Are you lost?

Most of the time when people are lost they do not even know it, and when they realize it do not want to admit it. This is true especially of the male species. Men hate such admission that they do not know where they are going or where they are. One of the main reasons this is true is because of pride. To admit lostness means to admit fault and some level of personal incompetence. Men like to keep moving and exerting energy regardless if their activity is productive and going the right direction.
A personal story happened when I was in college and a group of friends went on a canoe trip. My roommate Kaleb planned the whole outing. He got the canoes for free from some environmental organization by saying we would collect garbage along the water. The most important part Kaleb did was mapping where one group of our friends would park the cars at the end site so when the group started down the river we could all ride back together. Well, after a couple hours on our canoe journey Kaleb seemed a bit perplexed navigating our direction. We were all so tired that we were forced to stop for directions. As you might guess, we were on the wrong river that was supposed to lead to our end site. Needless to say, it was a canoe trip that we never forgot considering it lasted over 8 hours.

The Bible says that every person is lost. Every person is in need of changing directions and being found by God. This series will explore a few descriptions with what it means to be lost… and found!

One of the foundational teachings of the Bible and Christianity is the doctrine of sin. The effects of sin are far more reaching than many realize. Genesis 3 describes the Fall of humanity and indeed the fall is steep. Sin and the Fall has given us death and this is certainly not a pleasant gift. Death is painful and extremely sad and unfortunately everyone must face it. Paul says each person is “dead in your transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).

Death is definite to everyone (Eph 2:1-3).
As a result of the Fall, every person will “surely die” (Gen 2:17). It is a reality that cannot be denied. In an odd way, our culture has somewhat of a thirst for death. Horror movies top the list for most popular and watched, violence is celebrated through video games and internet youtube videos. And if these are not enough, the murder of over a million unborn children each year is passionately defended throughout society. Death is a definite reality in our culture. These same physical descriptions are also true in the spiritual world. Every person will physically die and be judged according to their deeds. The problem with this is no person can measure enough good deeds to please God’s standard. The Bible says, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom 3:10). Therefore, the definiteness of death is a dark picture of despair.
Sin and death are inherent in each person from the beginning of their existence.[1] “Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Even the Psalmist said, “my sin is always before me… Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (51:3, 5). David is overwhelmed by the reality of his sinful nature. He realizes that he needs resuscitation – a new heart/life/spirit (51:10).

What do you do when you are lost?[2]
Despite modern communications and equipment, more people than ever are getting lost in the wilderness. Cellular and satellite phones and global positioning systems (GPSs) make the world seem smaller, but the reality is, there’s still a lot of emptiness out there and it can be easy to get lost. Here are a few tips that spiritually relate to becoming found. This will lead to Paul’s answer of linking to Jesus.
1) Stop moving. Rescue crews will find you faster if you stay in one spot. Further, moving without direction is wasted energy.
· Admit your lost and dead in sin. This admission begins the process of becoming saved. Bible calls this repentance.
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
2) Become visible. Rescue crews will find you easier if you have clear markings of your position.
·Pursue God by making yourself available to Him and His word.
·James 4:8 “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
3) Find nourishment and protection. It will be hard for your body to maintain proper temperature and energy if you are not staying hydrated, eating and staying protected.
·Spiritually refreshment comes through intentional intake of God’s word, prayer and Christian fellowship.
·Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.”

Life is linking to Jesus (Eph 2:4-7).
Paul transitions from describing the unbeliever to God’s work upon those who believe. The focus is on God’s work and grace rather than man’s believing and doing. God made alive together with Christ. Apart from linking to Jesus there is no life nor grace (no grace = object of wrath 2:3).
The phrase “in Christ” appears over 172 times in the writings of Paul. Paul uses this phrase to describe what it means to be a believer and having eternal life. The union is not to a system but to a Savior, it’s relational.

Students need relationships. We need to show them that living for Jesus is living with Jesus. He calls you to be with him (Mark 3:14) and by being with him comes the transformation in a person’s life, character and behavior.

So, if you are lost stop where you are and get some directions. Might I suggest the way is a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the way (John 14:6).

· Have you ever been lost? Share the story.
· What does it mean to be lost spiritually?
· Do you think it is fair that all person’s are guilty of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12)?
· Do you think it is fair that all person’s have opportunity to Jesus’ life (Romans 5:19, 21)?
· Review the steps for “What do you do when you are lost?”. How are these helpful in moving a person from an unbeliever to a believer in Jesus Christ?
· How is linking to Jesus different from other religious systems?
· According to Ephesians 2:4-5, why does God make you alive?
· What stands out to you in reading Ephesians 2:1-5? Discuss.

[1] Other phrases to describe this reality are “Inherited Sin”, “Original Sin/Guilt” and perhaps “Total Depravity”. The point is that sin is not only a choice it is part of your nature. Humans are guilty not only because they sin but because their identity is as a sinner. Some passages to examine: Psalm 51:3,5; Psalm 58:3; Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 2:14-15, 3:9-10, 23, 5:12-21, 7:18; Ephesians 2:1-5, Titus 1:15.
[2] From http://www.ehow.com/how_136351_survive-lost.html

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