Luke 15:10
In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God's angels over one sinner who repents."
Sermons
Angels and MenD. Moore, M. A.Luke 15:10
Angels Joyful Over the Repentance of a SinnerEssex RemembrancerLuke 15:10
Angels Rejoice Over Repenting SinnersJ. Crowther.Luke 15:10
Heaven's Joy Over the Repenting SinnerW. S. Bruce, M. A.Luke 15:10
In the Heavenly EmpireLuke 15:10
Joy Among the Angels Over Repenting SinnersS. V. Leach, D. D.Luke 15:10
Joy in Heaven Over a Repentant SinnerC. Bradley, M. A.Luke 15:10
Joy in Heaven Over Repenting SinnersE. Payson, D. D.Luke 15:10
Joy of the AngelsE. H. Chapin, D. D.Luke 15:10
Joy of the Angels Over Even One Repentant SinnerC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 15:10
Repenting Sinners, a Source of Joy in HeavenJ. B. Brown, B. A.Luke 15:10
The Birth of a Soul a Cause of JoyN. Rogers.Luke 15:10
The Greatness of RepentanceJ. A. James.Luke 15:10
The Joy of Heaven Over a Repentant SinnerJ. Geddes, D. D.Luke 15:10
The Joy of the AngelsW. Clarkson Luke 15:10
Why Should Angels Rejoice in the Success of Redemption?H. Melvill, B. D.Luke 15:10
Murmurs on Earth, and Joy in HeavenW. Clarkson Luke 15:1-10
A Priceless GemC. Standford, D. D.Luke 15:8-10
A Woman's LossJ. Vaughan, M. A.Luke 15:8-10
Broken HarmonyJ. W. Burn.Luke 15:8-10
God's Search for the LostJ. Pulsford.Luke 15:8-10
Lost in the HouseJ. W. Burn.Luke 15:8-10
Lost to UseJ. W. Burn.Luke 15:8-10
Lost TreasureJ. R. Boyd.Luke 15:8-10
Man Resembled to Silver CoinN. Rogers.Luke 15:8-10
Man's Fall God's LossA. Hannay.Luke 15:8-10
The Bible a Moveable LightCalderwood.Luke 15:8-10
The Church's Neglect of SoulsR. Winterbotham, M. A.Luke 15:8-10
The Lost CoinW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 15:8-10
The Lost GroatW. Reischl.Luke 15:8-10
The Lost Piece of MoneyT. Guthrie, D. D.Luke 15:8-10
The Lost Silver PieceC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 15:8-10
The Oriental Setting of This ParableProfessor Isaac H. Hall.Luke 15:8-10
The Parable of the Lost SilverE. Blencowe, M. A.Luke 15:8-10
The Search of LoveDean Vaughan.Luke 15:8-10
The Spirit's Work in the SoulJ. W. Burn.Luke 15:8-10
The Ten Pieces of SilverA. G. Weld.Luke 15:8-10
The Utility of DisturbanceW. R. Williams.Luke 15:8-10
Our first thought may be - What do the angels know about us? But our second thought should be - How likely it is that the angels would be deeply interested in us! For, granted that there are "heavenly hosts" who are in supreme sympathy with God, and who are therefore careful to watch the workings of his holy will in the broad realm he rules, what is there more likely than that they would be profoundly interested in the recovery of a lost world, in the restoration of a rebellious and ruined race? We could well believe that it would be the study of the angelic world, the practical problem that would engage their most earnest thought, if it did not occupy their most active labours. And this being so, we can understand the greatness of their joy "over one sinner that repenteth." For -

I. THEY KNOW, BETTER THAN WE, THE STERN CONSEQUENCES OF SIN. Not, indeed, by experience. Experience is not the only teacher, and it does not at all necessarily follow that one who has had some experience of a course of conduct knows more about it than another who has had no experience at all; otherwise we should be driven to the absurd conclusion that guilty man knows more about sin than God does. Many of the inexperienced are a great deal wiser than many who have had "part and lot in the matter," because those learn from all they witness, and these do not learn from anything they do and suffer. The "angels of God" witness the commission and also the fruits of sin they see what lengths and depths of wrong and wretchedness it brings about from year to year, from age to age; they see what evil it works within and without, in the sinner himself and on all with whom he has to do. As they live on through the centuries, and as they learn Divine wisdom from all that they behold in the universe of God, they must acquire a hatred of sin and a pity for sinners which is beyond our own emotion and which passes our reckoning. How great, then, their joy when they witness the emancipation of one human soul from spiritual bondage, the birth of a spirit into the life eternal!

