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by Dr. C. L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, May 12, 2018

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

Jesus said to compel “them” to come in. “Them” means lost people. If your mother is lost, she is one of “them.” Compel your mother to come in! “Compel” doesn’t mean to ask her once and let it go. “Compel” means to go after her and get her! Why not bring her tomorrow? Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Bring her to our Mother’s Day banquet! How can you do that?

First, you can’t bring her if you don’t try. If you don’t talk to your mother, she won’t come. She won’t come by herself. She may not know about our banquet. Even if she does know, she won’t come unless you go after her. Jesus said, “Compel them to come in.” If you don’t go after your mother, she won’t come.

Tell your mother what it will be like at the banquet. We will have a beautiful meal for all the mothers. We will have a gift for all mothers. We will have special activities for them. Mrs. Hymers always puts together a wonderful event. Your mother will make friends. Tell her that everyone has a great time. They do.

Tell her when the banquet will be. It will start tomorrow evening at 5:30 PM. Don’t forget to tell her the time. She may want to do something else in the morning. Tell her she can do that – but come with you in the evening.

Invite her as early as possible, before she makes other plans. Talk to her ahead of time. If you haven’t invited her yet, talk to her as soon as you can. Doesn’t your mother know when Mother’s Day is? She will plan to do something else. Don’t the other people in your family know when Mother’s Day is? They will plan something with her. In Los Angeles people leave everything to the last minute. Some of you leave everything to the last minute. But you won’t get your mother that way! Mother’s Day is the day when everyone is nice to their mother. They want to take her out and do things with her. Your mother will make her own plans, and you won’t bring her to church. Don’t let her go!

Be especially good to your mother before she comes. Be nice to her all the time, but especially when you are bringing her to church. This is not the time to argue with her – about anything. This is not the time to tell her she is wrong – even if she is wrong. This is not the time to argue with her about religion – even if she is wrong.

Be nice to your mother. Tell her things you like about her. Be sure to thank her when she cooks your food, or does something else for you. If you live with her, keep your room clean and neat. Help her with the chores around the house. Send her a card for Mother’s Day. Give her flowers or another gift. Make her happy with you. If your mother is not happy with you, she won’t come. If she is happy with you, she is very likely to come.

If she says she will come, give her name and phone number to me (Dr. Cagan). I will give her a friendly phone call. I will be nice to her. I will tell her about the banquet. I will answer her questions. It will help if I call her.

Someone says, “I can’t bring my mother.” Maybe your mother is dead. Maybe she lives very far away. Then bring someone else! You have an aunt, or a sister, or another relative who can come. You have a neighbor. There are plenty of people you can bring. Someone says, “I was raised in this church. My mother is already here.” Then bring someone else! This is a wonderful way to introduce people to our church. Use it! Bring them in!

Your mother won’t come if you don’t compel her to come. Jesus said, “Compel them to come in.” “Compel” means to “bug” her to come, to press her to come, to push her to come, almost to force her to come. Don’t invite her once and forget about it. You can say you tried, but you didn’t try much! Work out her schedule with her. Don’t give up. Go after her. Don’t take “no” for an answer. And don’t just pray for her. Prayer alone won’t do it. Christ said to “compel” her to come. Keep after her until she comes.

Don’t bring her on Mother’s Day alone. You can start with that, but don’t end with it. Go after her and bring her into the regular meetings of the church! I’m thinking of a lady who came only on “special occasions.” Her family didn’t bring her into the church. Oh, they invited her here and there, but she was never brought in. The woman never got saved. She died and went to Hell. Now it is too late.

It takes time to bring your mother into the church. It doesn’t happen in one week. That’s why you don’t do it. You want instant results, like in a movie, a TV show or a video game. You want it to be all over the first time. If it doesn’t happen right away, you don’t want to do it. But bringing your mother in will take time. It will take work. It will take time. You’ll have to think about it. You’ll have to spend time with her. You’ll have to be good to her. And you’ll have to keep on with her for as long as it takes – even years or decades.

That’s what our pastor Dr. Hymers did. He didn’t invite his mother once, or once in a while. He didn’t say, “She said no, so that’s the end of it.” He took time. He was good to her. He took care of her. He went after her again and again. He brought her to church over and over. He didn’t ask her to come – he brought her. He said, “Let’s go,” and they went. No wonder she got saved! She was harder to get saved than your mother is. It took 40 years before she got saved. But she did! Bringing your mother to church is hard. It’s a struggle. But it can be done. Dr. Hymers did it. Now his mother is in Heaven. Mrs. Cagan brought her mother – first for special meetings and then every Sunday for 20 years. Mrs. Menjivar trusted Christ and is a member of our church. Mrs. Olivacce brought her mother – and her father. It took time. It took work. But they came in. They trusted Jesus and are members of our church. You can bring your mother in. It won’t be easy. You’ll have to work. You’ll have to struggle. But you can do it!

Don’t be afraid of your mother. Some of you are afraid of her. After all, she told you what to do when you were a child. She corrected you when you were wrong. So you’re afraid of what she might say. You don’t even invite her – or you just say it once and let it go. Don’t be afraid of your mother. She can’t hurt you. What can she do to you? Say no? Frown? Can’t you handle that? Haven’t you had that before? Aren’t you man enough or woman enough to handle that? Even if you are afraid of your mother – act as if you weren’t. Isn’t that what to do when you go to evangelism? Sure, most of the people will say no. They’ll turn you down. You know that ahead of time. You don’t like being rejected. But you go anyway. And it’s the same with your mother. Act as if you weren’t afraid of her. Go after her. Pick her up and bring her. Tell her, “Let’s go.” Compel her to come in.

If you don’t, you will be very sad when she dies and goes to Hell. You will cry. But it will be too late! There will be nothing anyone can do. There are people whose mothers or grandmothers are close to death. One day her blood will be on your hands! Don’t let her die without doing everything you can – not just a light invitation – to bring her to church to hear the Gospel. Compel her to come in!

Winning souls is a deadly serious business. It’s the most important thing you can do. Trusting Christ – or not – is the most important thing anyone can do. It decides whether they spend eternity in Heaven or in Hell. The Devil doesn’t want your mother to be converted. Your lost relatives don’t want her to be saved. Your mother herself doesn’t want to be converted. No lost person does. You’ll have to work hard at it.

Winning your mother is hard – but it will be worth it all when she trusts Jesus. You won’t win her by doing nothing. You won’t bring her in by inviting her once and forgetting about it. You’ll have to work at bringing her. You’ll have to think about it. You’ll have to plan it out ahead of time. And you’ll have to compel her to come in. Go after her. Don’t let her off easy. Do everything you can to get her. Bring her on Mother’s Day. Bring her to church. Amen.

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
      “Oh, Bring Your Loved Ones” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).