Lost!

Luke 15

There are several facets of lostness.
There is physical lostness.
If this occurs in a life-threatening situation when resources are running out, physical lostness
can be terrifying.
There is emotional lostness.
Among our "divers diseases" is one the Bible names hardness of heart.
Its symptom is callouses on the soul.
The worst expression of lostness is spiritual lostness.

Everyone is lost, who is not in Christ.
In Luke 13: 3, Jesus said, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
Jesus said of Himself, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save
that which was lost
." (Luke 19: 10)
Jesus is the way, not a way.
Anyone who has not claimed Christ can use the bumper sticker: "Don't follow me. I'm lost."
Such lostness is present, and future, and eternal.

A lost person is like:

  • A man without a country.
  • A ship without a rudder.
  • A pilgrim without a shrine.
  • A wise man without a star to follow.
  • A student without a school.
  • A soldier without an army.
  • A man without a flag to follow -- and without music by which to march.
  • A man who is lost is out of orbit.
    He is a misguided missile.
    He is in a maze from which there appears to be no escape.
    How lost we are without Christ!

    No amount of success in life minimizes the danger of being lost.
    In 2 Kings 5:1 it is written of Naaman the Syrian that he was a mighty man of valor,
    "but he was a leper."
    It could be said of others:
  • He is a wealthy man, but he is lost.
  • He is a powerful man, but he is lost.
  • He is a talented man, but he is lost.
  • He is a civic-minded man, but he is lost.
  • He is an influential man, but he is lost.
  • He is a successful man, but he is lost.
  • He is a loving husband, but he is lost.
  • He is a good father, but he is lost.
  • He attends church, but he is lost.
    What are the factors that contribute to lostness?
    In Luke 15 we find several answers.
    In response to criticism for His eating with sinners and publicans, Jesus related three parables.
  • He told the parable of the lost sheep. (15: 4-7)
  • He told the parable of the lost coin. (15: 8-10)
  • He told the parable of the lost son. (15: 11-32)
    In each case that which was lost was lost for a particular reason.

    The sheep became lost doing what comes naturally.
    It nibbled itself into lostness.
    It wandered through the hills with its head down, thinking only of its stomach, until it looked up,
    and it was lost.

    All that anyone has to do to go to hell is nothing.
    Go with the flow!
    Follow the crowd!
    Drift!
    Nibble along!
    Never look up!

    Romans 3: 23: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
    Edmund Burke was right: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is
    for good men to do nothing
    ."
    He who does nothing is lost.

    John 3: 18: "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not
    is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God
    ."

    "He made no mistakes, took no wrong road.
    He never fumbled the ball.
    He never went down 'neath the weight of a load '"
    He simply did nothing at all.

    He lost no hard fight in defense of the right,
    Never bled with his back to the wall.
    He never felt faint in his climb to the light --
    He simply did nothing at all.

    So death came nigh, for life slipped by,
    And he feared for the Judgment Hall;
    When they asked him why, he said with a sigh,
    'I simply did nothing at all.'

    Oh, God will pardon your blunder, my friend,
    Or regard with pity your fall;
    But the one big sell that surely means hell
    Is to simply do nothing at all.
    "

    The coin was lost because careless hands dropped it.
    Stamped on every life are the words, "Handle with care."
    Some lives will never see Heaven because careless hands dropped them.
  • Careless hands could be parents... friends.. even pastors -- if they refuse to warn the lost.
  • Careless hands could be Sunday school teachers.
    Precious souls are under your care -- take care!
    Pray! Prepare! Visit! Contact!
    Let them know that you really care for their soul.

    Even more tragic would be the careless hands of Mother or Daddy.
    Parents who don't set a worthy example for their children are guilty of child abuse.
    Children are in good hands when the hands are attached to the loving arms of godly parents.

    The prodigal son was lost because he chose to be lost.
    He picked his destination, planned his itinerary, selected his friends, and chose his course.
    God made man a chooser.
    We are free in our choosing, but we are not free to avoid the consequences of our choice.
    We must choose!
    We do choose -- one way or the other.
    There is no neutral ground.
    There is no fence to straddle.

    William Jennings Bryan said, "Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice."
    In Deuteronomy 30: 19, God spoke to Israel: "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today,
    that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.
    So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants
    ."