II. THEY KNOW, BETTER THAN WE, THE BLESSED FRUITS OF OBEDIENCE. Here they have their own angelic experience to guide and to enlighten them. With added years of loyalty to the King of heaven; with the spiritual enlargement which (we can well believe) comes with a holy and stainless life, they rejoice in God and in his service with ever-deepening delight; their heritage becomes ampler, their prospects brighter, as the celestial periods pass away; and when they think what it means for one holy intelligence to be filled with the fulness of Divine life and of heavenly blessedness, we can comprehend that they would rejoice "over one sinner that repenteth."

III. THEY ARE DEEPLY INTERESTED IN THE PROGRESS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and they know, better than we, how limitless is the influence one soul may exercise.

1. Because they earnestly, supremely desire the honour of God, the glory of Christ on the earth, they rejoice that one more spirit is brought into loyal subjection to his rule.

2. Because they desire that everything may be put under his feet, they rejoice that all that one man can do - which means more in their measurement than it means in ours - will he done to further his cause and exalt his Name. - C.







Joy in the presence of the angels of God.
I. THE CLASS REPRESENTED AS BEING SPECIALLY EXCITED BY THE EMOTION OF JOY OVER A SINNER'S REPENTANCE. "The angels of God" — uncorporeal, immaculately holy, composed of various orders, active messengers of God to men.

II. Why do the angels rejoice when a sinner repents?

1. Because true repentance culminates in that holiness of heart and life which is the chief glory of the angels.

2. Because the moral character of a sinner's influence is for ever changed by his conversion.

3. By repentance and conversion a sinner escapes eternal retribution for his sins, and secures moral fitness for eternal life.

III. WHAT LESSONS DO WE LEARN FROM THESE FACTS?

1. That we manifest the spirit of the angelic race when we labour to lead sinners to Christ and rejoice over their conversion.

2. That the preaching with which the angels sympathize is of that type best calculated to bring sinners to repentance.

3. The appalling peril of a sinner over whose repentance no angels have rejoiced. Sin has but one logical issue — eternal death. Give the angels a chance to rejoice to-day over your repentance.

(S. V. Leach, D. D.)

I. The truth here declared.

1. The joy mentioned is special.

2. The joy is shared, originated by God Himself.

II. THE CAUSE OF THE ANGELIC JOY.

1. A sinner.

2. Not the sinner while engaged in sin.

3. One sinner that repenteth.

4. Repentance stands before us here showing plainly two sides.

(1)Produced by the grace of God.

(2)A deliberate act on the part of the sinner. It is the confluence of these two streams that issues in true repentance.

III. WHY SUCH GLADNESS SHOULD BE SHOWN.

1. When a sinner repents, God's purpose is effected.

2. Christ's kingdom is enlarged.

3. A soul is saved.Conclusion:

1. Behold the value of a single soul.

2. Observe the necessity of repentance.

(W. S. Bruce, M. A.)

I. THE NATURE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF ANGELS. Spiritual beings of high dignity and capacities.

1. Their might. They excel in strength. The army of God.

2. Their power. Great mental endowments.

3. Their purity.

II. THEIR JOY AT THE RECOVERY AND CONVERSION OF SINNERS.

1. It proceeds from their superior knowledge of what man's place in the intelligent universe is: his Divine origin, and sublime destiny.

2. The conversion of a sinner brings joy to the angelic hosts, because thereby their liege Lord is honoured, His name exalted, His grace magnified, His rule acknowledged, and His word found not to have returned to Him void.

3. Their happiness is to see happiness, and conversion is the first step to a sinner's happiness.

III. THE DUTY DEVOLVING UPON OURSELVES, TO DO THAT WHICH MAY AUGMENT BOTH THEIR JOY AND OURS. We must engage in good works, and endeavour, each in his own vocation and ministry, to lead sinners to repentance.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

Essex Remembrancer.
I. VIEW THE SCENE ON EARTH WHICH THE TEXT SPREADS BEFORE US. What is its nature? To the carnal eye it presents nothing that is attractive or worthy of regard. It opens to our view, not an individual in a state of hilarity and mirth, indulging himself in sensual delights; but a poor weary, heavy-laden sinner, repenting of his transgressions.

1. Repentance includes brokenness of heart.

2. Self-abhorrence enters into the spirit of true repentance.

3. Godly sorrow for sin is an essential ingredient of evangelical repentance.

4. The spirit of prayer is always associated with repentance.

5. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is connected with scriptural repentance.

