The Ninety and Nine | Matthew 18:12-14

YouTube video sermon

It is our duty to find the lost sheep and bring them to Christ!


Matthew 18:12-14 ESV  What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?  (13)  And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray.  (14)  So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

John 10:16 ESV  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

Bring Up Title Slide

  • Today, as most of you know is our mission Sunday, where we focus on international efforts to lead the lost to Christ. And I am just going to warn you right now, I’m gonna preach this morning. Let’s pray.



Matthew 18:12 ESV  What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?

  • What I have read this morning are two powerful passages about seeking to save the lost.
    • Honestly there are MANY verses about leaving your home to go and preach the gospel, to go and make disciples, and every mission’s Sunday we focus on something different.
    • But this Sunday I really heard clearly “Find the lost sheep”.
  • Now I hope that, if you have been coming to CLC for a while, that you know that we are passionate about the gospel. The good news of Jesus Christ.
  • And I want to tell you why we are passionate about the gospel…
    • I believe there is a place called heaven, and I believe that it is real… I believe that it is eternal… I believe that it is beautiful and full of joy and peace unending.
    • I believe that those who believe in Christ Jesus, who accept Him as Lord and savior, who are born again, that they will enter heaven and worship God for eternity… there will be no pain, no sorrow, no strife, no boredom, no sin… God will take pleasure in His creation and His creation will take joy in Him.
    • But I also believe in a place called Hell.
      • An eternal lake of fire, a place of loneliness, pain, sorrow, and eternal burning.
      • And I believe that anyone who has sinned and not had that sin washed away by Jesus Christ will pay for that sin in hell forever.
    • And I don’t know about you, but the idea of hell makes me uncomfortable…
    • But the fact is that Jesus talked more about hell in scripture then He did about heaven…
      • And even that fact makes me uncomfortable…
    • But my discomfort does not translate into the denial of the truth.
    • Therefore I will take my discomfort of the truth and use it to fuel my passion to make sure that NO ONE HAS TO GO TO HELL!
    • I don’t want anyone to go to hell y’all, I don’t, so I am going to do everything in my power… I am going to go down kicking and screaming, making sure everyone has the chance to accept Christ.
  • And Jesus says in the parable of the lost sheep that He is so serious about finding the lost, because news flash: Jesus doesn’t want anyone to go to hell either, that’s why He died on the cross. He is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance…
    • Listen church, hear this, Jesus is so serious about finding the lost sheep that HE LEAVES the found sheep.

Matthew 18:12a ESV  What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine…

  • He leaves the 99! Who’s the 99? IT’s you, it’s me! He leaves us to go get them!
    • And should we be upset about that? NO! Because we are going to be with Him for eternity!
  • Now I am not going to say that the presence of the Lord is going to leave us. But what I am going to say is that our focus ought not to be on the 99, that’s us, but it ought to be on the lost!
  • Listen, the goal of Christian Life Church is not about making your life better…
    • That’s not our goal. Do we want your life to be better, yes! But that is such a small part of what we do!
    • Christian Life Church is about glorifying God, and the best way we can do that is to bring the lost sheep back into the fold, so that those who were once destined for hell can now be destined for an eternity of praising Jesus!
    • And honestly my goal for you is that you will live the Christian Life… and living the Christian Life means doing what Jesus says… and Jesus says “GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES”.
  • “BUT PASTOR! There are lost sheep in Cedar Rapids… why don’t we focus on the lost sheep in our own neighborhood before we go off to the mountains and the deserts to find lost sheep?”
  • Because church, the people of America have already had a serving of the gospel, and most of them have rejected it…
    • What do I mean by that? I mean this…
    • Imagine you are at the miracle of the 5 loaves and two fish… remember this miracle?
    • 5000 plus hungry people. Jesus has everyone get into groups of 50… so 100 groups of 50, let’s say your in group 49.
    • The disciples take the loaves and the fish to group one and miraculously there is enough for each of them! Praise God! But they don’t move on to group two… no, there might still be people hungry in group one… let’s wait until they are done eating… they might want second’s… why move on to group two, or group three, when there are still hungry people in group 1 right in front of us?
      • How do you feel in group 49 watching group one get all the food, get seconds, get thirds… while you are STARVING?
      • That would not be very fair, would it?
    • There are people in America who have had there serving of the gospel. They have had firsts, and seconds, and thirds… yet there are people in other countries who have never even smelled the aroma of Christ!
    • Every single person who has ever been saved in our church, and there have been a lot, all of them have heard of Jesus before… Jesus is EVERYWHERE in America… He is in the news, He is portrayed on TV and movies, sports stars put scripture on there gear, Tim Tebow puts John 3:16 under his eyes as he quarterbacks, Jesus is not always represented well… but at least He is represented here… I mean guys, how many churches did you have to drive past to get to our church this morning?
    • When we meet at Lincoln elementary school there was a church downstairs and a church next door!
    • We are fixing to move into the Library next week, right next door to Veretas!
    • America has had their serving of the gospel, and to ignore missions for the sake of Americans is to say “Let’s keep trying on these guys try number 512… before those in other nations get to try Jesus once!” Do you see the insanity in that argument?!
  • That’s why Jesus leaves the 99 to go after the 1! That’s why why our focus ought not to be on ourselves, it ought not to be on CLC, it ought not to be on Cedar Rapids… it ought to be on the lost sheep of the world.
  • And guys I want to tell you something… you may not know this, because we have not always done a great job at communicating this… but we are doing it…
    • Think about this… we are moving into our FOURTH temporary meeting location as a church. Our FOURTH temporary location!
    • We have 10 grand in the bank… that’s a good start on a down payment… but that money is earmarked for missions… so we move to the Library…
    • And even though we are in temporary spots… our church has already built a church building! Amen?!
      • Not in Cedar Rapids… because honestly Cedar Rapids doesn’t need another church building…
    • But in Sierra Leonne! We built a church on the mission’s field in another nation before we built one here…
      • And one day we will build one here or buy one here, sure, I desire that… because I want to have a missions headquarters and I want a space to bless the city and God’s people here… but praise God that is not our focus…
    • Our focus is on the lost sheep amen!?
  • That’s why we do MFP, that’s why we raise money for missions, that’s why we go on missions trips, that’s why our bank account has more money earmarked for missions than for Cedar Rapids… that’s why we are going out into all the world to find the lost sheep! Because we don’t want anyone to have to go to hell, we want everyone to have a chose, a chance to choose Jesus!


  • With that, of course we will continue to reach out to the lost here in Cedar Rapids, while we are here we will preach the Gospel, wherever we are… and so, every Sunday until Jesus comes back we will meet to worship Him, grow in Him, and present the gospel as an opportunity for any who don’t yet know Him to be saved…
  • The Ninety and Nine Poem by Elizabeth C Clephane

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold;
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare;
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me.
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry;
’Twas sick and helpless and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way,
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

And all through the mountains, thunder-riv’n,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heav’n,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”

  • Collect MFPS
  • Pot luck Time!