“IF I AM LOST”
During these past weeks the loss of loved ones from among our number has caused me to reflect upon the ultimate destiny of all mankind. The fact that this life is uncertain and death is sure has been emphasized in our minds once again. James, the brother of Christ, writes:
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14
And we are assured by the writer of the Hebrew letter that:
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Hebrews
And it doesn’t matter how young or how old we are if we are of sufficient age to understand and obey the commandments of God. Not only is life uncertain and death sure it is also sure that God will not let this earth stand forever.
II Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
And when we look at the sin and degradation around us, even in this land which is supposed to be a “Christian” nation, we wonder how much longer God will tolerate the antics of mankind.
Whatever time God decides to bring either our lives or this miserable ball of mud we live on to an end; we need to be prepared. In his warnings to Israel of God’s judgment to come the prophet writes:
Amos “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O
Matthew 25:32-34 “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” v.41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
There are going to be those whom God will reject, whom God will forget; even among those of his children.
Hosea 4:6 “6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
Those who forget the law of God, those who forget to honor God; God will not only for them but their children as well.
If I Am Lost
I Will Not Be Alone
If I am among those who are lost in eternity it is without any doubt that I will not be alone, I will have uncounted multitudes of company. First of all, the Apostle Paul assures us that whether we live or die we do not live or die to ourselves:
Romans 14:7 “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.”
Even in the beginning of time when Mother Eve committed the first sin on earth she was not alone in that transgression of the law of God. First of all, Satan the tempter was there with her:
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
She also had her husband and influenced him to sin as well.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Genesis 3:6
During the approximately 6000 years that have passed since that occasion there have been multiplied millions of people follow her footsteps. Jesus assured his disciples and us as well that the way to being eternally lost is broad, easy to find and there will be many that go that way.
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
In the only picture that scripture has given us of the period of rest after our lives have ended and that place we will reside before we are taken before our eternal judge we find that the one who was lost knew that he would not be alone. The rich man begged Father Abraham to warn his brothers to keep them from joining him:
Luke 16:27-28 “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”
And so it will be. Not only will we be lost but those that we may influence those who are nearest and dearest to us are most likely to be lost as well. As if we needed any other wrong charged to our account their souls will be our responsibility as well.
If I Am Lost
I Will Be Lost Forever
If I am lost, I will be lost forever, in punishment without end or relief. At the judgment, in the dividing of mankind between those who were to be saved and those who were lost our Lord describes the scene in our key scriptures this way:
Matthew 25:32:33 “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” v.41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
Our understanding of the nature of hell is so important that Jesus repeated his admonition.
Matthew 25:46 “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul also assures us that not only will heaven be eternal but hell will be eternal as well:
“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
God will not give men a second
chance! When we depart this earth in
death our record is sealed, our destiny is set, our eternal abode has been
determined. Now the Catholic denomination
teaches something different than that. In
the community where I grew up I saw widows, most of them poor as church mice,
who made regular visit to their priest and gave what little they had to have
special masses conducted, special prayers offered, to have their late husbands
absolved of their sin and removed from purgatory. This is a false doctrine, holding out a false
hope to people for monetary gain. In
Jesus’ description of the hadean world in Luke
-31 we find nothing that would indicate that such a teaching is true. In fact we find just the opposite; movement
between paradise and the torment of Hades was impossible:
“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence.” Luke 16:26
If I am lost I will be lost forever.
If I Am Lost
I Will Suffer Double Loss
If I am lost I will suffer a double loss. I will be eternally separated from God; I will trade the joys, comforts, and blessings of heaven for the pain, suffering and torment of hell. I will trade the opportunity to spend eternity with the faithful of God in a place so wonderful that words cannot describe it adequately for hell that is just as terrible as heaven is wonderful.
The Jews of Jesus’ day placed great confidence in the fact that they were God’s chosen people, a nation blessed by the Creator of the universe and keeper of all things. In fact many were somewhat arrogant about it, thinking that they could not be denied the richest blessings that God would give. When accused by Jesus of being the sons of the devil this was the response:
John 8:39-41 “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.”
