Sermon #113                                                 Luke Sermons


     Title:          The Parable of the Lost Coin

     Text:          Luke 15:8-10

     Date:         Sunday Evening—December 21, 2003

     Tape #       X-95b

     Readings:   Bob Pruitt & Merle Hart



Luke 15:8-10


Either what woman having tell 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 neighbors 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 is a chapter is full of grace and truth. IT declares in three, great parables that where sin abounds grace much more abounds. These three parables all teach us one great, blessed gospel truth. It is something that cannot be repeated too often, because (sweet as it is) it is something so contrary to nature and reason than few ever learn, and those who do seem to quickly forget it. ― Salvation is not by merit, but by mercy!

·       Mercy stretches forth her hand to misery.

·       Grace receives sinners as sinners.

·       Christ came to seek and to save that which is lost.

·       He came to save the unworthy and worthless.

·       Those who think themselves righteous are not the objects of God’s favor, but the unrighteous, the guilty, and the undeserving.


These three parables teach this one great gospel truth. ― “Salvation is of the Lord!” However, it is a great mistake to look upon them as mere repetitions of the same thing. The fact is, each of these three parables presents a different aspect of that great truth. Each one shows us a distinct aspect of God’s great work of grace in saving sinners. Reading them together, is like looking at three sides of a great pyramid of gospel doctrine. Each one is needful to the other. When combined they present us with a complete picture.


The Lost Sheep


In the first parable (vv. 3-7) we saw Christ, the Shepherd of Israel, seeking his lost sheep.

·       In his incarnation, the Son of God came to save his lost sheep.

·       In his life and earthly ministry, he sought and found his sheep.

·       In his sin-atoning death, as the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep, he laid his sheep upon his shoulders.

·       In his resurrection and ascension, our all-glorious Christ carried his sheep home rejoicing


The Lost Coin


In the parable now before us (vv. 8-10), we have a picture of the work of the Holy Spirit, represented as a woman sweeping her house to find the coin she had lost. The place of this parable is important because the work of the Holy Spirit follows the work of Christ. First, the great Shepherd seeks and saves his lost sheep in redemption. Then, the Holy Spirit seeks and restores the lost soul in efficacious grace.


As I said, each parable needs the other two to give us a complete picture. The Shepherd seeks the sheep which has wilfully gone astray. But the lost coin gives us another part of the picture. The lost sheep portrays man’s depravity as alienated from God by wilfully straying from him. But the lost coin does not convey the same idea. The lost coin portrays us, not merely as stupid and straying, but as altogether senseless, unconscious, powerless, without life, and utterly helpless. This is exactly the condition God’s elect are in when the Holy Spirit comes in effectual grace to give life to and save those who are dead in trespasses and sins.


The Lost Son


The lost sheep portrays the saving work of God the Son. The lost coin pictures the saving work of God the Holy Spirit. And the third parable (vv. 11-32), the parable of the lost son shows us God the Father in his matchless love receiving the lost child who returns to him.


The third parable might be easily to be misunderstood without the first and the second. And there are some who use the story of the prodigal son as a picture of man’s imaginary free will, spontaneously deciding to return to the Father, emphasizing the fact that no mention is made of the lost son being sought, or in any way influenced by the Lord Jesus or by the Holy Spirit. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The first parable spoke of the shepherd seeking the lost sheep. There is no need for that to be repeated. The Holy Spirit’s work in omnipotent grace was described in the second parable.


When we put the three parables together (as the Holy Spirit does in verse 3) and read them as one parable, we see the whole work of God’s grace in saving his elect beautifully portrayed. Each part of the picture sets forth the work of the God the Son, God the Spirit, and God the Father successively. ― We see the trinity everywhere in the Book of God, especially in the salvation of his elect (Eph. 1; Heb. 1).

·       The Son of God, our Good Shepherd, with much pain and self-sacrifice, seeks the reckless, wandering sheep.

·       The Spirit of God, portrayed as a woman, diligently searches for the insensible but lost coin.

·       God the Father receives the returning prodigal.

What God has joined together, let no man put asunder. These three parables are one. All three combined teach us one thing. ― Salvation is God’s work. Yet, each picture presents its own aspect of that great gospel truth.


Now, may God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher as we meditate upon the parable of the lost coin given in verses 8-10..


Either what woman having tell 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 neighbors 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.”


Divisions: This instructive parable shows us God’s elect as the objects of his mercy, love, and grace in three positions ― Lost, Sought, and Found.




I.       First, this parable shows God’s elect in their natural condition as lost sinners who are the objects of God’s mercy in Christ.


As in the parable of the lost sheep all mankind are presented as belonging to the Lord God (Matt. 20:15). The 100 are all mankind. But the one lost sheep represents all God’s elect. Here all mankind is represented as the ten pieces of silver. God’s elect are the one lost coin. God’s elect are, by nature, just like all other men, fallen, depraved, and ruined by the fall. But they are his lost ones whom he is determined to save. Here they are presented as being lost, like a coin in the house.


