Lost in the Home
June 30th, 1968 @ 7:30 PM
LOST IN THE HOME
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-30-68 7:30 p.m.
We invite you who are listening on the radio to read God’s Word out loud with us. Turn to Luke chapter 15 and the first ten verses, Luke chapter 15, the first ten verses. You are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the evening message entitled Lost in the Home.
And it is a message on the second part of this parable that Jesus told in the fifteenth chapter of Luke. The first part concerns the shepherd and a hundred sheep [Luke 15:3-7]. The second part concerns a woman and ten pieces of silver [Luke 15:8-10]. The third part concerns a father and two sons, an elder and a younger brother [Luke 15:11-32]. Next night that I preach on this passage I will preach on that younger brother [Luke 15:12-24], and then the following night I shall preach on that elder brother [Luke 15:25-32]; first the younger brother, the prodigal away from home. Then I am going to preach a sermon on the prodigal that stayed at home. Tonight the message is in the middle of this parable; Jesus speaks of the woman and ten pieces of silver [Luke 15:8-10]. Now let us read the first part of it out loud, all of us together, sharing your Bible, Luke 15, the first ten verses, all of us together:
Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him.
And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
And He spake this parable unto them, saying,
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
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.
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
The story concerns a woman who apparently is very poor. There are some commentators who will say that this series of coins, ten pieces of silver, were her dowry. And when she married they were given as a dowry, and she looked upon it as a treasured possession. Then they go into all kinds of ramifications about what it meant to lose one piece of that dowry.
Now I have no objection to such explanation of these ten pieces of silver, that’s fine, but I think that Jesus who lived in poverty all His life—He said, “The birds of the air have nests and the beasts of the fields, the foxes, have holes; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head” [Luke 9:58]. And if you go to Nazareth and they show you the purported home where He lived, it will be a cave, like a den. Our Lord was poor, and practically all of the illustrations by which He will present the spiritual truths of the kingdom will be in those circles of poverty. It arises out of the life of a working man or a working woman. So when I read this parable, what it says to me is He is speaking of a woman who is very poor; so poor is her life that she doesn’t have a window in the home. The only light that comes into the house is from a low door, and she would doubtless bend down to go through that door and under that door in order to come into the house—for in seeking the coin, she has to light a candle, even to see in the house where she might have lost it [Luke 15:8].
Now to her, being poor, the loss of one piece of silver was as great in her life as the loss of one sheep was in the life of the shepherd who had a hundred sheep [Luke 15:4]. And if you look at that proportionately, I would suppose that the loss was greater, for the man in the parable, in the story above, who had a hundred sheep and lost one, was not as destitute as the woman who lost one piece out of ten. For she lost ten percent of what she had, whereas the shepherd lost one percent of what he had. In any event, the picture is of a woman who had ten pieces of silver, and they meant much to her in her poverty, in her need and walk. And losing one piece, much was lost to her [Luke 15:8].
Now as we read the story that Jesus tells about this woman, it is an illustration, for a parable told by our Lord would have a deep spiritual sense and meaning and lesson for us. It is a story of great import for our lives. For, you see, in the three parts of this parable—the sheep that was lost went away, drifted away, following inclinations and appetites; this tuft of green grass, and this lush watercourse. And busy ministering to himself, “having a good time” we would translate it, giving expression to the appetite of the day, the sheep went away, and nightfall came, and the mountains like great precipices rose around him, and the sheep was lost [Luke 15:4]. People are like that. They follow this invitation or temptation or course and this one and this one. And they are not violently mean. They are not incorrigibly wicked. They don’t hate God, or hate the church, or hate the Bible, or hate the message of salvation. They are just out there in the world. They are with a boat out on the lake, or they are with a gun out at the lodge, or they are somewhere involved in entertaining or being entertained, and they are lost. They are just away from God, like a sheep.
Now sometimes we are lost like an incorrigible boy [Luke 15:12-13]. “I am weary of this house, and I am weary of you, and I am tired of church, and I am not interested in God, and I want to go on a beach; man, I want to live it up!” And some of us are lost like that, living it up. But some of us are lost because of the carelessness of others. The souls slip through our fingers, and that illustration is the story of our Lord in this parable [Luke 15:8]; lost in the home through the neglect and indifference and carelessness of others.