    Edwin Markham put it: "Choices are the hinges of destiny."
    Every day you and I are confronted by choices.
  • Should I take this course?
  • Should I cheat on this test?
  • Should I date this person?
  • Should I marry this man?
  • Should I start this habit?
  • Should I take this job?
  • Should I join this club?
  • Should I join this church?
  • Should I invest in this business?
  • Should I vote for this candidate?
  • Should I take a social drink?
    Over and over we are confronted by choices.

    Other factors contribute to one's sense of alienation.
    One is the impersonal world in which we live.
    There is a prevailing tendency to treat a person as a number rather than a neighbor.
  • When a baby is born, he is given a number on his birth certificate.
  • He has a house number.
  • He has a Social Security number.
  • He has a driver's license number.
  • He may have an employee identification number.
  • If he has been in the armed forces, he has a serial number.
  • He has a phone number.
  • He also has an income tax number.
    It is no wonder that modern man feels like a statistic rather than a soul.
    His name seems inconsequential.

    We commonly speak of our country as a "Christian nation,"
    but that is not true in any sense.
    According to statistics compiled by the research of the Southern Baptist Convention, there were
    between 155 and 160 million unsaved people in the United States in 1980.
    This was 68.9% of the total population.
    It is estimated that by now there are more than 180 million lost persons in the United States.
    Imagine -- that many without Jesus.

    In most cities of any size one can find churches.
    A person can turn on his radio or television at almost any hour and hear the gospel preached.
    Christian books fill bookstores.
    Yet, multitudes are lost.

    There are homes where a mother or father, or both, are devout Christians, and yet, a child grows to adulthood -- lost.
    There are those who are in church every Sunday and have their names on the membership roll
    of a church -- yet are lost.
    The church roll is a fertile field for evangelism.

    The Folly of the Lost

    The folly of the lost is that they cannot see their lostness.
    For a while the prodigal son would have thought he was on top of the world.
    Every day he would have counted his money and looked with delight on all that his money
    could buy. (Pleasure -- luxuries -- friends)

    Martin Boehm believed that his morality was enough to get him to Heaven.
    He was struggling with a call to preach when it occurred to him that his basic problem
    could be his own salvation.
    His testimony was: "I felt and saw myself a poor sinner. I was lost.
    My agony became great.
    I was plowing in the field and kneeled down at each end of the furrow to pray.
    The word, lost, went round and round with me.
    Midway in the field I could go no further.
    I sank behind the plough crying, 'Lord, save me, I am lost!'
    In a moment a stream of joy was poured over me.
    I praised the Lord, left the field, and told my companion what joy I felt
    ."

    John Bunyan was deeply moved upon hearing his grandfather tell about seeing a man
    and his wife hanged.
    While the prisoners were standing on the scaffold, the woman began to scream,
    "O God, I'm lost, I'm lost, I'm lost.
    I am soon going to hell!
    Oh, why have I lived such a life
    ?"

    Charles IX, King of France, confessed, "What blood, what murderers, what evil counsels
    have I followed; I am lost, I see it well
    ."

    If the lost are to be found, if their folly is to be turned to faith, if they are to go to the Father's house,
    they must see and confess their lostness.

    Finding The Lost

    In the parables of Luke 15, we see the seeking Saviour.
    The Good Shepherd is not content with the 90 and 9.
    The parable of the lost sheep teaches the importance of one.
    That one could be you or me.
    You and I must join Christ in His search.
    When we really become concerned about the lostness of others -- we will.

    Most of us do what we want to do.
    We must exert the effort.
    We must pay the price and do what has to be done.
    Our problem is that of concern.

    A young man in Scotland sought his pastor's counsel because his love for Christ was growing cold.
    The old pastor led him to his study window overlooking the crowded streets.
    He said to the young man,
    "Christ is out there seeking the lost. Go and help Him seek them.
    Then you will find Him very near to you and very dear to you
    ."

    A person who is involved in healing the hurts of the world will always be close to Christ.
    Are you?

    C. S. Lewis entitled the story of his conversion, Surprised by Joy.
    "Upon the conversion of one person, joy reverberates down the corridors of heaven."
    God, the Father, throws a banquet.
    For the joy that was set before Him, Jesus endured the cross.
    Joy is set before Him when one of us stands at the foot of that cross.
    When Jesus was born in a manger, the angels sang "Glory to God in the highest..."

    When a sinner is born again, they sing the second verse.
    The 24 elders around the throne give a victory shout.
    There is dancing and singing on the streets of gold when one person trusts Christ.
    The hills clap their hands, and the morning stars sing together:

    "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost, but now am found,
    Was blind but now I see
    ."

    Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White