Lost, Lost, Lost

Title: Lost, Lost, Lost

Bible Book: Luke 15 : 1-32

Author: Franklin L. Kirksey

Subject: Lostness; Salvation; Repentance



Dr. Elon Foster (1833-1898) shares, “Years ago, a man was benighted in a mining region. He lost his way: the darkness was dense, and dangers were thick. The next step might precipitate him down some awful shaft, some gloomy pit, and dash him, bruised and shapeless, upon its floor. He knew his peril; and he stopped, stood still, and began to cry, ‘Lost! lost, lost!’ A cottager heard the sound, and, grasping a lantern, hurried forth, to answer the voice. Guided by the cry, ‘Lost, lost, lost!’ he hastened over the moor. The lost man saw in the distance the glimmer of his light: it came nearer and nearer, until, as its rays flashed through the surrounding mist, he found that he stood upon the verge of death. Another step would have carried him down the shaft, a crushed and mangled corpse! One step, one more effort to save himself, and he would have been lost beyond hope; another effort even to find his way would have proved his ruin.”[1]

We read in Luke 15:1-3, “Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, ‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them.’ So He spoke this parable to them, saying:”

Dr. I. M. Haldeman (1845-1933), former pastor of the First Baptist Church of New York, refers to Luke 15 as “The Threefold Parable”. He explains it is “the one parable which illustrates God’s Way, God’s Grace, and God’s Joy in saving the sinner, whether he be a wanderer, a lost value, or a squanderer.”[2]

From our text we will discover three pictures of being lost.

I. Lost as Wandering Sheep

The image of wandering sheep is found in Isaiah 53:6a, “All we like sheep have gone astray; / We have turned, every one, to his own way. . .”

Matthew writes about Jesus in Matthew 9:36, “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”

Matthew’s account of Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep provides a preface not recorded by Luke. We read in Matthew 18:10-11, “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”

We read in Luke 15:4-7, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

Dr. Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) penned these words in 1843, “I was a wandering sheep, / I did not love the fold; / I did not love my Shepherd’s voice, / I would not be controlled.” Then, after his conversion, he declared, “No more a wandering sheep, / I love to be controlled; / I love my tender Shepherd’s voice, / I love the peaceful fold.”[3]

II. Lost as Wanted Silver

People use the term “want” or “wanted” in several ways. For example,

George Herbert (1593-1633) writes the following in Jacula Prudentum, a collection of pithy proverbs, “For want of a nail, the shoe is lost; for want of a shoe, the horse is lost; and for want of a horse, the rider is lost.”[4]

In 1845, William W. Walford (1772-1850) wrote the following words set to music by William B. Bradbury (1816-1868), “Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! That calls me from a world of care, / And bids me at my Father’s throne / Make all my wants and wishes known.”[5]

In both cases the term “want” refers to something needed that is missing or lacking. The term “wanted” is an adjective meaning, “desired or wished for or sought; [for example] ‘[She] couldn't keep her eyes off the wanted toy’; ‘a wanted criminal’; ‘a wanted poster’".[6] One fellow said he went from being “unwanted” to “most wanted”.

We read in Luke 15:8-10, “‘Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’”

This silver coin was a “drachma, a valuable coin often worn in a ten-piece garland by married women.”[7] Daniel C. Snaddon explains, “These pieces of silver were worn across the wife’s forehead, and were valued much like the wedding ring is valued today. If one coin was lost, it indicated that the wife had been unfaithful to her husband. This particular woman was very upset with losing one of the coins and was concerned about what her husband would say when he returned home.”[8]

III. Lost as Wayward Sons

In 1975 Kerry Livgren wrote a popular song titled “Carry on Wayward Son”. Some believe Livgren based this song on the myth of Daedalus and Icarus; while others believe he is merely providing a lesson from life in general. Still others believe he based it on our Lord’s parable of the prodigal son recorded in Luke 15:11-32. Interestingly, Livgren called a “wandering spiritual vagrant” came to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. According to Steve Morley, when Livgren entered the elevator of an Indianapolis hotel the next morning, he heard “Joy to the world! The Lord has come, let Earth receive her King!" This deeply touched Livgren and moved him to ask his waitress about the music. She explained the hotel was celebrating a tradition called “Christmas In July.”[9]

Sometimes stories of wayward sons do not have happy endings. For example, we read the sad story of David’s wayward son, Absalom, in 2 Samuel 13:1-19:8. David refused to deal properly with the sin of his wayward son; as a result, this man after God’s own heart had his own heart broken.

Hezekiah and Hephzibah, king and queen of Judah, had a wayward son, named, Manasseh (2 Kings 21:1-2). Growing up, he completely rejected the teaching and example of his parents. From 2 Chronicles 33 we read the rest of the story about Manasseh, namely, about his rebellion, repentance, and restoration. Regrettably, even though Manasseh repented, his son, Amon, followed his rebellion and not his repentance. We read in 2 Chronicles 33:22-23, “But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done; for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and served them. And he did not humble himself before the Lord, as his father Manasseh had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.” While it is wonderful that Manasseh repented we must note if he lived to see the actions of his son, he would have been heartbroken.

