A teaching by Rev. Barbara Williams, President of the Ministry of the Watchman International

Week of July 15-19, 2024

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying…
Luke 15:1-3

A man is known by the company he keeps. If you are the Savior of the world, everybody is drawn to you. You have a love for all humanity, so all persons are drawn to their loving Creator. This was somewhat of a problem for the religious who watched Jesus’ ministry. The Pharisees did not know what to make of this man who was a prophet, but not full of pride about it. They couldn’t understand why He would willingly mix with the ne’er do wells of the day. Why on earth would someone who could do miracles and move in the gifts of the Spirit pay any attention to the riffraff of the day? Why would someone who says He is anointed of God to do mighty miracles spend His time with people who can’t promote Him and help His ministry to grow? The religious murmur when they see love in action. That’s a good way to describe how Jesus ministered: He was love in action.

His love was so great that He even answered some of His critics. He begins to teach a parable that reveals the heart of God the Father toward those who are lost and away from God.

If you are in need of healing, there is good news! Proverbs 4:20-22 SAYS:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

So there is life and health in God’s word. Since God’s word is medicine, we must take it like we would a prescription. I suggest three times a day, like you would your food. Remember, healing is the children’s bread. Consider this your “dose” for today. Remember, read, and meditate three times a day the following:

Rx: Matthew 4:23 ~ Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15

If you’ve never studied the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, we invite you to join us as we read through the Bible in a year. Read and meditate on these chapters this week:

July 15: Joshua 22, Acts 2, Jeremiah 11, Matthew 25
July 16: Joshua 23, Acts 3, Jeremiah 12, Matthew 26
July 17: Joshua 24, Acts 4, Jeremiah 13, Matthew 27
July 18: Judges 1, Acts 5, Jeremiah 14, Matthew 28
July 19: Judges 2, Acts 6, Jeremiah 15, Mark 1
July 20: Judges 3, Acts 7, Jeremiah 16, Mark 2
July 21: Judges 4, Acts 8, Jeremiah 17, Mark 3

So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?”
Luke 15:3-4

Jesus explains His great love for His creation. He has been waiting quite some time to come to earth and allow men to see how much the Father loves them. He feels for us because we have lived so long separated from God. A faithful Creator takes the time and effort to retrieve His creation. Jesus is taking the necessary time to reintroduce us to our loving Heavenly Father. Since the last day with man in the garden, it has been prophisied that the Messiah would come and end the devil’s tyranny. God is releasing us back to power, dominion, fellowship with God…He is giving us everything that we desire. Because of His great love for us, God puts into motion a plan to bring us back into fellowship with Him. The best way He has of describing this to us is through the parable of the lost sheep.

The shepherd has one hundred sheep, ninety-nine of whom appear to be obedient, but there is one who wanders off. The good shepherd, not wanting anyone to perish, goes after the one lost and leaves the ninety-nine. Could there be a little jealousy in the flock because this little wayward lamb is getting a great deal of attention? Could be. But that does not discourage the shepherd from going after the one lost one. The thought of God leaving everybody to come and look for us causes us to shudder, but it is exactly what happened to each and every one of us who is blood-bought. God went on a personal, private search for us. He went through a bit of trouble for us, paid the price for our ransom, then lovingly sought us, found us, and gave us a home and a name. What love. No wonder the religious were upset.

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”
Luke 15:4-5

When God finds you, He elevates you. This has also got to make the religious very fearful. They think they have everything all figured out, but God continues to blow the carnal mind with His great love for us. You’d think the Shepherd would be angry at the little wayward sheep. After all, he wandered off by himself. He caused Him all kinds of grief. He caused Him to waste time trying to keep up with him. Now the shepherd has wasted half a day looking for him. Most parents would be more than a little upset. How many parents scold their lost children after they find them? The Good Shepherd, however, elevates the one who caused Him such concern. He hoists him onto His shoulders and rejoices that he is now found.

“And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’”
Luke 15:6

This shepherd’s really in a good mood about finding the sheep. He not only rejoices himself, but he goes home and tells his friends and neighbors about the wonderful thing that has happened to him. You mean, you’re that important to God? You’d better believe it. Not only are you that important, but every single person on the face of this earth is that important to God.

Think on this for a few minutes. Think on the fact that God rejoiced over you with great joy the day you repented. Think how He couldn’t wait to tell those already in heaven that your name had been added to His book of life. Think how He tells the angels assigned to you that they have a new level of assignment now… they minister to someone who has claimed his new life in Christ. They respond to Him in kind.

“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
Luke 15:7

There is great joy in heaven with the announcement of your salvation. This is hard for us to believe, but there is a greater party in heaven when a sinner repents then for all the prayers of the righteous. Heaven rejoices when sinners repent.

Think about it in light of what this word is saying. It doesn’t bother God one bit that we have sinned. What He looks for is repentance. Repentance elevates us; it does not diminish us. This means more to us than all our lifetime of sin. It causes all of heaven to rejoice … with us and for us. This is why the enemy tries to make us feel bad or condemned because of sin. But we should be celebrating with heaven because repentance toward God causes heaven to rejoice. Our Father loves to elevate us and invite us to fellowship with Him. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37).