In The House, But Lost
Jesus, while in one of His teachings to tax collectors and sinners, ( Luke 15 ) knew the Scribes and Pharisees were murmuring about him, and accusing Him of receiving and eating with sinners, told the people three parables. The first parable was about a sheep, one out of a hundred, who had wandered away from the safety and sanctity of the shepherd and the fold, and had become lost in the wilderness. The second was about a woman, who possessed ten coins, and after having lost one, in the house, lights a lamp, and sweeps the house until she finds the coin that was lost. And the third parable was about a man with two sons, and the youngest son, who went to his father demanding his share of the father's wealth, so that he might test his prowess out in the world on his own.
In this teaching, Jesus exposed to these opposing self-righteous religious leaders that they were guilty of " Three Levels of Lostness." Like the sheep who had wandered away from God's safety and refuge, many in the body of Christ have wandered off into the wilderness, and become lost. Many have left the comfort and protection of the Shepherd's fold, lured by the desires of our eyes, and the covetous spirit that manifests itself in our being. The old saying that, " The grass always seems greener on the opposite side of the fence" is an appropriate saying to label Christians who have wandered off into the wilderness.
This teaching also exposes the many believer's who have been drawn back into a world of sin, evil, and wickedness, by their own lusts. Some of us might have been that young son, some of us may know that young son. The pleasures of the world, and the world's system has been a down fall, or a stumbling block for generations, and is still prevalent in our present society. Every image portrayed by our media sources, is that of pleasure. The pleasure of watching the mountains turn blue on a can of beer, knowing the contents are cold, before satisfying our thirst. The pleasure of the parties and the good times going on in the many clubs around our cities, in which they would be a shame to miss. The pleasure of illicit sexual adventures, with unknown men or women. The pleasure of living in a mansion, high on a hill, with all of the finest of life's accoutrement's at our disposal. The pleasure of driving the big luxury car, equipped with every bell and whistle offered by the dealership. The pleasure of wearing high-priced designer clothes, and sporting jewelry, whose cost equals the price of a modest home. Many of us have no problem identifying with being lost in the wilderness, or being lost in the world.
Yet, when we close the curtains, and look at what is within the walls, it surprises us, to know that there are many, " In The House, But Lost."
Who's Sweeping Now
Today, we celebrate, praise, and worship God in some of the most wonderful and magnificent structures that the world has ever seen. Mega-churches are now set in the midst of sprawling campuses, surrounded by acres and acres of land, and enough parking spaces to accommodate the thousands who will be in attendance. The size of our places of worship, nor the vast number of congregants are the issue here. The issue here is simply to address the fact that there are many, even in our smaller congregations, who are "In The House, But Lost."
People today attend various churches for differing reasons. Some go because of lineage or generations, tauting that my mother and her mother was a member here. Some go because of their involvements within the ministry, their service on boards or committees. I've read someplace, to my utter amazement, that nearly 85% of people looking for a new church home, will chose their new place of worship based on it's music ministry, which may shed light on our propensity to entertain. Yet, some go because of a dynamic man or woman of God, who has a standing or reputation in the Christian community, and it creates an image for them through association.
People come to the many available churches to network and socialize. People come looking for the " Hook-up." People come looking for a husband or wife, and now a days, a life partner.
We can all agree about the vast majority of souls who are seemingly lost out in the wilderness of life. Those who have wandered away from the flock. We can come to terms about those lost out in the world. These are they whom we see every time we part our drapes, or venture outside of our doors. But many are amazed to think that there are " Religious Folk " who are In The House, But Lost.
Jesus told the Religious Folk of his time, " In that day, many will say to me, Lord Lord, didn't we prophesy ( preach, teach, witness ) in thy name, and heal the sick, in thy name, and cast out demons ( exercising gifts and talents ), in thy name, and have done many wonderful works, in thy name." And Jesus said, " I will say to them", " Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you."
Paul exhorts us, in the Book of Ephesians, chapter 4, verses 11-13, " And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
Jesus said that there would be rejoicing of the angels in heaven, when one sinner repents.
Who's Sweeping Now ?
In The House, But Lost.