Have We Lost Our Love for the Lost?

When I was a kid I remember going with my mom to do Bible studies with people. She would take the projector and the Jewell Miller filmstrips from the church library and study with people. There was a time in the church when one-on-one Bible study was big. I can only speak from experience but it seems our willingness and enthusiasm for studying the Bible with people is dying. I am sure there are exceptions but I am just speaking generally here.We have to get serious about studying with others without swinging the pendulum so far over that we get manipulative and crazy. It sure seems like we have a hard time finding the balance but it can be done.

It may be that we need to regain our love for the lost. Have we lost it? If we love them we will reach out to them without arm twisting, fear/guilt tactics or manipulation. If people see we care they will be more responsive. I believe that is what made Jesus so effective (besides his divinity of course😉 was that he was approachable and you knew he really cared. Maybe our problem is that we don’t know lost people well enough to care about them or that we have heart issues and just don’t care at all or maybe it is just that we have gotten lulled into thinking everyone is really pretty much the same and it sounds kind of weird to think of good people as lost when we have our own issues. Or maybe we don’t really know the Bible ourselves and so we fear what people may say or questions they may ask so we avoid it entirely.

Whatever the case may be, if we love them we will reach toward them in whatever ways we know how. There will be mess ups along the way but at least we are trying to live out what Christ has called us to do. Remember, he called us to go, not expecting them to come on their own. The problem is we have often gotten the Great Commission backwards and have assumed if we build a building the world will wake up one morning with a burning desire to be there and will flood our buildings with lost people, who will then be reached through a professional minister delivering a 20 minute sermon and the church will have revival. Anyone ever seen that happen?

Some ways may be more comfortable for us than others but we will reach. If we are unwilling to reach why should we expect them to do anything but stand at arm’s length?

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

9 Responses to Have We Lost Our Love for the Lost?

  1. Duncan Ryan says:

    You speak a lot of uncomfortable truth in this post. There’s something quite chilling about Christians engaging in Evangelism with the main motivation being to collect scalps. How easy it is to reduce the work of spreading the Gospel to a numbers game. Oh that we would have a fuller realisation of what we have been saved from and that it would break our hearts for those without Christ. I think if I had a clearer grasp of the reality of the truth of the Gospel no-one would be able to hold me back from going out with the Gospel!

    Thanks for the post – timely for me.

  2. brad says:

    I think you’ve hit it on the head. We don’t really know our bible very well, and that scares us to death after the first time we try to talk to an unbeliever and they quote some obscure OT passage that we’ve never read.

  3. James Wood says:

    Yes. I think the church has lost a love for the lost. Too often I see the church setting herself up as opposed to the world (which means lost people) rather than being opposed to the forces of darkness and on the side of lost people.The more we isolate ourselves from the world around us, the more we are apt to denigrate and ignore the very people who need to hear the message of Jesus.

  4. Matt,
    As you so often do, you have asked questions that have driven me to my knees in confession that, for all practical purposes, I really do not know how to talk to someone about Jesus as Lord and Savior. I know how to talk to them about the church, its membership, worship, organization, etc. But to just lead a seeking soul to see Jesus in His glory?????

    Why is this? I wish I knew. It would be easy to blame my teachers for doing a poor job of demonstrating evangelism as a natural way of living for a Christian. But, I am old enough and responsible enough that I should be able to figure some of this out on my own – especially since I have known the problem for decades. But I have no answers to give. Only questions.

  5. Today, we contemporary Christians are much like those of Ephesus who are busy with many good and beneficial works but who have left the First Love out of His own Church. First Love dwelling in a heart will love God with all its heart soul and mind. And will Love neighbor as self…even the unlovely ones. As you say, Christ is the answer to successfully carrying the Gospel to those in the highways and hedges…to the outcast. Love never fails. And God is hammering my heart to stop only ‘hearing’ the Gospel and to start, finally,
    ‘doing’ the Gospel. There is a huge difference in the two! ‘Doing’ is the obedient response to ‘hearing.’

    Joh 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

    Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

    Good thoughts, Matt!

    Carolyn

  6. Richard Kruse says:

    I visited a couple many years ago whom I hadn’t seen in 5 years and noticed a change in them. It began when the wife told a “denominational” friend – the first time they were alone “I was wanting an opportunity to talk to you about the church.” The friend replied, “And I was wanting an opportunity to talk to you about the Lord.” ….. There is no question that the church is important – yea, essential. Yet, is it not essential to make sure the cornerstone is firmly in place before building?

  7. Pingback: Becoming More Evangelistic | Kingdom Seeking

  8. Raven says:

    I want to share your words because they are my words.

    I think, as Americans and as Christians people have gotten confused about the bottom line. What is it? Isn’t it reach people for Christ?

    What does that mean? What does it _really_ mean?

    It bothers me that people who post up bible verses and trite quotes and then turn around and post up Photoshopped images of Obama—such as the one going around that’s been manipulated to show him placing his left hand over his heart and representing it as truth. I really, really don’t understand this. Is there not a love for the Truth? Is there not integrity?

    Do pastors encourage this behavior? Or at least, not address it?

    Spreading falsehoods about a person to tarnish their reputation is defamation. It’s bad enough that it’s not protected free speech.

    I think Jesus was able to do everything He did in the Bible because He had perfect faith. Fully human, right? What does the bible tell us to do? If you pick one, just one, commandment and follow it with everything in your being, you will understand how powerful faith really, truly is and why it didn’t take any magic/special/divine powers by Jesus to do what He did. Never bear false witness. A person can spend their entire lifetime studying this and never exhaust what it reveals about God and about faith. To never bear false witness means more than just “don’t lie”, and it takes faith to follow. Faith to not manipulate a situation because you feel like the odds are against you. Faith that God has everything under control. Faith that the truth won’t fail you. Faith requires a lot from a person. It takes faith to be honest about your mistakes, and to admit that what you believed was wrong, even to yourself. Someone who loves the truth can tell a lie, but when they realize it, they would admit it and not defend it.

    You come to find that by following one, you must also follow the others and you learn how they fit together. And the meaning of faith.

    When I look at someone and I see no love for the truth or the Truth, I don’t see Christ.

    My atheist friend says “they’re scum, worse scum than the people who are at least honest about their dishonesty.” He also avoids/ignores people like that and talks to them as little as possible. He doesn’t see the point.

    If Christianity is truly better. If having Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is real, there should be evidence of it. People should look at Christians and see Christ. There should be a difference. It’s not about laws, teams, or mantras; it’s about hearts. If it’s better, people will choose it, given the free choice. If they aren’t choosing it, then perhaps we aren’t showing them Christ (indeed, perhaps we are just showing them our bums?). In the free market of belief, the best product wins, right? We even have the Holy Spirit on our side, so don’t we have the advantage?

    • mattdabbs says:

      Scientology and “none” are growing faster than Christianity. Christianity is in decline. I think we have lost our perspective and have forgotten just how special the message of Christ really is.

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