"SEEKING THE LOST"
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Lk. 19.10)
INTRO.: A song which exhorts us to follow the example of the Son of Man and do what we can to seek and to save that which is lost is "Seeking The Lost" (#520 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #528 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by William Augustine Ogden (1841-1897). It was first published in 1886, but I have not been able to find any information about its source of publication. Ogden produced many other gospel songs which have been used in our books, such as "He Is Able to Deliver Thee," "Jesus, the Loving Shepherd," "O If My House Were Built upon a Rock," and "Where He Leads, I’ll Follow," as well as the tunes for "Come to the Feast" and "Bring Them In."
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Seeking the Lost" appeared in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1935 Christian Hymns (No. 1), the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2, and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 all edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; and the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 (Church) Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song reminds us of the importance of working to seek those who are lost and of how to go about it.
I. Stanza 1 suggests that we must tell others the words of the Master
"Seeking the lost, yes, kindly entreating Wanderers on the mountain astray;
‘Come unto Me,’ His message repeating, Words of the Master speaking today."
A. The lost are those who are separated from God by sin: Lk. 16.32
B. Those who are lost are pictured as sheep who are wandering astray in the mountains of sin: 1 Pet. 2.25
C. The responsibility of every Christian is to repeat the message of Jesus to come to Him for rest: Matt. 11.28-30
II. Stanza 2 suggests that we must point others to Jesus
"Seeking the lost, and pointing to Jesus Souls that are weak, and hearts that are sore;
Leading them forth in ways of salvation, Showing the path to life evermore."
A. We should point the lost to Jesus because He is the author and finisher of our faith: Heb. 12.1-2
B. Also, we should point them to Jesus because they need to have their weak souls saved from spiritual death: Jas. 5.19-20
C. Therefore, by pointing them to Jesus, we help them find the strait and narrow path that leads to life everlasting: Matt. 7.13-14
III. Stanza 3 suggests that we must strive to help others in need
"Thus I would go on missions of mercy, Following Christ from day unto day,
Cheering the faint, and raising the fallen, Pointing the lost to Jesus the Way."
A. Christians need to be following the example of Christ from day unto day: 1 Pet. 2.21
B. This means that we should be cheering the faint, raising the fallen, and generally trying to assist our fellowman spiritually: 1 Thess. 5.14
C. Doing this will help to point the lost to Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life: Jn. 14.6
CONCL.: The chorus points out that we are on a mission for Jesus the Lamb who was slain for sinners to bring the wanderers back to Him.
"Going afar, upon the mountain, Bringing the wanderer back again
Into the fold of my Redeemer, Jesus the Lamb for sinners slain."
The Christian has many responsibilities in this life, to his family, to his employer, to his community, to his government, even to his enemies. Yet, above all these he has a responsibility to serve his Savior in everything that he does, and with this attitude he can find opportunities in all those other relationships for "Seeking the Lost."