II. LET US GLANCE AT THE HEAVENLY SCENE.

1. Angels are benevolent beings; partaking largely of the moral qualities of the Deity, of the beneficence and compassion of His nature, they feel interested and delighted in whatever promotes the welfare and happiness of God's intelligent creatures.

2. Angels are joyful at the repentance of a sinner, because a splendid victory is achieved.

3. Angels are joyful at the event, because an immortal being is saved.

4. There is joy among the angels at this occurrence, because God is glorified in it — each person in the Trinity.

(Essex Remembrancer.)

I would employ this subject in order —

I. TO REMIND CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS OF CERTAIN DUTIES WHICH THEY OWE. We learn, then, from the words before us, that the repentance of sinners is, to these holy beings, an occasion of rejoicing; and this may be supposed to arise, in the first place, from the reverence and love which they indulge for the character and authority of God. In a kingdom where the sovereign, ruling in equity and in mercy, dwells generally in the affections of his loyal subjects, when rebellion and treason lay down their arms and sue for mercy, the circumstance is surely hailed by every loyal subject as a matter of sincere rejoicing.

2. The joy indulged by angels over the repentance of a sinner, may be considered as arising, secondly, from that spirit of benevolence, that love to human nature, which forms, of course, one principal feature in their character, as it is an attribute of that God, whom, in this respect as well as in others, they must be considered to resemble. They, therefore, rejoice over the repentance of a sinner, because it is the beginning of his own salvation, and also, because it is the beginning of blessedness which is likely to extend, in a greater or less degree, to all around him.

3. The joy indulged by angels over the repentance of a sinner may be considered as arising, thirdly, from the interest they take in the spread of the Redeemer's kingdom.

4. Another reason, probably, which has sometimes been referred to, why angels rejoice over the repentance of a sinner is, that they may have been instrumental, though in a way unknown to us, in bringing that sinner to repentance. For it has been said, there is nothing extravagant in supposing that He who so frequently employs, in the salvation of the souls of men, the instrumentality of human agents, should sometimes employ, though in a way unknown by us, the instrumentality of angels; and if so, we find in this circumstance another reason why angels indulge the joy referred to in the text, over the repentance of a sinner.

II. That while these words supply admonition and instruction to Christian believers, they ARE ALSO DESIGNED AND FITTED TO SUPPLY ENCOURAGEMENT TO PENITENTS.

III. BY WAY OF ADMONITION AND REPROOF, TO ADDRESS A WORD OR TWO TO THE IMPENITENT AND UNCONVERTED. First of all observe what a contrast there is between the joy that angels express on the repentance of a sinner and your unconcern about your own repentance. Once more I would observe, still addressing myself to persons of the same description, if, according to the declaration of my text, there be "joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth," then may we not suppose that, if there be such a thing as joy in hell, there is joy there over every one that goeth on in his iniquity?

(J. Crowther.)

I. In the first place, ATTEND TO THE EVENT ITSELF THUS EXPRESSED — "a sinner that repenteth." In the first part of this statement we are all included, being all sinners. From the second part we may be excluded, for we may not be all penitents. There are also stupid unconcerned sinners, who look no farther than the body. There are light-minded, careless sinners, whom sorrow never clouds, to whom pleasure in every form is welcome, and into whose hearts no serious thought ever enters. And there are worldly-minded sinners, who have no time, no inclination, and no leisure, for religion. There are also procrastinating sinners, who admit the necessity, but delay the duty, of repentance. Nay, there are even, in some measure, convinced and awakened sinners, whose convictions have not terminated in conversion. Like Cain, they complain, and they wander, and they reckon somehow, that God is hard, and that they are suffering more than they can bear. Like Esau, they weep, but it is for an earthly portion, and because they succeed not according to what they reckon due to their talents, their skill, or their industry. Or, like Ahab, they may clothe themselves in sackcloth, and sit in ashes, and walk steadily for a season, but still their hearts are not right with God. The repentance supposed is not a seeming but a real repentance, and is in complete harmony with the law and the gospel. The law is honoured by the terror which it produces: the gospel is honoured by the peace which it maintains. God is obeyed, and the penitent himself praises God, and says, He hath delivered mine eyes from tears, my feet from falling, and my soul from hell.

II. Let us proceed now, then, to meditate on THE JOYFULNESS OF THE EVENT MENTIONED IN THE TEXT. "There is joy," says our Lord, "in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." Think, then, in the first place, of the high character, of the high rank of the order of beings now spoken of as rejoicing — Angels, who occupy a higher place in the scale of creation than men.

