“Finder’s Keepers?

” January 19, 2014
Isaiah 49:5-7 John 1:29-42 1 orin!hians 1:1-9

Have you ever lost (or found) something valuable? People lose things all the time and sometimes in our travels we find them. We find things that previous owners buried or lost in our back yards, we find cell phones, music players, umbrellas and all sorts of things that get left behind in a variety of places. When we find things we sometimes try to find the original owners but, if they cannot be found, then we often apply the playground rule of !inder"s #eepers.$ %egally, this can get a little confusing. &n the 'nited (tates, if you find it on your property it belongs to you but in )ngland, if treasure is more than *++ years old, it belongs to the government (but they will pay the finder and the land owner fair market value). &f things are lost at sea, the discoverer, known as the salvor, is re,uired to return them to the original owner, but the owner is re,uired to compensate the salvor for his or her actions. &n the event that the lost item has been abandoned for a considerable period of time, and no efforts have been made to find or recover them, then the discoverer is given full rights to the discovery- unless of course the wreck is in '.(. territorial waters, or if the wreck is the remains of a ship belonging to the '.(. or a foreign government. &n those cases, the government owns them forever. .re you confused yet? What do we do when we find something of value? !or most of us who have lost things of our own, we often try to return the thing that was lost to its rightful owner. (ome years ago when our son /oah found a digital camera in a snowbank at the library, we made sure that he turned it in, but several weeks later when no one had claimed it, they gave it to him. When we find something valuable, we assume that the person who lost it will most likely want it back0ut what do we do if we find something that e"eryone has been looking for? What do we do if we find something of great value that all of us can share? &n 1 #ings 2, we find a story where for months an army from the nation of .ram had been laying siege to the city of 3erusalem. &n an act of 4od, all of them flee believing that a superior army is about to attack them. 5uring the night, four lepers go into the camp. 6hey are starving to death7 they know that because if the long siege, everyone in the city is starving to death, and so rather than go into the city they decide to take the chance that the .rameans will have mercy on them. .s they enter the camp they discover that the army is gone and in their haste have left behind their treasure, their horses, their tents, their food and many other belongings. .s the lepers eat their fill and hide treasure for themselves, this thought occurs to them8 What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.$ 6his is a day of good news. %et us go at once and share so that everyone can re9oice together. &f we find something of value in the parking lot at Wal:;art we might be happy about our good fortune, but if Wal:;art has a special promotion and gives a free gallon of milk to every child under the age of <+, or if <

;ary.nn"s 5onuts gives away free coffee and donuts to everyone over ==, you can bet that we would be on our cell phones sharing the good news with everyone. &n Isaiah 49:5-7, 4od speaks of the messiah that would one day come to rescue the people of &srael5

And now the Lord says he who formed me in the wom! to !e his servant to !ring "aco! !ack to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my #od has !een my strength $ he says% &It is too small a thing for you to !e my servant to restore the tri!es of "aco! and !ring !ack those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the #entiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.'

This is what the Lord says the )edeemer and *oly +ne of Israel to him who was despised and a!horred !y the nation, to the servant of rulers% &,ings will see you and stand up, princes will see and !ow down, !ecause of the Lord, who is faithful, the *oly +ne of Israel, who has chosen you.' )ven though the messiah would be sent to restore the people of the twelve tribes of &srael, 4od says that even this enormous task is too small of a mission. 6he ;essiah would not only be sent to save the people of &srael, but also to be a light for the #entiles$ so that 4od"s rescue might reach the ends of the earth.$ 4od"s plan was never to establish a holy nation or a holy people who sat in isolation from the rest of the world. 4od"s plan was to establish a holy people who would, with his help, go out into the whole world and offer rescue to everyone. &n John 1:29-42, we hear about the day after 3esus" baptism. >n that day, 3ohn the bapti?er witnesses to those around him about what he had seen and heard and what he knew to be true of 3esus and on the day a#!er !ha!, 3ohn sends two of his followers to follow 3esus instead-.

The ne/t day "ohn saw "esus coming toward him and said, &Look, the Lam! of #od, who takes away the sin of the world0 12 This is the one I meant when I said, 3A man who comes after me has surpassed me !ecause he was !efore me.’ 14 I myself did not know him, !ut the reason I came !apti5ing with water was that he might !e revealed to Israel.'

Then "ohn gave this testimony% &I saw the 6pirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, !ut the one who sent me to !apti5e with water told me, 3The man on whom you see the 6pirit come down and remain is the one who will !apti5e with the *oly 6pirit.’ 17 I have seen and I testify that this is #od’s 8hosen +ne.'



The ne/t day "ohn was there again with two of his disciples. 1$ When he saw "esus passing !y, he said, &Look, the Lam! of #od0'

When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed "esus. 19 Turning around, "esus saw them following and asked, &What do you want:' They said, &)a!!i' ;which means &Teacher'<, &where are you staying:'

&8ome,' he replied, &and you will see.'

