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GO! COMPEL! FEED!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, September 24, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).


You may wonder why you are here this morning. Many of you are here in a Baptist church for the first time in your life. Someone from our church met you on a college campus or a mall and invited you to come. And here you are! We are glad you came! Thank you for coming!

But why did we invite you to come? What was our motive? What was our purpose? All of these questions are answered in our text, in Luke 14.

I. First, Jesus told us to “go.”

Look at the text.

“And the lord said unto the servant, Go…” (Luke 14:23).

Please look up. The “servant” here refers to the Christians, the people in our church. Jesus told us over and over again to “go.” He said,

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

He said,

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

He said,

“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

As God sent Jesus down from Heaven to go after people, so Jesus sends us to go after people like you.

“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

Jesus told us, “Go ye” (Mark 16:15). Jesus told us, “Go ye therefore” (Matthew 28:19). Jesus said, “So send I you” (John 20:21). Dr. John R. Rice once said,

The first great essential in soul winning is to go after sinners! This is the simplest part of soul winning, but the one on which most people fail. Most people…do not go after sinners (John R. Rice, D.D., The Golden Path to Successful Personal Soul Winning, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1961, p. 89).

But in our church it is mandatory – we all go out to evangelism. We all go out, every deacon, every adult, every young person – we all go after people like you. Our whole church goes out to evangelism just as Jesus taught!

So, that is why we went out to the college campus, or the street, or the mall, to find you. We went out to get you because Jesus told us to! Dr. Rice said,

There is a familiar saying that all of us have heard, “Sinners just don’t come to church any more.” Well, backslidden Christians have been saying the same thing down through the centuries! The simple truth is, the Bible did not command sinners to come to church. It commands the church to go to sinners. God’s plan is not that sinners should seek out someone to tell them how to be saved. God’s plan is that Christians should seek out sinners and win them…No church is filling its place that is not primarily occupied with going after sinners (ibid. pp. 93-94).

And I agree with Dr. Rice completely! You are here this morning because we went after you. We obeyed Jesus when He said, “Go out into the highways and hedges” (Luke 14:23). We did what Christ told us to do. Dr. Rice said, “No church is filling its place that is not primarily occupied with going after sinners.” Jesus told us to go!

II. Second, Jesus told us, “compel them to come in.”

Look again at the text.

“Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in…” (Luke 14:23).

We don’t just “go” to pass out tracts to you. We don’t just “go” to pray a “sinner’s prayer” with you on the street corner. No, we “go” to “compel” you to “come in.”

You see, Christ told us to “compel” you to “come in.” That’s why you are here this morning – because we compelled you to come in! We asked you to come when we met you on the street. We got your phone number and phoned you to get you to come. We went in cars to pick you up, to “compel” you “to come in.” That’s why you are here this morning. We compelled you to come in!

Come in where? That’s easy! “Come in, that my house may be filled.” That may seem difficult to understand to “universal church” people, but it is easy for a Baptist to understand. A good Baptist knows that God’s house is the local church! That makes it easy and simple! We were told by Jesus,

“Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled…” (Luke 14:23).

The New Testament says,

“the house of God, which is the church of the living God”
      (I Timothy 3:15).

The “house of God” is “the church of the living God.” That’s simple! Isn’t it? Get them to “come in that my house may be filled”! The same Greek word “oikos” is used in both places, in I Timothy 3:15 and Luke 14:23. It means “house” (Strong #3624). The NIV translates it “house” in Luke 14:23, but then translates the same word as “household” in I Timothy 3:15. That confuses the issue. No one today uses the word “household” very much! The old King James Bible makes it clear because it translates the word “oikos” the same in both places: “the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (I Timothy 3:15). “Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

Jesus told us to go out and get you to come in to this local church. Plain! Simple! Easy to understand! And that’s exactly what we did. We went out and got you to come in! That’s why you’re here this morning! We went out and got you to come in!

I have been reading an interesting article in Pulpit Helps by Chad Childress, director of student evangelism for the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. I don’t agree with everything the Southern Baptists say, but I agree with this. He said,

We…must move beyond the idea that our students are the church of tomorrow. They are the church of today, as much as anyone else. The next generation must be on the mind and eyes of every pastor today…the greatest mission field in North America is found on the school campuses…send students to school as missionaries (Pulpit Helps, October, 2006, p. 10).

My, how I agree with that! Let’s go and get those college-age and high school-age young people, and bring them in, and fill the house of God with them! That’s why you are here! We went out, and got you to come in, to fill God’s house! That’s exactly what Jesus told us to do!

III. Third, Jesus told us to feed you.

Look at Luke 14:16-17. Let’s stand and read those two verses aloud.

“Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready”
      (Luke 14:16-17).

You may be seated.

We went out and got you to come. To come to what? To come to a “great supper.” Yes, we are going to go into the fellowship hall and eat a big meal right after I’m through preaching. What’s wrong with that? That’s what the Christians did in the Book of Acts!

“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart” (Acts 2:46).

The old-time Baptists had “dinner on the grounds.” I still believe in doing that. In many parts of the world, in what is called the “third world,” they still do that! They have a big meal after church. Everyone sits down and eats together. I believe in it. We ought to eat together. We ought to bring the new visitors in to eat with us! Look in the four gospels and see how often Jesus sat down to eat with the people who came to hear Him preach! For instance, look at Matthew 9:10-12. Let’s stand and read those three verses aloud.

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick”
      (Matthew 9:10-12).

You may be seated.

Oh, I know that some Pharisees today will say we shouldn’t sit down and eat with any one but “church people.” But I say they are wrong! They should follow the example of Christ! And that is what we are doing today. We went out. We brought you in. And we are going to sit down together for “a great supper” (Luke 14:16).

But the “great supper” in Luke 14 has a much deeper meaning than just having a meal together, important as that is. It means, also, that you are invited to partake of the Gospel. The Gospel is the good news that Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. The Gospel is the good news that Christ rose physically from the dead and ascended up to the right hand of God in Heaven. The Gospel is the good news that you can be saved by trusting Christ. And that’s why Christ says,

“Come; for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17).

Come to Christ – and you will be saved.

Christ told us to go. We did. Christ told us to bring you in. We did. Christ told us to feed you – and we will in just a few minutes – but He wants us also to feed you the Gospel. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Many churches no longer preach the Gospel. The pastors often say that their people have already heard it. Or they substitute personal work for Gospel preaching, and use the Sunday morning service to “train the Christians.” To me, the reason for this is simple – they have failed to go out and bring in the lost to the Gospel feast! If there are unsaved people present, as there should always be, then the Gospel is endlessly fascinating. And I think every Christian should feast on the Gospel as well, for

“…it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified
      (I Corinthians 1:21-23).

Come to Christ! That is the message of the everlasting Gospel! Come to the Gospel feast! Come to Jesus and be saved!

(END OF SERMON)
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at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Matthew 22:1-10.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: “Come and Dine”
(by Charles B. Widmeyer, 1884-1974).


THE OUTLINE OF

GO! COMPEL! FEED!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

I.   Jesus told us to “go,” Luke 14:23a; Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19;
John 20:21.

II.  Jesus told us, “compel them to come in,” Luke 14:23b; I Timothy 3:15.

III. Jesus told us to feed you, Luke 14:16-17; Acts 2:46; Matthew 9:10-12;
Acts 16:31; I Corinthians 1:21-23.