There was a time when reaching the lost was the top priority of evangelical churches. Sadly, many churches today focus far more on programs for their members than on how to fulfill The Great Commission. A great deal has been written about how to correct this serious issue, but all the strategizing in the world means nothing if we’ve lost our passion for the lost.
If we truly understood what the Bible says about the condition of the lost, then I believe it would light a fire in our hearts to be more intentional in sharing the Gospel. Take a moment to consider three things:
- They are sinners. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we are all born sinners. Romans 5:12 explains it this way, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” I can hear some of you right now, “But Christians are still sinners too, aren’t we?” Yes, believers can (and will) sin, but we experienced a positional change at the time of our salvation. In name, we moved from orphans to children. In nature, we died to the power of sin and received the nature of Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit. A person outside of Christ sins because they have only one nature – a sin nature. When a Christian sins it’s because he or she has chosen to act according to that old nature rather than submit to the Holy Spirit.
- They are separated. “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Biblically, to be separated from God is to be considered dead. A lost person can be morally good but spiritually dead. That’s why the rich young ruler was grieved after Jesus answered his question about eternal life; he was an upstanding citizen but was still separated from God (Mark 10:17-22). We often think of death as simply being non-existent, when in reality being separated from God is to exist without the love, hope, and help of Christ.
- They are sentenced. Without salvation lost people are condemned and sentenced to Hell – a place of eternal separation and sorrow with no hope of rescue or relief. You see, this earth is the best life those outside of Christ will ever experience. It doesn’t matter if they are healthy and wealthy or sickly and poor – this is as good as it gets. But Jesus said, “I have come to set the captives free” (Luke 4:18). Those who are sentenced can be saved! The best of this world is the worst we will ever experience if we are in Christ.
My prayer is that being reminded of the condition of the lost will burden you to pray and to go. Pray for the people you know who are without Christ, then determine to go and tell them about the love and forgiveness that you have found in Christ. Jesus desires to give them the same life and future that you and I have as His followers. The question is, have you lost your passion for the lost?