Summary: It’s the job of Christians to search for the lost.
Search for Lost Sinners Luke 15:1-10
We all have lost something during some point in our lives. We’ve misplaced keys. We’ve forgot our watches and wallets. We may even have lost a pet dog or cat once. What did we do when we noticed that these things were missing? Did we search for them? Often it depends on the need or the urgency at the time. If it’s something we need, we start searching right away.
What about people that are lost? What do we do when a person turns up missing? What if our son, daughter, husband or wife mysteriously disappeared? Would we search for them? Of course we would. Our family is near and dear to our hearts and minds. They are not something that can be replaced. They are important parts of our lives. We would spend as much time and money as necessary to find our loved ones and return them to their homes.
We’ve seen posters in Wall-Mart stores, Post Offices and on the windows of restaurants explaining that a child and loved one is lost and needs to be found. We’ve made it a part of our culture by bringing the news of missing persons to the front of our television programs. We’ve determined that searching for people is so important, that we’ve forced our government agencies to set up police forces, fire departments and even special search and rescue teams to find, protect and save lives. Today, we even have a system known as the Amber Alert to assist with finding kids. People are important to us and we dedicate our money, time and talents to search for those who are lost.
We should search for the Lost
Last week, a plane flying during a storm, crashed in the mountains of Montana with five people aboard. When the plane crash, it started a fire in the tree line near where it rested. Due to the location of the crash, the fire, and the fact that the plane landed upside-down, the local Sheriff called off a search and declared all five dead. However, the following day two survivors were found. They had walked the 2 ½ miles from the crash site to civilization. A third person who also survived the crash, had died the previous night. Had he been found fast enough, perhaps he also would have survived.
When someone is lost, there is no time to hesitate. We must respond immediately to ensure that that person can be saved.
This is no different from our own spiritual battles on earth. We do not know when judgment day will be upon us. But, how often do we fail to talk to those around us and explain the love of Christ to those we deal with every day? How many times do we see things that are contrary to God’s will and yet we do nothing and we say nothing? How many times do we fail to search for those who we believe are lost? Do we know everyone around us has been found and saved? Often, we too call off the search before the lost have even been looked for.
In Matthew 15:24 Jesus says that he “was sent only to the lost sheep.” He was not here for those who were already saved, but for those who were lost. But, who did Jesus focus his attention on? Did he spend all His time in the temples to convert the Jews? No, He spent His time talking to tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves and other people considered to be the bottom of society. He spoke to those who lacked moral and ethical values. He spoke to sinners and those who had lost their way. In Luke 19 Jesus talked to Zacchaeus, a tax collector, and rejoiced when Zachaeus found the way. Jesus spend most of his life searching for the lost and rejoicing when He found them.
But, Jesus searched for those considered faithful as well. In the Epistle lesson of First Timothy, Paul talks about the grace that God bestowed on him. Saul was the great oppressor of the Christians and very active in the Temples. He was considered by many to be doing the will of God. He spoke out against the followers of Jesus. He hunted them and murdered them. But, God used Saul and molded him into the great missionary, Paul. Saul was lost, but Paul was found. We rely heavily on Paul for guidance and direction today. God took a sinner such as Saul and turned him into the great tool of missionary work, Paul.
Searching for the Lost today
But, our society today is not all that much different from those of previous ages. Paul contended with idol worship in nearly every city, corruption of government and politics and of the persecution of the masses. Our society is complacent. They have discovered the love of money and placed it as the highest level of achievement. Business rules have replaced the ten commandments and the rule of law has replaced justice for the victims of crimes. We have lost love for our fellow man and replaced it with the attitude “what’s in it for me”