Thursday, August 17, 2017

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon When Jesus Was Lost ]


When Jesus was twelve years old, Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to observe the Jewish Passover, they took Jesus with them. When they had fulfilled their worship responsibilities, Mary and Joseph, along with their relatives, started to make their long journey home, but the Boy Jesus did not leave with them but lingered in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it. Luke 2:44-46 says, "But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day's journey and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintance. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days, they found Him , sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions." The theme of this message is an unusual one, indeed: "When Jesus was Lost."

First, it is a most disturbing fact that Jesus at the age of twelve was lost by His mother, his legal father and His relatives.. It is most surprising that Mary would have allowed such a thing to happen.. What a precious treasure Jesus must have been to His parents. Born to His mother in a miraculous manner, her heart was set upon Him. She could never forget the wonderful things said about Him by the angel Gabriel, Symeon and Anna. Never could she forget that wonderful night when Jesus was born. When we think of the perils to which His parents were exposed by the sword of Herod the Great and their flight into Egypt, we can only imagine what a special treasure Jesus was to them, how carefully they tended to Him and how well they guarded and protected Him. We marvel, therefore, that they should have lost Him, but lose Him they did. I am amazed that they would ever have allowed Jesus to get out of their sight, even for a minute. One would have thought that His mother could not have allowed Him from her side for a single  moment. Surely, we might say, if she took Him to places where she might lose him, she would with the utmost cares watch over Him until she brought Him back again. Yet, Mary lost her Son, and as a matter of fact He was lost for three days.. Today, when a child is missing three days, tt likely that he has been kid-napped.. . Although Jesus was lost by His mother, it was not because of the fact that she failed to love Him or to appreciate Him She was not a bad or lax mother. No!. No!

How then shall we explain the fact that at the age of twelve years Jesus was lost buy His mother and Joseph?. The explanation is found in a single word found in Luke 2::44. It is the word "supposing." Jesus remained in Jerusalem, but Mary and Joseph supposed Him to be in the company, but He wasn't. She only supposed He was in the company.This was all caused by a common weakness of human nature that has been largely the same throughout the ages. It was simply an oversight, an unintentional careless mistake, simply human carelessness. It wasn't due to anything uncomplimentary that might be said respecting Mary. On the other hand, it didn't happen because it could not have been prevented. That good mother could have found out when they started out early on that morning, as to whether or not Jesus was in their midst. It was a classic example of, "neglecting what should have been today and putting it off till tomorrow." She doubtless was engaged in other things, getting ready for the trip back home, and before she knew it, she simply went on an entire's day's journey, and as it began to grow dark she began to look around for Jesus. The common practice of us to do such things is set forth in the old proverb, "A stitch in time saves nine." But how many pay attention to it? I think it must be kindly said that the very fact that she knew not regarding Him was matter of carelessness and forgetfulness, which is so common to us all as we journey along the pathway of life. The worry that came on her at the close of the day when Jesus was missing was due to the fact that she had not investigated early in the morning and made certain that all the members of the family were in her company How many of us have experienced anxiety, pain and regrets of various kinds over a failure to do something earlier that might have prevented some calamity, unpleasantness or sadness from coming upon us. If I had investigated more, if I had only done this or that none of this would have happened to me. But we supposed everything was alright, just like Mary did. Supposing can cause a lot of problems.

Secondly, I would suggest to you that Mary is not the only one who lost Christ. It is a most disturbing fact that we Christians can lose Him. Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Jesus is present among the company of God's people. Jesus was a precious treasure to Mary, and He is a precious treasure to Christians. Jesus Christ is ours; not our Son but our Brother. Not our child but our Friend. More than anything else He is our Lord and Savior. He belongs to us spiritually. It is possible for us to lose His company. Paul predicted that in times later to his time, a great falling away from the truth would take place(2 Thess. 2:3). Paul also said that all  who try to be saved by the law of Moses have become estranged from Christ and have fallen from grace(Gal. 5:4). Paul wrote to Jewish Christians in Heb. 3:12, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from t living God." Jesus said in John 15, "I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in me bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away." I cite these scriptures to support the possibility that Christians may lose the presence of Christ in their lives and live out the rest of their lives supposing that they have not lost Him., and that would be a tragedy. If we have departed from the living God, if we have fallen away from the church, if we are no long influenced by His teachings, if we do not abide in Christ, then it can be truly said, "We have lost Christ." He didn't leave us, we left Him. Supposing that we have not lost Him will not make it true. Mary supposed He was in the company but he wasn't. Many of God's people have lost H im down through the ages, and it is a disturbing thought we Christians can lose Him.

