Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19 / Luke 16:19-17:10 / Psalm 45:10-17
One of the top ten television series of all time was “Lost”. It was a drama series containing elements of science fiction and the supernatural. Lost followed the survivors of a crashed commercial passenger jet on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. There is another drama series played out everyday in our world and it follows the true “lostness of man”.
What does it mean to be lost? “Unable to find one’s way, unable to be found or recovered, unable to ascertain one’s whereabouts.” Jesus tells a story about a rich man and Lazarus. In the eyes of the world, Lazarus was lost, “confused, bewildered or helpless”. He was a beggar, covered with sores and longed “to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.” (Luke 16:21) People saw the physically hopeless, confused, helpless and lost condition of Lazarus but were oblivious to the spiritual lostness of the rich man.
The rich man was lost, “morally fallen, lost soul.” He attained the riches and best of this world but neglected God’s world of redemption. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried…. in hell” (vs.22,23) Lazarus experienced the lostness of the world but was about to enjoy the fullness of eternity. The rich man enjoyed the fullness of the world but now would experience the tormenting lostness of eternity.
The rich man was so busy enjoying life; he didn’t even consider eternity…until it was too late. He would spend his eternity begging for water, mercy and help. Hell is a place of regrets recounting the many opportunities where God’s message of love and gift of salvation were rejected. The rich man would spend an eternity separated from God with moral remorse and the consciousness of grief and regret.
Concern for his brothers was paramount for the rich man. He wanted to warn his five brothers and asked Abraham to send Lazarus back warning them, “so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” (vs.28) His brothers were lost, “beyond reach, communication or influence.” Did you know that the greatest evangelists are in hell? If we could only catch a glimpse of the eternal torment, separation and lostness of man, it would move us to passionate pleas for repentance.
Abraham told the rich man his brothers had Moses and the prophets as a witness of redemption. The world today has the witness of The Word and The Redeemed. It’s up to us to reach the lost yet evangelism cannot fall into the category of lost, “no longer known or practiced; a lost art.” Do not look upon the spiritually lost as a lost cause, “beyond recovery or redemption; fallen or destroyed.” God put His prevention plan in place to save the lost when He sent His only begotten Son to die for man’s sin and lostness. The power of the cross, and the love of God are greater than any stronghold of satan…the world is not a lost cause!