The parable of the lost sheep appears twice in the new testament of the Christian Bible. It is used to illustrate God's love for all his children, even those who have erred.

15:3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
15:4 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?
15:5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
15:6 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.
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.
15:8 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?
15:9 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.
15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Here begins the parable of the Prodigal Son.
--Luke 15

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?
18:13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
--Matthew 18

The primary points that are usually gleaned from this parable are:

  • God is willing to forgive, as did the shepherd.
  • God loves even those who stray.
  • As the shepherd did not punish his sheep, so you should not punish sinners, only try to save them.
  • Don't give up on trying to convert others to God's way
  • It is more noble to convert 'heathens' to God's way then it is to watch herd over those already converted.

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