that is filled with His beautiful, unified difference – acceptance for sinners!
  2. Provide a place where sinners are free to admit they are sinners.

Christians need to stop eating their wounded. We need to be able to confess our faults one to another without fear of condemnation. Religiousity permits no one to be a sinner, but Jesus welcomes all sinners. Masks will do no good before Jesus. He knows, so we all should know. We are all sinners.We are all lowly sheep who have been rescued by our loving shepherd.

Jesus our ShepherdJesus is the Great Shepherd, even more intent and joyful than the shepherd of the parable. For Jesus knew that he would have to die to bring the lost home, but “for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Heb. 12:2). The joy he had in doing his Father’s will, and the joy he had in finding us, was so great that he was willing to endure the cross.