June 21, 2016 • By Ed Wrather
Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; and let Your judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments. – Psalm 119:175-176 NKJV.
Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings. – Jeremiah 3:22 NKJV.
For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. – Matthew 18:11 NKJV.
A man and a woman on their way from Baltimore to New York became lost during their drive. Somehow they turned onto an access road of the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, and things went downhill from there. When they arrived at a locked gate preventing entry to a sensitive area, why didn’t they just turn around? No, they did not turn around. Instead, the man apparently used a bolt cutter he just happened to have in his car to cut the chain which secured the gate. After the couple was arrested they claimed not to have seen the two “No Trespassing” signs on the gate. Both the man and the woman were arrested for trespassing; and when they were searched, the woman was found to have a small metal pipe which smelled of marijuana. The woman was also charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance. A spokesperson for the Atomic Power Station assured the public that the couple had been under surveillance the entire time. She also said there were several layers of security preventing entry into the most sensitive areas of the power station. (York Daily Record 05.29.16)
I have gotten “lost” a few times while driving, and one time I was so lost that I actually bought a map to find my location. I guess I could have asked someone for directions, but that would have been admitting failure violating the unwritten code of manhood to never ever ask for directions. Okay, I will confess, I have asked for directions a couple of times. However, I have never been so lost as to whip out my bolt cutters and cut the chain on a gate with two “No Trespassing” signs barring the way to a nuclear power plant. Of course, I have never been smoking pot while I was driving either. What kind of people are these? I do have some bolt cutters that are in my farm pickup, but I have never seen a need to carry bolt cutters around in my car.
Are you lost? There are at least three ways that we may in some way be lost on a spiritual level. The worst kind of lostness is to not know Jesus as your Savior. Jesus came to seek and to save you (Matthew 18:11). In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Jesus is addressing Revelation 3:20 to the members of the congregation at Laodicea; however, the context and terminology suggest that most were not authentic believers being without a saving knowledge of Jesus as their Savior. Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart and He wants to come in, will you let Him?
Another way we can be lost is that after we have come to know Jesus as our Savior, we then turn away at some point. The Old Testament speaks of this as “backsliding” (mentioned in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Hosea) in KJV or of choosing your own “willful ways” in the NIV. This is addressed in 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” A false claim of the critics of the apostle John was that believers are without sin, unable to sin. John makes it clear that this is not true and he gives us the solution to this form of lostness in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If you have chosen your own “willful ways” instead of God’s will, now is the time to confess those sins to the Lord.
A third way of being lost is when we have a broken spirit. Psalm 119:176 says, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says this about Psalm 119:175-176, “The last verse of the psalm is a cry from a broken spirit, not a confession of apostasy. The psalmist feels helpless, like a ‘lost sheep,’ and cries to his Good Shepherd to ‘seek’ him, for he has not neglected God or His word.” What is the solution to being lost? For all three types of lostness we just need Jesus. We must look unto Jesus “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).”