Leon Fontaine - Seeking The Lost
You know, there's something about believers today that we have to be very careful of, and that is the Bible says in Ephesians chapter 4 that the purpose for the ministry, the five-fold ministry for church, for getting together like this is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Did you know that God wants you to be equipped? And the word equip means skill development. Skill development. Well, what is the skill God wants you develop then? Well, there's an incredible verse about Jesus. It's in Luke 19:10, and it says there, "Because the Son of Man came to find, to seek out lost people and save them". Seek out who? Lost people.
I know that when you give your life to Christ, that you begin this relationship of getting to know Him and experience Him and there's just nothing like it. But as you are getting to know God and His Word and His promises and His blessings. There's just so many beautiful things to know. You're being equipped to seek out the lost. Oh, what's the lost? If you ask anybody, they'll tell you they're not lost. I was on a plane flying into Melbourne, Australia a while ago and this lady a little older than me was sitting beside me. And I mean, she had impeccable manners. She was dressed super expensively. We got into conversations. We're coming in for a landing. And I found out that her family is a premier family in the whole nation. That they are very well-known, very responsible big purpose for this family. But as we got ready to land and I could just sense this loneliness. This lostness about her.
And as we talked about life and its meaning, tears I could see just begin to well-up in her eyes and we had quite a conversation. And I shared with her what I was doing. I was coming in, that I was here to train pastors. I'm going to be speaking at a conference where I wanted to show people, and I've explained to her what Spirit Contemporary was. It was being spiritually alive with the presence of God and yet being cool and contemporary and relevant in a way that the world is still attracted to. You know, when Jesus walked the planet people were attracted to Him. I've had pastors tell me, "Well, not too many people come to our church because we speak the truth". I said, "Jesus was the truth and everywhere He went, they were attracted to Him".
I want you to understand that we're surrounded by a world of lost people that they don't even know they're lost many times. But late at night or especially when they begin to achieve their goals. Once people achieved their goals on the planet, it's when they usually start getting depressed, unhappy. We see it all the time in music, movies. That as someone's star begins to rise. They're singing to stadiums of 80.000, a 100.000 people. They're snorting lines of coke just to stay happy. Or as they begin to be an actor and the whole world knows their name. Somehow their lives just begin to get messed up because as they achieve goals, they think that this goals are going to remove this sense of lack. This, I need a sense of significance, of purpose.
This lady that I was talking to had incredible purpose. Her family for a couple of generations were doing things, looking after this country, influencing a country politically, financially. And yet deep inside of her was this lost orphan's heart. And I want you to know that it doesn't matter how successful someone is. You know, whatever area that you lack in, you think that if someone's got that, that they're happy. But a world pursuing happiness is a mess. Of all the drugs that are made today, you ought to see what percentage of them especially when it comes to depression and emotional disorders. What percentage of them are that are used just in North America, Canada, and America. Because people think that this orphan's heart feeling is going to be gone when they achieve something, marry someone, have money.
And it's a horrifying feeling to achieve your goals and to feel even worse than you felt before because at least the journey gave you something to do, something to work at. There's a verse in the Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:11, it says, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. And God also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun, but God alone can satisfy". You know, there's something about the human race. I love animals. I love, you know, what they add to the planet. But a dog as it sits by the fireplace and stares out the window. They look almost human. You know, because they've got a soul but not a spirit. And as they look out, you think, "I wonder if he's thinking about the purpose of his life. I wonder if he's trying to consider where he's going in life". He's not. He's a dog with a nature of a dog.
I love dogs. Grew up with dogs. But they don't take the place of the human race. And we need to understand, you are made in the likeness and the image of God. And the people, once you've given your life to Christ. You need to understand that you are anointed. You are empowered to share this good news with others. Acts 1:8 says that when the Holy Spirit came upon you, that you are empowered. You have an ability to be witnesses. Which means that you have witnessed a change on the inside of you. It doesn't say that you being perfect can now share your faith. No. You're a witness. Maybe you are a witness to what God's done already in your life and you still got a lot of things to work on like the rest of us. But you still need to share your faith. The Bible says in Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed". I'm not ashamed. And I stopped being ashamed of Jesus.
There was a time where I was. I thought, "Well, gosh, golly, gee. You know, like I mean, like I'm just want to be a Christian". And I recognize that the things people believe out there are so crazy, so weird. But I've met the King of kings and the Lord of lords and I am not ashamed of the Jesus that I know. And I find that everywhere I go, I can either be on me mood. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me. Or I can be in God mood. God is there something you want me to do? Jesus it says was seeking. What is He seeking for? Lost people. Well, we keep thinking the lost ones are just the people living on the streets. Well, they could be lost. But it's the people living in governments who are Premiers and Prime Ministers and Presidents. This lostness has nothing to do with giftedness. This lostness has nothing to do with how much money you have or how gifted you are at working with other people. You are going to find everywhere this lost orphan's heart. And you and I are called to go out and to seek and to save that which was lost.
