What Does It Mean To “Weep for the Lost?”

For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed- God is witness.  6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 
1 Thessalonians 2:3-6

Faithful gospel witness springs from an authentic gospel experience. When you’ve been found, something about being lost doesn’t sit right with you.

The motive to reach out and lead others to Jesus is a personal experience of the gospel. Paul said that their gospel appeal to the Thessalonians didn’t spring from error, impurity, or an attempt to deceive. It’s not impure motives that drives the Christian to share the gospel with others, the impetus comes from God’s work in their life.

This also affects the method of gospel witness. Gospel witness isn’t about flattery, selfish ambition, or personal pride. It’s an authentic call ringing forth in a lost and dying world.

Does this ring a bell with you?

Growing up in the church I remember hearing periodically about a “burden for the lost” that would result in “weeping for the lost.” I’ve known people who balk at this idea, because they believe it sounds impractical or exclusionary or even misguided. But I don’t think it is any of those things. I think it is biblical, I think it is Christ-like,[1] and I think a mark of a true Christian is a burden for lost people.

So what does it mean to “weep for the lost?”

  • If you’ve been moved to tears while praying for someone you know and love who does not know Jesus, you have wept for the lost.
  • If you have come to tears while trying to counsel, console, or persuade someone to trust their life to God and surrender to Jesus, you’ve wept for the lost.
  • If you begin to lose your composure while praying, teaching, discussing, or even thinking through issues involving the gospel going forth to people who need Jesus, you’ve wept for the lost.
  • If you’ve wept over a life broken in sin and in need of salvation, you’ve wept for the lost.

My questions for Christians who do not weep for the lost: Do you remember being lost? Do you realize the great cost of your salvation? Have you grown so comfortable or domesticated in a salvation safety zone, that you’ve forgotten the gospel? Are you disconnected from lost and broken human beings? Have you been desensitized as it relates to the horrific realities of sin and suffering in your community?

I think Christians and churches must remain sensitive and engaged with the reality of the lost that surrounds us every day. The closer we grow to Jesus the more our lives will reflect His heart. It was Jesus who summed up His entire mission this way: “I came to seek and to save the lost.”[2]

[1] Jesus wept over Jerusalem in Luke 19:41, and in Luke 23:28 he told the women who were weeping for him to “weep for yourselves and for your children.”

[2] Luke 19:10.

About Pastor Andrew

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Carissa, Daddy to four daughters, Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Vancouver, WA.
This entry was posted in 1 Thessalonians, Engaging Mission, Evangelism and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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