Christ, the Church, and the Lost

Sometimes we question our purpose in life. Why are we here? What is our mission? Why do we do what we do? In Luke 19:9-10, Jesus says His mission was to seek and save the lost, and Paul, in Ephesians 5 calls the church Christ’s bride, and as such, our focus should be the same as our Lord’s. We are His modern instrument for teaching salvation. In this lesson, we are going to look at the roles of those who teach and those who need to be saved.

The Role of the Church

Matthew 28:18:18-20 records the mission given to the disciples by Christ to teach the world about Him. The disciples went to other lands to teach, and they taught within their own communities. Acts 1:8 says the disciples will be witnesses to Him both at home and far away. He starts with the community around them, and the message will grow from there.

The job of Christians is not to “grow the church” (though a congregation must have members inn order to accomplish the work). In I Corinthians 3:6, Paul states he and Apollos had a hand in Corinth’s growth, but it was God behind that growth. We are planters and tenders, but God is the gardener. We all have potential to help with the spread of Christ’s message as long as we remember God’s role in our efforts.

Our View Of the Lost

How did Christ view the lost? Throughout Jesus’ career, He is criticized from various fronts. He ate with sinners! He associated with prostitutes and Samaritans! He healed on the Sabbath! He was a blasphemer! He didn’t associate with sinners to participate in sin. Rather, He spent time with those who needed help. (See Luke 5:31 and John 2:11.) Christ endured criticism and discouragement on all fronts. He resisted the effects, and we can too.

Matthew 21:28-31 tells the parable of the two sons – one who refuses his father’s will at first but then repents; the other agrees but turns away. Christ applies this parable to the sinners who were receptive of God and who repented of their actions. Unfortunately, none can repent without being taught. In I Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul lists actions that will prevent someone from Heaven, but then he points out that those in Corinth were once characterized by these sins.

Conclusion and Application

In this, do we look down on brothers and sisters who make efforts to connect with individuals whose actions we disapprove of? How can anyone learn of Christ if we refuse to teach? Are we saying that some people are unworthy of the gospel? I Timothy 1:15-16 states that Christ came to save sinners, and Paul calls himself chief among sinners. He recognizes the power Christ had in His life, and He still has that power in lives today.

lesson by Tim Smelser