One guy said to me the other day, "Well, I'd share my faith more, but I just don't know. I mean, like what if I shared Jesus but then He let's them down". He didn't say that way, but that was pretty much the whole speech was about. I say, "What do you mean let's them down"? Well, I mean, if I talk to them about peace, and they don't get peace. And I talk... Listen to me. You're not responsible to convince people. That creates debates. It's a wonderful day when I just started sharing with people what I'm a witness to. You know, I shared this a lot. But if I get called and subpoenaed to court and I'm sitting there and all of a sudden it's my turn and the judge says, "Leon Fontaine please take the witness stand". So I get up there and sit down and he says, "Did you witness this accident"? I say, "No, your honor. I wasn't even in the city" What? Well then, why are you on this list of witnesses? I have no idea. Oh, get out of my court. Out, out, out, out. I'm not even a witness to it.
When the Bible says that the presence of God, He has made you a witness. It doesn't say perfect witness. You don't have everything together, your emotions, your marriage. No. It's just means He's come in. And that there's a new life, a new peace, a new joy. There's this journey that you're now on with Jesus that you've got to share. And if you do not share, you're missing out on the greatest adventure this world ever seen. I've done a lot of cool things with my life, been places, done things, and nothing compares to sharing what I have been a witness to about what Jesus has done in my life. Jesus is teaching one day, and He says, "There was a man that he had a hundred sheep and one was lost. So he left the ninety-nine and he went out and found the one that was lost. And when he found it, it says, he told his friends, 'Hey, come rejoice with me for this sheep that is, was lost is now found'".
This issue of lost and found, lost and found is through a lot of Jesus' teachings. That He came to a world that was lost, who did not know Him. He died on the cross for all of mankind. Not just for the ones who have said yes sitting in this room. But you and I, we have a purpose. It's to know Jesus and then to share this Jesus and what we have witnessed so far with Him to those who are around us. This woman sitting beside me on a plane flying into Melbourne, Australia. I'll never forget because she was working so hard to have it all together. Man, she looked together. She had everything figured out. Except, she couldn't turn off this emptiness that she felt deep inside.
I want you to know. Don't look at people's faces and think for a minute that they're so confident, so well-spoken, so financially prosperous, so successful. They're so well-known. That they would never want this Jesus. And I don't even know how to start. You would always start by sharing what Jesus has done for you. As Jesus is teaching about this man who had a hundred sheep. He talks about this woman who has ten coins, drachmas. One coin is worth an entire day's salary and she loses one. And she starts cleaning her house and looking for this coin and she finally finds it.
Now, it's interesting in this chapter that Jesus is teaching. He doesn't say she tried. He doesn't say she tried. He doesn't say that the man who lost one sheep tried to find it. This word try is a word for weaklings. The word try is a word for cowards. It's a way to tell you, "Well, I'll try". No. It says she looked till she found. Then with the man who lost that sheep. It says he looked till he found. I want you to know the assignment that is given to the church of Jesus Christ. The assignment isn't to live beautiful and happy and wonderful while the whole world goes to hell. We are to seek first the kingdom of God. And the Bible says when you seek Him first, all these things you worry about from clothes, to health, to food, to homes, to careers. They're all going to be added to you.
But so many Christians, they get focused on their health and they get focused on their clothes. They get focused on the goodness of God. The prosperity of God. The healing of God. And that's all they pursue. You don't have to pursue it if you'll seek first Jesus and do what He's called you to do. Did you know that the blessing will chaste you down. But you're here to seek and to save that which was lost. But I got news for you. The enemy's job is to try to get you to be silent. They say silence is golden and sometimes it is. But a lot of times it's just yellow. It's just yellow and we don't speak up. I've found that Holy Spirit can guide me. That when I'm on a situation and I sense that I need to speak with that person. I want to make sure that...
You'll be amazed how all of a sudden as you're listening and talking and getting to know them and engaging in conversation from hockey to shopping or whatever it is. That something touches your heart on a certain topic. And as you begin to talk about it, this person begins to open up their life. Everyone thinks that everybody is against being shared Christ with. But that's a lie. You know, back to the Bible.
One of our oldest radio shows, they had a multimillion dollar study done on people who don't go to church and don't believe in Christ. And they can ask them certain questions. One of the questions they asked them is, "If somebody that you respected, that you knew, asked you to come to church with them. Would you go"? You know, over ninety percent said yes. Yeah, we all feel like if we share our faith with somebody or invite them out to church that they're going to say NO. Or that if we start talking about Jesus, that we're going to offend people and turn them off.
