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BRING THEM IN FROM THE FIELDS OF SIN!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon given to the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, August 7, 2016

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


For many years I did not know how to win souls. I did not know how to get lost people saved and into the church. I tried nearly every possible method. I tried passing out tracts. But passing out tracts did not get lost people into the church. I tried preaching on the street. But that did not get lost people into the church. I tried witnessing to people on the street or at their front door. But that didn’t work either. They would say a prayer for salvation. But they would not come to church. I tried to “follow up” on them after they prayed. But “follow up” work didn’t get them into church either. I felt very frustrated and defeated.

Yet I refused to give up. I knew there must be some way to get lost people converted and into the church. That was when I read our text. I had read it before, but suddenly it seemed to leap out at me. In that moment our method of evangelism was born. The words of Jesus became our guide in soul winning.

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

Instead of going to people and having them say a “sinner’s prayer” – and then trying to get them to come to church, we did something new. We would get them to come to church before we tried to get them saved. And it worked! Now we were doing what Jesus said to do. We were compelling “them to come in” before they were confronted by the Gospel in my sermons.

Many people did not come into the church. But some did come. And some of them then heard me preach and got saved. But they were people who had been compelled to come in, and had made friends in the church. They would already be regular church attenders before they were confronted with the Gospel.

As I said, not every person we invited to church came in. Jesus’ parable told us that most people would not come. Verse 18 says, “They all with one consent began to make excuse” for not coming. Most people would not come at all. We “compelled” them to come in to our church, but only a few of them would actually come. We asked them “to come in.” To come in where? To come in to the church, of course! Where else would they “come in” in the parable? But a few people would actually come into the church. They would hear dynamic Gospel sermons. They would actually eat “a great supper” with us – as verse 16 said. They would enjoy a meal with us – followed by a brief birthday party held for one of our members. They would have a great time with us at the party! Then we would invite them back the next Sunday.

Many who came would not come back. But some would. And then we would preach the Gospel to them, over and over, in every service. After a time they would begin to understand the Gospel. After more time some would come under conviction of sin, and some would then trust Jesus and be saved. How many of you here this evening came into our church that way? Even if you are still not converted, how many of you came into our church that way? Please stand. (They stand.) You see? Most of the people in our church came that way! You came into our church because we obeyed Christ. He said,

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

“Bring Them In” – sing the chorus with me!

Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.
(“Bring Them In” by Alexcenah Thomas, 19th century).

As we followed Christ’s method of evangelism, we gradually learned other things. We learned to be selective regarding who we would bring. At first we brought everyone. But our church is in the inner city. We are right in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. There are a great many people here who are not good prospects. Some are on drugs. We can’t help them much. Some are old and set in their ways. We could not help them either. In Jesus’ day He told them to bring in “the maimed, and the halt, and the blind” (v. 21). But those people in Jesus’ day were much more civilized and serious than people today. You could bring people like that into the church and they would not do crazy things. But many people today are too wild and unruly to bring into the church. So Jesus Himself said to be selective. Jesus said to His Disciples,

“Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5, 6).

Later, He told them to be even more selective. Jesus told them not to keep on evangelizing certain people, and even whole cities. He said,

“Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Matthew 10:14, 15).

Christ was selective and so must we. Someone said, “If you try to win everybody you won’t win anybody.” We have found that young college people from about 16 to 24 are the best prospects for us to evangelize with our method. Most of our church is built on that age group. We have also found that Chinese young people who are college students are more easily won than others. Yet we do get a few others. We have over 20 ethnic groups in our church. But the unity of our church lies in the fact that they are (or were) college students. They are not just any college students. But clean cut young people who have not been taking hard drugs. They make up what we call our “target group.” We focus our evangelism on them. We have added about 50 of these young people to our church in the last few years.

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

Sing that chorus again!

Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.

I hear evangelicals say that it’s too hard to win people today. They say it gets harder every year. They say we are living in the last days. That makes it too difficult to win souls from the world. Others tell us that no one will give their phone number to a stranger they meet on a college campus or in a mall. But their theory is not based on facts. They have not tested this as we have. We know, by experience, that many young people will actually give their first name and cell phone number to a friendly person on a college campus. They do it every week. I don’t think they would have done that twenty years ago, and that’s where the preachers get their idea that it won’t work. They don’t realize that we have entered a new era with chat lines and Facebook and all the rest. Young people that are “Millennials” today will actually give their phone number to a stranger that is friendly. Hundreds of them do that through our church every week. But you have to focus on college young people, because older people will not give their number. Preachers think that nothing will work, that every evangelistic method is too hard. But they are wrong. Jesus said,

“Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).

The colleges, and malls, and streets are full of young people. But we have to go after them. We have to go after them with zeal and determination. The city is full of them. The harvest is always great. It is always growing as new college students come each semester. Jesus said,

“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37, 38).

Sing it again!

Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.