2. In the second place, we may consider the intensity, the universality of the feeling that is produced. It might be true to say of the angels in heaven, that they rejoice, though the joy was but slight or transient, although it pervaded only a part of the heavenly host. The idea, however, conveyed to us here is the idea, not of a slight or of a transient, but of a deep and of a permanent impression, and it is the idea, moreover, not of joy only among a few, but of joy among all, of but one feeling and one expression of feeling, through all the innumerable company of angels.

3. Again we may think, in the third place, of the season at which such joy is stated as commencing, not when the sinner enters heaven, not when his repentance issues in eternal life.

4. I have only to state in the last place that each case of conversion is supposed here to be of sufficient magnitude to produce this joy. There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Numbers are not necessary in order to convey to us the idea of value or importance. No doubt there was great joy on the day of Pentecost; and when thousands were converted, no doubt there was great joy afterwards, when 5,000 were added to the Church; no doubt there was great joy again, when a multitude of the priests and of the people believed; but still each individual as marked in heaven's book, may be considered as a fit occasion for praising God, and as serving to minister to the delight of angels. Or we shall even take it in another light — you may suppose that one soul converted may, in special circumstances, or at particular seasons, or because of the individual character, be of great importance, even as the conversion of Paul included within itself the conversion of thousands — even as Paul was a chosen vessel, and took many from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.

(J. Geddes, D. D.)

Let it admonish us to beware that we repine not at the bringing in of any into the state of grace. Shall heaven smile and earth frown? Shall the angels be glad and we sad? Shall we mock, scorn, deride, yea persecute our brethren for no other cause but this; that they have made heaven merry by their repentance and turning? Wretched creature, cursed caitiff, that dares thus do. Is there not joy in the whole family upon the birth of a little infant? Is not the father glad that a child is born unto him, the mother glad she is delivered, the servants glad that the family is enlarged, the children glad that their number is increased? If any be discontented it is some baseborn, an Ishmael — the son of the bondwoman not of the free.

(N. Rogers.)

I. WHO REJOICE?

1. God the Father.

2. The Son of God.

3. The blessed angels.

II. WHY DO THEY REJOICE?

1. God the Father rejoices —(1) Because His eternal purposes of grace, and His engagements to His Son, are then fulfilled.(2) Because bringing sinners to repentance is His own world.(3) Because it affords Him an opportunity to exercise mercy, and show His love to Christ by pardoning them for His sake.(4) Because it gratifies Him to see them escape from the tyranny, and from the consequences of sin.

2. The Son of God rejoices —(1) Because He has given them their life.(2) Because in repenting they begin to return His love, and acknowledge the wisdom of His dispensations.

3. The angels rejoice —(1) Because God rejoices.(2) Because it is their disposition to rejoice in the happiness of others.(3) Because God is glorified and His perfections are displayed in giving repentance and remission of sins.Inferences:

1. From this subject we infer the incalculable worth of the human soul.

2. From this subject we infer that the consequence of dying in an impenitent state will be unspeakably dreadful.

3. From this subject we infer that all who repent will certainly persevere and be saved. Suppose, for one moment, that such may fall and perish? Would God, would Christ, would angels then rejoice to see sinners repent?

4. What an astonishing view does this subject give us of the benevolence of angels. Though they are perfectly happy, and though our character and conduct must to them appear inconceivably hateful, yet they forget themselves to think of us; they forget their own happiness to rejoice in ours.

5. From this subject we may learn whether we are prepared for heaven. We presume none will deny that preparation for heaven implies something of a heavenly temper. If, then, we are thus prepared we have something of such a temper. Like the angels, we are pleased with God's sovereignty, and rejoice when sinners repent. We desire and pray that the kingdom of God may come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

(E. Payson, D. D.)

This assurance, coming from the lips of Jesus Himself, exhibits Christianity, both in its spirit and in its grandeur.

I. THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTIANITY. The fact which Jesus teaches hero is that gladness and surprise, that joy and gratified affection, with which love welcomes at last its alienated but unsurrendered objects. In one word, my friends, our Saviour, in the passage before us, shows the identity of the great sentiment of love in heaven and upon earth, in the depths of Divine love and in the heart of man. He appeals to those affections which are most profoundly interwoven in our being. He exhibits the spirit and power of the gospel as not above or foreign to the elements of our own consciousness, but intimately allied to it. He based this appeal upon that which can be demonstrated from the most familiar and common experience. But let me say further, under this head, that by the light of this central love and compassion we should interpret the different parts as well as the grand whole of the gospel. All the sayings of Jesus Christ are to be interpreted in harmony with that spirit; we must take the deep essence and substance of the gospel. We are to receive what grows out of that — what most accords with its general sentiment. And I say what most accords with the general sentiment of the gospel, with the deep spirit and substance of the gospel, is this simple doctrine, that God cares for the sinner, for the vilest and most abandoned sinner who is upon earth. In a mother's heart there is a love that cannot be altered and exhausted, and that will claim that abandoned sinner when he comes back. So in the Infinite bosom, and in the bosoms of all heavenly beings, their exists the same love; the spirit that sent Jesus Christ on earth is that spirit; the purpose of Christ's mission is to declare that spirit. That is the peculiarity of the gospel over and above everything else. Precisely where man's faith falls and man's hope falters, is it that the gospel becomes clear and strong.

II. THE GRANDEUR OF CHRISTIANITY. CONSIDER ITS GRANDEUR AS ILLUSTRATED in the announcement of Jesus. The declaration in the text reveals two things — the nature of man and his spiritual relations. It exhibits man as a living soul, and as a member of the great family of souls. It strips away all conventionality from him. Christianity is primal democracy, lifted far above anything that either pro or con bears that name in our day as a party distinction. It is the great doctrine of man higher than his conditions, nobler than any material good. Why? Because he is a living soul; because within him there are deathless powers; because he is allied to God by a nature that no other being on this earth bears, and faculties that no other creature on this footstool possesses. And this is the source of 'its great achievement in modern civilization. Subtile theorists ask what Christianity has done for the progress of man. Christianity has thus sown the seeds of all progress, laid the foundation of all truth in government, and of all righteousness in society. It has been the master-key to all the grand efforts that man has made to be delivered from bondage, from oppression, from social wrong. It is the soul of liberty; it is the oriflamme that leads the hosts of humanity forward from effort to effort, to higher and higher social attainments. This is what Christianity has contributed to civilization and progress; it is the spring of all the, noble efforts of all time. In the next place, it reveals the relations of man to the whole spiritual universe — his relationship to all spiritual beings. Christianity is the complement of scientific truth in the spiritual facts it reveals to us; and nothing is more grand than man's relation to spiritual beings — than the fact that the universe is filled up with blessed intelligences. I do not need to see them, or hear them, to be convinced of this fact; I know by surer sight than the eye, by more certain hearing than the ear, that they exist; I know it by my vital consciousness of a God and of a heaven. And Christianity interprets that fact. It shows man, poor, wretched, vile as he may be, linked with these innumerable relations. And what else does it show? It shows identity of nature in all spiritual things on earth and in heaven. Oh, if you could tear all the Bible in strips, but leave this one saying of Christ, what mighty truth and consolation there would be in it! "There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth." How much that reveals to us — lets in upon us. Joy in heaven! Then there are beings in heaven capable of joy, just like ourselves — beings in sympathy with us. Joy in heaven! Oh, forlorn and wayward brother! you are despised of men, and scorned, and perhaps feel that you ought to be; you have sinned vilely and grossly; but do you know what you are? There might be joy not only in that earthly home that nestles among the hills where your poor mother is praying for you to-day, but also great joy in heaven. What a revelation of an identity of nature — of a celestial sympathy! Moreover, there is not only sympathy, but there is solicitude there. God is anxious for your return.

(E. H. Chapin, D. D.)

I. THE OBJECT OVER WHICH ANGELS REJOICE.

1. A sinner. Vile, apostate, rebellious man.

2. A sinner in a particular state of mind. A sinner that repenteth. What is repentance? It is a state of mind adapted to our condition: such a disposition as is suited to our state. It is an affecting discovery of our situation, our wants, our danger. It is a bewailing of our sad condition. With an almost broken heart the sinner comes to the Saviour's feet, crying, with emotions of heart never before felt, with emotions which no language can fully express — "O save me, I have sinned, I have sinned! O save me, or I perish!"

II. THE GROUNDS OF THIS STRANGE JOY.

1. We may trace it to love. Love, when fixed on a right object, and exercised in a right manner, is a source of happiness. It is so on earth; and love makes heaven chiefly what it is as a world of joy.

2. Another ground of this joy of angels over a repenting sinner is their delight in the Divine glory.

3. They behold in the repentance of a sinner the advancement of the great work of grace, and receive in him a new pledge of its final accomplishment.

III. THE PROBABLE REASONS FOR WHICH OUR LORD HAS MADE US ACQUAINTED WITH IT.

1. It was no doubt to vindicate His own conduct in calling and saving heinous transgressors.

2. It shows us that there is something in repentance which is pleasing to God — that there is something in repentance of an excellent character.

