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Lost and Found

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Lost and Found

A message of Salvation

By: Obed Kirkpatrick

 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

John Newton (1725-1807)

John Newton was the captain of a slave ship before he was saved and before he became a preacher. On one trip to America transporting slaves, Newton went down into the belly of that slave ship and was moved to tears when he saw those people, who were in bondage, singing in spite of their obvious misery. In 1772 Newton wrote the words above and delivered them in a sermon.  The music was added later, but not by Newton himself.

Wherever Amazing Grace is played, it is instantly recognized.  It is often played on a bag pipe in funeral possessions for police and firemen.

Look at these words carefully.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

What is the meaning of the words lost and found?

If you are a Bible reader or if you have ever attended church on a regular basis, you will probably remember the story of the young man who asked his father to give him his share of his inheritance and he left home.  After all his money had been spent and he realized the error of his way, he went back home, willing to work as a servant if he must.

When he arrived at home he told his father “I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight and am no more worthy to be called thy son” (Luke 15:21).

The father was overjoyed at his son’s return and he said to his servants:

Luke 15:22-24: …”Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”

In Christendom, this is known as a parable; and a parable is comparing one thing against another or an example of biblical truth explained in a simplistic format. In this case it mirrors Christ’s feelings toward the lost.

We see evidence of this in Luke 19:10: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

So in a biblical sense, the lost are any who do not acknowledge God as Lord and Jesus Christ as their Savior.

The word “found” then, would mean the lost have come to their senses, realized their sin and recognized God and Christ for whom and what they are.

When Newton penned the words, I once was lost but now am found, he was admitting he had recognized he was a sinner (lost) and that he had trusted the faith of Christ for salvation (being found).

The Gospel that Saves Today

In our Bible there are verses which tell someone how they can be found, i.e. saved. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he tells them how they can be saved.

Look at 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

Paul reminded these Corinthians of the gospel (good news) he preached unto them. He also reminded them they had believed what he preached and they were standing steadfast in that gospel. He then proceeds to tell them in the 3rd and 4th verses what they had believed: Christ died for theirs sins, was buried and rose again the third day.

That is the gospel or good news of salvation.  It is the only way anyone who is lost, a non-believer, can be found – saved.

In another letter Paul wrote to the Corinthians he said, 2 Corinthians 4:3: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:”

Simply stated, Paul says if you cannot see the truth of the gospel he preached then you must be lost.

The Gospel According to Paul

I want you to look very closely at 1 Corinthians 15: 2 again: “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (Underlining added).

Notice the words I have underlined.  Paul says you are saved if you believe what he preached unto you, and if you do not believe his teaching concerning salvation, you could believe in vain.

What does that mean, you have believed in vain? Simplistically, it states if you do not believe the gospel Paul preached, you would have failed in your attempt to be saved; or your effort was unsuccessful. Why?

We are living in a period of time that the Bible refers to as the dispensation of the grace of God (Ephesians 3:2). In this dispensation, salvation is by grace and not by works.

Ephesians 2: 8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

What this says is a person who simply trusts in what Christ did at Calvary; died for our sins, was buried and resurrected the third day, he will be saved.

In a prior dispensation, know as the dispensation of the Law, salvation was by works.  A person was not saved by grace but by the works of the law, i.e. repent and be baptized. In this case baptism was considered a work, and if you were not baptized you could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Gospel according to Peter

Unlike Paul’s gospel, the gospel of Peter and the twelve is a gospel with works for the remission of sins.

Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

However, we are no longer under the law.  We are not being led by the conditions the law imposed on believers at one time; we are led by the Spirit. And Scripture tells us if we are led by the Spirit, we are not bound to the Law.

The Gospel of Grace

Galatians 5:18: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

I want you to look closely at Ephesians 2:8-9 again: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The words “ye are saved through faith” are very important. The question I pose to you is, by whose faith are you saved?  It is your faith that saves you, or was it Christ’s faith that saved you?

Look at Galatians 2:16: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Underlining Added)

The verse says we are not justified (saved) by the works of the law. In other words, baptism for the remission of sins will not save you today. Then what will? Simple: the faith of Christ is what saves you.

What was the faith of Christ? Christ was willing to go to the cross and shed his blood for our sins. The very act of Christ shedding his blood for remission of sins was the work which replaces baptism for remission of sins.

