Sermon #48                                         Series: Matthew


           Title:       THE PARABLE OF THE LOST SHEEP

Text:         Matthew 18:10-14

Subject:    The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Scripture Reading:   John 10:1-30

Date:        Tuesday Evening- June 20, 1995

Tape:        #50




          Verse 10 – We must never look down upon one of God’s elect. To despise the redeemed is to despise the Redeemer. To despise the saved is to despise the Savior. The Lord Jesus considers anything we do to his people, for them or against them, as being done to him. In addition to that the angels of God are their companions, friends, and protectors!


          “It’s no light matter to despise those who have angels for their companions and friends.” – (Calvin).


1.    God, through his angels, takes care of and protects his elect – (Heb. 1:14).

2.    These angels guard over God’s saints with deep interest and love, carrying them in their very hearts.


·       Luke 15:10 – “Joy in the presence of the angels.”

·       Luke 16:22 – “Lazarus was carried by angels.”


I have no intention of preaching a sermon on angels. They would blush were I to do so. But I am certain that none of us are sufficiently aware of the work which God has appointed to his angels for us. Therefore, we are not as thankful as we aught to be for them. The Scriptures clearly teach us seven things about the angels of God.


·       They are Constant Attendants of Christ (Isa. 6:1-6; II Thess. 1:7).

·       They were the first to bring good tidings of Christ’s incarnation (Luke 2:14).

·       They are Heavenly Choristers (Rev. 5:11, 12).

·       They are Protectors of Chosen Sinners (Heb. 1:14).

·       They are Defenders of God’s Saints (Ps. 34:8, 9; Acts 5:19).

·       They Exemplify Obedience (Matt. 6:10; I Cor. 11:10).

·       They are Executioners of Divine Justice (I Pet. 1:12; Rev. 20:1-3).


Do not worship angels. Do not pray to angels. But do not ignore them. They are our unfailing companions.


          Verse 11 – The mission of Christ, the work for which was sent into this world, that work which he has undertaken and for which he is responsible as our Surety, is the salvation of God’s elect who were lost through the sin and fall of our father Adam.


·       John 10:16

·       Matthew 1:21

·       Isaiah 42:4




          The universal teaching of Holy Scripture is this – All God’s lost ones, all whom the Lord Jesus Christ came to save shall be saved because that is the will of God; and God Almighty always does his will!


·       Verse 14

·       Isaiah 46:10


          In order to illustrate this fact, our Lord Jesus gives us The Parable of The Lost Sheep in verses 12 and 13. This is an abbreviated account of the parable. It is given more fully in Luke 15:4-7. In order to understand the parable, we must read both Matthew’s account of it and Luke’s. (Read Luke 15:4-7).


          This parable of the lost sheep shows us the deep, self-sacrificing love of The Lord Jesus Christ for perishing sinners. It opens the very heart of the eternal God to us, and shows us how pleasurable it is to him to save sinners, because “He delighteth in mercy!”


NOTE: There are obvious differences in the account given by Matthew and that given by Luke. Nowhere do they contradict one another. Matthew simply was not inspired to write out the entire parable, and for obvious reasons:


1.    As Luke records it, the parable was originally spoken by our Lord to condemn self-righteous Pharisees – “The ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:1-3).

2.    Matthew’s record shows our Lord using the same parable to comfort his saints and to teach us to tenderly regard his elect, even as he does.

3.    In both places, the object is to assure us that Christ has come to save sinners, to seek and to save that which was lost!

·       Luke 5:31-32




          I want us to look at this parable as it is recorded by both Matthew and Luke. I want to show you five things I see in it. May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher.


1.    The Shepherd.

2.    The Sheep.

3.    The Search.

4.    The Salvation.

5.    The Satisfaction.


I.  First, let me talk to you about The Shepherd.


          In this parable, the Lord Jesus portrays himself as a Shepherd. He is not a hireling-Shepherd, who cares not for the sheep. He is our owner-Shepherd. He is one who both owns and cares for his sheep.


          Illus: Picture a Shepherd – that is what Christ is!


A.  One of the most beautiful and most frequently used descriptions of Christ is that of A Shepherd.


·       “The Lord is my Shepherd!”


          A shepherd is a man who tends and serves sheep. He knows sheep. He knows how to lead them, where to feed them, how to protect them, and how to nurse them. He leads them out in the morning, tends them all through the day, and folds them when the day is done. Throughout the Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ is spoken of as The Shepherd of his sheep.


1.    He is Jehovah’s Shepherd, smitten by the sword of divine justice, so that his sheep might go free and be saved (Zech. 13:7-9; John 18:7-9).

2.    Christ is The Good Shepherd, who willingly, voluntarily laid down his life for the sheep (John 10:11, 15).

3.    He is The Great Shepherd, who rose in triumph and victory from the dead (Heb. 13:20).

4.    He is The Chief Shepherd, who shall soon appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation (I Pet. 5:4).

5.    Christ is The Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls, who saves us and preserves us unto life everlasting (I Pet. 2:25).

6.    The Lord Jesus is our Covenant Shepherd, under whose care we have peace (Ezek. 34:22-25).

7.    He is the Shepherd of The Sheep, who gathers his little lambs in his arms and carries them in his bosom (Isa. 40:11).


B.  Christ is the Shepherd; and all the sheep belong to him. We are his sheep…


·       By Covenant Agreement (John 6:39).

·       By Lawful Purchase (I Pet. 1:18).


C.  Now, get this – The Lord Jesus Christ knows his sheep. (John 10:14).


          He knows his sheep with a peculiar knowledge of love and grace. He knows all about us. But there is more. He knows us! He shall say to the wicked – “I never knew you.” But he says, “I know my sheep!” He knows…


·       Who they are.

