(Article originally published the week of 9-24-08)
“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.” (Luke 15:4). Our Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 15 illustrated evangelical repentance by use of a parable. It is a three part parable. A man had a sheep that was lost. A woman had a coin that was lost. A father had a son that was lost. In each instance, something or somebody was lost; the lost was found; and there was rejoicing when the lost was found.
Friend have you ever been lost? I ask you not if you have ever been saved, but I ask you if you have ever been lost. Mark it down , if you have never been lost, you certainly have never been saved. Herein lies the great error in modern day “evangelism” and “soul-winning”. A great effort is being made to get folk “saved”. But the challenge of our generation is to get folks lost. Multitudes think they are saved who have never had their heart broken in deep repentance. It is no trick at all to get folks to “accept Jesus”, but only the Holy Spirit can convince a poor sinner that he is utterly lost. The vast majority of religious folks in our day are exactly like the Pharisees and scribes in the beginning of Luke 15 who felt they were just persons who needed no repentance. That is the point of our Lord’s parable of the lost being found and the rejoicing when sinners repent.
Now , I am praying some of you will get the point this week and see that you are living with a false hope of salvation if you have never been lost. Most of you “church members “ have a profession of some kind and some notions in your head, but you have never had a broken heart on account of your sinful and shameful record in the sight of a thrice Holy God . Somebody , perhaps a preacher asked you if you wanted to “accept Jesus” and get out of going to hell and he told you it was quite an easy thing, and you did and you haven’t doubted your salvation since. My friend, if something like that is what you think is salvation, you are unconverted, unsaved and still on your way to hell. Some of you were brought up that you ought to be a good person and join the church. And so you thought about it some and you decided that would be a very respectable thing to be a “church member”. Why, there are some of you who are very proud of the fact that you are the fourth or fifth generation in your clan to belong to your particular church. You have your spot picked out in the church yard where you will be buried among your ancestors and you think you have it made for eternity because you joined the church and when you die you will go to heaven because you were a nice “church member.” The sad fact is that sort of thing has you comfortable on the way to hell. You joined the church, but you have never been savingly joined to Christ .
In our passage in Luke 15 (if you value your never dying soul, go read it) our Lord tells us that repentance is like a lost sheep being found. Can you identify with that? Have you ever been like a lost sheep? Have you ever realized you were so far from God that only a Sovereign Savior could save you? Have you ever wandered up and down with no sense of direction, crying and weeping that you were utterly lost? Have you ever been in such distress of soul that you felt ready to perish unless a Mighty Shepherd came and found you? Have you ever realized that you were so lost, there was no way you could ever get to Christ unless He came and saved you? Have you ever been in complete despair concerning your soul? These are the characters that Jesus goes after until He finds them. Have you been saved by Jesus like a lost sheep being found?
Oh! What joy flooded my poor soul when I was able by faith to look up into the precious face of Jesus like a lost sheep that had been found! Lost sinners are like lost sheep. They are helpless to get to the Shepherd unless He would come and find them. Oh! How wonderful the words of our text- “until He find it”! The Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven to save sinners who are like lost sheep. He is determined to seek until He finds all His lost sheep. May the Lord deal with someone this week to show you you are lost. And may you be found by the seeking Savior.