LOST FIRST,
THEN FOUND

The following is not written to offend, but
rather it is written out of love for those
who profess to know Christ as their
personal Saviour.

"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the
faith; prove your own selves.   Know ye not
your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in
you, except ye be reprobates?"
II
Corinthians 13:5.

The Bible encourages us to examine
ourselves, particularly when it comes to our
salvation.   This is even more important
during these latter days when false
professions are very common.   There are
several ways we can examine ourselves.
For example, the Book of I John describes
what a new creature in Christ (II Corinthians
5:17) should be like.   But in this case we
will address this issue based upon what Jesus
emphasized during the parable of the sower
(Matthew 13).   In that parable Jesus talks
about the importance of understanding the
Gospel and what it implies.   So please take
the time to read the following dialogue and
as you do please examine yourself.

D.K.:   Hi, my name is Dorian Knocker from Faith Baptist Church and I would like to invite you to one
            of our services.
Man:   Oh!   Well, that's nice of you but I already attend a church.
D.K.:   May I give you an invitation anyway?   And I would like to encourage you to read God's plan of
            salvation located inside.

The man opened the invitation, gave it a quick glance and smiled as he said:

Man:   I already know the plan of salvation.   In fact, I made a profession of faith a while back.
D.K.:   Well, that's great!   Then you know for sure where you are going when you die.

The man hesitated and wasn't quite sure how to respond.   Dorian sensed something was wrong and felt
immediate compassion for the man.

D.K.:   Sir, if you don't mind my asking, Did you make your profession of faith after hearing God's
            Word?
Man:   Why yes.   I had gone to a church that told me about Jesus Christ and how He could save me.
D.K.:   Save you from what?
Man:   Well, adversities.   I mean I wasn't that bad mind you, but I had a few problems in my life.
D.K.:   Now sir, please don't be offended, I'm only trying to make a point.   Did you ask Him to save
            your soul from going to Hell?

The man was taken aback.   He felt somewhat offended at Dorian's implication.

Man:   Look, I said that I wasn't that bad of a person.   I didn't feel I was in danger of going to Hell.
            What are you getting at anyway?
D.K.:   Well, sir, simply this.   Jesus says, "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."
            Matthew 18:11
Man:   I remember reading that.   Go on.
D.K.:   If Jesus came to save the lost then obviously a person can't get saved until they see themselves
            as lost
.
Man:   That makes sense, so what's the point?
D.K.:   Did you see yourself as lost?

The man was now beginning to feel uncomfortable.

Man:   I wouldn't use the term lost.   That seems too extreme to me.
D.K.:   Yet, that's the term that Jesus used.   He says we need to get saved because we are lost.
Man:   But lost in what sense?
D.K.:   Lost as in:   Separated from God because of rebellion.
                                 Being a sinner in need of forgiveness.
                                 Being on the way to Hell.
Man:   But I already told you I wasn't that bad.   I hadn't done anything to deserve going to Hell over.
D.K.:   Sir, you didn't have to do a thing.   The Bible says, "He that believeth on him [Jesus] is not
            condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the
            name of the only begotten Son of God."
  John 3:18.
Man:   You mean without being a real bad person I'm already condemned and on the way to Hell?
D.K.:   Yes, you see sin is not following God's will.   We all spend most of our lives not doing God's
            will.   In fact, we normally don't even seek His will, we simply go on through life doing our own
            thing and ignoring God in open rebellion.

Man:   But I've always believed in God and have tried to do what's right.
D.K.:   Right according to who?
Man:   According to what I've always assumed to be what God wanted me to do.
D.K.:   But without knowing God's Word how did you know exactly what God wanted you to do?

The man began to realize that he was trying to please God on his own terms instead of God's.   Maybe he
was openly rebelling against God all along.   Maybe his standing with God was worse than he thought.

Man:   I still think you are taking this too far.   The idea of being a lost hellbound sinner asking for
            forgiveness sounds melodramatic and unnecessary to me.
D.K.:   Then how do you explain the following event that Jesus Himself describes?

