Summary: We need to understand: 1. People are eternally lost withhout Jesus Christ. 2. Lost people matter to God. 3. Lost people should matter to us.
Calvin Coolidge was vice president of the United States between 1921-1923, under President Warren Harding. He was not a very active vice president, but he took great pleasure in presiding over the Senate. One day, as he was presiding, one senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The offended Senator openly complained to Coolidge as the presiding officer. Coolidge was leafing through the book of rules as he made his complaint. He looked up from the book and replied: “I’ve looked through the rule book. You don’t have to go.”
That is the good news that we have to share with the world. We have looked it up in God’s book. No one has to go to hell, for the Bible says that he, “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). The heart of God beats for every human being and longs for them to be with him in eternity. Every human being bears the stamp of God on their soul, for they were made in his image. He created them and came to redeem them. To live apart from Christ and not experience the presence of his Spirit in your life is the greatest tragedy of human existence. You can have everything this world has to give, but if you do not have Christ you have nothing. You may have more than enough money, great looks, great education, great family, but if you do not know Jesus Christ in a personal way, you have missed the point of this life. Jesus put it like this: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
With that in mind, I want to say, first of all, that when it comes to sharing Christ with others, you must understand that: People are eternally lost without Christ. This is a truth that is often overlooked in our culture. We have redefined sin and softened the Gospel to the point where we really don’t believe that people are lost without Christ. We can’t imagine that anyone could possibly be in spiritual danger. “As long as they are sincere,” we say. “They were religious in their own way,” I have often heard. “They were such a good person that I am sure they are in heaven.” Those are nice sentiments, but are they true?
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
When people talk about their children, they say they only want them to be happy. Is that all we want for our children? Are we concerned whether or not they are moral? Are we concerned whether or not they have a relationship with Jesus Christ that is real? Are we concerned about whether they are going to spend eternity with God or without him? They may be attractive, intelligent people, but are they living for God or themselves? The Bible says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
Increasingly, there is a tendency to believe that all good people, whether or not they consider Jesus Christ to be their Savior, will live in heaven after they die. In 1992 40% of people surveyed agreed with this notion. In 1994 the percentage had grown to 46%. By 1999 53% of the people surveyed said they believed that all good people would go to heaven, regardless of their religion or relationship to Jesus Christ. The Bible says of Jesus: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). There is a judgment coming, and it is important that we are ready to face God at the judgment. If we have ignored Jesus Christ we will never see God. If we are living selfish, immoral lives there will be a price to pay. The Bible says, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:1-3).
This is our motivation for bringing people to Christ. We believe in an old fashioned idea called hell. We want to prevent people from going there. We do not want our loved ones, friends or anyone else to be eternally separated from God. What good will it do if someone is successful and happy here if they spend an eternity in hell? The apostle Paul said, “It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That’s why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11, The Message).