Am I Lost?
Read: Matthew 18:10-14. This text records a statement Jesus made
about the very purpose of His coming. It reads, “For the Son of Man has come
to save that which was lost” (18:11).
These words tell us that Jesus’ life-purpose was to rescue
or “save” those whom He calls the “lost” (18:11).
Jesus is likened to the shepherd that goes looking for a sheep
that has strayed (18:12-14).
Who are these people
whom Jesus refers to as the “lost”? What constitutes a condition that
makes causes someone to be considered “lost”? This morning let’s examine
what the Bible tells us about this, moving towards the very personal question—Am
I. Causes of Sin and Its
Things that cause one “to sin.”
seriousness of influencing another person to “to sin” (Matt. 18:1-6)
warning not to yield to things in our own life that may cause us “to sin” (Matt.
it is not avoided one may be “cast into the everlasting fire” (18:8b).
may be “cast into hell fire” (18:9b).
this we may conclude that “the lost” whom Jesus has come “to save” are
those in danger of being condemned to hell as a result of sin.
II. Things Lost and Found.
A. The parable
of the shepherd with ninety-nine sheep (Matt. 18:12-14) is restated in the
gospel of Luke. In the fifteenth chapter of the gospel of Luke Jesus teaches
three parables about lost things.
He tells about a shepherd who left ninety-nine other sheep to search for one
sheep that was lost (Luke 15:3-7).
He tells about a woman with ten coins, who searched to find one that was lost (Luke
may be more than just an issue of frugality. Women in the Near East even to
this day often wore headbands or necklaces made of small coins with holes in
them strung together.
so, the loss of one coin would make the ornament incomplete.
He tells about a father with one faithful son and one who left his father to
live a sinful life (Luke 15:11-32).
the unfaithful son returns, the father rejoiced, just as the shepherd and the
woman did with each thing that “was lost and is found” (Luke 15:32).
It is clear that Jesus used each of these parables to illustrate the
condition of one “lost” in sin and in danger of hell, but His words tell
us more about these people.
from Jesus’ teaching it is evident that things that are “lost” once belonged
belong to God in our entrance into this world, but sin changes our relationship
at once refutes the idea of inherited original sin. If are born condemned
because of Adam’s sin we have never belonged to God—we would have been
alienated from God from birth.
truth is, we are in fellowship with God in the innocence of youth, and this is
only compromised when as accountable souls we commit sin.
it is also evident that God, like the father, the shepherd, and the woman is emotionally
moved by the loss of each soul that is alienated from Him, and when
reconciliation with each lost thing takes place there is joy.
explains why Deity would make it the life-purpose of Jesus to “save
that which is lost”—He cares about us.
III. Darkness and the
Shadow of Death.
in the gospel of Matthew the Holy Spirit revealed that Jesus’ life fulfilled a
prophecy that Isaiah declared years before Jesus came to earth. This too
describes something about Jesus’ life-purpose.
reads, “The people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who
sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned” (Matt. 4:12-16;
from Isa. 9:2). Here the Scripture speaks of those “in darkness” and the
“shadow of death,” but to what does this refer and how might this relate
to the purpose of Jesus’ coming?
of all, it addresses a principle that has been a truth of man’s existence from
the beginning—“the soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).
When a person violates God’s will as revealed in Scripture, either by
committing an act prohibited (1 John 3:4) or by failing to do what is commanded
(Jas. 4:17) he or she “sins.”
Since this is a violation of God’s will, it is a sin against God.
we sin, even if it is only one sin—even if it is something that might seem to
us to be “minor,” it compromises our relationship with God separating us from
helps us understand the “darkness” described in Isaiah’s prophecy.
John called the practice of sin walking in darkness. He wrote, “If
we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do
not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6).
ii. In sin we are
separated from God. In sin we are “in darkness.” In sin we are “lost.”