Which reminds me now, it is surprising what can be lost in the home. The Bible can be lost in the home. It can be lost in the church. It is an astonishing thing but a truthful thing, a fact! There is no teacher here who is not familiar with good King Josiah. In the eighteenth year of his reign, Josiah purposed in his heart to repair the house of God [2 Kings 22:3-7]. And in the repairing of God’s house, he found the Bible—Hilkiah the high priest found the Bible in the church house [2 Kings 22:8].
I haven’t time to expatiate on how the Bible today is lost in the church house. There are pulpits, world without end, who the ministers standing in them never opens the Bible, nor quotes it, nor reads it, nor takes his text from it. But he stands there in the sacred place, and he is lecturing, or he is discussing, or he is book-reviewing, or he is politicking, or he is making pronouncements on the issues that he thinks are current for the day. The Bible lost, so much so that to find a minister who preaches the Bible is an unusual thing to find. In our generation and in this modern day, the Bible lost in the church; the Bible lost in the home.
There was a minister, who, coming into a town, was invited to speak on the local radio station, to bring a brief devotional on the radio station, and he did. And that night there was a man that came to the church service where he was preaching and said to him, “A very unusual thing happened today with me and my wife.” He said, “As always, as usual, today at lunch I went home to eat dinner.” That’s what we did when I was a boy. We ate dinner at noonday, and I went home from school to eat dinner. And when we had supper we had our evening meal, and that’s according to the Word of God. Whenever you come across dinner in the Bible, that is at noonday, and supper is at the evening hour. Well, I grew up in a godly home, and we lived in a godly pattern, and we ate dinner at noonday.
This man said to the preacher, “I went home to eat dinner, and when I walked in the door I found my wife reading the Bible.” And he said, “I was astonished, and I walked over to her, and I said, ‘Dear, what’s the matter? What’s the matter?’ She said, ‘Why, husband, nothing is the matter. I happened to be listening to the radio this morning while I was working around the house, and I heard a minister give a devotional on the Bible, and I just thought I would read it. So when you came in, I was reading the Bible.’”
And the man said to the minister that night, he said, “We got to thinking about that: that for me to come in and find my wife reading the Bible made me think something was wrong, something had happened, something drastic and tragic and terrible had happened—there is my wife reading the Bible.” And he told the minister, “We got to thinking about that and talking about that,” and he said, “We decided something was the matter when I would come home and think something was tragically wrong seeing my wife read the Bible,” so he said, “Do you know what we have done? We have just set ourselves to reading the Bible every day in the home.”
The Bible can be lost in the home, dust-covered. The wife go around and clean up the house and take a rag, you know, and wipe off the Bible and put it there on the shelf or on the table where nobody looks at it, nobody touches it, or even don’t have it around where we can see it at all. The Bible can be lost in the home.
The altar can be lost in the home. No praying and no reading God’s Word. An altar can be lost in the home. Ah, this modern generation, we all are caught up in it; the business of life. You know, there are four things that if a man will do, if a girl will do, if a young couple will do, there are four things if you will do, you will have a happy and a blessed home. Four things, and they are so simple that I apologize for mentioning them.
You think, oh, this vast divorce rate and this tragic percentage of homes that break up. There have been years in Dallas when there have been more divorces than there are marriage licenses that are granted, and in a town like Hollywood and places like that, the same statistical proportion obtains. Oh, the number of homes that break up! Every day, three thousand homes in America break up, filing through the divorce courts. You think of the sorrow and tears and tragedy. Think of the orphaning of those children.
Dr. R. C. Campbell was talking to me this morning, and he said, “Pastor, I don’t know what we are going to do out there at the Buckner Home. We can’t begin to minister to the children that ought to be brought up there.” He said, “We have more than two hundred right now that we cannot minister to.” Are they orphans because the father and mother have died? It is a rare thing to find a child today whose mother and father have died. They are orphans because of the breaking up of that home. It is everywhere. It is a disease, and a tragic one!
Now, as I face so tragic a disease as that, and so calamitous a national sorrow as that, you would think, “Pastor, you are going to bring forth some profound, tremendous truth now, as you tell us how to keep a home happy and how to keep it right and how to keep it together.” No, sir. You are going to be surprised at how simple it is.