3. These things are recorded to comfort and encourage the broken heart.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

I. In the first place, then, WE HAVE THE SPECTACLE WHICH IS HERE PRESENTED, A SINNER REPENTING. Not the most noteworthy object, some of the wise ones of this world would be tempted to say — not the most noteworthy object earth could present to the eye of God. There are many fairer and brighter scenes upon earth to attract the regard of her God and King. Man's vagrant gaze is always wandering hither and thither in search of some scene of interest, or some form of beauty, on which for a moment it may rest; but who thinks of gazing with interest and hope, unless instructed out of the gospel of Christ, upon one sinner that repenteth? No; it is the halls of science, and the temples of art, and the statesman's cabinet, and the battle-field of nations, which centre all man's regard. Wherever the battle-cry of keenly conflicting interest is swelling on the ear, where brave words are being spoken, and brave deeds being done, thither man's eye restlessly turns. It is the rising and the setting suns of empire, the waxing and the waning tide of greatness; the rise, culmination, and decline of those stars that lead man's social progress; the chiefs and the heroes who are set far on in the van of the world — these offer to man the theme of his loftiest contemplations. And perhaps it is by the cradle of social reforms — it is by the birthplace of political revolutions and reformations that man's purest and holiest vigils are held. My brethren, I am not here to deny the interest which may attach to any of these scenes or occasions. There is not one of these elements, so pregnant with future results to society, which are at work now, seething and surging in that great moral fermenting vat which we call society, that the angels do not look upon. That great battle which is being fought in every age, and perhaps never more earnestly fought than now — the battle which the ancients, for want of a better name, called the battle of the Gods and Titans — what we know as the battle of Chaos and Creation, Anarchy and Order, Might and Right, Slavery and Liberty — all these they look upon; nothing of this is hidden from their gaze. We do rightly to take deep interest in all these things, to let our hearts be stirred by them all. All these, God's angels look upon; nothing is hidden from their sight. But one thing they see through all these — amidst all these great interests of society — one thing they see, which for them has more momentous interest, because they see that it has more pregnant consequences; it is the spectacle of one sinner that repenteth, one poor man, it may be. All that interest, remember, is concentrated upon the individual. I say there is that man wrestling in the sweat and agony of his soul with his spiritual tyrants and task-masters, he is bidding them defiance, he is casting them forth; but no trumpet-call summons the world to be spectator of his conflicts. There is nothing to distinguish his battle, so as to attract the eye of the man of this world. No, it will be in silence, silence that sometimes gives no outward indications of what is passing — silence, perhaps, only broken by these pleadings of a broken and contrite spirit, half uttered, half articulate, which God sees and answers as prayers — perhaps it may be thus that the repentant sinner will carry on and complete the work. Repentance is just the first stage and the first sign of that new life of the Christian, that life of which the Saviour said, "Ye must be born again" — that life which cannot come into a human spirit save by the work of God's living Spirit within man's heart. No man can work this transformation of himself, no man is strong enough to wrestle with this great monster of evil by himself. I say repentance is just the first stage of that new Divine life of which the Saviour spoke, in which a man, being freed from sin, has progressively his fruit unto holiness, and the end thereof life everlasting.

II. Direct your thoughts to THE JOYFUL WATCHERS OF THE SPECTACLE HERE PRESENTED. The progress of a soul through the various stages of its redemption excites, for the most part, very little interest upon earth. It connects itself with no great human interests, and it ministers no aid to purely human designs. But how differently is it regarded in heaven! Scribes and Pharisees, if they like, may mock at repentance; sophists and infidels, if they like, may jest at the penitent tear, or the pleading and struggling groan of a broken and contrite spirit; but I say to you, Christ says to you by my lips — I am speaking His own words — that "there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over even one repenting sinner." Brethren, we should teach ourselves to believe this. We cannot see it; nature does not seem to care for us; all we look upon seems to take little care for us in regard to our spiritual experience, but God and His angels watch us earnestly, and no sigh is breathed and no tear falls that is not caught and cherished by the spirits that are before the throne. I say this repentance, the soul turning away from sin by the power of the grace of Christ which it has received, awakens supreme interest, is a matter of intense importance to all dwellers in the spiritual world. Aye! as the soul thus rises from the dust to adorn herself with the only jewels that Christ cares for — jewels of penitence, humility, and charity — methinks there are God's angels then harping with their harps, prepared to celebrate with vestal strains the indissoluble union of a repenting and ransomed spirit with its Lord. Those are the joyful watchers of the spectacle.

