“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7
- Finally, consider the worship of the ninety-nine who are already in the fold. Jesus says there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over these ninety-nine. Does this mean that God does not delight in our worship? Does it mean that personal evangelism is a more ultimate goal than worship is?
No. John 4:23 says that the very meaning of evangelism is that God is seeking worshipers. The lost sheep is lost because he worships something more than God. The reason God rejoices so much over the winning of the lost is not because God doesn’t have tremendous delight in worship, but because he delights most in the worship of the whole family. If we content ourselves with our limited worship experience, without wanting to include the lost sheep who don’t have this joy, then the God we are dealing with in worship is not the God of Luke 15.
Therefore, for the sake of worshiping the one true God for who he really is, we are being called as a church—in a Barnes and Noble world of diversity and pluralism—to leave the ninety-nine and receive sinners and eat with them.