Four things: one: say grace at the table. When you sit down to eat, thank God for it. Now I realize hogs don’t do that, I know that, and so far as I know, dogs don’t do that. But you ought to do that! Now isn’t that a simple thing? You ought to say grace at the table. When you sit down to eat, don’t eat like a hog. Pause and thank God for it, the meal and the blessings of the day. That’s the first thing. Say grace at the table.
Second thing: at one spot in the daytime, either at breakfast or supper or dinner or before you go to bed at night, read the Bible and pray. That’s the second thing. Read the Bible and pray. If you do it at breakfast, have your Bible on the table there where you eat bread, and there read the Bible and pray.
Three: when you go to bed at night, kneel down and pray where the other one can hear you pray. Well, isn’t that something? Here is the man and his wife, and they are going to kneel down and pray out loud where the other one can hear it. Well, why would you put that in as fundamental, pastor? Well, I will tell you why. If you’ve been wild-catting at one another all day long, and if you’ve been a-snapping at one another and a-biting one another’s head off, I want you to know, when you get down on your knees and start praying out loud where that other one can see and hear, man, you going to feel like that old scratch himself. You just are.
I don’t know what there is about that, but when you kneel down and start talking to God out loud in prayer and you’ve just been biting his head off or he has been mistreating his spouse, it just does something to you. It just does. You feel like, “O God, here is an old no-account, low-down, good-for-nothing hypocrite talking to You, because I have just been mistreating my wife.” Yeah.
Fourth: dress up and go to church on Sunday. Yeah. When I was a little boy I had Sunday clothes. I never wore them any other time but to Sunday school and church. I had Sunday clothes. You know, it’s a strange thing how you don’t ever get away from those things. I still have Sunday clothes, yes sir! I’ve got preaching garments. I have prophetic raiment.
As you know—and some of you have kidded me about it—I have shoes that I preach in Sunday morning, and I don’t wear those shoes any other time but when I come into the pulpit on Sunday morning. And I have shoes that I preach in on Sunday night, and I don’t wear those shoes any other time except on Sunday night. And did you know, one day not very long ago, I said, “Now, that’s foolishness. That’s foolishness. I’m going to do something drastic down here at the First Baptist Church. I’m going to take my Sunday morning shoes, and I’m going to wear them Sunday night. That’s what I said I was going to do.” So I changed. I put my Sunday shoes over here Sunday morning and wore them Sunday night, and I want you to know I felt like I had betrayed the Lord. I didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel right about that, and I don’t do that anymore. I’ve got those shoes up there that I wear Sunday morning, and I have these shoes that I wear Sunday night. I’ve got clothes that I wear to church.
And that’s all. There’s nothing else. Now, if you will do those four things, you will have a happy home and a blessed home, and those children will grow up in the home honoring God. One: say grace at the table. When you sit down to eat, thank God. Second: at one of those meals, or in the evening before you go to bed, read the Bible. As at breakfast, that is a good time, read the Bible and bow your head and pray. And if you will all join hands around the table and all of you pray, it will be sweeter still. Third: before you go to bed at night, husband and wife, kneel down by the side of the bed and pray out loud where they can hear you, each one can hear the other. And fourth: when Sunday comes, dress up and go to church. Scrub those little children like Bob Clemmons did, those three, wasn’t that something up here? I’ll say. That’s the way. Come to church. If you will do those four simple things, you will have a happy home.
What can be lost in the home? The Bible can be lost. What can be lost in the home? The altar can be lost. What can be lost in the home? God’s Day, the Lord’s Day can be lost in the home. No regard for the Lord’s Day; God’s Day, in so many typical American families, is a holiday, not a holy day. It is a day to forget God. It is a day to be away from the church. It is a day to celebrate out somewhere. Oh no! Sunday, God’s Day, the Lord’s Day, ought to be a day of worship. It ought to be a day dedicated to the Lord, all of it from the beginning of it to the end of it.
