“I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment. (Ezekiel 34:16)
Deb and I had fished this young man out of the congregation and were extracting his testimony as we drove to dinner. He told us about his wonderful church back home, the youth group and the camps. It was a glowing report of spiritual life. Then I asked him, “Gary, how does Jesus fit into what you have experienced?” There was silence in the back seat. It was more than a pregnant pause, it was an eternity. Finally, he broke the silence, “I really don’t know.” The only thing he had missed was the boat!
The lost can be closer to us than we think. I remember the bumper sticker, “Know Jesus, Know Peace. No Jesus, No Peace.” Essentially it boils down to following Jesus Christ (1 Jn 2.6). When I say ‘following’ I’m not talking about a grasp of the data. I’m talking about an intimate understanding of who Jesus is and a living faith that is evident in one’s life. Our churches are full of people who acknowledge Jesus as an historical figure, but do they embrace Him as their way of life (1 Jn 2.3)?
Then there are the lost that wouldn’t set foot in a church if you paid them. They are hostile to the Gospel of God. Jesus is simply another word of profanity. We see these people as the ‘far lost’ (Rom 1.28-32). So from the religious person who doesn’t know Christ to the one who is hostile to His Name and everyone in between, these are the lost. As I said earlier, unless you are a monk you probably associate with them all.
If two men were trying to jump a ravine and one missed by 10 feet and the other by 2 inches, both plummet to their death. It is the same result no matter how close they were to the other side. The objective was not to see how close you can get but to get safely on other side!
The distinction between the near and far lost will definitely have an impact on our approach. But the fact that they are lost still remains. The point is that most of us are living among the lost already (Lk 10.2). Now the question is how will we labor among them?
A Love Hate Relationship with Evangelism
LOST – They are not on an Island!
Evangelism: Methods or Majesty
Reaching the Far Lost, How would Jesus do it?
The Near Lost – Low Hanging Fruit
A Strategy for the Near Lost
Inside Out Witnessing
The Shocking Reality – Cold Contacts
Do Not Feed the Lost?
Leaders: Do the Math
A Summary of the Living and Discipling Among the Lost