Profile of the Lost

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Date written: 3/14/03

SUBJECT: Evangelism

TITLE: Profile of the Lost

PROPOSITION: In this lesson we want to look at the process of rescuing the lost as illustrated by the Elizabeth Smart case.

OBJECTIVE: Everyone should understand this process and the principles involved in this process to aid in the seeking and finding the spiritually lost.

AIM: To motivate us as Christians to seek and save the lost.


1. Read: Luke 19:9, 10

2. About the Text:

1) At the conclusion of the story of Zacchaeus, Jesus states that he has come to seek and save the lost.

2) What is involved in seeking and saving the lost?

3) Perhaps you have heard of the rescue of Elizabeth Smart.

4) Elizabeth Smart was lost on June 5th, 2002 when an intruder came into her home and kidnapped her from her very room.

5) Amazingly, nine months later, on March 12th, 2003 she was rescued.

6) The news media analyzed this story in detail.

7) In so doing, they built a blueprint of rescuing the lost.

8) Let’s look at a few of the things that we have learned about rescuing the lost from this case.

3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.


I.   Someone must recognize that the lost are lost.

1. You must know who is lost.

i. In the case of Elizabeth Smart

1) For a period of two hours, the parents did not know she was lost.

2) The younger daughter who witnessed the abduction waited this amount of time to tell the parents.

3) The parents did not act until they realized that their daughter was lost.

ii. In the case of lost souls today.

1) We must recognize that the lost are lost!

2) Jesus said, “And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31, 32).

3) Matthew 18:11 “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.”

2. You must know how to recognize the lost.

i. In the case of Elizabeth Smart,

1) Those who were to help find the lost needed to know what she looked like.

2) They needed to know her name.

3) They needed to know how old she was and what she was wearing.

4) They needed to know how to identify the lost.

ii. In the case of lost souls,

1) We need to know how to identify the lost.

2) There are two classes–those who have never been saved and those who have drifted back into being lost.

3) Mark 16:15, 16 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

4) Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

3. The lost needs to know that he/she is lost.

i. In the case of Elizabeth Smart,

1) One of the most phenomenal things about the case is that Elizabeth eventually did not realize that she herself was lost!

2) When the police came to her and asked her what her name was, she answered that it was Augustine.

3) Stockholm syndrome. She felt she would be saved by staying lost!!!

ii. In the case of lost souls,

1) How many believe they will be saved by staying lost today???

2) Matt.25:34ff–The one talent man believed he could be saved by staying lost.

3) Do you know you are saved, or do you think you are saved but really, you are lost?

II.  Someone is responsible for causing the lost to be lost.

1. There is always someone who is responsible.

i. In the case of Elizabeth Smart,

1) A man named Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee abducted her from her Salt Lake City home.

2) This man was a street preacher/drifter.

3) This man was recognized to be dangerous by those who knew him best–stepsons/stepdaughter.

ii. In the case of the spiritually lost,

1) The Bible declares that Sin and Satan are responsible for the abduction of lost souls.

2) 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

3) Paul writes ” Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).

2. We must listen to those who know who is responsible.

i. In the case of Elizabeth Smart

1) Some thought about the parents.

2) Some thought about another man, Mr. Ricci.

3) Many THOUGHT that they knew who the abductor was.

4) Elizabeth’s sister, Mary Katherine Smart, saw the abductor and identified him.

5) While Police acknowledged her testimony, it is alleged they did not take it seriously enough.

ii. In the case of Lost Souls

1) Many THINK they know how others get lost.

i) Some think it is just bad people who are lost.

ii) Some think that only non-Christians are lost.

2) We must listen to the one who knows how men get lost–Jesus.

i) Jesus came to tell us who was responsible for the lost–Sin and Satan.

ii) Jesus spoke of Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

iii) Jesus spoke of sin: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man:” (Matthew 15:18-20).

iv) Jesus tells us how the soul becomes lost. In Matthew 7:21-23 he says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

v) Will we acknowledge him, or will we not take him seriously enough?

