loving the lost

©2021 mark montgomery | ask@lifefellowship.org

loving the lost

section 1

in their darkness

There is no better place to start when talking about Loving the Lost than the Great Commission matthew 28:18-20 . It is here that Jesus bids His disciples to carry forth the truth of the Gospel john 3:16-18 . We know there is a heaven to gain and a hell to avoid. The stakes could not be higher! Yet, roadblocks abound – fear, guilt and lack of discernment. Fear is a liar that cripples us and reduces our ability to follow john 3:19-20 . So consider what you are asking of an unbeliever. We are asking that they rethink their lives and submit themselves to a God they do not yet know and have no reason to trust. Understanding the need, God is a hurdle that many cannot seem to get over 1 corinthians 2:14 ephesians 4:17-19 . It may seem like we face insurmountable odds to see someone we love realize their need for God, but remember that we are not alone john 16:8-11 john 1:5 !

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supporting scriptures

matthew 28:18-20 niv

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

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john 3:16-18 esv

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

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john 3:19-20 niv

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

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1 corinthians 2:14 nkjv

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

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my notes:

ephesians 4:17-19 hcsb

Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts.

18  They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts.

19  They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.

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john 16:8-11 hcsb

When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9  About sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10  about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; 11  and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

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john 1:5 rsv

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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my notes:

section 2

in their guilt and our longing

Among the most painful things to watch is someone we love making terrible decisions. How easy it is to long to jump in and seek to steer them away from the pain that they seem determined to experience. While seemingly steeped in pride, they hurtle down the path to their own destruction seeking fulfillment, healing, and joy in all the wrong places proverbs 16:18 proverbs 19:18 . We know there is no peace at the end of such a road and our heart aches galatians 6:1 acts 3:19 . By contrast we know that God holds the answers to the questions and problems matthew 11:28-30 . We long to see them fall in love with the One Who can bind up their wounds and comfort their souls 2 corinthians 1:3-5 psalm 147:3 psalm 34:18 .

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supporting scriptures

proverbs 16:18 esv

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

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proverbs 19:18 niv

Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.

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galatians 6:1 niv

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

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acts 3:19 rsv

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

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matthew 11:28-30 esv

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

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2 corinthians 1:3-5 hcsb

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.

4  He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

5  For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.

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psalm 147:3 nkjv

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

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psalm 34:18 niv

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

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my notes:

section 3

with courage and humility

How we approach this matters. If we give them both barrels they may run for the hills, but we cannot stay silent proverbs 19:2 joshua 1:9 . It is at this moment that we must show humility. Remember our heart is to see them restored, not to have our own pain subside colossians 3:12-14 1 corinthians 10:24 philippians 2:4 jude1:22-23 . How is it we bridge this gap then? We go to the Throne hebrews 4:16 james 1:5 .

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supporting scriptures

proverbs 19:2 esv

Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

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joshua 1:9 niv

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

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colossians 3:12-14 hcsb

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13  accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14  Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity.

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1 corinthians 10:24 rsv

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

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philippians 2:4 rsv

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

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jude 1:22-23 niv

Be merciful to those who doubt; 23  snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

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hebrews 4:16 hcsb

Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

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james 1:5 niv

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

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my notes:

section 4

with patience

If we are honest many of us struggle today with patience. In our microwave popcorn society we struggle with ever playing the long game. "I can’t be expected to keep this going indefinitely. That’s just unreasonable!" Patience, my friend romans 12:12 ephesians 4:1-3 . How long did others contend with you? Our King is able to contend for you and with you isaiah 40:31 ecclesiastes 7:9 james 1:19-20 . What if God’s plan is not yours for your friend isaiah 55:8-9 ? What if you are not the one that leads them to the Lord, but simply the one that plants the seed 1 corinthians 3:5-6 ? "But, that’s not fair! I did all the work. I put in so much time." What, my friend, is your goal? Is recognition of your work more important that the eternal salvation of your friend? Beware the subtlety of pride and watch that you don’t take too much to yourself proverbs 11:2 1 corinthians 3:7 .