·       Where they are.

·       What they have been.

·       What he will make of them.

·       What they need.

·       How to protect them.

·       How to bring them home.


II. Now, secondly, let me talk to you about The Sheep.


          I am sure Benjamin Keach is correct in the analysis he gives of this parable. Mr. Keach says that…


·       The One Hundred represent all mankind in Adam – All belong to Christ!

·       The Ninety and Nine represent the self-righteous. The Pharisees of this world, who are just and righteous in their own eyes, having no need of repentance, are left to perish in the wilderness of their ignorance.

·       The One Lost Sheep represents all of God’s elect in this world who are brought by Divine grace to see their lost and ruined condition. “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”


God’s people in this world are set forth as silly, lost, helpless, ignorant sheep. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way.” (Isa. 53:6).


A.  We were all lost By The Fall of our father Adam – (Rom. 3:12).

B.  We went astray As Soon As We Were Born speaking lies – (Ps. 58:3).

C.  If left to themselves, The Sheep Would Surely Perish.


          Silly sheep have no sense of direction. They roam and wander, straying further and further from home, until the Shepherd finds them.


III.  Thirdly, this parable particularly emphasizes The Search.


          The Shepherd leaves the ninety and nine in the wilderness and goes out to search for his one lost sheep. His search will continue until he finds that one lost sheep. He knows the sheep that is missing. He has a picture of it in his mind. He thinks little of the ninety and nine who need no Shepherd. His heart is all wrapped up in that one lost sheep. This one thought seems to possess his entire Being: “One of my sheep is lost.” And immediately the search begins.


A.  It Is An All-Absorbing Search.


          That one lost sheep consumes the Shepherd’s tender heart. He can neither eat nor sleep until he finds that lost sheep. The poor, wandering sheep has no thought for the Shepherd. But the Shepherd seems to think of nothing else but that one lost sheep.


1.  He loves that sheep, and he cannot bear the thought of it being lost.


a.  He knows all the pits into which the sheep might fall, and all the wolves that are thirsty for the sheep’s blood.

b.  He knows that the poor sheep is both defenseless and senseless.


2.  That sheep belongs to the Shepherd – He purchased it with his own precious blood; and he will not lose it.


3.  The Shepherd is responsible for that sheep – His honor as a Shepherd is bound up in the welfare of that sheep.


B.  It Is A Definite Search.


The Shepherd goes after His Sheep, that one, definite, particular sheep –


(Illus: Goats in Jamaica).


C.  It Is An Active Search.


          No hill is too difficult to climb. No mountain is too high. No valley is to low. No precipice is too rocky. No distance is too far. The Shepherd must have his sheep.


D.  It Is A Persevering Search.


          He will search for that lost sheep “until he find it.”


E.  It Is A Personal Search.


          It is Christ himself who goes after the sheep. Spurgeon said, “It is glorious to think of him still personally tracking sinners, who, though they fly from him with a desperateness of folly, yet are still pursued by him – Pursued by the Son of God, by the Eternal Lover of men – pursued by him until he finds them.”


F.  It Is A Successful Search.


          I know that all men will not be saved. Not everyone who hears the gospel will believe. It may be that many whom I love and for whom I labor with a heavy heart will perish at last. But of this one thing you may be sure – Not one of Christ’s sheep shall ever perish. Not one of those lost ones for whom he suffered and died will be lost in the end – (John 10:16).


IV.  Now, fourthly, I want you to get a picture of The Salvation mentioned in the parable – “When he hath found it” (v. 5).


          One of the old writers said, “In his Incarnation Christ came after his lost sheep. In his life he continued to seek it. In his death he laid it upon his shoulders. In his resurrection he bore it on its way. And in ascension he brought it home rejoicing.”


          Picture that lost sheep – He has fallen over the edge of a high cliff or a dark stormy night. Overhead, he sees the terrifying storm of God’s wrath. The lightening seems to strike out at him, saying, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Below, he sees the gaping jaws of hell opened wide to engulf him. He is losing his footing, slipping into hell – But the Shepherd has found his sheep. What does he do?


A.  He Reaches Down The Long Arm Of His Almighty Grace, And Lays Hold Of The Sheep – (Eph. 2:1-4; 8-9).


I was sinking deep in sin,

Far from the peaceful shore;

Very deeply stained within,

Sinking to rise no more:

But the Master of the sea

Heard my despairing cry,

From the waters lifted me,

Now save am I!

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help –

Love lifted me!


B.  He Laid His Sheep Upon His Shoulders.


1.    This is a place of rest for the sheep.

2.    This is a place of security for the sheep – (John 10:28-29; Deut. 1:30-31).


V.  Now, fifthly, I want you to see The Satisfaction of both the Shepherd and the Sheep – (vv. 5-7).


          This man who had lost his sheep is filled with joy in finding it. And the sheep is the sole source of his joy! His soul, his heart, his mind, his body had all been absorbed in finding the sheep that was lost. Now he finds great joy and satisfaction in that sheep which he has found.


A.  The Shepherd Is Satisfied – (Isa. 65:11).


·       It was for this joy that he endured the cross.


B.  The Sheep Is Satisfied – (Ps. 65:4).


          “All that thrills my soul is Jesus!”




1.  Picture the Shepherd


·       In His Search.

·       In His Saving Mercy.

·       In His Soul’s Satisfaction.


2.  Now learn this – “He delighteth in mercy!”


There is a holiday in heaven over one sinner who repents.


3.  Children of God, as Christ gave himself to save you – Give yourselves to serve him. As we have filled his heart, may he now fill our hearts.