Listen, when the light in a room is off, it's off. How do you get more off than off? If they don't know Christ, we may as well speak. And by the way, have you noticed how much people are talking today? I mean, you sit beside a person on a plane, they'll tell you stuff they haven't told their mom. They'll tell you stuff they haven't told their spouse. You're just the safe per... You ever go to the Facebook? And you're shocked as your mouth hits your chest and you kind of go, "Why are they telling this on Facebook? Why are they saying this on Instagram. Are they crazy twittering that? Like don't they know the whole world is seeing your confessions and all these things".
The world wants to talk. The world wants to get engaged in meaningful conversations and the church is silent. We're trying to be, "Well, we just don't want to offend them". Offend them! Well, then learn to speak in a way that's caring and loving. Don't be condescending or judgmental. Care about them. Love them. But share what God has done for you. Don't debate their life. You don't know their life. You are a witness of your life. So give them an example of what He has done for you. Someone say, "Well, Leon, I got to get it together first". Get what together? It. Oh, what's it? Well, you know, just get it together. Oh, what do you get together? You're not sharing your faith because you got it together.
If you say that they're going to just swat you until they can find something you don't get together. The only hope you've got of sharing is that Jesus saved you when you didn't have it together. Churches tried so hard for years to get it together and be a shining light, a city on a hill. And they'd take that verse and go, "So we want to have it together. So we don't want people who don't have it together in church. We have to have it together. So we can have it together, then people going to see that if you know Jesus, you can have it all together". No.
The Bible teaches us that where the stalls and the barn are dirty, the oxen are working. Meaning I want the most mess up church I can find. What? Yeah! I wanna more problems and people with issues and addictions and people struggling and crying and weeping and depressed, unhappy, sick. I want them all. Why? Because I can't stand those who think they're perfect. And as we share and lay down our lives, you wouldn't believe I've been with a lot of people when they die. When they're old and wise, they looked back at their life and they have so many regrets. Except for those who've been a part of reaching people with the Gospel. Then they know their whole life has been about populating heaven.
It even says in Luke that when you pass away and go to heaven that there's going to be a line formed in heaven of people that you've influenced with your life, your wealth, your giftedness. And that they're going to welcome you into everlasting habitations. You know, some people going to go up and they're going to say, "Oh, so and so is here". And the place is going to erupt because you gave to reach souls, because you volunteered to help a church rise up and touch people. Because you shared wherever you went the faith that you do. And this heaven is populated with people you had no idea. And others are going to there thinking that they're pretty cool because they got a $4.000 suit and $2.000 shoes which are fine. But they think it mean something in heaven. And it means nothing, absolutely nothing.
There's a joke told about a guy who was so in love with money that he made his lawyers agree that they would put all of his gold, in gold coin. They would put it into his coffin. And so after the funeral was done and they're about to fasten the top of the coffin down. These lawyers and he had figured out so no one could cheat the other. They start dumping all this gold into the coffin sitting over the hole till they filled his coffin up with gold coins. They lowered into the ground and they filled it in. And St. Peter's up in heaven and he says, "What in the world is that dummy doing"? Well, he's trying to take his gold with him. Well, in this one case let him bring it with him.
So this guy appears at the gates of heaven with his great big mound of gold coins around him. St. Peter looks at him and says, "Why in the world did you bring paving stones to heaven"? Because heaven streets are paved with gold. The things that people value down here to be known to have a million followers, to have everyone sing your name, to have lots of money, means nothing to the God of the universe. But your ability to reach out and share your faith with others so they can know that Jesus had died for them is of the highest, importance in eternity.
So let's make sure that all that we do, from the volunteers that are working with our kids, to the guys that are parking cars. So this morning the earliest I drove by 7:25 and somebody was out there setting up the cones for the parents who dropped off their children. To the guy who's mixing this in a backroom somewhere or the band that was here for an hour or two early just to work and lead you in worship and praise. God's keeping track. And don't be surprised, even a cup of water that's given away an angel's recording. Let's make sure that our lives have eternal meaning.
So Leon, but are you saying all of us should be preachers? No. If you're going to be a multimillionaire, go do it. But finance the kingdom. If you're going to be a politician, go do it. Be honorable and integrous and make a great place for Christianity to blossom and bloom. If you're going to be a nurse, great! But look for opportunities to share your faith to the hurting and the dying. Like, yes. We all have different gifts and abilities. But even in all of the gifts and abilities that we have, we must seek first the kingdom of God. If you do, not only are you literally populating heaven. But even the life you have down here is so filled with purpose. So filled with significance. So filled with the sense of joy and peace that it changes everything and everyone around you.