Friends: From August 3-5 I have the privilege of leading a group of young people at Dayspring Camp in Ironton, Mo., through a study of friendship evangelism. I want to take the next few posts to survey some of what we will be studying as we think about how we can become friends of sinners like Jesus was!
Session #1- A Theology of LOSTNESS!
Our primary text for the weekend will be Matthew 11 where we read Jesus saying, “18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
Dr. Francis Schaeffer, author of The God Who Is There and Escape from Reason said, “We have in a real sense lost sense of the lostness of the lost!” We must recover a sense of the lostness of the human being before God.
Jesus’ story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 is the best illustration of lostness, it seems to me. After discussing the lost sheep and the lost coin, the Lord speaks of the prodigal son who rejected his family, prematurely demanded his share of the inheritance, and went off and debauched himself. But the primary point of the story, I think, is not that son, but the older brother who resented the father’s joy and celebration when his renegade younger brother came to his senses and returned home. He essentially said to the father, “I’m constantly working in the fields for you and you’ve never even thrown a small party for me!” The older brother clearly represents the “Pharisees and the teachers of the law [who] muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (v. 2).
In their religiosity the Pharisees and the teachers of the law had lost a sense of their own lostness, counting on their own righteousness instead of the grace and mercy of God!
The human person does not enter this world spiritually neutral, but rather as an enemy of God (Rom. 5:10). And all who come into this world are lost and under the wrath of God (Jn. 3:36). Liberal theology teaches that we are all children of God and just need to learn how to live Christian lives. But creation does not equal redemption! According to the Lord Jesus, He came as “the Son of Man to seek and to save the lost.” (Lk. 9).
Many years ago a little boy and his twin sister became lost in a small community outside Boston. After they were missing for several hours, the police were called and a search party was organized. Meanwhile, the little boy and girl both showed up when they heard the commotion as the search party got organized. They asked what was going on and were told that a little boy and girl had been lost. For the next two hours they helped search for themselves!
People don’t search for themselves. Have you joined Jesus in His rescue mission to find lost people? (to be continued)