Who Is Lost?

Text: II Thessalonians 1:3-10


I.         Whenever I’ve published material which is read by people who claim to be Christians but are not living by God’s word, I’ve received complaints.

            A.        “Why are you bothering with this issue? You should be seeking the lost instead. All you are doing is causing division among God’s people.”

            B.        I’ve received complaints like these when talking about:

                        1.         Miraculously speaking in tongues has ceased

                        2.         The Sabbath day is no longer kept

                        3.         Sex before marriage is sinful

            C.        The idea that “we ought to be spending time seeking out the lost” brings up an interesting point. Just who are the lost? Because I don’t think these people understand who is lost.

            D.        You’ve heard the old story about the wife suggesting her husband stop and ask for directions. “Oh, no, I don’t need directions. I know exactly where I am.”

                        1.         Most people are in the same when it comes to religion.

                        2.         They are positive they are all right because they are in that spot right now.

                        3.         Few people think they are lost.

                        4.         And few want their current mistakes pointed out.

II.        Are all who claim to be Christians saved?

            A.        I John 4:1 - We are warned not to believe everyone’s claim.

                        1.         What would you expect a false teacher to do?

                        2.         “Hi, I’m John and I’m a false teacher.”

                        3.         Some know they teach falsely but disguise themselves. But others are deceived by their own false doctrine.

            B.        So how can you tell?

                        1.         There are traits of a true teacher we ought to look for. This is not a complete list, but it does get us started.

                        2.         I John 3:24 - A true Christian keeps God’s commandments

                        3.         I John 4:2-3 - A true Christian acknowledges that Jesus Christ came to this earth in the flesh

                        4.         I John 4:5-6 - A true Christian listens to the teachings of the apostles and not the teachings of the world

                        5.         I John 4:7-8 - A true Christian loves his fellow Christians and loves God.

                        6.         I John 4:13 - A true Christian has the spirit of God

                        7.         I John 4:15 - A true Christian confesses that Jesus is the Son of God

                        8.         I John 5:1 - A true Christian believes that Jesus is the Christ and loves his brethren

            C.        Satan’s followers wear disguises - II Corinthians 11:13-15

            D.        Thus membership in a well-known congregation is no guarantee that an individual is sound - Acts 15:24

            E.        Therefore, we must be watchful for those who do not live by the gospel - Romans 16:17-19

III.       Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee future salvation

            A.        Ezekiel 18:20 - The one who sins is guilty

            B.        Salvation for the wicked is possible because the past is not counted - Ezekiel 18:21-23

                        1.         No matter how wicked a person was in the past, if he is living according to God’s teachings the past is ignored.

            C.        But the opposite is also true - Ezekiel 18:24-26

                        1.         No matter how good a person was in the past, if he is living wickedly the past is ignored

            D.        If the Israelites could sin and lose their lives, so can we - Hebrew 3:16-4:1

            E.        We can fall away - Hebrews 10:26-39

IV.      What should we do when we see someone in danger of losing their salvation?

            A.        To be silent is to sin - Ezekiel 3:20-21

            B.        Titus was urged to rebuke and exhort - Titus 2:15

            C.        When the Galatians began to stray, Paul sharply rebuked them - Galatians 1:6-9

            D.        When Peter strayed, Paul rebuked him publically - Galatians 2:11-14

            E.        It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, sin must be condemned.

            F.        It is a purpose of the Scriptures - II Timothy 3:16

V.        Who are the lost?

            A.        They are those who will not be entering heaven - II Thessalonians 1:7-9

            B.        Those who are in error: those who never heard, those who never believed, those who believed a lie, and those who once were righteous but then stumbled.

            C.        God is the source of all authority. What He wants done is written in His book. The lost are those are not staying within the bounds of God’s Word.

            D.        Each one of us are responsible to teach the truth so as to lead the lost back to the way of righteousness, even if they won’t listen - II Timothy 4:1-5