Parables are very effective in giving the big picture concepts but can break down a bit in the details. These three stories do a great job of illustrating God's heart for lost people, but one important truth that is lost in the details is this - we don't GET lost, we are BORN lost. By lost, I mean we are sinful, separated from God, morally bankrupt, corrupt in our thinking and deceived in out mind.
That self-righteousness that caused the religious leaders to be lost in their faith? That is a manifestation of their spiritual lostness. It didn't get them lost but it caused them to remain in their lostness and prevented them from reaching other lost people.
The self-indulgence that led the sheep away from the flock and away from the shepherd. That was the evidence of his selfish nature, his sinful heart that motivated him to be more interested in his appetite than his safety. It cut him off from fellowship and put him at serious risk.
Her loss of focus due to self-satisfaction, that is what caused the carelessness that led to a lost coin. Again, that is a result of a fatal self-absorption that IS our sin nature. The lost coin happened because she was lost! She lost her focus on the coin because she was so focused on her own comfort and well being. It is how sin is oriented.
And the self-interest that prompted the son to dishonor his father, shame his family and put Himself into bondage. That is because of the sin nature he was born with - we are born with. He got lost because he was lost.
So, the big truth in these three rivoting stories is that we get more lost because we are lost. We remain lost until we are found. BUT - JESUS CAME TO "SEEK and SAVE THAT WHICH IS LOST".
The only thing that prevents us from being found is understanding and admitting that we are lost. Only as we get honest about our lostness can we develop a desire to be found. That is what happened to the lost son! That was his turning point. "He came to his senses". There always comes a point where your sin does you in. Ultimately pain pushes the change button in your mind. Every sinful play day brings a painful payday. The price of your sin will always exceed the pleasure. That is where this son was. He was confronted with the ugly truth about who he was and what he had done. He had dishonored his father. He had shamed his family and wasted their wealth. He had sold himself into bondage.
Thankfully, because God wants us to be found, He wired us with a conscience - a spiritual GPS to direct us back to Him. It is always operational. When programmed by the Spirit of God, it keeps us locked into to path of holiness pursuing God. But when it is ignored or programmed by the sinful nature, it leads to the path of destruction.
Jesus points to that crucial moment that everyone of needs to have in order to get from "lostness" to "foundness". We must "come to our senses" and listen to the voice of truth. We must honestly admit we are lost and confess a desire to be found. That was the turning point for the lost son. It was for me and it will be for you.
By this one act of humbly acknowledging the truth and heading home to the father, was the beginning of an amazing transformation. He went from starvation to celebration! He went from the pigpen to the palace! He went from loneliness and lostness to lavish love!
The bottonline - sin is senseless! Come to your senses and live in celebration, plenty, and lavish love!