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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, September 24, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Compel them to come in" (Luke 14:23).

Many of you have heard me preach on this text again and again. You have heard me apply it to our people, telling them to go out and bring the lost into the church to hear the gospel. And yet, if you were a careful hearer, you would have noticed a subtle inference which goes deeper than that. You would notice that I often say, "They are not 'in' until they are united with Christ in true conversion." So, then, our text does not merely apply to getting new people to come to church. Christ is telling us much more than that when He says,

"Compel them to come in" (Luke 14:23).

I. First, when Christ says "them," who is He speaking of?

He says, "Compel them to come in." Who is He talking about? We usually think He is talking about lost people out in the world. And, yes, He is talking about them. But He is also talking about lost church kids. He is also speaking of lost young people who have been raised in church or have been coming for a long time. We must also "compel them to come in."

You see, they are not "in" until they are "in Christ Jesus" (I Corinthians 1:30). They are not "in" until Christ says they are "in me" (John 14:20). This is illustrated by Noah going into the ark. Noah is a type of the converted person. The ark is a type of Christ. As Noah went into the ark, so a lost person must come in to Christ.

"And Noah went in" (Genesis 7:7).

So, the lost person must come to Christ, and be "in Christ Jesus."

"And the Lord shut him in" (Genesis 7:16).

When a lost person comes to Christ, God shuts "him in." He has eternal security because God shuts him in.

Now, Jesus said, "Compel them to come in" (Luke 14:23). So, our task is not only to bring in lost people from the world, but also to compel lost kids in the church to "come in." We must not forget about you, if you are still lost. And I promise you that we will not forget about you. We will continue to compel you to come in to Christ and be saved!

II. Second, when Christ says "compel," what does He mean?

The Greek word translated "compel" means "to constrain, to urge, (even) to pressure" you to come in to Christ Jesus. We have not fulfilled our duty to Christ, nor have we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) unless we keep the pressure on you to come to Jesus. How do we do this? By making a clear-cut distinction between those who are lost and those who are saved in the church. By not permitting you to become a member of the church until you are in Christ. By not allowing you to be baptized until you are in Christ. By not permitting you to participate in the Lord's Supper until you are in Christ. By continuing to preach directly to you, and continuing to counsel you after the preaching. All of this is done to keep the pressure on you, to "compel" you to come in!

"Compel them to come in" (Luke 14:23).

We also tell you to look at the depravity and deception of your own heart. We urge you not to trust your own feelings and thoughts. We constrain you to see that you have been self-deceived. We urge you to feel your innate corruption.

No [human acts] can make me clean,
The leprosy lies deep within.

Thy law demands a perfect heart,
But we're defiled in every part.
   ("Psalm 51" by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1719).

Over the decades as a pastor I have become convinced that a person must see his sin-nature, and be repulsed by his own heart, or he will not truly seek Christ.

There is no use compelling you to come in unless you have first been compelled to look at yourself and say,

"Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5).

"Woe is me! for I am undone!" Until a person comes to that place, what can we say? We can only keep hammering on the same anvil. Look at yourself! Look at the sin! Look at your depravity!

Then, too, we must pressure you to think about eternity. The new kids that come into church are often profoundly lonely. But if you have been here for some time you probably don't feel that loneliness as intensely as they do. Your friends are here at church. You feel at home here.

Yet, I must caution you, an awful time of loneliness awaits you - in eternity. There are no parties in Hell, no friendships, or happy reunions, there - only the endless gnawing of a troubled conscience, only the eternal suffering of a guilty soul, only the crushing weight of sin for ever and ever. As you look around at the faces of the people here tonight, ask yourself this question:

"Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" (Isaiah 33:14).

We must compel you to come in to Christ, or the awful memory of your sin will crush you for all eternity.

"Compel them to come in" (Luke 14:23).

III. Third, when Christ says, "come in," why not do so?

Why not "come in" to Him? Why not trust Him and rest on Him? Can you think of any sensible reason to remain outside? Outside it is cold and dark, frightening and dangerous. Inside it is warm and comfortable, happy and friendly. Why do you wait outside? Why not "come in" with us? What good does it do you to stay outside?

Some stay outside of Christ because they think coming to church regularly will save them, or help them in some way. Do you think that? One young man who was recently baptized said,

Before I was converted, I would think that maybe if I came to church and tried to be a good person that I would be converted that way. I thought to myself that maybe if I came to church that this would make me a good person and God would convert me. I thought the more I did good works the closer I was to getting converted. Oh, how I was wrong. The more I trusted in doing good works the farther away I was from Christ…I did not want to [think about] my own sins but about someone else's sins or someone else's conversion.

There it is, clear and plain. He would not "come in" to Christ and trust Him, because he was trusting himself, and his own feelings.

Others stay outside of Christ because they want only to be "passed" and become accepted by the church. Listen to another of these young men tell about that.

I remembered all the times I would try to search for the right words in the inquiry room, only hoping to be "passed." I wouldn't be worried about my sins recorded in the books of Heaven, but only wishing to be accepted into the church… [Now] the amount of conviction I had over my sins was almost overwhelming. It was difficult to think of anything else except my sins recorded in the books in Heaven…I had scorned a Saviour who condescended Himself to the level of men. He suffered, bled and died for me on the Cross, but all I wished to do was to be "passed."…The next evening Dr. Hymers preached [that] all one had to do to be rid of his sins was to come to Jesus…and all my sins would be erased from those books in Heaven. Though I had heard Dr. Hymers say this hundreds of times, I now heard it and actually listened to it…I threw myself on Jesus…My sins recorded in the books in Heaven were now covered with the precious Blood of Jesus Christ…He is now my Saviour…

This young man had been compelled many times, for many years. Even though he had, quite literally, heard hundreds of salvation sermons, he still remained outside. But one more time we compelled him to "come in." Thank God, he finally listened. Thank God, he finally came in and "threw" himself on Jesus! Now the Blood of Christ has erased his sins from the books of judgment in Heaven. He has now been saved from the wrath and judgment of God by the Blood of Christ,

"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:25).

May God grant you that same faith in the Blood of Jesus Christ - so that your sins may also be erased from the books of judgment.

Come in to Jesus by faith. Come to Him. Have faith in His Blood. Throw yourself upon the Son of God by faith! Christ told us, "Compel them to come in." We have prayed. We have preached. We have urged you to come to Christ. Now it is up to you. Will you come to Him?

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

Come in! Come in! "All things are now ready"! Come in to Christ. Throw yourself upon the Son of God, and His Blood will wash away your every sin!

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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"Compel them to come in" (Luke 14:23).

I.   When Christ says "them," who is He speaking of?
I Corinthians 1:30; John 14:20; Genesis 7:7, 16.

II.  When Christ says, "compel," what does He mean?
Matthew 28:19-20; Isaiah 6:5; 33:14.

III. When Christ says, "come in," why not do so?
Romans 3:25; Luke 14:17.