What can be lost in the home? The tithe, God’s tithe can be lost in the home. We spend it on ourselves. “Oh, but, preacher, you don’t understand. I have to do this.” I bear witness that there are exigencies, I know. There are duresses and I understand and God understands. But I tell you that nine-tenths with God’s blessings will go further than ten-tenths any day, any time, any generation, any hour, any age. And it’s true about you. If you will take nine-tenths of what God gives you and give that one-tenth to the Lord, God will bless you, and prosper you, and be with you, and help you. Nine-tenths with God will go further than ten-tenths without Him.
Then somebody says to me, “Oh, but preacher, I see these wicked people out here and they don’t tithe.” Well, maybe you don’t know all of the collecting God is doing. Maybe you don’t know. I used to think, “Oh, how those wicked people prosper!” but as I have been here in Dallas this almost a quarter of a century, I decided a long time ago that the biggest collecting agency I know in this world is the devil when he collects off of these people who don’t honor God. Don’t you ever persuade yourself that God is mocked and that the wicked prosper without paying an enormous dividend on that investment they make in iniquity and sin. Oh, it’s awesome! It’s awesome. But the life committed to God and loving the Lord and bringing to the Lord a tenth, God will bless and forever.
And last: souls can be lost in the home; slip through our fingers. How can such a thing be? Just as Jesus says here, that piece of silver lost in the home [Luke 15:8]—there never was a child that was lost in a godly home, never, never. Now, there may be times when the child is prodigal, and there may be times when the child is willful, there may be times when the child will go away, but there is no such thing as a child being lost, the soul of the child lost, the child that has been reared in a godly home. There is no such thing. Give that youngster time and he will come back. It might be on his deathbed, or it might be in a foxhole in Vietnam, or it might be under some tremendous time of sorrow, I don’t know; but there is no such a thing as a child being lost that has been reared in a godly Christian home. God will give us the souls of our children. He has promised [Proverbs 22:6]. And when a child is lost, when the soul is lost in the home, it is because of the carelessness and indifference of the father and the mother. They slip through our fingers.
So the Lord speaks of that, being lost in the home; and that dear woman took a candle and lit it—that is the Word of God—and she swept the house [Luke 15:8]. Now let me pause there to say you will find the souls of our boys and girls under the debris and the worldliness of the modern American home. You go into a typical modern American home and look at it. Look at it. There’s a bottle of beer in the icebox where the milk ought to be. There’s a deck of cards on the table where the Bible ought to be. There’s a package of cigarettes on the dresser where the church envelopes ought to be. There’s a sex magazine in the rack where the Sunday school quarterly ought to be. There’s a picture of a five times divorced movie star on the wall where a picture of Jesus ought to be. There’s a curse and a snarl where a prayer ought to be. And there is a sound and a growl where a smile ought to be.
And under the debris and the worldliness of the modern American home, you will find the souls of those boys and girls. You look at these teenagers that are out here that are just the epitome of everything dirty and everything filthy. Their minds are filthy, their bodies are filthy, and their lives are filthy. Where do they come from? You won’t find many of them coming out of godly Christian homes; very few, if any. But they are waifs, born waifs. They are not children of prayer and love and intercession on the part of godly parents, but they’re adrift out into the world, and the world denatures them, and the world dehumanizes them, for the world is full of sin, and lust, and destruction, and temptation.
How in the world is the brewery going to continue unless they recruit our young people to drink? How in the world is the distillery going to continue unless they recruit our young people to drink? How in the world is the gambler going to continue his trade if he can’t entice our young people to gamble? How in the world is the pimp and the procurer and the prostitute and all the rest of the darkness that goes with the life of sin going to continue if they can’t entice our boys and girls into it?
And that’s where they are thrown into the mouths of the wolves, and you see them out there. And they look like that. Oh, all of it traced back to parents that are indifferent and ungodly and unchristian! In the home the soul of that child is lost. And this woman took a candle, God’s Word, and she swept the house, clean it up, push out of it all of this worldly stuff [Luke 15:8]. Push it out. If you’ve got any bottles of liquor in the home, break them over the sink and put the bottles in the garbage and cover it over so nobody will know that you had such things as that in your house. Push it out. Sweep it out. Clean it out.