III. Now, in the third and last place, in bringing these remarks to a conclusion, I dwell upon the rising interest to which I have already averted more fully. Let us inquire WHAT IS THE SECRET OF THIS INTEREST WHICH THEY FIND IN THE SPECTACLE OF A REPENTING SINNER, and of their exulting joys. Of course we can only understand a portion of this matter, and only a portion of that portion can be brought within the limits of a brief discourse.

1. But, first, I should say that the angels of God who look upon all that is passing upon earth, all the scenes of interest that earth presents — scenes in which we are bound to take an interest, in which certainly the Christian ought not to be behindhand in his interest as compared with his fellow-men — look upon a repenting sinner as the directest and completest result of Christ's working upon earth, and, therefore, they abundantly rejoice. He who was with God, who was God, by whom all things were made, became flesh and dwelt among us; and here, in a sinner repenting, you have the directest result of His Incarnation.

2. A second reason is this. In a sinner repenting we must remember there is a rising up of a fresh witness to God's righteousness, a fresh subject of God's kingdom in the universe, and, therefore, do the angels rejoice.

3. Lastly, in a sinner repenting, the angels see the widening of the kingdom of the Redeemer. They see that He sees increasingly of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied, and, therefore, one thinks they rejoice. He is their King as well as ours; their Master as well as ours.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

How loving are the angels to men; for they rejoice over one sinner that repenteth. There she is, in that garret where the stars look between the tiles. There is a miserable bed in that room, with but one bit of covering, and she lieth there to die! Poor creature! many a night she has walked the streets in the time of her merriment; but now her joys are over; a foul disease, like a demon, is devouring her heart! She is dying fast, and no one careth for her soul! But there, in that chamber, she turns her face to the wall, and she cries, "O Thou that savedst Magdalene, save me; Lord, I repent; have mercy upon me, I beseech thee." Did the bells ring in the street? Was the trumpet blown? Ah! no. Did men rejoice? Was there a sound of thanksgiving in the midst of the great congregation? No; no one heard it; for she died unseen. But stay. There was one standing at her bedside, who noted well that tear; an angel, who had come down from heaven to watch over this stray sheep, and mark its return; and no sooner was her prayer uttered than he clapped his wings, and there was seen flying up to the pearly gates a spirit like a star. The heavenly guards came crowding to the gate, crying, "What news, O son of fire? " He said, "'Tis done." "And what is done?' they said. "Why, she has repented." "What! she who was once a chief of sinners? has she turned to Christ?" "'Tis even so," said he. And then they told it through the streets, and the bells of heaven rang marriage peals, for Magdalene was saved, and she who had been the chief of sinners was turned unto the living God. It was in another place. A poor neglected little boy in ragged clothing had run about the streets for many a day. Tutored in crime, he was paving his path to the gallows; but one morning he passed by a humble room, where some men and women were sitting together teaching poor ragged children. He stepped in there, a wild Bedouin of the streets; they talked to him; they told him about a soul and about an eternity — things he had never heard before; they spoke ,of Jesus, and of good tidings of great joy to this poor friendless lad. He went another Sabbath, and another; his wild habits hanging about him, for he could not get rid of them. At last it happened that his teacher said to him one day, "Jesus Christ receiveth sinners." That little boy ran, but not home, for it was but a mockery to call it so — where a drunken father and a lascivious mother kept a hellish riot together. He ran, and under some dry arch, or in some wild unfrequented corner, he bent his little knees, and there he cried, that poor creature in his rags, "Lord, save me, or I perish"; and the little Arab was on his knees — the little thief was saved I He said — "Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly"; and up from that old arch, from that forsaken hovel, there flew a spirit, glad to bear the news to heaven that another heir of glory was born to God. I might picture many such scenes; bat will each of you try to picture your own? You remember the occasion when the Lord met with you. Ah! little did you think what a commotion there was in heaven. If the Queen had ordered out all her soldiers, the angels of heaven would not have stopped to notice them; if all the princes of earth had marched in pageant through the streets, with all their robes, and jewellery, and crowns, and all their regalia, their chariots, and their horsemen — if the pomps of ancient monarchies had risen from the tomb — if all the might of Babylon and Tyre and Greece had been concentrated into one great parade, yet not an angel would have stopped in his course to smile at those poor tawdry things; but over you the vilest of the vile, the poorest of the poor, the most obscure and unknown — over you angelic wings were hovering, and concerning you it was said on earth and sung in heaven, "Hallelujah, for a child is born to God to-day."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

