“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”—Luke 14:23
II. And now to the work—directly to the work.
Unconverted, unreconciled, unregenerate men and women, I am to COMPEL YOU TO COME IN. Permit me first to accost you in the highways of sin and tell you over again my errand. The King of heaven this morning sends a gracious invitation to you. He says, “As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies but had rather that he should turn unto me and live:” “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins are as scarlet they shall be as wool; though they are red like crimson they shall be whiter than snow.” Dear brother, it makes my heart rejoice to think that I should have such good news to tell you, and yet I confess my soul is heavy because I see you do not think it good news, but turn away from it, and do not give it due regard.
Permit me to tell you what the King has done for you. He knew your guilt; he foresaw that you would ruin yourself. He knew that his justice would demand your blood, and in order that this difficulty might be escaped, that his justice might have its full due, and that you might yet be saved, Jesus Christ hath died. Will you just for a moment glance at this picture. You see that man there on his knees in the garden of Gethsemane, sweating drops of blood. You see this next: you see that miserable sufferer tied to a pillar and lashed with terrible scourges, till the shoulder bones are seen like white islands in the midst of a sea of blood. Again, you see this third picture; it is the same man hanging on the cross with hands extended, and with feet nailed fast, dying, groaning, bleeding; methought the picture spoke and said, “It is finished.” Now all this hath Jesus Christ of Nazareth done, in order that God might consistently with his justice pardon sin; and the message to you this morning is this—“Belief on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” That is trust him, renounce thy works, and thy ways, and set thine heart alone on this man, who gave himself for sinners.
Well, brother, I have told you the message, what sayest thou unto it? Do you turn away? You tell me it is nothing to you; you cannot listen to it; that you will hear me by and by; but you will go your way this day and attend to your farm and merchandise. Stop brother, I was not told merely to tell you and then go about my business. No; I am told to compel you to come in; and permit me to observe to you before I further go, that there is one thing I can say—and to which God is my witness this morning, that I am in earnest with you in my desire that you should comply with this command of God. You may despise your own salvation, but I do not despise it; you may go away and forget what you shall hear, but you will
I. First, I must FIND YOU OUT.
Daily Service: COMPEL THEM TO COME IN Part 2
“The best performance of my hands, Dares not appear before thy throne.”
You have lost all power now to obey the law; you feel that when you would do good, evil is present with you. You are maimed; you have given up, as a forlorn hope, all attempt to save yourself, because you are maimed and your arms are gone. But you are worse off than that, for if you could not work your way to heaven, yet you could walk your way there along the road by faith, but you are maimed in the feet as well as in the hands; you feel that you cannot believe, that you cannot repent, that you cannot obey the stipulations of the gospel. You feel that you are utterly undone, powerless in every
respect to do anything that can be pleasing to God. In fact, you are crying out—
“Oh, could I but believe, Then all would easy be,
I would, but cannot, Lord relieve, My help must come from thee.”
To you am I sent also. Before you am I to lift up the blood-stained banner of the cross, to you am I to preach this gospel, “Whoso calleth upon the name of the Lord shall be saved;” and unto you am I to cry, “Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.”
There is yet another class. You are halt. You are halting between two opinions. You are sometimes seriously inclined, and at another time worldly gaiety calls you away. What little progress you do make in religion is but a limp. You have a little strength, but that is so little that you make but painful progress. Ah, limping brother, to you also is the word of this salvation sent. Though you halt between two opinions, the Master sends me to you with this message: “How long halt ye between two opinions? if God be God, serve him; if Baal be God, serve him.” Consider thy ways; set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live. Because I will do this, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel! Halt no longer but decide for God and his truth.
And yet I see another class,— the blind. Yes, you that cannot see yourselves, that think yourselves good when you are full of evil, that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, darkness for light and light for darkness; to you am I sent. You,
blind souls that cannot see your lost estate, that do not believe that sin is so exceedingly sinful as it is, and who will not be persuaded to think that God is a just and righteous God, to you am I sent. To you too that cannot see the Savior, that see no beauty in him that you should desire him; who see no excellence in virtue, no glories in religion, no happiness in serving God, no delight in being his children; to you, also, am I sent.
Ay, to whom am I not sent if I take my text? For it goes further than this—it not only gives a particular description, so that each individual case may be met, but afterwards it makes a general sweep, and says, “Go into the highways and hedges.” Here we bring in all ranks and conditions of men—my lord upon his horse in the highway, the woman trudging about her business, the thief waylaying the traveler—all these are in the highway, and they are all to be compelled to come in, and there away in the hedges there lie some poor souls whose refuges of lies are swept away, and who are seeking not to find some little shelter for their weary heads, to you, also, are we sent this morning. This is the universal command—compel them to come in.
Now, I pause after having described the character, I pause to look at the herculean labor that lies before me. Well did Melanchthon say, “Old Adam was too strong for young Melanchthon.” As well might a little child seeks to compel a Samson, as I seek to lead a sinner to the cross of Christ. And yet my Master sends me about the errand. Lo, I see the great mountain before me of human depravity and stolid indifference, but by faith I cry, “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain.” Does my Master say, compel them to come in? Then, though the sinner is like Samson and I a child, I shall lead him with a thread. If God saith do it, if I attempt it in faith it shall be done; and if with a groaning, struggling, and weeping heart, I so seek this day to compel sinners to come to Christ, the sweet compulsions of the Holy Spirit shall go with every word, and some indeed shall be compelled to come in.
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