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but
he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.   Many will say to me in that day,
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?   And then will I profess unto them, I
never knew you
: depart from me, ye that work iniquity
[sin]."   Matthew 7:21-23

The man was now in silence.   What a sad and horrible scene.   How could these people have missed it?   After
all, by the actions that they had described they sounded like they were saved.   Yet, they were not.

Man:   Where did they go wrong?
D.K.:   They had made a false profession.
Man:   But how?
D.K.:   Most likely they never really saw themselves as lost, condemned and hellbound.
Man:   But didn't they call out to God to save them?
D.K.:   Most likely they wanted to get saved from problems in their lives, not from Hell.
Man:   But I still don't feel like I deserve to go to Hell.
D.K.:   It's not a question of how you feel, but what God says:

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.   For
scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would
even dare to die.   But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.   Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved
from wrath through him.   For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by
the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.   And not only
so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the
atonement."
  Romans
5:6-11
We are born sinners in rebellion against God, not wanting to do things His way.   Therefore, we are
His enemy and are deserving of His wrath.   WE CAN'T EVEN THINK ABOUT ASKING HIM
TO SOLVE OUR EARTHLY PROBLEMS UNTIL WE ARE RECONCILED TO HIM AND
NO LONGER HIS ENEMY
.

Man:   I better reconsider my profession of faith.   I understand more now than I did then.

And with that, Dorian went on to show him more of what God had to say.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?   If you have made a profession of faith, ask yourself the following:
            *   Did you see yourself as lost?
            *   Did you realize your rebellious state against God?
            *   Did you see yourself as being a heartbeat away from dropping into Hell?
            *   Did you call out to Him:
                  -   Asking for forgiveness and not asking for a favor or help in solving a problem?

                  -   Asking for mercy and not asking as if God was obligated to save you?
                  -   In humility and not because you felt that you deserved a second chance?

The bottom line is God has every right to destroy this wicked world and dispose us to a devil's Hell.   But He
offers us a chance to escape if we simply see ourselves as guilty and, therefore, repent.   Please consider what
you have just read and if you have any doubts, please pay us a visit at the address on the back [below].

"Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16.

GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION

FIRST THE BAD NEWS:

1.   We must realize that we are lost, sinners that are spiritually dead.
* "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."   Luke 19:10
* "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
* "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."   John 3:3
* "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."   John 3:6

2.   As spiritually dead, lost sinners, God's judgment and wrath are upon us.
* "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" Hebrews 9:27.
* "For which things' sake [sin] the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience [sinners]:"
Colossians 3:6.

3.   Our good works can't stop this judgment and wrath.   God demands death as payment for sin.
* "Not of works..." Ephesians 2:8,9.
* "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:" Romans 3:10.
* "the soul that sinneth, it shall die."   Ezekiel 18:4
* "For the wages of sin is death;" Romans 6:23.

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!!

4.   God is willing to accept someone else's death in our place.   That someone is Jesus Christ.
* "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself
a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
  I Timothy 2:5-6
* "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."   Romans
5:8

5.   Jesus has bought salvation for us and now God can offer it as a gift by grace.
* "Ye are bought with a price;" I Corinthians 7:23.
* "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."
  Ephesians 2:8,9

How does someone accept this gift?   Through repentance and faith.

REPENTANCE: means to change your mind and adapt an attitude of not sinning against God.
FAITH: means to simply take God at His Word, i.e., believe the verses you have just read.
* "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord
Jesus Christ."
  Acts 20:21
* "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."   Romans 10:13

6.   Upon being saved and born again spiritually, we become converted to a new creature in Christ.
* "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter
into the kingdom of heaven."
  Matthew 18:3
* "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things
are become new."
  II Corinthians 5:17

FARGO BAPTIST
CHURCH

3303 23rd Avenue SouthWest
Fargo, North Dakota 58103

Speaking the truth in love
Ephesians 4:15

(701) 232-5500

Pastor T. C. Scheving

Schedule of Services

Sunday School . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9:30 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship . . . . . 10:30 a.m.
Sunday Evening Service . . . . . . . 6:00 p.m.
Proteens (Wednesday) . . . . . . . . 6:45 p.m.
Wednesday Bible Study . . . . . . . 7:00 p.m.

[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]