6o they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was a!out four in the afternoon.

Andrew, 6imon =eter’s !rother, was one of the two who heard what "ohn had said and who had followed "esus. 74 The first thing Andrew did was to find his !rother 6imon and tell him, &We have found the >essiah' ;that is, the 8hrist<. 7- And he !rought him to "esus. "esus looked at him and said, &?ou are 6imon son of "ohn. ?ou will !e called 8ephas' ;which, when translated, is =eter<. 3ohn knew who 3esus was and what it meant to the people of &srael. 6he coming of the ;essiah was something that they had hoped for, prayed for, and dreamed about for over a thousand years and especially now, when the a foreign army occupied their nation and oppressive ta@es were collected and sent to Aome. 3ohn knows that 3esus is the real deal, the ;essiah, the rescuer of 4od"s people and the people of the world, and he points to him and tells his own disciples, &Look, the Lam! of #od0' 3ohn wasn"t about to play !inder"s #eepers with 3esus. !inding the ;essiah was a great treasure, but he was a treasure that e"eryone had been looking for. 3ohn knew that this wasn"t like finding a ,uarter in the street, or a camera in the parking lot, but very much like the lepers that found the empty camp of the .ramean army. 6his was fabulous news and he knew that he had to share it so that everyone could re9oice together. .ndrew was a follower of 3ohn the 0aptist and one of the two that went to follow 3esus. .fter he meets 3esus and spends the day with him he reali?es that this is not the sort of thing that should be kept secret. .ndrew finds his brother, (imon, and tells hi$ that they have found the ;essiah. Paul had always been a follower of 4od, but his strong feelings and beliefs had once led him to hunt down and persecute the followers of 3esus- un!i% he met 3esus on the road to 5amascus. >nce Paul saw the truth, his life was transformed and instead of persecuting Bhristians, he sought to teach and to strengthen them. Paul reali?ed that the good news of 3esus Bhrist was so good that he couldn"t keep it to himself and travelled the world telling others and sharing the good news of our rescue. &n his letter to the church in Borinth, Paul writes this8 &1 orin!hians 1:1-9' =aul, called to !e an apostle of 8hrist "esus !y the will of #od, and our !rother 6osthenes,

To the church of #od in 8orinth, to those sanctified in 8hrist "esus and called to !e his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord "esus 8hrist their Lord and ours%



#race and peace to you from #od our @ather and the Lord "esus 8hrist.


I always thank my #od for you !ecause of his grace given you in 8hrist "esus. 5 @or in him you have !een enriched in every way with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge $ #od thus confirming our testimony a!out 8hrist among you. ( Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord "esus 8hrist to !e revealed. 9 *e will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will !e !lameless on the day of our Lord "esus 8hrist. . #od is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his 6on, "esus 8hrist our Lord. Paul reminds the people about the gifts that 4od has given to them and points out that these gifts confirm the testimony that they have given about 3esus Bhrist. 4od"s promise is that he will give his people strength to stand firm in their faith so that they will stand blameless on the 5ay of 3udgment. Paul e@plains that it was not he who called them, and it was not the church that called them, but 4od himself that invited them to follow 3esus. When 3ohn, or .ndrew, or Peter, or Paul shared the 4ood /ews of 3esus Bhrist and the coming of 4od"s rescuer, it was not they alone who shared, but 4od who called through them. We have inherited this good news as it was passed down from generation to generation. .lthough we heard it from parents and friends, from pastors and churches, it was not they alone who shared, but 4od himself that called us. We are witnesses to the many gifts that we have been given. We (no) that 3esus is the real deal. 6he treasure that we have found is so ama?ing, so precious and so valuable that we cannot play !inder"s #eepers$ with it. &t is not right for us to feast at the table while our neighbors and friends are starving outside. 6his is a day of good news. %et us go at once and share so that everyone can re9oice together.


Dou have been reading a message presented at 6rinity 'nited ;ethodist Bhurch on the date noted at the top of the first page. Aev. 3ohn Partridge is the pastor at 6rinity of Perry heights in ;assillon, >hio. 5uplication of this message is a part of our ;edia ministry, if you have received a blessing in this way, we would love to hear from you. %etters and donations in support of the ;edia ministry or any of our other pro9ects may be sent to 6rinity 'nited ;ethodist Bhurch, *2=2 %incoln Way )., ;assillon, >hio CCECE. 6hese messages are available to any interested persons regardless of membership. Dou may subscribe to these messages, in print or electronic formats, by writing to the address noted, or by contacting us at subscribeFtrinityperryheights.org. &f you have ,uestions, you can ask them in our discussion forum on !acebook (search for Pastor 3ohn >nline). 6hese messages can also be found online at http8GGwww.scribd.comGPastor 3ohn Partridge. .ll (cripture references are from the /ew &nternational Hersion unless otherwise noted.

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