They did not believe that they could be separated from God. We have a great many people in this world that believe the same thing today, even those among our brethren. But this is a false hope, a false confidence, a faith build upon man’s opinion, not the word of God. Jesus also said:
Matthew 8:11-12 “And I say
unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham,
and Isaac, and Jacob, in the
children of the kingdom, the children of God, these chosen people, both
Those that are lost will give up that glorious place that the Apostle John describes for us:
Revelation 21:18-21 “And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”
And trade that beautiful home for a place that Jesus describes as a place of “WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH” in Matthew , Matthew , Matthew 24:51 and others. A place of torment, Luke 16:28, Revelation 14:10-11; a place reserved for the beast, Satan, and his followers:
Revelation 20:10 “And the
devil that deceived them was cast into the
If I Am Lost
It Will Be My Fault
If I am lost eternally it will be my fault. It will be my fault because everything that can be done has been done that I might be saved to be with God and the children of God when I leave this world. If I am lost I cannot blame God. God because would that all men would be saved:
I Timothy 2:3-4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
God’s goodwill toward mankind has been manifested in that he has provided us with great and tremendous truths to lead us to salvation. That body of truth we find in the book of books that men call a Bible. That body of truth came into this world because God made a promise. When sin entered the world God promised Eve that through her seed He would bring one who would overcome sin. And he did.
John “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THE HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.”
God’s love for mankind, for his crowning creation was so great the He sent his only son into this world to live, suffer and die that we might have salvation from sin and everlasting life. It is through the “good news”, the gospel of his son Jesus Christ, the Word (John 1:1); preaching and teaching of Jesus and his disciples that salvation is brought to you and I.
Romans “FOR I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST; FOR IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH; TO THE FEW FIRST AND THEN ALSO TO THE GREEK.”
God will not waver from his promise because:
“THE LORD IS NOT SLACK CONCERNING HIS PROMISES, AS SOME MEN COUNT SLACKNESS; BUT IS LONGSUFFERING TO US-WARD, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.” II Peter 3:9
If we are lost we cannot blame God.
If we are lost we cannot blame the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Messiah, because he gave his life that you and I might live.
I John 4:9 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”
The Son of God left that beautiful home that the faithful will inherit to bring a means of salvation to mankind:
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Hebrews 2:9
He came to redeem us from our sin. He came to preserve us as a people, a people set aside, peculiar to the purpose of God. He invites all men to come and join those that are redeemed:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
If we are lost we cannot blame Jesus Christ.
If we are lost we cannot blame the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, of what men call the Holy Trinity. All down through the ages of man, the Holy Spirit has guided the prophets as instruments of God in what they wrote and what they taught.
II Peter “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
The scripture is not of human origin. The scripture is not of the will of man. The scripture was delivered by the men of God and they were directed by the Holy Spirit. But what the Holy Spirit gave man did not originate with him either. What the Holy Spirit gave men to record and preserve for our salvation was given by God himself:
II Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
If we are lost we cannot blame the Holy Spirit as he has provided all that God has commanded him to provide for our salvation.
If we are lost we cannot blame the angels because they stand ready as messengers of God to assist man in any way that God directs. They rejoice when one soul repents and turns to God.
Luke “LIKEWISE, I SAY UNTO YOU, THERE IS JOY IN THE PRESENCE OF THE ANGELS OF GOD OVER ONE SINNER THAT REPENTETH.”
If we are lost we cannot blame the church or its people. The church exists to teach, preach and persuade men to turn from their sin to God. If that ceases to be its purpose, then it ceases to be the church. The Word that it teaches is like that of Paul to Timothy:
I Timothy 3:15 “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. All who will are invited to come, hear, be converted and partake of the blessings of God found therein.
Revelation “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
If I am lost it will be only because I have denied that invitation to come and take “THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY.” If I am lost it will be because I have refused God’s word and God’s way. It is the responsibility of each one of us to save ourselves through our obedience to the Word of God. In the first gospel sermon ever preached the Apostle Peter as guided by the Holy Spirit:
Acts “…WITH MANY OTHER WORDS DIE HE TESTIFY AND EXHORT, SAYING, SAVE YOURSELVES FROM THIS UNTOWARD GENERATION.”
We as free moral agents, given that freedom by God when he created mankind have the privilege of accepting or denying God’s call to come to him in obedience. The scripture is plain and all sufficient – if we deny the invitation we are the only reason we would be lost in eternity. We are exhorted by the Apostle Paul:
Philippians 2:12 “WHEREFORE, MY BELOVED, AS YE HAVE ALWAYS OBEYED, NOT AS IN MY PRESENCE ONLY, BUT NOW MUCH MORE IN MY ABSENCE, WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING.”
Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling because we know the wrath of God, the destruction of the worlds and the punishment of the disobedient is assured.
Are you lost? Are you lost because you have not named the name of Christ in confession, repented of your past sins and put on Christ in baptism as we have been commanded in order to be added to the saved? Are you lost because there is sin in your life that you need to make right with God? If there is and it is private sin, repent of that sin and pray to God for his forgiveness. If it is a public sin that has brought reproach upon the church come to God in prayer and repentance, make yourself right with God. All who have need, all who will come now.