We read in Luke 15:11-32, “Then He said: ‘A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. ‘But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.’ ‘And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ ‘But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. ‘Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ ‘But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ ‘And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”


Dr. D. M. (David Martin) McIntyre (1859-1938), “was a Scottish preacher and Principal of the Bible Training Institute, Glasgow from 1913 to 1938.”[10] Dr. McIntyre states, “In this chapter [Luke 15] there is only one parable (v. 3). It represents the action of the Good Shepherd, who is Himself the Son; the diligence of the Church, filled and possessed by the Holy Spirit; and the love of the Father. There is the lost sheep, one of a hundred; the lost piece of money, one of ten; there are only two sons, and both of them are lost-one in the far country, the other in the Father’s house. The elder brother may represent the Pharisees, self-righteous and unloving.”[11]

Jesus said of Himself to a Pharisee, named Nicodemus, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:14-17). We read in 2 Peter 3:8-9, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

I read with interest about “[Rev.] Charles Simeon [1759-1836] [who] was summoned to the bedside of a dying brother, who reproved him thus, ‘I am dying; and you never warned me of the state in which I was, and of the great danger I was in of neglecting, the salvation of my soul.’ – ‘Nay, my brother,’ said Simeon; ‘but I took every reasonable opportunity of bringing the subject of religion before you, and frequently alluded to it in my letters.’ – ‘Yes,’ said the dying man; ‘but you never came to me, closed the door, and took me by the collar of my coat and told me I was unconverted, and that, if I died in that state, I should be lost; and now I am dying, and, but for God’s grace, I might have been forever undone.’ Simeon never forgot the scene.”[12]

Selina Hastings (1707-1791) was born as Lady Selina Shirley, also known as “Lady Huntington”. Recently, I read, "Lady Huntington was trying to lead the despondent brother of [George] Whitefield [1714-1770] to Christ. To her urgent entreaties he answered, 'Oh, it is of no use! I am lost, I am lost!’ -- 'Thank God for that!' said she. 'Why!' exclaimed the man in astonishment. 'Because,' said Lady Huntington, 'Christ came to save the lost; and, if you are lost, he is just the one that can save you.'"[13]

Dr. Luke writes in Luke 19:1-9, “Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, ‘He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.’ Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’”

In 1 Timothy 2:3b-6a and 4:9-11 Paul the apostle writes about, “God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all. . . This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach.”

Paul the apostle writes in Titus 2:11-15, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) warns, “In a few more months, some of you will hear the great bell of eternity tolling forth that awful word, ‘Lost, lost!’ the great sepulchers of hell, will echo your doom, ‘Lost, lost, lost!’ and through the shades of eternal misery this shall ever assail your ear, that you are lost forever.”[14]

To be saved you must repent of sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in His death, burial, and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sin. Whether by deliberate rebellion or by simple neglect, if you fail to do so, you will be eternally lost, lost, lost!

[1]Elon Foster, “# 3673,” Cyclopedia of Prose Illustrations Adapted to Christian Teaching, First Series, (New York: Funk & Wagnall, 1872), p. 426

[2]W. H. Griffith Thomas, Outline Studies in Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984), p. 240

[3]Horatius Bonar, “I Was a Wandering Sheep” (1843), Available from: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/w/iwasawan.htm Accessed: 07/13/12

[4]George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum, (1651)

[5]William W. Walford, lyrics / William B. Bradbury, music, “Sweet Hour of Prayer” (1845 / 1861) Available from: (http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/s/h/shop.htm Accessed: 07/13/12

[6]Available from: http://www.lexipedia.com/english/wanted Accessed: 07/13/12

[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version: Slimline ™ Reference Edition, “Explanatory Note, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1988), p. 920

[8]Daniel C. Snaddon, “The Lost Silver / The Lost Coin”, Available from: http://www.plymouthbrethren.org/lost-silverthe-lost-coin Accessed: 07/13/12

[9]Available from: http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=5303 Accessed: 07/13/12

[10]Available from: http://articles.ochristian.com/preacher194-1.shtml Accessed: 07/13/12

[11]W. H. Griffith Thomas, Outline Studies in Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984), p. 241

[12]Elon Foster, “# 4116,” Cyclopedia of Prose Illustrations Adapted to Christian Teaching, First Series, (New York: Funk & Wagnall, 1872), p. 472

[13]Elon Foster, “# 3673,” Cyclopedia of Prose Illustrations Adapted to Christian Teaching, First Series, (New York: Funk & Wagnall, 1872), p. 426

[14]Elon Foster, “# 3674,” Cyclopedia of Prose Illustrations Adapted to Christian Teaching, First Series, (New York: Funk & Wagnall, 1872), p. 426

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com


http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / [email protected] / (251) 626-6210

© July 15, 2012 All Rights Reserved

Posted in


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top