IV. Spiritual Death.
separation is a condition the Bible speaks of as spiritual death. We can see
this from the warning given to the very first couple before they committed sin.
were told, “The day that you eat of it you shall surely die”(Gen. 2:17).
did not die physically, but “the day” that they sinned they were
spiritually separated from God.
same thing has happened to every accountable soul the very first time we ever committed
sin—we died spiritually. We were “lost.”
Is this true for only a few very wicked people?
Paul taught, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom.
who sin become “lost” in sin.
V. The Nature of God.
this because God is picky? Is God unforgiving? No! It has to do with His very
declared by the Holy Spirit, “God is light, in Him is no darkness at all” (1
very nature is such that nothing about Him is sinful, wicked, or evil.
can something pure come in contact with something that is impure and still remain
pure? Illustration: Imagine that I gave you a glass of pure clean water,
and you asked if it was clean to drink. What would you think if I said, “Yes,
it is pure, it only has one drop of poison in it!” Would you drink it? Of
course not. Pure water is not polluted by impurities or it is no longer pure.
The Holy Sprit led Habakkuk to declare of God, “You are of purer eyes
than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Hab. 1:13).
by His very nature must be completely separate from sin.
VI. The Death of Jesus.
A. So, if sin separates us from God, and “all
have sinned” who are the “lost”?
1. Every soul capable of sin, when he or
she has sinned is “lost.”
a. In such a condition (as we noticed earlier)
this sin will ultimately lead to “eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46).
B. So how is it that Jesus came “to
save” us from this condition?
1. How has Jesus brought light that delivers
us from “darkness”?
2. How does His coming overcome sin’s separation
of us from God?
C. While in the past God provided other
ways to address the problem of sin, since the time of Christ He now provides
only one—the death of Jesus for our sins.
D. The prophet Isaiah, centuries before
the coming of Jesus, foretold, by the direction of the Holy Spirit, what Jesus’
coming would accomplish for all who are willing to accept it.
1. Jesus was, “wounded for our
transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:1-5).
a. We deserved punishment because of
our rebellion against God, but Jesus accepted a measure of what was due to us
in our place.
2. On Jesus, in His death, “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us
all” (Isa. 53:6).
a. Jesus had no sin, nor did He become
guilty of our sins, but God accepted Christ’s death as a sacrificial payment
for our debt of sin.
3. God the Father, accepted the death of
God the Son as “an offering for sin” (Isa. 53:7-10).
4. Through this offering, it can be said
that, “He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors”
a. By Jesus’ death He satisfied the
purity and justice of God, but also demonstrated divine mercy whereby He may “save
that which was lost.”
this automatic—did Jesus’ death automatically save every lost soul independent
of any action on the part of those “lost” as a result of sin? No.
A. The message
of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf is the “good news” (or “gospel”) of
salvation. Paul called it, “The power of God to salvation for everyone who
believes” (Rom. 1:16-17).
1. If I don’t
believe in Jesus as the sacrifice for my sin, His death is of no benefit to me.
B. I must be
willing to accept this “power of God to salvation” by being obedient to its
message. Paul told the Thessalonians that punishment will come to, “Those
who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8).
1. How do I obey
C. I must die
with Christ. Paul taught that in baptism into Christ for the remission of sins
we are “buried with Him through baptism into His death” (Rom. 6:4).
1. If I have
not been buried with Christ, I am still in my sin—I am still “lost.”
2. But, from baptism
Paul says we are then “raised with Him through faith in the working of God” (Col.
D. Living a new
life in Christ means things must be different.
1. I must turn
away from sin—Jesus says we must repent or perish (Luke 13:3).
2. I must live
in obedience to God’s word—Jesus says those who abide in His word are truly His
disciples (John 8:31).
3. I must have
the courage to tell others of my faith in Jesus—Jesus says if we confess Him He
will confess us to the Father (Matt. 10:32-33).
4. If sin
comes into my life again, I must confess it to the Lord and turn from it
immediately. John teaches if we confess He is faithful and just to forgive (1