To this question we reply generally, that redemption is the mightiest display of the Divine attributes; and that, wrapt as angels are in admiration and adoration at their Maker, whatever sets forth His properties must be to them a fresh source of praise and ecstasy. Without doubt we must add to this general account, the affection which they entertain towards men as members of the family of creation, their consequent desire for their happiness, and their knowledge that happiness is secured by repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But probably the joy in question results mainly from the glory accruing to God, or from the manifestation which redemption puts forth of the attributes of Deity. And therefore we shall chiefly labour to show you how the scheme of our salvation was a new discovery of God to heavenly beings, and why, therefore, there should be joy in the presence of those beings whensoever a sinner takes hold of the obedience proffered in the gospel. Now, the wisdom, the power, and the goodness of God — under which all His other attributes are comprehended — these constitute the glorious majesty of our Creator; and of these, we are bold to affirm, our redemption is the noblest manifestation. If this be once proved, you will readily understand why angels rejoice over penitent sinners. Angels must be gladdened by every exhibition of the high prerogative of their Maker; and if redemption be signally such an exhibition, then redemption — as wrought out for all, or as applied to individuals — must signally minister to their joyousness.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

A pious Armenian calling on Mr. Hamlyn, a missionary at Constantinople, remarked, that he was astonished to see how the people were waking up to the truth; how even the most cultivated were seeking after it as for hidden treasure. "Yes," said he, "it is going forward; it will triumph; but, alas! I shall not live to see it, alas! that I am born an age too soon." "But," said Mr. Hamlyn, "do you remember what our Saviour said, 'There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth'? You may not live to see the truth triumphant in this empire; but should you, by Divine grace, reach the kingdom of heaven, and be with the angels, your joy over your whole nation, repentant and redeemed, will be infinitely greater than it could be on earth." He seemed astonished at this thought; but after examining the various passages to which I referred him, he yielded to the evidence with the most lively expressions of delight. "O fool, and slow of heart," said he, "to read the gospel so many times without perceiving such a glorious truth! If this be so, no matter in what age a Christian is born, nor when he dies."

Repentance is a great thing, or the angels of God would not rejoice over it. It is no insignificant matter. If we did not understand it, and all the consequences that flow from it, and did not quite perceive all the reasons why angels rejoice, yet we should naturally conclude that it must be great from this fact. Suppose we entered a strange city end found the bells ringing out a merry peal from every tower, the cannon roaring out their harsh joy from every fort, the streets at night blazing with illuminations, every countenance cheerful, the whole land vocal with joy, and all keeping jubilee together; why, we should say, "This great and intelligent people would not rejoice thus over a trifle; some great thing must have taken place"; if we did not know what it was. Oh! enter heaven when a sinner has repented, and find it all jubilee! Must it not be a great thing that would fill heaven thus with bliss? The repentance of a sinner does it. And then mark, it is not the conversion of a nation like China, with its three hundred millions of inhabitants, nor India with its myriads of idolaters, nor blood-stained Madagascar, nor Tahiti, nor New Zealand: not the conversion of an empire, but the conversion of a single soul. Not merely the soul of some great persecutor, like Saul of Tarsus, whose conversion may at once change the aspect of a country, and release it from intolerance and murder, and introduce it to liberty and joy. Not the conversion of a mighty monarch, who, once a despot, is now become through Christianity the father of his country. Not the conversion of a philosopher, whose great name might be supposed to add celebrity to Christianity. Not the conversion of a great poet, who had prostituted his genius to celebrate vice, and now consecrates it to the glory of God who gave him the intellect. No, but the conversion of "a sinner," apart from all the personal circumstances in which that sinner might be found: any sinner; the inhabitant of a workhouse — the pauper's child — or the pauper himself; for it is repentance, stript of all that is adventitious, all that might otherwise gather around it. It is the dropping of all these, and it is the bowing down of any human heart in the attitude of submission to God, and in the purpose of forsaking sin: it is that, which angels rejoice over.

(J. A. James.)

Links
Luke 15:10 NIV
Luke 15:10 NLT
Luke 15:10 ESV
Luke 15:10 NASB
Luke 15:10 KJV

Luke 15:10 Bible Apps
Luke 15:10 Parallel
Luke 15:10 Biblia Paralela
Luke 15:10 Chinese Bible
Luke 15:10 French Bible
Luke 15:10 German Bible

Luke 15:10 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Luke 15:9
Top of Page
Top of Page