Now, in this dispensation of the grace of God, we who believe in Jesus Christ will be justified (saved) by the work of Christ (he died for our sins).

There are far too many people who want you to believe that if you are not baptized you will not be saved. Those people cannot give you a good answer to Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Baptism is a work that you do, and to believe that by being baptized you have remission of sins, nullifies the work that Christ did at Calvary. You have prostituted grace.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (Underlining Added)

If you do not believe this gospel, you are lost.  If you want to be found, believe the Gospel of Christ as seen in the Scripture above. It is God’s grace that saves you, not a work in which you can do.

Salvation is simple, but that does not mean it is easy.

Romans 1:16: “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 Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

The gospel of Christ is Christ died for our sins was buried and rose again for our justification. That is the simple part.  Everything has been done by Christ for your salvation, but you have to trust that what he did, he died for you.

Romans 10:17: “So faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

The word of God for salvation is seen in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. You have read it, do you trust that what it says is true?  If you do, then you are saved; again, that is the simple part.

The part that is not quite so easy to do is to admit that you need a savior. Too many people rationalize they must be saved because:

1)      they were brought up in a church,

2)      they attend church services regularly,

3)      Momma and Daddy were Christians, so the, I must be too, attitude,

4)      they think they are a good person.

None of those things will save a lost person. Believing the gospel is what saves.  Have you done that?

You say: “I walked down an isle and gave my heart to Jesus when I was a teenager, so I am saved.”

So, you took a walk down a church isle, what for? Was it because your sweetheart said “I’m going down and give my heart to Jesus, why don’t you come with me?”

Was it because your mother said you ought to go down?

Salvation comes to the person who recognizes they are lost and realizes they need a Savior and then trusts in the work of Christ to save them.

Have you done that?

If you walked down an isle but did not believe the gospel, you took a walk for nothing. You do not need to go to church to be saved.  You do not need to walk an isle and have a preacher shake your hand and commend you for having done so. You can trust Christ as Savior at home, in the woods or in your car.

Salvation comes to those who believe Christ paid a debt for their sins.  Have you done that?

Remove the blinders and see the truth of what Christ did for you and you will be saved. Recognize you are a sinner and you need a Savior and God will save you, right where you are.

Will you do that right now?

If you do that, you are a child of God and will spend eternity with God in Heaven.

If you don’t trust Christ, you are a child of the devil and will spend eternity in Hell.

The choice is yours.  What will you do? Which path will you take?

There are many people who have postponed trusting Christ as their savior, saying I have plenty of time to. Do you?

The following lyrics were written by Connie Smith.

Got up on Sunday morning, went to the church at ten, I listened to the words I’d heard time and time again. The preacher spoke of sinful lives, Lord it seems he spoke of mine, But I was young I had plenty of time.

Plenty of time to decide where I’m bound, to
eternal darkness or to a Heavenly crown oh, oh
I’m just a young girl not yet in my prime, so I’ll
just wait I’ve got plenty of time.

I walked on down life’s pathway living as I chose to live, Out to beat the other fellow how to get what life could give. Making money isn’t sinful Lord having fun is not a crime, So I’ll just wait I’ve got plenty of time

Plenty of time to decide where I’m bound to
eternal darkness or to a Heavenly crown, Oh! Oh!
I’m just a young girl not yet in my prime so I’ll
just wait I had plenty of time

Before I knew what happened life scenes had passed away; and millions stood before God’s throne for it was judgment day. Now eternity beckons and the name it calls is mine, But I thought that I had plenty of time.

Eternity waits I’ve got plenty of time,
To think of all the days that Christ could have been mine, Now my chance is over, earth’s days are left behind, And here am I, I’ve got plenty of time.

Now I’ve got nothing but plenty of time.

Time is a precious commodity.  None of us knows what tomorrow has in store for us. You could go to the doctor tomorrow and be diagnosed with a terminal illness.

You could wake in the morning, get in your car or truck and be killed in an accident.

You could be eating in a restaurant and get choked and die before someone could give you the Heimlich maneuver.

Fact is: no one knows when they will breathe their last breath. Why don’t you simply trust what Christ has done for you – right now?

If you’ll do that, you can make the words of Amazing Grace your own words.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.