“And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.”
Five times in this chapter the word “lost” is used. When reading this chapter, you have to realize that the LORD is not talking about someone who is not saved; rather, He is talking about a saved person getting losing their way. No, a saved person can NEVER lose their salvation, but it is obvious that they can lose their way in sin or the world.
Jesus used three parables to describe how the believer can be lost. A believer can get lost in the crowd, as we learn from the parable of the lost sheep. A believer can get lost because of our actions towards them. Finally, a believer can get lost in the lusts of the world.
Though I could deal with each of these, I want to focus more on the word lost. The word “lost” has several definitions that show what can happen to a believer. To be lost can mean that someone loses their way, or has strayed from what they are supposed to be. The important thing in this chapter is the concern of the Saviour for those saved believers who have been lost. Let me share several thoughts with you about your treatment of those who have lost their way.
First, a person who loses their way should never be cast away. In all three parables, the Saviour was concerned with how to bring the lost back. Just because a believer loses their way in sin does not mean that we should cast them out. The person who has lost their way in sin could become a great asset to the ministry if you cared enough to go seek them out and try to bring them back into service with the LORD. Because someone loses their way does not make them an evil person; rather, it makes them a person who needs help to find their way. It should never cross your mind that it is good riddance to bad rubbish when a believer loses their way. My friend, don’t throw away people just because they have made some poor decisions.
Second, a person who loses their way simply needs to be helped so they can find their way. The emphasis of the Saviour in these parables was finding that which was lost. We should be as concerned with bringing back a believer who has lost their way as we are about reaching the lost for Christ. It is sad that many believers are very hateful towards those who have lost their way, but compassionate towards those who are lost in sin and need a Saviour. You should give a full effort to restoring the believer who has lost their way as much as you do in reaching the lost soul that is on their way to Hell.
Third, never give up on the believer who has lost their way. The verse above says to “go after that which is lost, until he find it…” My friend, you can go after the believer who has lost their way by praying for them, reaching out to them to encourage them to come back, and by loving them in spite of what they have done. If a believer who has lost their way were as precious to you as they are to the Saviour, you would never stop trying to bring them back until you help them to find their way again.
Believers will lose their way because of sin and the world, but they are still people about whom the LORD cares. Let me encourage you never to stop seeking a way to bring the believer who has lost their way back into the fold.