“Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it?" Luke 15:4
“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them," Luke 15:8
"because this son of mine was dead, and is alive again—he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate." Luke 15:24
Luke 15 is a chapter about what moves God's heart and the thing that God is passionate about is finding those who are lost!
So, what does it mean to be lost? If we don't understand the peril of lostness we won't possess the urgency of seeking the lost.
The lostness referred to here in these stories refers specifically to the spiritual condition of the lost one.
Being lost means:
- Being Disoriented
People were created for fellowship with God. Sin separates people from God. As Blaise Pascal insight-fully declared, "There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart." Until He is allowed to fill that spiritual void a person is lost and disoriented.
The sheep and the son were the two antimate beings in the three parables Jesus told. They were obviously disoriented as the longing in their hearts caused them to wonder from their place of safety and security. The further away they drifted the more disoriented they became.
- Being Displaced
The coin became lost when someone carelessly dropped it, or moved it or hid it in the wrong place. It had no way of returning to its rightful place. Until found it would remain displaced.
Lostness involves displacement. Adam's rebellion caused the human race to become displaced from the purpose and will of God. So you and me and everyone else comes into the world displaced.
- Being Deceived
Jeremiah the Prophet wrote, "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?"
Because we are born with flawed judgment and deceitful heart, we don't even know we are lost and drifting ever further from God.
That is how the sheep wondered away from its shepherd. It is why the son rejected the love and lavish provision of his father fulling expecting to satisfy the evil desires of his selfish heart.
- Being Disconnected
The result or by-product of being disoriented, displaced and deceived is a life disconnected from God's presence, God's power, God's purpose, God's peace, God's promises and God's pardon for their sins.
When you are disconnected from God your chances of connecting in healthy relationships with others greatly decreases.
The disconnected life is another sad consequence of being lost in sin.
- Being Dead
The lost coin was lost but obviously as an inanimate object it was not dead. But the lost sheep was headed to a certain death unguarded by the shepherd. It was only a matter of time until a wolf or a mountain lion preyed on the helpless sheep and shredding it to pieces. And the rebellious son who wandered away from his generous father was gone so long that he was presumed dead by his family.
The Bible talked about the spiritual condition of a person lost in sin, "Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins." Ephesians 2:1.
Being spiritually lost is a pitiful condition. It is a perilous condition. It is a condition that you are powerful to reverse or reform.
Only God can rescue lost people. Only His Son Jesus could provide for their salvation. That is why He came to seek and to save those who are lost!
That means you! That means me! That means once we are found by Jesus we must join him in the search for others who are lost!
Are you part of the search?