(Article for publication week of 12-5- AD 2013)
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost" (Luke 19:10).
Dear reader, have you ever been lost? I ask you not "have you been saved?”, but I ask you rather, "Have you ever been lost?" Mark it down dear ones, if you have never been lost, you surely have never been saved, for the only ones that Christ saves are those who are lost.
Many years ago when the power of God was upon Pastor L. R. Shelton in the New Orleans area, one of his hearers told her neighbour, "You need to come hear my preacher so you can get lost"! Oh! how we need such an awakening ministry in our day! This is the great need of the hour, to get men lost. I fear we have pulpits and pews filled with people who have never been convinced by the Holy Spirit that they are lost sinners. We have multitudes who have "decided for Jesus" and such other mess who have bypassed Holy Spirit conviction. We have a whole generation of religionists who have never felt the plague of their heart nor seen their utterly lost condition. We have those all around us who have a false peace, and false prophets crying "peace, peace," when there is no peace. We have folks who can sing "Amazing Grace" like nobody's business, but they haven't a clue what John Newton meant when he said, "I once was lost"! Dear reader, have you ever been lost?! This is an eternally important question, for if you have never been lost, you surely have never been found, I don't care if you know every verse of "Amazing Grace" by heart and can sing it frontward and backwards.
Now what does it mean to be lost? A lost sinner is a sinner who has been convinced by the Holy Ghost that he is indeed a thousand talents in debt, and has not a farthing to pay. A lost sinner is one who has read in God's word that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" and knows it is talking about himself. A lost sinner has felt the terror of the law of God rightfully condemning him to an eternal lake of fire. A lost sinner is one who can sing from the heart "Show pity Lord, oh Lord forgive, let a repenting rebel live;" and "if my soul were sent to hell, Thy righteous law approves it well" (Isaac Watts). A lost sinner is one who has felt in his very soul that he is indeed too sinful for the Lord to save. A lost sinner is one who hates sin in himself, more than sin in his neighbour. A lost sinner is one who feels himself unable to pray. A lost sinner is one who feels his repentance is a lie, and his faith is insufficient. A lost sinner repents of his prayers, and prays over his repentance. A lost sinner is one who says, "Oh! wretched man that I am." A lost sinner is one who abhors himself and knows that he is a loathsome thing in the eyes of the thrice-Holy God. A lost sinner is one who has been emptied of all his self-righteousness. A lost sinner is one who really believes he is no more than a worm in the sight of God. A lost sinner has lost all his "self esteem", and is made to cry unto God, "Lord save, or I perish!"
Do I describe anybody's case? Is there a lost sinner anywhere in Simpson County? Is there a lost sinner among my readers? Well, if you are lost, I have a gospel to preach to you! Christ came into the world to save you! Though you know yourself to be a vile wretch, Christ is able and willing to save the vilest of the vile. I leave you with the precious words of Christ to sinners, "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." May the Holy Spirit convict some of their sins and draw them to the mercy seat this day.