Joy Over Just One

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, Nov. 12, 2000, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 


By Michael D. O’Neal                  Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church                  Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-10

Text: Luke 15:10

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Introduction: Doctrinally, the passage we’re reading tonight shows the joy of seeing one of God’s chosen people, the Israelites, getting right with God. The main reference to “lost sheep” in scripture is to straying Israelites, for that was to whom Jesus was sent at the time:

Matthew 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

However, all of humanity are like lost sheep, as prophesied in Isaiah:

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

I believe the application of this passage for us who are living after Calvary, in a dispensation where the Gentiles are the main recipients of God’s blessings in Christ, is that there is more rejoicing when a wicked person gets saved than over a person who is already saved who continues to live right.

Let me qualify that by saying that I believe it is BETTER to STAY right than it is to GET right. However, there is more REJOICING when one GETS right, because of the great NEED that he has.

Due to the emphasis on one sinner, I want us to learn something tonight about the PRIORITY of SOUL-WINNING in the work of God. There are three comparisons made here, after which the rest of the chapter gives a story to illustrate the rejoicing of God over someone who gets right with Him. The older brother made the mistake of not rejoicing when his wayward brother returned to the father. He thought that he should have gotten better treatment for staying right. To keep the message brief tonight, we will save the story of the Prodigal Son for another time and concentrate on the three comparisons in the first 10 verses of the chapter.


Luke 15:4-6 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? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 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.

Matthew 18:12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

A. Man is a disobedient sheep – Isa. 53:6

B. Man is a deceived sheep – 2 Cor. 4:3-4

C. Man is a doomed sheep


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.

A. Darkness surrounded it – The woman lighted a candle

  • Unsaved people are in darkness.
  • Darkness is in their hearts.
  • Darkness is in their homes.
  • Darkness is even in their humor.

B. Dirt stained it – The woman swept the house

  • Unsaved people are soiled by sin

C. Determination secured it – The woman sought DILIGENTLY until she found it

  • You may not win someone the first time that you go soul-winning
  • You may not win a lost person the first time you witness to him


Luke 15:7 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.

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

A. We see here the desertion of the saved – The 99 sheep were left behind by the shepherd in order for him to go soul-winning.

  • Most pastors spend the majority of their time visiting God’s people just to try to get them to come to the church services faithfully!
  • I visit some of our church members more often than they come to their own church!
  • If you are saved, you ought not require prodding, pampering, pleading, and petting to get you to come to church!

B. We see here the diligence of the soul-winner – The woman made DILIGENT search until she found the coin!

  • Soul-winning requires DILIGENCE!
  • That’s what our soul-winning training program is all about!

C. We see here the delight of the Savior – God rejoices over one sinner that repenteth

  • Soul-winning is that which is close to the heart of God.
  • If you want to make God rejoice, win some soul to the Savior!

When someone gets saved, let’s make a BIG DEAL over it!

I thank God for you who have been saved and in the church for years, but GOD rejoices over the reaching of the LOST! Let’s get busy making God happy while we keep people out of the flames of hell!

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