To me, the word “lost” is one of the most heartbreaking words in the English language. Its usage generally carries a sense of conclusiveness or finality. For example, a basketball team is eliminated in a tournament and LOSES its chance at a championship. Or a man misplaces his wallet and soon realizes that his cash and credit cards are forever LOST. A loved one tragically dies and we grieve over the fact that we have LOST that person. Yes, to be LOST is tragic.
Surprisingly, that is precisely the word that Jesus uses to describe those who are outside of the realm of His grace. The word translated “lost” comes from the Greek verb apollumi, which means to perish or to be destroyed. Here are a few verses where the word is used in the New Testament…
Luke 19:10 – For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.
John 3:16 – For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish (not be lost) but have eternal life.
II Corinthians 4:3 – If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing (lost).
If those without Jesus are lost, what are the ramifications of such a truth? And, how should those of us who have been found respond?
1. Those without Jesus are in grave danger
I am afraid we often fail to realize the precarious situation of those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. They are not simply unreligious, uninterested, or uninformed. We should not define them as spiritually lackadaisical, lazy or just too learned. No, they are LOST! Without Jesus Christ they are headed towards a final and conclusive destruction. In Matthew 7:13 Jesus said, “…for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.”
2. Jesus is the only hope for those who are lost
Yes, being lost is terrible and tragic. Yet, just because an individual is presently headed for destruction does not necessitate that he be lost for all of eternity. Although man is lost, depraved and unable to find himself, Jesus is searching for those who will come to Him. David Jeremiah in his book Captured by Grace says that “in Jesus total depravity meets its match in total grace; one infinite value cancels out another”(Captured by Grace, p. 33). The truth being that only Jesus can find and rescue those who are lost.
So, who do you know that is LOST? If you and I knew that a friend or family member was headed towards physical danger we would do everything in our power to warn them. Why do we not feel that same urgency about their spiritual destruction? Why are we not pleading with God to save them?
What can we do for those who are lost?
- Make a list of friends and relatives who have not committed their lives to Jesus.
- Pray for them everyday, that God would make their hearts sensitive to Him and that He would draw them to Himself.
- Love them as Jesus loves them.
- Look for a God-given opportunity to invite them to church, share your testimony or tell them about Jesus.