ST. LOUIS – Finding and saving people who are “lost” must be a priority for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), said Rev. David S. Smith, senior pastor, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Des Peres, Mo.
Smith led a Bible study, “Grieve for the Lost,” Tuesday (July 13) at the LCMS 62nd Regular Convention.
“The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost,” said Smith, quoting from Luke 19:10. “There is no greater task given to us as the people of God. There is no message more important than the Gospel.”
Noting that Christians are “ambassadors,” he said Christians must carry the message of reconciliation to “the lost ones that our Savior Himself came to save.”
Smith said, “The message of reconciliation, the message of the Gospel in our own lives, is the reason we grieve for the lost and work to get the Gospel to them. It must be a priority in our Synod, in our districts and in our churches. It is the greatest priority to God — He showed us that by sending His own Son.”
Many people don’t know they are lost, Smith said. They live in a culture that says good is evil and evil is good, and “are surrounded by civil unions, gay ‘marriage,’ living together out of wedlock, legal euthanasia and abortion,” he said.
Many people are told they must be tolerant and cannot force their views on others. They don’t believe in Scripture, the reality of evil and Satan, and believe everyone will get to heaven somehow, he added.
“Many Christians, too, believe in these very things,” Smith said. “They don’t even know the present and eternal dangers before them. They are lost.”
Quoting several Bible passages, Smith said God grieves for people who are lost.
“God has a heart for the strays, the lost ones who have become lost in a world that chases after philosophies of every kind, from the voices of the New Age to the voices of the culture with its insatiable desire for sex, power, money and the will to do what you want when you want,” he said. “The very nature of God is to care for the lost ones.”
Smith urged delegates to seek out and care for people who are lost. It is sinful to suggest that people who are lost must “find us,” he said. “To become so wrapped up in our selves, our parish, our people, our district, our Synod that we forget the lost, ignore the lost or simply are filled with apathy for the lost is and will always remain sin.”
Finally, Smith argued that Christians must grieve for “lost” people and be willing to do something about it. He reminded delegates that God sent Jesus Christ to find people who are lost.
“We were lost and God, by His grace in His love through His Son, reached out and found you and me,” Smith said. “We were lost and God found us not to scold but to forgive, nourish, care for, bless and give us life now and forever.”
Posted July 13, 2004