The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Salvation from the State of Lostness
By Al Stoner
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (II Cor. 4:3).

 Introduction.  The stark reality that confronts us is that all men fall into one of two categories. They are presently either lost or found. Those who are found were at one time lost. And those who are yet lost are in an extremely precarious condition until such time as they be found. Men's condition of lostness or foundness has directly to do with their relationship to the gospel. For "if our gospel be hid, it is hid unto them that are lost," as Paul declared. 
 
Adam, Where art Thou?  When sin entered into the world, men were, as a direct consequence, alienated from the life of God and the purpose of God.  The first question that God asked Adam after he had sinned was, “Where art thou?” (Gen. 3:9).  It ought to be evident from the One asking this question, that this inquiry had to do with something infinitely more profound than Adam’s physical location.  To be severed from the life of God because of sin is to be lost.  The same voice that spoke to Adam is yet crying out down through the centuries of time, “Where art thou, O man, or woman?” Where art thou, in relation to God’s eternal purpose in Christ Jesus (cf. Eph. 3:10-11)?  Where art thou, with regard to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?  Where art thou, in relation to Jesus Christ, the Divinely-provided “Door of the sheep” (Jn. 10:7-9)?   Those who have, indeed, entered in “by Him” are found, and those who have not are lost. 
 
Summarizing and Reiterating.  To restate what has already been said, to be dead in trespasses and sins is to be lost.  To be outside of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be lost.  To be in Christ through obedience to the gospel (cf. Gal. 3:25-26), and to abide in Him (cf. Jn. 15:1-7), is to be found.  To have one’s sins forgiven through faith in Christ is to be found, and for the sins to remain unremitted is to be lost.  To be washed from one’s sins in Christ’s own blood (cf. Rev. 1:5) is to be found.  To be justified by Christ’s blood is to be found.  To be sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and called (cf. Jude 1), is to be found.  To be in possession of the gift of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:38-39) is to be found. 
 
Those who are lost are lost in relation to the blessed purpose, fellowship, and grace of God, and the glorious eternal destiny, to which God has called men through Christ Jesus, in the world to come. And for this cause we praise God that those who, indeed, are found have been given grace to recover themselves from the snare of the Devil.  Such ones have “tasted that the Lord is gracious,” and they are living in the glorious expectancy and hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. 
 
Let us now consider some words of the Scripture that address this matter of which we are speaking and see if we can derive some eternal profit from them. 
 
Like Sheep Going Astray. Gone astray like a lost sheep. Here we see that lostness is the result of going astray.  We all had gone astray. All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.  As Peter declared, "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls" (I Pet. 2:25). This was the condition that we were once in, as well as all men. But now, by the grace of God, we, that are in Christ, have returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, and have been found!
 
Finding the Narrow Way. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Mt. 7:13-14). Here is yet another consideration along this line. Those who do not enter in through the strait gate and who do not find this narrow way are lost. They are lost from the purpose and fellowship of God.  
 
Losing One’s Soul. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mt. 16:26). 
 
Here the lost are seen to be those who have determined within themselves to gain the whole world (or at least as much of this world's goods as possible), and consequently they have lost their own soul (that is, their capacity to receive and delight in benefits from God). They have exchanged the pearl of great price and the heavenly treasure for the evanescent and the paltry things which are soon to pass away. They are endeavoring to be established in this world, rather than seeking the joys which are at God's right hand, and which are everlasting. 
 
The Purpose For Which Christ Came. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost” (Mt. 18:11). Let us ever give thanks for the Savior and for this blessed purpose for which He came! 
 
To save that which was lost. Salvation is the pressing need of the hour and this is what the lost stand greatly in need of, and it is what the God of Heaven has made provision for when He sent His Son into the world that we might live through Him. 
 
The Seeking Savior. The parables in Luke chapter 15 all declare a Savior that is earnestly and zealously seeking after that which was lost. Consider the following. 
 
The Ninety and Nine. “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” (Lk. 15:4). 
 
This was the situation with each of us who are, by the grace of God, partakers of His salvation. We were lost, the Savior came earnestly seeking us, and He found us. May each of us, accordingly, give diligence that, in the day when Christ returns, we may be found of Him in peace without spot and blameless! 
 
Those whom Jesus finds, in the language of this parable, are those who are saved from their sins, who are willing to pay the price of discipleship to Christ, and who are living and rejoicing in hope of the glory that shall soon be revealed in us! 
 
The Lost Coin. “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost” (Lk.15:8-9). 
 
Seeking Diligently. When the Father and the Son set out to seek and to save that which was lost, speaking as a man, they acted diligently and earnestly. There was nothing casual about the working out of our salvation.  Let us seek grace to follow Their blessed example in our reception of the salvation for ourselves.
 
The Prodigal Son (Lk. 15:11-32).  The parable of the prodigal son is an intriguing example of men being either lost or found.  “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (v. 24).  This parable is spiritually intriguing because it is the longest of the three in Luke 15.  It speaks of one who was dead, and is alive again.  And it is also intriguing because this, as well as the other two parables in this chapter, flowed out from the lips of the Savior in response to the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ charge, “This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them” (Lk. 15:1-2).
 
As we have said, lost here does not mean that God did not know where men are geographically. He knows exactly where they are in that sense. “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). Lost means that, when sin entered into the world, men became lost from right relationship with God, from the good pleasure and fellowship of God, and from the joys that are everlasting.  From another perspective, the lost are those who have not received for themselves the Divinely-provided remedy for lostness in the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  While men are away from the purpose of God in Christ, they are lost.  And those who return unto Jesus, the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls, are found. 
 
Repentance and obedience to the gospel (cf. Acts 2:38-39; Gal. 3:26-29) blessedly conduct men from the state of lostness to that of being found and accepted of God in and through the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).--Editor

1

"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).