How then can Christians know they have not lost Him?. He is not visible to us as He was to Mary. We see Him only with the eye of faith. We see Him through His example, His teachings, His words, His requirements and His expectations. The apostle tells us how we can know we have not lost him in I John 1:7, "If we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." If we are faithful Christians, loyal to the Lord's church and doing our best to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, we can be certain that we have not lost Christ. Thirdly, it is necessarily implied that if Christians can lose Christ then unbelievers can lose Christ. Jesus belongs to unbelievers as well as to Christians. Jesus tasted death for every unbeliever and shed His blood for all people who are not Christians. I believe with all due respect to the intelligence and ability of the human race that, religiously speaking, most of the human family are walking along in this present world on their journey to the world to come on the ground of supposition. It is generally believed that if there is a heaven, all good people will go there, regardless of their religious affiliation. However, that is a human supposition and not a divinely revealed fact. The Bible says that there is no other name under given among men whereby we must be saved but the name of Jesus. There are some twelve or thirteen different world religions, and one them is the Christian religion. Furthermore, there are hundreds of different religious organizations in Christendom. For various reasons, most Americans become associated with one of the many divisions in Christendom. But how many stop, amid the busy affairs of this life, to investigate and find out beyond the possibility of doubt that Christ is among the company they have chosen. Or do they just take it for granted, and on the general ground of supposition, presume that Christ is among their company?. It is generally supposed that if people are only sincere, it really doesn't matter what they believe, but this is a human supposition and not a divine truth.. Jesus said that people who teach the commandments of men instead of the teachings given by God, worship God in vain(Matt. 15:9).

There is so much religious division in the world and so much confusion in Christendom that unbelievers are having a very difficult time finding Christ. They know not which church they should join. I am not being unkind or judgmental when I say that many in the religious world today have lost Jesus, the Christ. Jesus is also lost to an unbelieving world, and they know not how to find Him.  Some Preachers and many  people are hunting about trying to find Him, and first, they search in their own ranks and then in that of their religious kinsfolk and acquaintances. Religion today for the most part is a matter of birth. Most young people choose the church of their parents or grandparents, supposing that they must be right. Lastly, But this is not necessarily so. What can we all do to insure the safety of our soul's salvation in these trying times? I think we can find the answer by going back to the story of Mary who lost Jesus and found Him in Jerusalem. When she found out her supposition was wrong and He was not among the company, she turned back three days and returned to Jerusalem, and  there she found Him. Had she investigated instead of supposing, she would not have left her son in Jerusalem. Investigation is the answer to the religious problem of the day. Like Mary, let's go back to Jerusalem where we have left Him. The Christian religion started in Jerusalem; the Church first began in Jerusalem, the first ten thousand Christians lived in Jerusalem. nstead of supposing what we should believe or what church we should be in or how we should worship, let us go back to the Jerusalem church and make an investigation. How did they become Christians? Of what church were they a member? How did they worship? What did they believe? We know Christ was in that Church, for He said, "Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hades or death shall not prevail against it." The way to overcome religious supposition, uncertainty and carelessness is investigation, investigation, investigation! We must put our hand in the hand of Christ, and regardless of what the world says, with the Bible as our guide and Christ as our leader, let us say, "Lord, speak; let me hear; command, and I will obey."

I call your attention to a wel l known historical example that shows how investigation can change long standing religious beliefs. About the beginning of the sixteenth century, the world began to recognize there as something radically wrong with the largest religious institution in the world.. By investigation of God's word, Martin Luther discovered the Church of Rome was directed more by the commandments of men instead of the doctrines of Christ. Unable to bring about changes, he withdrew from that church and as a result the Lutheran church was established, , the first of all Protestant churches. Next, the people in England withdrew from the Church of Rome and formed the Church of England. Others separated from the Papal church and formed the Presbyterian church because they were teaching the commandments of men instead of the doctrines of Christ. Many professed Christians left the Church of England because of erroneous teachings which resulted in the formation of several more Protestant churches, including the Baptist church and the Congregational church. These great religious changes are known in both church history and secular history as "The Reformation." Webster's dictionary gives this definition of the Reformation: "The 16th century religious movement that aimed at reforming the Roman Catholic church and resulted in establishing the Protestant churches." This movement was for the betterment of the Christian religion, although it was very unfortunate that the Protestant churches could not agree on the teachings of Christ and His apostles, and they introduced a divided Christendom to the world.

About 1800 there was another development of the Reformation movement. Professed Christians in most all of the Protestant churches in America began to investigate the scriptures and discovered many things that were being taught were the commandments of men and not the teachings of Christ. Unable to convince their fellow-believers and bring about needed reforms in the Protestant churches, they withdrew and formed what is known as congregations of Churches of Christ. They did not establish another denomination but re-established and rebuilt the old Jerusalem church in belief, worship and practice.. In Romans 16:16 we read these words, "Greet one another with a holy kiss. The Churches of Christ greet you." Thus all over early America in the 1800's, there were congregations of Christians called Churches of Christ, the same name given to the church by the apostles in the first century. This was simply an extension of the 16teh century Reformation. and was produced by another investigation of the holy scriptures. Churches of Christ continue to be investigators and strive to keep the church free of the commandments of men. Are there any who read these words have it in their hearts to find Christ? If so, I bid you to cut off from suppositions and look back to the old church, to the old record, to the old Jerusalem church, to the old New Testament church and hold to those things that the apostles of Christ taught and practiced. Believe the gospel, that Christ died for our sins, repent of the sins of your past life and turn to God, publicly confess that Jesus is God's divine Son from heaven and be immersed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to have your sins washed away. That will make you nothing on earth but a Christian and a member of the church Jesus bought with His blood. Let your religious affiliation stop right there.

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