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supporting scriptures

romans 12:12 esv

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

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ephesians 4:1-3 niv

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

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isaiah 40:31 nlt2

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

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ecclesiastes 7:9 hcsb

Don’t let your spirit rush to be angry, for anger abides in the heart of fools.

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james 1:19-20 niv

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20  for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

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isaiah 55:8-9 nkjv

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. 9  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

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1 corinthians 3:5-6 hcsb

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, and each has the role the Lord has given. 6  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

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proverbs 11:2 nkjv

When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.

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1 corinthians 3:7 hcsb

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

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my notes:

section 5

with perseverance

Keep the main thing the main thing hebrews 12:1-3 . While the term "Delayed Reaction" may have already been covered, "Rejection" looms large as a real possibility john 15:18 isaiah 53:3 1 samuel 8:7 . Continue on, for we have only begun to contend! Consider the old saying:

"The saint that advances on his knees never retreats."

Paul challenges us to "Pray without ceasing," 1 thessalonians 5:17 . To our knees my friends matthew 6:6-8 luke 18:6-8 ! As we surrender our friends into God hands we are doing what He has called us to matthew 6:9-13 luke 18:1 colossians 4:2 1 john 5:14-15 . So rest in Him philippians 4:6-7 psalm 145:8 galatians 6:9 . Warn those who are idle in their walk and prayer 1 thessalonians 5:14 .

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supporting scriptures

hebrews 12:1-3 niv

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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john 15:18 niv

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

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isaiah 53:3 hcsb

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.

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1 samuel 8:7 esv

And the LORD said to Samuel, "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.

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1 thessalonians 5:17 hcsb

Pray constantly.

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matthew 6:6-8 hcsb

But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7  When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. 8  Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.

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luke 18:6-8 esv

And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8  I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

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matthew 6:9-13 niv

"This, then, is how you should pray: "’Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10  your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11  Give us today our daily bread. 12  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

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luke 18:1 nlt2

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.

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colossians 4:2 rsv

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving;

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1 john 5:14-15 rsv

And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.

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philippians 4:6-7 niv

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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psalm 145:8 esv

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

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galatians 6:9 esv

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

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1 thessalonians 5:14 hcsb

And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

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section 6

for the prize

Paul refers to his brothers in Christ as his "joy and crown" philippians 4:1 . It is not the accomplishment, but the person. Not the job done, but the soul won. It is the beginning of discipleship 1 thessalonians 2:8 ! Once they know, we get the privilege of walking with a new brother or sister in freedom, mutually encouraged by each other’s faith romans 8:1 luke 15:7 psalm 34:3 romans 1:12 philippians 3:12-16 !

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supporting scriptures

philippians 4:1 esv

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

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romans 8:1 esv

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

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luke 15:7 niv

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

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psalm 34:3 esv

Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!

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romans 1:12 hcsb

that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

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philippians 3:12-16 niv

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15  All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16  Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

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section 7

because of His grace to us

Now, as you sit here today, perhaps before the realization of that joy, take heart. Rely on the faithfulness of the Lord 1 john 1:9 psalm 40:2-4 . He did this for you and He will honor His Word in your life and the lives of those around you psalm 27:14 isaiah 55:10-11 .

Consider and take heart in an old saying, with a slight modification:

"There but for the grace of God go I… Here because of the grace of God am I."

So may we look to Jesus and reach out in His love, with humility, patience, perseverance for the prize of walking with a new member of God’s eternal Kingdom… motivated by the love, grace and forgiveness that He has shown this… sinner!

supporting scriptures

1 john 1:9 esv

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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psalm 40:2-4 niv

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. 4  Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

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psalm 27:13-14 niv

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14  Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

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isaiah 55:10-11 esv

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.