She took a broom and swept the house and sought diligently until she found it [Luke 15:8]. “Oh, pastor, you mean, you mean it’s a deep agonizing concern, that soul lost in the house?” Man, I don’t care what else you are a-doing. It is nothing, whatever you are a-doing, compared to the soul of that child who is in your house, nothing, nothing. It is nothing, nothing. And she sought diligently till she found it [Luke 15:8].
I have to close. I want to share something with you that I heard when I was a student at Baylor. L.R. Scarborough, president of the Southwestern Baptist Thelogical Seminary at Ft. Worth, came down to Baylor when I was a student there to hold a revival meeting, and God blessed that meeting. And one of the things I remember L.R. Scarborough telling down there in that meeting—he was describing a woman, and he was staying in her house, and the woman had two boys. And the fires of evangelism began to burn and souls were being saved, but her boys were all together indifferent. So upon a day, the mother said to Dr. Scarborough, who was staying in her home, she said to him, “I cannot understand. Other boys are being saved, and the revival fires are burning, and God is saving the lost, but my boys are so indifferent. I don’t understand it.”
And the preacher said, “May I, may I say a plain word?” and the mother said, “Why, yes,” and Dr. Scarborough replied and said, “Dear mother, the reason those boys are dry-eyed is because their mother is dry-eyed, and the reason those boys are unconcerned is because their mother is unconcerned, and the reason those boys are not saved is because mother isn’t paying the price.”
Well, Dr. Scarborough continued that story, and it went like this: that following night, she stayed up all night long praying for those boys, all night long. And the next morning at the breakfast table, the sign of her all night vigil was written on her face. And he said while they were eating breakfast, the younger son said to his mother, “Mother, may I be excused?” And he left the table and went outside and later in the morning came back and to his mother in the kitchen and said, “Mother, last night you thought that I was asleep, but I heard you praying and calling my name, and, mother, I went outside and into the orchard, and mother, I’ve given my heart to the Lord. I’ve been saved. I’ve been saved.”
And Dr. Scarborough said, “At the morning service, the older boy stood up in the service and made his way over to his mother and bowed down and buried his face in her lap and said, ‘Mother, last night you thought I was asleep, but I heard you praying and calling my name, and, mother, I can’t wait until that preacher is done with his sermon. Mother, I have been saved. I have found Jesus as my Savior.’”
What do you think of that? I think of it as you think of it. Nothing more spiritually true could God do in our day and in our generation: in answered prayer God saved two boys over whom a godly mother would agonize in prayer and pour out her soul in tears.
“And when she found it, she called her friends and her neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me; I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one somebody you who turns, who repents, who accepts the Lord, who is saved” [Luke 15:9-10].
And that’s our appeal to your heart tonight. Do you have a mother who prays? Do you have a father who is a godly man? Were you reared in a Christian home? Do you know Jesus? Give your life to Him. Give your heart to Him. Do it. Are you building a home? Build your home upon the enduring Rock of Christ [1 Corinthians 10:4]. Are you a young person, a young business girl and have come to the city of Dallas? Let God be with you in every decision you make, in every place that you go, in everything that you do. Let God have your life, and see if He will not fill it and endow it with every rich benedictory remembrance from heaven. Try God and see.
We are going to sing our song of appeal, and while we sing it, a family you, a couple you, one somebody you, give your heart to the Lord. Come down this aisle: “Pastor, here is my hand. I give my life to God.” Do it now. Make the decision now, and in a moment, when we stand up, you stand up coming, and the angels of heaven attend you in the way. Do it now. Come now, while we stand and while we sing.
I. The parable
A. A poor woman to whom
one coin out of ten was precious (Luke 9:58)
B. Her house was a poor
C. Her joy having found
II. Story of deep spiritual meaning for us
A. The sheep who went
astray – tempted by the world
B. The lost
incorrigible boy – not interested in God
C. Lost because of the
carelessness of others
III. Lost in the home
A. The Bible (2 Kings 22:8)
1. Lost in the
church house as well
B. The altar
things to have a happy home
C. The Lord’s Day
D. God’s tithe
IV. How to find what is lost
A. The candle – the
Word of God
B. The broom – sweep
the house; push out the worldly stuff
C. The diligent search
1. Dr. Scarborough;
the mother for her boys