3. We must then all recognize who is responsible.

i. In the case of Elizabeth Smart,

1) Once proper understanding of who caused Elizabeth to be lost was known, then people could look for that individual.

2) This was televised on America’s Most Wanted so that everyone would know.

ii. In the case of lost souls,

1) Once we understand who causes people to be lost, we can be on the lookout. Paul says, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

2) And we should tell others to be on the lookout as well! Paul writes, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Cor.11:13-15).

III. Someone must report to others of the lost.

1. We must get the message out.

i. In the case of Elizabeth Smart

1) Ed and Lois Smart made fliers.

2) They held news conferences.

3) They told their friends.

4) Anyone who would listen.

5) They did everything they could possibly do to get the message out to all.

ii. In the case of Lost Souls.

1) We need to tell others as well. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4).

2) Paul said, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Cor.9:16).

3) We should be willing to teach the gospel to anyone who will listen.

4) We must do everything that we can possibly do to get the message out to all.

2. We must repeat the message again and again.

i. In the case of Elizabeth Smart

1) Press conferences twice a day were held for six months.

2) The message was repeated again and again on flyers, ads, and TV shows.

ii. In the case of lost souls.

1) We must not think that repetition is a bad thing.

2) Peter said, “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” (2 Peter 1:12-15).

3. We must be persistent in the message.

i. In the case of Elizabeth Smart.

1) The parents did not give up.

2) They continued pursuing the matter.

3) Nine months of exhaustive labor to bring their daughter back home.

ii. In the case of lost souls.

1) Winston Churchill is famous for saying, “Never, give in, never, never, never, never….”

2) We must never give up when it comes to preaching the gospel to lost souls.

3) “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor.15:58).

IV.  Someone must seek after and find the lost.

1. We ourselves must seek.

i. In regard to Elizabeth Smart

1) Ed and Lois sought for her constantly.

2) They did not merely leave it in the hands of others.

3) They did what they could with what they had.

ii. In regard to lost souls,

1) We must have the attitude of the apostles in Acts 4:20 “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

2) This is God’s attitude as well, “How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matt.18:12-14).

2. However, others must be trained to seek as well.

i. Elizabeth Smart

1) The parents educated others.

2) They enlisted their help to look for their daughter.

ii. Lost Souls–2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

3. The more you have to seek, the greater the chances are that the lost one will be saved.

i. Elizabeth Smart

1) The parents went on America’s most wanted to get the message out to all.

2) They enlisted the help of many in this way.

ii. Lost Souls

1) We must enlist the help of God to aid in the prospects of seeking and saving the lost.

2) “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matt.9:37, 38).

3) The more we have to work, the greater chances are that the message will be heard.

V.   Someone rejoices when the lost are found.

1. In the case of Elizabeth Smart

i. The tears of Joy in Ed Smart’s eyes.

ii. He said that he was “So very grateful.”

2. Don’t you know that God feels the same way about the lost who return to him.

i. Luke 15:7 “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”

ii. Luke 15:32 “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”


1. As Christians, we have the monumental challenge of rescuing the lost everyday. To do that, we must

i. Recognize that the lost are lost.

ii. Warn regarding those who are responsible for the lost.

iii. Report to others of the lost.

iv. Work to rescue the lost.

v. We are then privileged to rejoice in the salvation of the lost.

2. Invitation

i. If you are a Christian but have fallen away

1) You are lost.

2) Satan has deceived you into becoming lost somehow.

3) Do not follow after the one who caused you to be lost.

4) Do not think that you can be saved through being lost.

ii. If you are not a Christian this morning . . .

1) You are lost.

2) God has commanded us to seek after the lost.

3) We implore you today to be saved!

4) Heed the plan that it has for man’s salvation today!

i) Hear the word; Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing . . .”

ii) Believe with all your heart; Hebrews 11:6 “For without faith it is impossible . . . .”

iii) Repent of your sins (Acts 17:30).

iv) Confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matt.16:16).

v) Be baptized for the remission of your sins (Mark 16:15,16).

vi) And we will all rejoice!