Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Do you love lost people?

On Monday, I asked the question, "Do you love the church?" Now, it's time to consider the flip side of the coin. Do you love lost people?

I'm not talking here about "loving the world and the things in the world." 1 John 2:15 forbids such worldliness. I'm talking about loving lost people. Do you love spending time with the lost, talking with them, getting to know them, and serving them? Does your heart burn with compassion for their souls? Or do you, like the Pharisees, turn your nose up at the "sinners" of this world and avoid them like the plague?

Are you interested enough in lost people to build a relationship and bring the gospel to them? Be warned: evangelism is a messy business.

Ed Stetzer, in his book, Comeback Churches, has this to say:

Most Christians don't like lost people. We wish it were not so, but it is. Lost people don't think like us; they often don't vote like us; they influence our kids; they don't know our inside references to Dobson, Left Behind, and Dave Ramsey. They are not "our" people. Let's face it: people outside of Christ can be messy! Most of the time there is at least one or more divorces, meaning blended families. Their credit card debt is so high that they cannot be financial givers to the church. Their kids can be unruly, putting marks on the clean walls of the church building and running around unrestrained. They do not often know the unspoken "cues" in "our church" - when to stand; how we act; what version of the Bible we read from; that when the pastor asks a question from the front, usually we are not expected to call out an answer; and so forth. Comeback churches made the hard decision that they will love the lost as much as Jesus did." (p. 62)
Now notice how Jesus ministered to the lost. He mingled with them. He treated them with dignity and compassion. And this resulted in many of them hearing and accepting the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ:
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, "Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?" But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matt. 9:11-13)
May the church share in Jesus' strategy to reach the lost by loving them and serving them, in order that we might more effectively bring the gospel to them.

Photo credit: goofegal

1 comment:

David said...

Hummm... love lost people. I'm learning. Christianity is so cultural that a lot of our lost people think they're saved... because, you know, they do good stuff.

Anyway, that is an area I'm working on. I go to Celebrate Recovery adn really try to put myself in crowds I wouldn't normally move in; even within the church. Actually, I find that at times there is a refreshing honesty among the lost!

Pray that I love the lost more.