The Youth’s Instructor


December 30, 1897

Christians Required to Seek the Lost


“The Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 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? ... Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” YI December 30, 1897, par. 1

These words should make those who are witnessing for God feel that they will not fail nor be discouraged in their efforts to win souls to Jesus Christ. They should say: “I believe in God, who has made every provision that the lost may be restored, that the wanderer from the fold may be brought back.” As they go forth to seek and to save the lost, those who are laborers together with God have the assurance that Jesus is with them always, even to the end of the world. YI December 30, 1897, par. 2

The parable of the lost sheep presents to the world a lesson of the greatest importance. O, that every soul understood the mercy, the goodness, the love, of the character of God! His willingness to forgive sin and transgression is a subject that may be dwelt upon through time and eternity. Every true follower of Christ will love souls for whom Christ died. He will leave his pleasant fireside, and the case of the wandering and lost sheep will engage his attention. The lost sheep never returns to the fold unless he is sought for and brought back; and frequently when the lost one hears the call of the anxious searcher, he runs from the one who is trying to rescue him and bring him into a safe refuge. When the shepherd finds the straying sheep, he does not beat it as it frantically struggles to get free; but he pulls it from the mire, or draws it from the thicket, and, with a heart filled with love and pity, gladness places it on his shoulder, and takes it back to the fold. YI December 30, 1897, par. 3

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who has given his life for the sheep. Every soul that will submit to be ransomed, Jesus will bear from the pit of corruption or from the briers of sin. He bore our sins, he carried our sorrows. Jesus takes the soul, sinful and polluted, upon his shoulders, and joyfully bears it to the haven of safety. Not a solitary soul would have entered the fold of Christ if the divine Shepherd had not made a personal effort to save that which was lost. He came to save that which was lost. He tasted death for every man. One sheep lost was enough to start Jesus out on the search to bring it back to the fold. Now will not those who have been borne on the shoulders of Christ to the fold, work for others as does the shepherd seeking for the lost sheep? Jesus expects nothing less than this of his co-laborers. At the same time he opens before his disciples the danger of their falling into temptation, and desiring to be first in the kingdom of heaven. Many give no heed to this precious lesson. He plainly states that the principle to control the life of a Christian is love toward God and love toward his fellow men. YI December 30, 1897, par. 4

Many tremble as they think of God in his greatness; for there is no covenant of peace between them and God, and they realize that they are sinners before him. But the promise is on record, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If the degradation to which man has sunk through sin could be presented before him as it appears before God, the sight would be intolerable to the guilty transgressor. The consequence of sin, as seen on the cross of Calvary, would break a heart of stone, did the sinner but contemplate the scene. It is in this contemplation that a hatred of sin is born in the heart, and the Holy Spirit works at the same time to inspire hope through the plan of salvation. How much easier would it seem to the human mind for God to have destroyed out of the world the creatures he had made, and so put an end to sin! But the Lord chose the costlier plan. He gave his Son for the sins of the world; for though he hates sin, he loves the sinner. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The gift of Christ to the world shows the exalted character of the plan of salvation. Christ drew aside the veil that hid God's glory from our view, and revealed the holy One who inhabiteth eternity, surrounded with ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels, every one waiting for his commission to communicate with the human family, and to work through human agents. YI December 30, 1897, par. 5

The God of heaven is not regardless of the world and its concerns. He listens to every sigh of pain. He beholds the movements of every being, approving or condemning every action. He approves of those who are working in co-partnership with him in seeking to save the sheep that are lost, in seeking to bring the wanderers back to the fold. There is but one world that has apostatized, but one flock of lost sheep. The inhabitants of other worlds are loyal and true to God. But shall he permit the one lost sheep to perish? Jesus says: “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.” This parable shows the merciful goodness of God toward fallen man. YI December 30, 1897, par. 6

Mrs. E. G. White