A.   The coin was lost in the dust.


The woman had lost her piece of silver, and in order to find it she had to sweep the house for it, which means that it had fallen in the dust and dirt of the floor. It had fallen to the earth, where it might be hidden and concealed amid rubbish and dirt. Every child of Adam is like this coin, lost, fallen, dishonored, and buried in the foulness and dirt of the earth.


B.   The coin was lost in a dark place.


This is obvious from the fact that a candle had to be lit to find it. The darkness of this world is great.

·       Moral Darkness

·       Spiritual Darkness


But the inward darkness of a man’s soul is even greater than the darkness in which he lives (1 Cor. 2:14). ― “Sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron,” they “grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness” (Ps. 107:10; Deu. 28:29). ― We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men” (Isa. 59:10).


(1 Cor 2:14)  "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."


So great is the darkness that in this parable the lost one is represented as being totally ignorant of his lost condition. The coin is an inanimate thing. It is altogether without life. Without consciousness, without feeling, without any awareness of being either lost or sought, it was perfectly content to remain in the dirt, to remain lost.


So it is with you who are yet lost, being dead in trespasses and in sins, it is impossible for me or any other mortal to make you know your lost state, or understand the danger you are in without God, without Christ.


Once a person knows that he is lost, he has already been found, the Spirit of God has already begun his work in the man. When you know that you are lost and begin to cry out to God for mercy, the finding work has begun.


An unconverted man will confess that he is lost because he knows the statement to be scriptural. Therefore he admits it to be true; but he has no idea of what is meant by it. If you knew what it is to be lost, you would cry out to God for mercy, you would give yourself no rest until you find rest in Christ, until you find yourself numbered with the redeemed, forgiven multitude of the saved.


In preaching the gospel we preach, as Ezekiel, to a valley of dead, dried bones, insensible souls. We must have the Wind of Heaven to carry our message, or the bones will never hear.


Illustration: Walter Groover’s Experience Hunting


C.   Now, I want to show you something precious that you may have missed in reading this parable. ― Though this coin was lost, it was not forgotten.


The woman of the house knew she had ten pieces of silver originally. She counted them carefully. When she found that she only had nine in her purse, she knew that there was one missing.


This is hope for the Lord’s lost ones. They are lost, yes, utterly lost. But they are not forgotten. The Son of God who redeemed them, their Savior, Advocate, High Priest and Surety remembers them and prays for them. He remembers…

·       The Father’s love for them.

·       His suretyship engagements for them.

·       The agonies he suffered for them.

·       The Father’s promise of them.

·       Before the Father’s throne of grace.

They have long forgotten him; but he will never forget them.


Their names from the palms of His hands

Eternity will not erase.

Inscribed on His heart they remain

In marks of indelible grace!


D.  Here’s another thing. ― The coin was lost; but it was still claimed by the one who owned it.


This woman calls it, “my piece which was lost.” When she lost its possession she did not lose her ownership of it. It did not become somebody else’s when it was lost. Those for whom Christ died, whom he has redeemed, are not Satan’s, though they are dead in sin. They have, for a time, been subjected under the devil’s usurped dominion, but the monster shall be driven from his throne.


The Lord Jesus has received them as a gift from his Father. He has bought them with his own precious blood. And he will have them. He will drive Satan from his house. He will drive the intruder away and claim his own. Thus saith the Lord, “Your covenant with death is disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand.”


E.   Now, watch this. ― The coin was lost; but it was lost in the house.


I am not stretching the parable at all when I say to you lost ones who are here today, you have reason even now to give thanks to God. Though you are lost, you are lost here, in God’s own house.

·       Not in some Free Will Synagogue of Satan.

·       Not in the vileness of Papacy.

·       Not in the filthy Mosque of Islam.

·       Not in the dark house of Judaism.


This is the condition of the lost soul, depicted as a lost coin.




II.    Second, our Lord’s parable shows us a picture of God’s elect as they are sought out by the grace and power of his Spirit in efficacious grace.


(Luke 15:8)  "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?"


(Isa 62:10-12)  "Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. {11} Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. {12} And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken."


Never will a sinner be found until it is sought out and found by God the Holy Spirit The heart will remain darkness until he comes with his illuminating power.


A.   The woman first lit a candle specifically for the purpose of finding her lost coin.


I am amazed that so many wild speculations abound about what this might refer to. The obvious reference here is to that blessed, effectual, illuminating work of God the Holy Spirit by which life and faith are granted to and wrought in the hearts of poor sinners through the preaching of the gospel (Gen. 1:1-3; Zech. 12:10; 2 Cor. 4:4-6).


