Don’t be a ‘lost’ celebrity

A recent news feed came through with a heading that said something like ‘Year in Review 2017: Remembering those we lost this year’. Roger Moore and Hugh Hefner were mentioned specifically. It’s always surprising how many celebrities have died each year and how many I’ve not heard of and also how many I didn’t realise had died. It struck me that they used the word lost. It made me think.

I’ve written previously that I’m unhappy about using the phrase ‘lost’ for those that have died in Christ. I’m not happy about those that have died outside of Christ either. But the terrible reality for those that have died without Christ is they are truly lost in every sense of that word. How many of those celebrities are truly lost I have no idea. I’m glad I don’t know but with some (as with non-celebrities) we fear the worst.

There’s a lovely verse in the Bible that says ‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost’ (Luke 19:10 ESV). We don’t need Christmas to remind us, that Jesus came, and that He came to seek and to save the lost. There is no specific season to remember the grace of God – we can remember that every day.

Death and sin are the great levelers. The great and the good as well as the poor and the not so good will know these realities. It doesn’t matter how large or small a person’s ‘send-off’ is. Or whether in poor simplicity or with great pomp; they are equally dead just the same. The real question isn’t whether they are lost or not as we simply do not know. The real question is whether you are lost or not. If everyone were to be saved there would be no need for the Son of God to do any seeking. But He came, not only to seek, but to save. The wonder is by the Holy Spirit He is still seeking and saving. That doesn’t sit very well with our modern ‘can do’ independent sensibilities. But it’s something we are familiar with. Recruitment agencies ‘Headhunt’ the best candidates, usually for high-end positions. The Son of God is seeking sinners. That’s the only qualification He’s looking for – a realisation of sinfulness and of lostness.

Thankfully our lostness can be turned into foundness by the saving power of The Lord Christ. Many will know the first verse of John Newton’s hymn ‘Amazing Grace’. But if not, here it is:

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

One of the most well known stories Jesus told is the Prodigal (wasteful) son and how this son went into the far country. But his father looked for his son and eventually embraced him exclaiming, ‘For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate’ (Luke 15:24).

The theme of being lost and being found is a wonderful redemptive theme. Its wonder is found in the reality of what The Lord Jesus Christ has done for sinners. The Prodigal son was aware of his great unworthiness as he fell at the feet of his Father. It’s a great picture of poor lost unworthy sinners coming to Christ for salvation. And it’s to Him, and only to Him, we must come. As the Bible says ‘… there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). No one else has done what Christ has done to redeem sinners, and no one else is mighty to save.

It’s unlikely a celebrity will be reading this, but if you are one, then you too along with the poorest most unlikely sinners may and must flee to Christ. Then trusting only in His great Redeeming work upon the Cross like John Newton, and every other Christian through the ages, you may also be found instead of being lost.

DIY SOS – The Big Build

Recently I sat and watched DIY – SOS ‘The Big Build’ (BBC) Though to see the daddy of all big builds you would need to watch the US version ‘Extreme Makeover – Home Edition‘ with host Ty Pennington. As my late father used to say (and the song) ‘everything’s big in America’. But regardless either here or in America the same principle applies. A family, usually, have tried to do some fairly major work in their house and it has become just too much for them. Or, a family is coping in very poor circumstances, an almost (in some cases it is) dilapidated house without the resources to do anything about it. They do not have the finance, the expertise and the will to do what has become impossible for them. Consequently their lives are severely blighted by the wreckage they eventually have to live in.

I don’t know why it hasn’t struck me before but the parallels between this and where we are as human beings before God is so obvious that it almost needs no comment. But comment we will.

