10 Ways We Know People Are Lost

2. They will take directions from anyone.

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The danger of standing for nothing, we are told, is that one will fall for anything.

You and I are stunned at the cosmic gimmicks people fall for and the charlatans they follow. We stand in amazement that they will stake their eternities on something so flimsy as a report that this man of questionable character received a revelation from an angel and saw some golden plates that are no longer available. Then they will assure us they know his words are true because “it gives me a warm feeling inside.”

God help us. Literally. God help us.

1. They ignore the Voice of the Great Rescuer in their minds and hearts. God calls; they don’t listen.

Perhaps he is busy about other things and like those of us who don’t hear our cell phones ring because we were in crowds. Perhaps he has silenced that inner voice so many times the sound has grown weaker and weaker.

“Today if you hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7).

Clearly, there is so much more than can be said on this subject. I fear I’ve only skimmed the surface. But we who follow Jesus Christ must never let ourselves off too lightly because the people we are sent to rescue do not know they are in trouble.

The people we are commissioned to preach good news to do not know they are living the bad news life.

Those we have been sent to raise do not know they are dead.

Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick…. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:12-13).

Then we read, “Seeing the multitude, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

Whether they know it or not has no role to play in our assignment.

In her book A Severed Wasp, Madeleine L’Engel relates a graphic image from an old George Orwell essay. He wrote, “A wasp was sucking jam on my plate and I cut him in half. He paid no attention, merely went on with his meal, while a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed esophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the dreadful thing that had happened to him.”

We think of the freshly shorn Samson. “(Delilah) said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.’ (Judges 16:20)

Before we can rescue them, they need to know they are lost.

Our task is to penetrate that lostness with the gospel of Jesus.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:8). It’s a job far too much for humans.

Some have estimated that of the 340 million Americans, fully two-thirds (258 mil) are lost. Likewise, of the world’s 6.8 billion population, some 4 billion have little or even no access to the gospel.

In a town where I once lived, I was struck by the irony of a small residence being used as an office for an insurance company. The sign out front read, “World Insurance Company.”

A missionary says, “Each church must become its own missional strategy center.”

Your church is a world evangelism center.

Shiloh Baptist Church on County Road 13 outside Picayune, Mississippi, and Mount Tabor Church on Hillside Highway, Fort Deposit, Alabama, must find ways to reach the world with the message of Jesus Christ.

Your church and my church.

You and I.

It’s our assignment.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/BrianAJackson

Joe McKeever has been a disciple of Jesus Christ more than 65 years, been preaching the gospel more than 55 years, and has been writing and cartooning for Christian publications more than 45 years. He blogs at

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