 (Zec 12:10)  "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."


(2 Cor 4:4-6)  "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. {5} For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. {6} For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."


(Gen 1:1-3)  "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. {2} And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. {3} And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."


B.       Once the candle was lit, the woman took her broom in her hand and swept her house in search of her lost coin.


What can this be, but a portrayal of that great, gracious troubling work by which sinners are effectually converted by the Spirit’s almighty, irresistible grace called “Holy Spirit conviction”?


(John 16:8-15)  "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: {9} Of sin, because they believe not on me; {10} Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; {11} Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. {12} I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. {13} Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. {14} He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. {15} All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."




III.             Third, this parable sets God’s elect before us in a third stateFound!


“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound!

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now I’m found,

Was blind, but now I see!”


The Woman was diligent and determined in her search. She would not give up. It was her ultimatum to find her lost coin. And she found it! So it is with God the Holy Spirit. He will find his lost ones.


(Luke 15:8-9)  "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? {9} 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."


The woman found the lost coin. It did not turn up by accident. It was not discovered by a neighbor. It is God the Holy Spirit who sinners.


When she had found her coin that was lost, she was ecstatic with joy. She called her friends and neighbors together and said, “Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost!” Now, I want us to focus our attention on verse 10. ― “Likewise, I say unto you, There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”




Here our Savior is telling us the meaning of this parable. This is not part of the parable, but our Master’s explanation of it. He says,  I say unto thee.” He speaks as the faithful witness. He here testifies what he knows, what he has seen and heard in heaven whence he came.


He is talking about the reception of a sinner, a sinner such as those now gathered around him, a publican, a profligate, a harlot, not a good person, but a sinner. He wants the Pharisees an Scribes to know how God above looks upon sinners below. Above all, he wants us poor sinners to know! Religious people turn away from sinners and turn sinners away from them. The holy ones in heaven, the holy God, the holy angels, and holy saints rejoice to receive them!


·       Joy in the Sinner!

·       Joy in the Church!

·       Joy in Heaven!




He is talking about that mighty work of his own grace, the work of his Spirit called “repentance,” that work by which sinners are turned to God and by which sinners are caused to turn to God in faith.


(Jer 31:18-19)  "I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God. {19} Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth."


One Sinner


It is of one sinner that the Savior speaks, not of multitudes. It is one sinner, one hated publican, one poor harlot that he so graciously holds up before us, one poor fragment of lost humanity, despised by all others, that he here declares to be the object of all heaven’s compassion and joy. So was it always in his life here.

·       One Woman of Sychar

·       One Gadarene

·       One Zacchaeus

·       One Woman of Samaria

·       One Bartimaeus


The Joy


But it is specially of the joy which the Lord speaks of that I ask you to think about. It is not simply pity, or mercy, or even love, but of joy that he speaks. ― Not the joy of the saved sinner. That would not surprise me. ― Not the joy of the church on earth. ― That I would also expect. ― But it is joy in heaven that our Master is talking about!


There is always joy in heaven. But here, our Lord tells us that when God saves a sinner joy swells up in heaven and overflows from the triune God to the heavenly angels, and among the redeemed in glory! There is in heaven an out-burst of irrepressible gladness in the presence of the angels of God every time a sinner is fetched home to God!


Oh, my soul, be amazed and wonder! What could be more wonderful? What could be more amazing, than the fact that the holy Lord God would…

·       Love and choose to save such a sinner as me!

·       Give his own darling Son to suffer and die for such a worthless worm!

·       That God the Holy Spirit would condescend to seek out one so contently lost in the dust, and dirt, and darkness of the world!

·       That God would receive such an one as I am into his holy heaven.

But this is utterly beyond thought. ― “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over (this) one sinner” who now stands before you saved by his almighty, free grace!


It is the joy of God. It is God himself who is represented as rejoicing. The joy is in heaven; and it is the joy of God himself, the joy of the Shepherd upon finding the lost sheep, the joy of the woman (the Holy Spirit) upon finding her lost coin, the joy of the Father upon finding his lost son.


It is joy in the presence of the angels of God. As the shepherd and the woman call together their friends and neighbors, so God calls his heavenly hosts. In their presence he utters his joy; and he calls on them to rejoice with him. He is so full of this joy of love, this joy at recovering the lost, that he must have them to share it with him. His joy is so great that he must, as it were, give vent to it! He must share it!




There is much to learn from these things; but I will mention just two things.


1.    The saints and angels in heaven have an interest in and some knowledge of what is going on here on earth.


2.    He who is our God is God who “delighteth in mercy!


God loves to save. He loves to bless sinners with all the blessings of salvation and grace in Christ. And when he has so blessed, he rejoices over the one saved and blessed by his grace!


(Jer 32:41)  "Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul."


(Zep 3:14-17)  "Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. {15} The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. {16} In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. {17} The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."