English: One of the DIY SOS: The Big Build vans

We live in a DIY (Do it yourself) age and the evidence is all around us. Not only can we now just about do anything but it also has to be straight away – I want it now. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to find this includes religion and a religion we can do our-self. More specifically God says ‘do it this way’ and we say ‘no thanks I’ll do it my way’ as Frank would say. And this was really what Adam did in the garden. The Lord gave Adam a prohibition and he decided – along with Eve – to rebel and do it his way. And by nature we are just as culpable as our first parents. And now we stand in the ruins of our own efforts to please God. We are doing it ourselves but the task is too great for us. It’s an impossible task. And yet how utterly ridiculous this is when applied to religious worship. We make a religion in our own image and then worship it. This is exactly what is written in the Old Testament book of Isaiah. O those people in the Old Testament were really stupid and we are so sophisticated. Really! Human nature has not changed one iota. We have the same rebellious nature and the same desire to worship ourselves and the things we have made rather than the Creator.

‘O Israel thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help’. ‘I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities’.

Often people neither have the ability to turn to someone for help, but more often will not ask for help. It’s a big thing to admit defeat and ask for help. It’s the same with us in our sinfulness. We are in a lost condition, hopeless and undone, with no resources. And even if we could ‘Do-it-Ourself’ the work would be shoddy, incomplete and ruinous. We need someone with the resources to come and rescue us. Now if that’s all true in the DIY world of construction or any other area how much more true is it in the spiritual realm of Salvation.

The Good News of the Gospel is that God Himself has done something. He has accomplished the ultimate S.O.S. (Save our Souls). He Himself – Jesus Christ – because only God could rescue us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The BIG Build for God is to take a sinner,  grant repentance, faith and life through Jesus Christ and begin what for us is a life-time project as God Himself begins to rebuild us in the image of His Son.

Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year to everyone.

Many thanks for visiting & commenting and some of you actually liked it. May God richly bless you in the New Year.

Here’s the text of C H Spurgeon’s Evening devotional for December 31st:

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” –Jeremiah 8:20
Not saved! Dear reader, is this your mournful plight? Warned of the judgment to come, bidden to escape for your life, and yet at this moment not saved! You know the way of salvation, you read it in the Bible, you hear it from the pulpit, it is explained to you by friends, and yet you neglect it, and therefore you are not saved. You will be without excuse when the Lord shall judge the quick and dead. The Holy Spirit has given more or less of blessing upon the word which has been preached in your hearing, and times of refreshing have come from the divine presence, and yet you are without Christ. All these hopeful seasons have come and gone–your summer and your harvest have past–and yet you are not saved. Years have followed one another into eternity, and your last year will soon be here: youth has gone, manhood is going, and yet you are not saved. Let me ask you–will you ever be saved? Is there any likelihood of it? Already the most propitious seasons have left you unsaved; will other occasions alter your condition? Means have failed with you–the best of means, used perseveringly and with the utmost affection–what more can be done for you? Affliction and prosperity have alike failed to impress you; tears and prayers and sermons have been wasted on your barren heart. Are not the probabilities dead against your ever being saved? Is it not more than likely that you will abide as you are till death for ever bars the door of hope? Do you recoil from the supposition? Yet it is a most reasonable one: he who is not washed in so many waters will in all probability go filthy to his end. The convenient time never has come, why should it ever come? It is logical to fear that it never will arrive, and that Felix like, you will find no convenient season till you are in hell. O bethink you of what that hell is, and of the dread probability that you will soon be cast into it!Reader, suppose you should die unsaved, your doom no words can picture. Write out your dread estate in tears and blood, talk of it with groans and gnashing of teeth: you will be punished with everlasting destruction from the glory of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. A brother’s voice would fain startle you into earnestness. O be wise, be wise in time, and ere another year begins, believe in Jesus, who is able to save to the uttermost. Consecrate these last hours to lonely thought, and if deep repentance be bred in you, it will be well; and if it lead to a humble faith in Jesus, it will be best of all. O see to it that this year pass not away, and you an unforgiven spirit. Let not the new year’s midnight peals sound upon a joyless spirit! Now, NOW,NOW believe, and live.