Thursday, July 19, 2018
Luke 15:10 “I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Two weeks ago, we had a time of rejoicing in our church when one of our men had the privilege of baptizing his sister. It’s a long story of redemption, and we celebrated God’s work in her life.
I remember many such times of rejoicing, as people who have repented of their sin and received the forgiveness of God through Christ, made a public profession of their faith through baptism by immersion. Many times, those baptisms are held in the Chippewa River. One Sunday we even held a worship service at the park, and then baptized 5 people who had chosen to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Then just three weeks later, we baptized three more people who gave the same testimony of faith. One of the exciting elements of a baptism service is when each person is raised out of the water, the crowd explodes in a praise offering of clapping and shouts of joy. But as great as that sounds, I wonder what it sounds like in heaven?
Jesus tells us about the scene in heaven when someone gets saved. In an earlier devotional in our study on rejoicing we discovered in Zephaniah 3:17 that God rejoices over us. “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Jesus brings that truth home to us in Luke 15 with a couple of parables. When the shepherd finds his lost sheep and the woman finds her lost coin, both invite their friends to rejoice with them. Notice something very important: the one who had been searching and had done the finding was the one leading the celebration. Then Jesus says that there will be more rejoicing in heaven over a sinner who gets saved than over those of us who have already been saved. It’s great to think that God is rejoicing over our lives as his children, but the real party takes place when a new child is added to the family. And it’s Jesus who leads the celebration. In Luke 19:10, Jesus says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Jesus is the One who has been doing the seeking and the finding, and He is the one who celebrates the loudest when a sinner gets saved.
We don’t get to celebrate like that enough in the church today. And when we do get to, it ends far too soon. I wonder how many of those who witnessed the baptism on Sunday are still celebrating the joy of salvation today? In fact, how many of us who have been saved for any period of time are still rejoicing that Jesus found us when we were lost?
I think the level of rejoicing we do or don’t do over our own salvation is directly related to the number of people getting saved in our churches today. If the unsaved cannot see that we are thrilled to celebrate our salvation, then whatever else we do to try to draw them into the church will have little or no impact. Far too many Christians are living lives of despair and discouragement. Still more are spending their energy fighting a personal war against some social sin or moral corruption. Jesus lived in a society that was as sinful and morally corrupt as ours, and yet He came to seek and to save the lost, not change the political structure. Jesus is still seeking the lost. Jesus is still celebrating when one gets found and saved. We should be doing the same.
Imagine how many lost people walking in darkness would be attracted to Christ if we were excited about being saved and let it show in how we lived every day. Imagine what would happen if we celebrated Christ as much as we celebrate a victory in a sporting event or a bargain at the clothing store. If the parties we threw for new believers were greater than the showers we throw for new babies, maybe we’d celebrate more new babies in the family of God.
Rejoice! You were lost and now you are found! Live in celebration mode every day, and others that are lost will also get found.