This is not an easy job. I was shocked when I found we have people who go to evangelism and bring in very few names and phone numbers. Some never bring names and phone numbers from evangelism. This troubled me the other night. The truth is that the harvest fields are full of young people. Jesus said we should pray for God to “sent forth labourers into the harvest.” Some of you are going out on evangelism, but you don’t bring many names. You don’t bring many names because you are not “labouring” to get names. Lost young people are there by the hundreds. But you aren’t “labouring” to get their names! The word translated “labourers” could be translated “workers.”

When you go to evangelism you have to work at it! You have to work hard or you will not get names. You have to work hard at soul winning to bring in many names and phone numbers. I pray that you will work at it next week! Don’t get lazy! Don’t be distracted! Don’t just stand around and wait for the time to pass! You have to work hard to get their names!

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

Sing it!

   

This morning Noah Song preached a great sermon. It was only his second sermon. But it was powerful! Noah Song said,

The greatest problem facing young people today is loneliness. I know that’s true! You can be in a crowd. But you don’t really know the people personally. You can go on a date, but you know it won’t last long. You can fall in love. But it’s soon over. You can walk through a mall, but no one knows you or cares about you. You can go on Facebook, or a chat line – but you know that those you contact don’t care about you. They are only cyberfriends – not real friends. What is the answer? The answer is right here at the “new” Baptist Tabernacle! (Noah Song, “God Hates Loneliness!”).

Yes, Noah was right! Kids are lonely today. Not just some of them. All of them experience loneliness. Go right up to them. Smile and say “hello” to them. Don’t be afraid! John Cagan told me, “We are doing them a favor by inviting them to the party at our church.” He was right! We are doing them a big favor because we are offering them what they need. What they need to cure their loneliness. What they need to have a better life. What they need to find peace with God through Jesus Christ! You are not speaking to them like a salesman, like a salesman who is trying to get something from them. No! No! You are not a salesman at all! You are there on evangelism, not to take something from them! Not to trick them! Not to sell them something they don’t need! You are there to give them something. To give them something they desperately need! You are there to bring them to the party at our church. You are there to bring them in to find good friends. You are there to bring them home to church so they can hear about Jesus Christ – and receive the free gift of salvation and His everlasting love!

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

Sing it!

Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.

When you go to evangelism, don’t be afraid! They need what we offer. They need it desperately! You are doing them a favor. You are there to help them. To give them what they need. To get their names so we can bring them in. So we can give them love and friendship they have never known – the love of God, the amazing love of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – the friendship, the warmth, the fellowship and joy of the “new” Baptist Tabernacle!

The fields are white unto harvest! Now go next week and bring in many names and phone numbers from personal evangelism! Go with us on evangelism Wednesday night! Go with us on evangelism Thursday night! Go again on Saturday night! Yes – and go again on Sunday afternoon! Bring back handfuls of names, not just one or two. Bring back handfuls of names! You can do it! Don’t be afraid. You have what those young people desperately need! Go and do it! Go and do it! Go and do it!

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

Please stand and sing hymn number 8. It’s “Bring Them In.” Sing it, it’s number 8 on your song sheet. Sing it, and then do it all next week!

Hark! ’tis the Shepherd’s voice I hear,
   Out in the desert dark and drear,
Calling the sheep who’ve gone astray
   Far from the Shepherd’s fold away.
Bring them in, bring them in,
   Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, bring them in,
   Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.

Who’ll go and help this Shepherd kind,
   Help Him the wandering ones to find?
Who’ll bring the lost ones to the fold,
   Where they’ll be sheltered from the cold?
Bring them in, bring them in,
   Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, bring them in,
   Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.

Out in the desert hear their cry,
   Out on the mountains wild and high;
Hark! ’tis the Master speaks to thee,
   “Go find My sheep where’er they be.”
Bring them in, bring them in,
   Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, bring them in,
   Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.
(“Bring Them In” by Alexcenah Thomas, 19th century).

Has this sermon inspired you to bring in more names? Do you see the need tonight? Will you say, “Yes, Dr. Hymers, I will do much more, next week.” If that is your desire, then leave your seat and come up here to the front. Come right up on the platform, and down below as well! Emi will play “Bring Them In” while you come. (They come).

John Samuel Cagan, please pray for God to help each one to bring in more names next week. (John Cagan prays). Now Noah Song pray (he prays). As Emi plays the chorus, sing it while you go back to your seat.

Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring them in from the fields of sin;
Bring them in, Bring them in,
   Bring the wandering ones to Jesus.

You may be seated. The main business of Jesus Christ was to save lost souls. Jesus said that he came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

If you are not yet saved, I am here to tell you that Jesus can save you. Turn from the sins in your life and come “face to face” with Jesus Christ – as Noah Song did. Jesus suffered and died on the Cross. He died in your place, to pay the penalty for your sin. He shed His Blood on that cross to cleanse you from all sin. If you want to trust Jesus, please see Dr. Cagan tonight, or phone him at his home office, and make an appointment with Dr. Cagan, so he can counsel you about being saved. God bless you all! Amen.


WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Luke 14:16-23.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Bring Them In” (by Alexcenah Thomas, 19th century).