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A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., Pastor Emeritus
and given by Jack Ngann, Pastor
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Afternoon, March 10, 2024

“And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing” (Luke 9:11; p. 1086 Scofield).

Christ had sent the Apostles out to preach the Kingdom of God. When they returned He took them to a deserted area to rest. Matthew tells us they went by ship. But there was no opportunity for rest. A great crowd followed Jesus to that deserted place. They ran along the shore following the boat. More and more people joined them along the way. As they ran from village to village, people asked why there was so much excitement. They said they were going to hear a great prophet, and see Him perform miracles. That made the crowd grow larger and larger as they ran. Hundreds of people were already there as the boat approached the shore.

Christ had gone there on purpose to be alone. He and the Disciples needed a rest. If He had been like us, He would have been upset. He wouldn’t want to be disturbed. They were a rude and tumultuous crowd. There were five thousand people jostling and pushing to get close to Him. Yet Jesus showed no anger. We are told that “he received them” (Luke 9:11). Dr. Rienecker says that the Greek word is even stronger. He says that it means “welcome” (Fritz Rienecker, Ph.D., A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing House, 1976, p. 165; note on Luke 9:11). According to Dr. Rienecker the text would read thus,

“And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he welcomed them…” (Luke 9:11).

Jesus openly and gladly welcomed that great crowd. Since He welcomed them at that inconvenient time, we can be sure He will welcome people today at all times. By reading the four Gospels, we find that He always received sinners. He never rejected anyone. He was available to sinners night and day. Christ continuously received and welcomed sinners! His voice called them to come to Him. His hands beckoned them to come. The smile on His face showed He wanted them. He was delighted to have them,

“He received them.”

“He welcomed them.”

“Whosoever will, let him” come (Revelation 22:17; p. 1353).

“He received them.”

“He welcomed them.”

There are two lessons in that text for us this afternoon.

I. First, Jesus’ example should teach us to welcome sinners.

Wherever Jesus was, He welcomed sinners. The Bible tells us this.

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat [having dinner] in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples” (Matthew 9:10; p. 1007).

The Pharisees found fault with Jesus for doing that. They scolded Him and called Him “a friend of publicans and sinners” (Matthew 11:19).

But we should follow the example of Jesus rather than the Pharisees. When sinners come to our church they should feel as welcome as those who came and had dinner with Jesus.

“He received them.”

“He welcomed them.”

Matthew Henry noted “the kind reception he gave them. They followed him…And though they thereby disturbed His repose [rest] he designed for himself and his disciples, yet he welcomed them” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 reprint, volume 5, p. 538; note on Luke 9:11). Matthew Henry went on to say,

Our Lord was of a free and generous spirit. His disciples said, Send them away, that they may get victuals; but Christ said, “No, give ye them to eat; let what we have go as far as it will reach, and they are welcome to it.” Thus he has taught both ministers and Christians to use hospitality without grudging, I Peter 4:9 (Matthew Henry, ibid.).

We feed all those who come to the services at our church. But let us do more than that. Let us do as Christ did, and show friendliness, hospitality and kindness to them. Let no one ever leave our church and be able to lament, as David did,

“I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul” (Psalm 142:4; p. 668).

The world today is a cold and lonely place. Many homes are broken. Parents are often too busy to speak very much with their children. One college student recently told me his father never spoke with him. Others are only scolded and found fault with in their homes. When they come to our church, they must feel the love of Christ. They must feel that we love them and want them, that we are open to them, that we welcome them – as Jesus did.

“Christ…[left] us an example, that ye should follow his steps”
     (I Peter 2:21; p. 1313).

“He received them.”

“He welcomed them.”

So should we! We should follow the example of Jesus, and welcome the lost into our church with our arms wide open, in Christian love! Let us pray for radiant spiritual power, for fervent love among us – for each other and for the lost.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [Christian love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity [Christian love], I am nothing”
     (I Corinthians 13:1-2; p. 1223).

Jesus said,

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35; p. 1135).

“And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he welcomed them” (Luke 9:11).

That is the first lesson. When lost people come to church let us welcome them as Jesus did. Let them know and feel that we want them to be with us. But there is a second lesson.

II. Second, Jesus welcomes you!

“He received them.”

“He welcomed them.”

And He will receive you! He welcomes you! He wants you to come to Him! Spurgeon said,

We find all through his life that he always received sinners, and never rejected any one…It might always have been said of him, “This man receiveth and welcometh sinners.” His motto was, “Whosoever will, let him come.” (C. H. Spurgeon, “Welcome! Welcome!” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1973 reprint, vol. XXVII, pp. 581-582).

Let me make this as clear as possible. Christ received all who came to Him, even at the most inconvenient time. If you are not yet converted, come to Him. “But,” someone says, “I don’t have enough conviction.” Do you think you earn salvation by working up enough conviction? That is a sad mistake. No one earns salvation by his own efforts of self-mortification, or self-judgment!

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8; p. 1251).

Jesus said,

“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37; p. 1123).

Are you convinced that you need Jesus? Then come to Him!

“He received them.”

“He welcomed them.”

And He will receive you! And He will welcome you!

Sing it o’er and o’er again; Christ receiveth sinful men;
Make the message clear and plain: Christ receiveth sinful men.
     (“Christ Receiveth Sinful Men” by Erdmann Neumeister, 1671-1756;
     translated by Emma F. Bevan, 1827-1909).

“But,” you say, “He is way up in Heaven now.” Yes, He is! Thank God for it! He went to the Cross and died to pay for your sins. He shed His Blood so your sins could be washed clean in the sight of God. And He arose bodily from the dead and ascended back to Heaven. He is there to forgive your sins and give you eternal life. Yes, He is seated at the right hand of God. But He has not changed! He is the “same Jesus” (Acts 1:11) that He was on earth.

“He received them.”

“He welcomed them.”

He is the “same Jesus” today. When He was on earth He did not cast them out when they came to Him, and He will not cast you out when you come to Him now! He said,

“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

Come to Jesus! He will receive you. He will welcome you. Please stand and sing our hymn.

I hear Thy welcome voice, That calls me, Lord, to Thee
For cleansing in Thy precious blood That flowed on Calvary.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary.

Though coming weak and vile, Thou dost my strength assure;
Thou dost my vileness fully cleanse, Till spotless all and pure.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary.

‘Tis Jesus calls me on To perfect faith and love,
To perfect hope, and peace, and trust, For earth and heaven above.
I am coming, Lord! Coming now to Thee!
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood That flowed on Calvary.
     (“I Am Coming, Lord” by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919).