A Heart for the Lost

by Bill Denton

And Jesus said to him, Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost' " (Luke 19:9-10

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"I did not like to think that he was lost. He was good, kind, and caring. I liked to be with him; he made me happy. I trusted him. He would stand by me if I needed him. There was a problem. I knew he was lost.

—Jimmy Jividen

It is not something we want to think. The idea that people are lost, condemned, destined for eternal separation from God is not a happy thought. It's something we resist. Intellectually, we might know the arguments, but emotionally it grates on us. Unfortunately, it is the thing we must face if we are ever to evangelize our world.

I am convinced that this is one of the reasons we do not make greater efforts at evangelism. On an intellectual level we understand the problem of sin and that sin causes people to be lost. We know they are estranged from God. We know they are spiritually dead. We know they are condemned. But our heart just isn't in it.

It's why we don't tell the good news of Jesus to the folks next door. It's why we don't send missionaries to far-away lands. It's why we prefer the comfort of our buildings and the familiarity of our congregations rather than risk the hassles, problems, and changes of bringing in those "other" people. It's why we choose to spend our time on religious "busy work" rather than invest in preaching the gospel. It's why too many people will die lost.

The commission that Jesus gave His disciples was to preach the gospel to the world. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and He has sent us to continue that search. Our job is to preach and teach the gospel. In familiar biblical terminology, our task is to "sow the seed." While we cannot determine people's response, we can give them something to which to respond. The Apostle Paul said that he was "not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation."

If we are ever to accomplish the task the Lord gave us, we must settle these three things: 1) people are lost, 2) the gospel is the power to save, and 3) our job is to preach that gospel so they can be saved.

The question will always be: "Is our heart in it?"

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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