SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
14:25 Now large crowds were accompanying Jesus, and turning to them he said, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and compute the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish the tower, all who see it will begin to make fun of him. 30 They will say, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish!’ 31 Or what king, going out to confront another king in battle, will not sit down first and determine whether he is able with 10,000 to oppose the one coming against him with 20,000? 32 If he cannot succeed, he will send a representative while the other is still a long way off and ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way therefore not one of you can be my disciple if he does not renounce all his own possessions.
34 “Salt is good, but if salt loses its flavor, how can its flavor be restored? 35 It is of no value for the soil or for the manure pile; it is to be thrown out. The one who has ears to hear had better listen!”
15:1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming to hear him. 2 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 So Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.
8 “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? 9 Then when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”
11 Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that will belong to me.’ So he divided his assets between them. 13 After a few days, the younger son gathered together all he had and left on a journey to a distant country, and there he squandered his wealth with a wild lifestyle. 14 Then after he had spent everything, a severe famine took place in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and worked for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He was longing to eat the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food enough to spare, but here I am dying from hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired workers.”’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way from home his father saw him, and his heart went out to him; he ran and hugged his son and kissed him. 21 Then his son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Hurry! Bring the best robe, and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it! Let us eat and celebrate, 24 because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again—he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his older son was in the field. As he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the slaves and asked what was happening. 27 The slave replied, ‘Your brother has returned, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he got his son back safe and sound.’ 28 But the older son became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and appealed to him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look! These many years I have worked like a slave for you, and I never disobeyed your commands. Yet you never gave me even a goat so that I could celebrate with my friends! 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything that belongs to me is yours. 32 It was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost and is found.’”