Monday, March 5, 2018
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The setting was a beautiful Christian conference center, nestled in this idyllic spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Now Rocky Mountain fans won't be impressed, but some of the mountains around the conference center rise to five or six thousand feet. I had been speaking there, and the director began to tell me some interesting stories from their last few months at the center; like the man they had to go looking for at the top of a nearby mountain in the middle of the night. See, he'd gone too far, and he'd stayed out too long. I asked the obvious question: "Well, was he lost?" The director said: "He didn't think he was."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Lost and Not Knowing It."
Being lost can be a dangerous thing. Being lost and not knowing you're lost, or not admitting it, can mean extreme danger-especially if you're spiritually lost. You're away from God, you're racing without knowing it toward an eternity without Him and you think you're doing just fine. If you're religious, or successful, or smart, things are going pretty well, you may be in the greatest danger of all of being lost and not knowing it, and as a result, ending up lost forever.
Jesus has made a lot of us people who don't seem lost give a second thought with His revealing story of these two men with very different views of their need for Him. In Luke 18, beginning with verse 9, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says: "To some who were confident of their own righteousness ... Jesus told this parable: 'Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee (that's the most religious people of Jesus' day) and the other a tax collector (usually regarded as some of the most sinful people in Jesus' day). The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'"
Jesus continues: "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.'" Wow! You and I are probably one of these two men; the person who looks around at a lot of people who are much worse off and thinks, "Well, you know what? I'm doing okay." But we're not right with God. Or we're the person who says, "I know I'm lost. I know I have no hope of being forgiven. I have no hope of going to heaven except You, Jesus." Which one is you? The difference is the difference between heaven and hell.
Romans 3:10 bursts all our self-sufficient, self-righteous bubbles when it says: "There is none righteous, not even one." But if you don't think or you won't admit you're lost, you'll never reach out in desperate faith to the only One who can bring you home, and that is Jesus, the Son of God. He died for your sins because there was absolutely no other way for you to know God or get into His heaven.
Pride might be the number one reason people will end up in hell instead of the heaven they were sure they were going to. But they never admitted they were lost. They never pinned all their hopes on their only hope, Jesus, the Savior. God's not willing to just leave you lost. He sent His Son for you. He doesn't want to lose you, and He's come to where you are today to give you this chance to admit that you are what He says you are-lost, and to finally surrender your pride and bow down at Jesus' feet.
This could be your day to say, "God, be merciful to me a sinner and save me, for Jesus' sake." Finally free. Finally His. If you're ready to make the Savior your Savior, would you tell Him that today, "Jesus, I'm yours."
I invite you to check out our website, where there's a lot more information about how to be sure you're going to heaven. It is ANewStory.com.
There are two choices. Don't admit you're lost and be lost forever. Admit you're lost and be found forever. The stakes are eternal.